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What’s Open in NYC on Christmas Day

What’s Open in NYC on Christmas Day

Check out these great ideas for what to do with kids on Christmas Day in NYC!

Christmas day is a wonderful time to explore the attractions of the New York City area. While some places close for the holiday, lots of spots are open to enjoy and are great for kids of all ages.

New York City's Iconic Sights

Check out some of NYC's most famous attractions on Christmas Day: the observation decks. Chances are the lines won’t be too long and you and your family can play tourists for the day. The Empire State Building is open 11am to 10pm. Top of the Rock is also open from 11am to 5pm. New in 2020 is Edge, the Western Hemisphere’s highest outdoor observation deck. It will be open 10am to 10pm. 

The 2020 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

The 2020 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree has been installed, an 11-ton Norway spruce from Oneonta. You can admire it in person on Christmas Day, when it will be lit for a full 24 hours (at other times the tree shines from 6-12am daily). To ensure safe viewing, closeups of the tree are limited to groups of four and a free virtual ticket is required. Entrances for viewing are limited to 49th and 50th streets at Fifth and Sixth avenues; masks and viewing times are limited to 5 minutes per group.

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The Ultimate Light Show

For the second year in a row, New York City gets its own city of lights. LuminoCity sprawls across several acres of Randall's Island with an immersive art experience that kids will love. (Who wouldn't want to explore themed parks with names like The Mysterious Forest, The Dangerous Dunes, The Forgotten Ruins, The Hidden Land of Hria, and The Mystical Moon Land?). The installation is open on Christmas Day from 4pm to 9:15pm.

Manhattan Lights

Enjoy a bird's eye view on Manhattan's spectacular seasonal lights with a ride aboard the seasonal "North Pole Express." Everything you need for a magical experience is here, including socially distant meetings with Santa, one of his elves, and an Express Conductor, on top of Christmas carols and storytelling. (Hot chocolate and cookies included as well.) Rides run on Christmas Day this year.

RELATED: Family Christmas Activities in the New York Area

Local Lights

For a safe way of getting into the seasonal spirit, check out the holiday lights clustered around New York City neighborhoods. The most famous of the bunch are the lights in Dyker Heights, a Brooklyn neighborhood that goes all out with its front yard displays. The lights will go on this year despite the pandemic, although social distancing when you get there is a must. Check out our comprehensive rundown of holiday lights throughout the entire metropolitan area.

Christmas on Ice

The world's most famous patch of ice is welcoming skaters for spectacular sessions right beneath the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. Limited capacities and skate times help  ensure social distancing safety. (The experience is mostly outdoors, which helps as well.) On Christmas Day you can bring your crew for skate times between 10:40am and 9:20pm.

RELATED: Where to Cut Your Own Christmas Tree in the New York Area

Winter Village

Bank of America Winter Village has touched down again in Bryant Park, bringing a seasonal oasis to midtown. On Christmas Day, you'll find select stores in the Holiday Shops opening their doors for seriously last-minute shopping. Also open are the personal refreshment centers known as Cozy Igloos, the Curling Café, and Ice Skating at Bryant Park.

Times Square Is Open for Business

Places like Madame Tussauds Wax Museum and Ripley’s Believe It or Not! will be open on Christmas Day. This is a rare opportunity to enjoy the area with minimal crowds. Madame Tussauds will be open 11am-5pm, with the last entry at 4pm; Ripley's is open 11am-6pm, with the last admittance at 5pm.

Go Out to Eat in the Big Apple

Due to COVID, many people will be staying in for Christmas dinner this year. If you're the adventurous type, specials will be available all around the city. The Upper East Side's David Burke Tavern, from award-winning celebrity chef David Burke, is offering a Christmas 2020 Prix Fixe Menu starting at 1pm; three courses are $89 for adults and $45 for kids.

RELATED: Get Holiday Activities Delivered to Your Inbox

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Ethan Wolff


Ethan Wolff covers NYC as the editor of City Guide. He lives with his wife and two daughters in Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn.

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