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The 10 Best Holiday Lights Displays in NYC

Lara Dreux | December 4, 2020 | Culture Lifestyle Holiday 'Tis the Season Latest


Nothing quite inaugurates the winter holidays like light installations popping up around the city. The romantic glow of twinkling fairy lights sprinkled over trees and across New York's skyscrapers announces the celebrations just around the corner.

Whether you're looking for Christmas lights, Chanukah menorahs or are already looking forward to New Year's Eve, the Big Apple boasts numerous spots to admire the seasonal displays.

Enjoy a magical panorama with your partner from a tall rooftop, go on a family outing to the park, or take a trip to a historic little town to relish the season's warm nostalgia.

No need to wander through the cold. Our curated list of sight-seeing spots spreads across the city's diverse boroughs, so you can find the perfect place to sit with warm cocoa and take festive pics.

See also: Modern Luxury Holiday Gift Guide 2020


Rockefeller Center

45 Rockefeller Plaza / Website

Coming here to gaze at the Christmas tree is an annual New York tradition. The first tree was installed back in 1931, and it seems to be even more grand each passing year. Essential for locals and tourists alike, Rockefeller is perfect for a poster-worthy photograph to share season's greating. Don't forget the skating rink, which makes for an iconic date.

Park Avenue

From 54th St. to 97th St. / Website

Take on a festive promenade on one of New York's most famous paths. Sprinkled with decorated trees and captivating lights, Park Avenue is a holiday NYC classic. The tree lighting tradition here began 70 years ago to commemorate those lost in World War II. It remains a symbol of peace and solidarity to this very day.

Bank of America's Winter Village

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A post shared by Bryant Park (@bryantparknyc)

1065 Avenue of the Americas / Website

Based in Bryant Park, this cozy icerink is the ideal location for a fun family outing. Rent a pair of skates, glide around the ice to the tune of Christmas favorites, and enjoy the surrounding holiday lights as you circle the rink.

INSIDER TIP: Bryant Park also offers pop-up shops near the icerink's entry. Here, you'll find hand-made jewelery or delicious waffles to reward yourself post-skate.


151 W 34th St. / Website

The Manhattan Macy's is renown around the world for its creative holiday window displays. The themes change annually, and each can truly be considered an original masterpiece. As a tribute to essential workers and all New Yorkers, the theme this year is "Give, Love, Believe." It's meant to celebrate everyone's united spirit after a challenging year. That's something we can cheer.

Fifth Avenue

From Washington Square Park to 142nd St. / Website

Regarded as one of the world's most luxurious and expensive streets, Fifth Avenue is the perfect stroll for admiring the lights or holiday gift shopping. Enjoy the dazzling displays and unique window installations with a hot beverage in hand. It's a picture-perfect way to spend a winter eve in the Big Apple.

Holiday Under the Stars

10 Columbus Cirle / Website

Shopping, shopping and more shopping! Walk around this magnificent mall and wonder at the spectacular lights that hang from the ceiling. The indoor spectacle stuns in brilliant color, while the corresponding views of Central Park will make your jaw drop. This upscale venue at Columbus circle is saturated with luxury brands, which means you can make your family's nice list with the gifts they'll really love.

See also: Top 10 Pie Shops in NYC


Dyker Heights Christmas Lights

1072 80th St. / Website

Missing that competitive suburban lighting competition? Don't fret. This tour offers to pick you up in Manhattan and drive you to Brooklyn's Dyker Heights, "where homeowners take holiday decorating to a whole new level." The residents here prepare for months, and you can oggle the effort from the comfort of your car. They're excited to welcome everyone, so feel free to give a friendly wave.

World's Largest Menorah

Grand Army Plaza / Website

Chanukah is a festival of lights, but nothing beats this 32-foot-high golden menorah. It might just be the world's largest. Watch as the candles are lit one by one, and reflect on what this season is really all about.



New York Botanical Garden / Website

Let the season glow and venture down to Brooklyn's verdant gardens. Feast your eyes upon the colorful worlds of glittering lights and ice-sculptures. Enjoy the visual spectacles as you sink in holiday music for an unforgettable experience set in New York's most famous site of flora and fauna.

INSIDER NOTE: Keep an eye out for pop-up performances by The Hip Hop Nutcracker.


Historic Richmond Town

441 Clarke Ave. / Website

Beginning Dec. 8th, this quaint little town transforms itself into a real-life snowglobe. With bright lights ornating every house, bakery and cobbler shop, you'll feel as though you've been transported to a magical fairy tale of distant times.

Photography by: Roy Rochlin