VISITING NEW YORK CITY IN

December

If you're planning a trip to New York City, you'll find that December is one of the most fun and exciting times to visit. With the coming of the holidays, you'll find a variety of special events, from ice skating, to holiday markets offering seasonal treats, or simply the incredible lighting displays. Be sure to dress warmly however, as NYC weather in December can easily drop to freezing, with the average snowfall for the month being 11.5 inches.

What to expect

Weather Advice

  •  Average Daytime Temperatures: 46 F (8C)
  •  Average Overnight Temperatures: 32 F (0C)
  •  Sunny or partly sunny days: 18
  •  Rainy days: 8-12, 4 with significant rainfall

What to wear

  •  Wear comfortable walking shoes, warm and water resistant if possible, you will be happy you did after the long day
  •  Dress in layers, a warm windproof jacket might be handy
  •  Don’t forget your gloves, hats and scarfs to keep you warm

NYC Prices in December

Hotel prices and airfares are high, as this is peak travel time to the city and visitors flood the most popular attractions, the shopping fever is at its peak too, so plan your days out.

Book your flights and accommodation in advance for best prices, midtown & times square are the most popular choices, but there are plenty of other options, especially in Brooklyn with convenient transport options to Manhattan attractions.

Planning your trip is a key to a balanced budget, use free online resources like our maps & guide or the itinerary tool, if you are going to visit some iconic attractions, get a sightseeing pass, it will easily save you 50% on regular admission prices – see more

Getting around New York City

NYC is easy to navigate, but if you can't walk to your destination there are plenty of options

Subway

The quickest way to travel around, open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from as low as $2.75 per ride, with stops usually every 8-10 blocks.

Taxis

If the top taxi number is illuminated it's available, minimum metered fare is $2.50, which increases 50 cents every fifth of a mile or every minute.

Hop on, Hop off Buses

These buses connect major attractions all over the city and provide many photo opportunities, it's also a good way to catch a break or eat your sandwich while still sightseeing.

Things to do in NYC in December

Check out the following list of ideas for fun things to do in New York in December:

  1. 1. Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

    Nothing says New York City in December more than the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. This is a famous yearly tradition in the Big Apple, and both tourists and locals flock to the tree lighting ceremony, which can take place in early December or late November. The tree is notable for having 50,000 LED lights in a dazzling array of colors and stands at 100 feet tall. On top of the tree you'll find the "Swarovski Star," which is 9.5 feet in diameter, weights 550 pounds, and contains 25,000 sparkling crystals with over one million facets. For a closer look at the star, a replica can be viewed up close inside the Rockefeller Center.

  2. 2. Ice Skating In Central Park

    Ice skating in Central Park is an absolutely iconic December New York activity. If you're looking for a fun activity to enjoy with the family, or in the mood for something romantic, this is perfect. Nothing beats ice skating with someone you care about with the beautiful New York City skyline in the background. In Central Park you'll find two ice skating rinks. The Wollerman Rink is on the east side, close to Central Park Zoo, and Lasker Rink is in the middle of the park. Ice hockey and lessons are also available.

  3. 3. Walk Down Fifth Avenue

    Fifth Avenue is New York City's shopping Mecca, and walking through during the holiday season is truly a treat. With stunning LED displays and decorations everywhere, it's the perfect chance to take in the joy of simply experiencing the city itself. The Sak's Fifth Avenue Holiday Windows offer delightful displays in the spirit of the season, with a radiant lighting display illuminating the store's facade.

  4. 4. Holiday Markets

    In between visiting all the amazing landmarks in New York City, be sure to take some time out to visit one (or more!) of the city's famous holiday markets. These pop-up markets offer a wide variety of types of shopping, from clothing, to arts and crafts, to gourmet food. Nothing beats having a hot drink in your hand as you enjoy a chilly December evening. The Union Square Holiday Market, Bryant Park's Winter Village, and the Grand Central Holiday Fair are among the largest and most famous.

  5. 5. The Radio City Christmas Spectacular

    New York City's most popular Christmas show is undoubtedly the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, featuring the famous Rockettes. Visitors have been treated to a magical performance featuring traditional Christmas scenes, dancing, singing, and an original musical score for over 80 years. Constructed between 1932 and 1940 and featuring a stunning Art Deco style, this is a famous landmark that everyone should visit at least once. To make things even more festive, the front of Radio City Music Hall is decorated with a dazzling Christmas tree whose color is always changing.

  6. 6. St. Patrick's Cathedral

    Millions of people visit Saint Patrick's cathedral yearly, and is a must-visit New York City landmark. There's no better time to visit than the holiday season, especially if you check the schedule and arrange to hear some traditional holiday music in a truly amazing space.

Rainy Day Options in NYC

Broadway Shows

Taking a Broadway show will chase away any rainy day blues during your visit to New York City. It might not be possible to get last minute tickets to every show, but you can find something a couple of hours before the show starts by visiting the box office of the theatre. With every sightseeing pass purchased on this site we offer a $40 credit voucher, valid for many of best NYC Broadways shows - learn more

NYC Museums

Your weather app says it’s going to be raining the whole day? Head over to one of the best NYC Museums. Whether your interest is in art, science or city history, there’s something for everyone in just about every neighbourhood. Pick from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, MoMA, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, American Museum of Natural History, Whitney Museum of American Art orMuseum of the City of New York.

PLANNING TO SEE SEVERAL ATTRACTIONS IN NYC?

There are over 100 Attractions available for free to NYC Sightseeing Pass holders -
see our attractions list and check how much you could save on entry fees

PLAN YOUR NEW YORK TRIP IN ADVANCE

Sign up to our travel tips and get free PDF resources

Discover other Months

NYC Travel Articles