What to do on Christmas in NY and Chicago

With the holiday season approaching, what better way to spend Christmas season in some of the most charming cities of the United States - New York and Chicago. These winter wonderlands are known to pack on the holiday cheer and get you in the Christmas spirit with endless displays of bright lights and Christmas decor. 

Not sure what to do on Christmas this year?  We’ve compiled a special list of experiences you simply can’t skip this Holiday season.

What to do on Christmas in New York

New York provides an endless list of options for you to enjoy on Christmas. Here are a few of the most popular options to choose from: 

Visit the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

This is probably what’s known as the most conic symbol of Christmas in the big apple is the 75-90 foot tree that towers over the city like a skyscraper. That’s the thing about New York- they like to go BIG.

Given that this is a popular attraction for many, it’s best to go early in the morning or late at night to avoid the large crowds. Grab a hot chocolate nearby to stay warm and enjoy the sight!

See the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall

Did you know that the Christmas celebration at Radio City music hall dates back all the way to 1932? This show is packed with singers and figure skaters that are dedicated to keeping you fully entertained and throughout the show. 

If you have to choose one show to see during your time in New York City, this one beats out the rest of the competition hands down. 

Enjoy Free Ice-Skating at Bryant Park

Plan a fun-filled ice skating experience at Byrant Park for free. If you don’t own your own skates, you can simply rent a pair for $20. 

This is a more budget-friendly option as opposed to ice-skating at Rockefeller Center and there are plenty of pop-up shops and warm beverages surrounding the area to keep you entertained for hours. 

What to do in Chicago for Christmas

Chicago is a city that could really get you in the holiday spirit with its cool crisp air and spectacular Christmas decor. 


No trip is complete without a visit to Chicago’s most popular Christmas market- Christkindlmarket. This German-inspired market is filled with handcrafted goods, warm and freshly baked snacks, and it’s very own hot mulled wine. Enjoy browsing around the small open-air shops and indulging in the delicious food and local produce.

Millennium Park Ice-Skating 

The Chicago skyline overlooks this popular ice skating rink located in the center part of the city. You can enjoy free admission and rent skates for around $15 a pair. 

A popular time to go is in the evening, where you can glance up and view the tall building lights. In order to avoid long lines or large crowds, it’s best to try to get there earlier. 

A Christmas Carol

Known as one of the most famous shows in Chicago, you simply can’t miss out on this once in a lifetime experience. A Christmas carol takes place at Goodman Theatre where over 1.5 million people have attended over the years to catch this spectacular and entertaining production.

It’s known for its stellar performances, eye-catching costumes, and entertaining dance numbers. You can purchase your tickets directly on the Goodman Theatre website. 

Visit the Aire Ancient Baths 

It’s no secret that Chicago is freezing in the winter season, so why not treat yourself to a warm and relaxing spa day and escape the cold weather at Aire Ancient Baths, located in River West. 

Aire offers several options for you to choose from -such as relaxing massages, various rituals, thermal baths, and unique wine experiences. Spending the day with Aire provides the perfect mini getaway from the city’s hustle and bustle. 

The Christmas holiday is one of the best times to visit these two magical cities and take part in their winter festivities. We hope you enjoyed this list of a few of the best things to do on Christmas in New York and Chicago and don’t forget to purchase some of your tickets ahead of time as they tend to sell out quickly!