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The bustling shops, the shimmering lights, the skating, the music, the merriment… New York City is one of the greatest places on earth to spend the holidays. And there’s no shortage of festive things to do, so here is our gift to you: an advent calendar that delivers 25 of our favorite ways to get merry in New York this holiday season—one for each day, right up until Christmas!

RELATED: 8 great Hanukkah gifts for the traveler in your life

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25 Merry Days
A Holidays in New York Advent Calendar
By Lidia Ryan

There’s really no place like New York for the holidays. The city’s already so vibrant and full of life and Christmas and Hanukkah just make it more so. Here are 25 of our favorite ways to get festive in New York this holiday season—one for each day leading up to the 25th!

1 See thousands of twinkling lights, mechanical Santas and giant nutcrackers at the annual Dyker Heights Lights display in Brooklyn.

2 Grand Army Plaza in Park Slope is home to the World’s Largest Menorah (or so they claim). Celebrate the first night of the Hanukkah with a lighting, concert and hot latkes.

3 Shop for unique, handmade gifts at the Union Square Holiday Market.

4 Sip on winter cocktails in a seriously Insta-worthy backdrop: a yurt at the Standard East Village Hotel.

5 Go see the tree–that’s the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, and while you’re there, strap on some skates. Go during the week to avoid the crowds.

6 Nosh on latkes and brisket from New York’s famous Katz’s deli on the Lower East Side.

7 Latkes and glow sticks? Yup, that’s what you’ll find at the 92nd Street Y’s Glow in the Dark Hanukkah dinner.

8 Don a Santa suit and take to the streets of New York to eat, drink (mostly drink) and be merry during the SantaCon pub crawl.

9 Watch sugar plumb fairies glide across stage at Lincoln Center in Balanchine’s The Nutcracker Ballet.

10 Marvel at a miniature New York made of bark and leaves at the Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show.

11 Stroll Fifth Avenue to see the glittering holiday displays at Bergdorf’s, Saks and Tiffany’s.

12 A miracle happens on 34th street every year when Santa arrives at Macy’s in Herald Square.

13 Grab a festive libation at Miracle on Ninth Street, a Christmas-themed pop-up bar that has become a modern holiday tradition.

14 Enjoy a snowy wonderland of shops, hot cocoa and Santa sightings at the Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park.


15 Jam to wizard rock with thousands of “muggles” at the 9th Annual Harry and the Potters Yule Ball.

16 Go caroling with boom box in hand and hundreds of others at Unsilent Night which kicks off at Washington Square Park.

Wash down a schnitzel with a pint of beer at Rolf’s, an iconic Manhattan restaurant famous for its over-the-top holiday decor.

More than 140 performers take the stage for The Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes, a NYC holiday tradition since 1933.


19 Find out how naughty and nice Kris Kringle is in The Truth About Santa, a comedy show about the man himself.


20 It’s too cold for caroling—come sing along to Christmas classics with the Philharmonic instead. Bonus: Whoopi Goldberg and Mo Rocca read The Night Before Christmas.

21 Go ice skate one of Central Park’s two rinks and feel like you’re right in the center of it all, with the New York’s skyline as a backdrop.

22 Holiday sing-alongs on a yacht with a live band, skyline views and spiked beverages? That’s the Cocoa & Carols holiday booze cruise!

23 Relive scenes from Home Alone 2 at the luxurious Plaza Hotel, where Kevin MacAllister’s holiday hijinks went down—including that towering sundae delivered by room service.

24 You don’t have to be Catholic to marvel at the beauty of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, or to enjoy the Christmas Eve Vigil Mass, a special holiday mass for kids.

25 What could be more romantic than a horse-drawn carriage ride through Central Park? You’ll quickly forget you’re in the city.

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