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The Ultimate Couples Guide To The Holiday Season in NYC

By: Sophia Marina

Wreaths of holly abound, millions of fantastic glowing lights, enchantingly glamorous decor and that playful little bite of cold—it’s holiday season in NYC, and it’s beautiful, dazzling and just waiting for you and your love to take advantage of it all. No matter how you celebrate, the options the city offers to get you in the spirit are endless, from traditional tree lightings to inventive holiday cocktails to glassblowing workshops perfect for inducing precious moments and warm spirits. Don’t just stay in this holiday season—join in the jubilation and awe-inspiring wonder of celebrating this special time with your love in the most scenic, charming and enthusiastically festive city in the world with our guide to the holidays in New York.

The Ultimate Holiday Dates In New York

Dyker Heights Christmas Lights
11th-13th Avenues (Dyker Heights Blvd) from 83rd to 86th Street

Long walks with your love inherently promise romance, but when you add wintry air, snow, and thousands upon thousands of twinkling lights, it’ll be more of a dazzling little movie moment all to yourselves. In Dyker Heights, homeowners go totally pro with their light displays and compete for the most spectacular display of holiday home glam in the neighborhood—some even hire professionals to up the ante of their beautiful brightness. You can go a stroll along among the lights only with each other, or opt for a guided tour if you want a bit more of the history behind the Dyker Heights Christmas Lights. Whatever your method, you and your love won’t want to miss this twinkling phenomenon—sometime between dusk and 9pm are your best bet for seeing the lights lit at full glory.

dyker heights christmas lights nyc
Credit: Free Tours By Foot
House of Yes Xmas Spectacular
2 Wyckoff Avenue, Brooklyn | Tuesday, December 18th — Sunday, December 23rd

This phenomenal performance space transforms itself into a fantastic holiday scene for a series of original performances that flip the season inside out and squeeze all the glamor and fun out of it. Dancing presents, Xxxmas trees, Sexy Santas, Gayngels and Jesus’s Birthday party are just a few of the night’s entertainment features and executed by amazingly talented aerial, circus, dance and theatrics professionals. Taste and indulge the adult side of the holidays and immerse in this dazzling show together. Dates, showtimes, and tickets here.

house of yes xmas spectacular nyc
Credit: House of Yes, Eventbrite
Miracle International Holiday Cocktail Bar Pop Up
Multiple Locations & Hours

A fully adult way to take part in the festivities is by drinking festively, and this innovative worldwide popup is designed just for that. What originated in New York at local bar Mace has spread to all corners of the Earth, with cocktails like the gingerbread bourbon and wormwood bitters Snowball Old Fashioned, or the Rum Rum Rudolph, comprised of tequila, coffee liqueur, iced hot chocolate, and Mexican spices. The scene will be bursting with lively, lovely holiday lights and decor for an immersive way to guzzle up these festive concoctions, so you and your love can truly get in the spirit without a care in the world. It opens after Thanksgiving, with different hours at their multiple New York locations.

miracle pop up bar nyc
Credit: Miracle Pop Up Bar
Holiday Window Displays on Fifth Ave
Various Locations

Oh, baby it’s cold outside, but that’s why you have each other to snuggle up with as you take this quintessential New York walk along Fifth Ave to marvel and gape at perfectly curated beauty. All the big names put out their best to dazzle the crowds, so bundle up and make sure to check out the displays at SAKS, Tiffany & Co., Barneys, Bergdorf Goodman, Lord & Taylor and all else in between.

saks fifth ave window display nyc
Credit: Time Out
Pete's Tavern
129 East 18th Street, Manhattan

Open since 1864, this old-time pub has served drinks to Civil War soldiers, so they really know what they’re doing and they happen to deck out for the holidays. Not only is it rumored that they’ve got the best eggnog in town, but a full cold weather cocktail menu, complete with pumpkin spice martinis and bourbon maple apple cider, graces their premises. These flavors combinations are only available this time of year, so you might as well go for the good stuff.

petes tavern nyc
Credit: Pete's Tavern

See More Of Our Curated Dates This Week

George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker
David H Koch Theater, Lincoln Center, 70 West 63rd Street, Manhattan | Runs almost every day through December 30th

Whether you know the story or not, this enchanting Christmas tale has been perfected by the New York City Ballet to tell itself in the most fascinating, graceful and breathtaking way possible. On its 64th run and set to Tchaikovsky’s famous score, the life-sized nutcracker, gingerbread soldiers, fighting mice and sugarplum fairies are at their most enthralling yet, with a massive Christmas tree that expands from 12 to 40 feet only one of many astounding stage effects. The dancers are, of course, the most phenomenal out there, and any show at Lincoln Center is a grand affair, so get gussied up and take each other out for a lovely, captivating evening. Tickets and dates here.

the nutcracker nyc
Credit: New York City Ballet
Adult Gingerbread Making Course
Taste Buds Kitchen, 109 West 27th Street, Manhattan | Sunday, December 9th or Sunday, December 16th

Sign up for some holiday fun and craft your very own gingerbread masterpiece at Taste Buds Kitchen’s Gingerbread House Workshop. You’ll be given all the tools and time you need to decorate, from gumdrops to frosted candy shingles to pretzel picket fences, and the hot cocoa will be going round to keep you warm and merry. Best of all? It’s BYOB, so you and your love can get all different types of warm and fuzzy as you create. Only two workshops are offered and tickets are going fast, so reserve quickly to secure your spots.

gingerbread making class nyc
Credit: Taste Buds Kitchen
Holiday Markets
Various Locations

Whether you’re scrounging for gifts together or for each other, or just hoping to get some good eats and treats while wandering around, NYC’s got plenty of holiday markets all over the city to meet your festive needs. Most boast a huge array of unique and eclectic products by artisans both local and international, as well as delicious food and sweets galore by local vendors. You can join the frenzy at Bryant Park’s Winter Village, or try out one of the other multiple markets like the Grand Central Holiday Fair, the Union Square Holiday Market, Columbus Circle Holiday Market, the Winter Market at Industry City and FAD Market.

bryant park holiday market nyc
Credit: Bryant Park
Home Alone in Concert with the New York Philharmonic
David Geffen Hall, 10 Lincoln Center Plaza, Manhattan | Thursday, December 20th and Friday, December 21st at 7pm

Sway to the soothing, moving sounds of the New York Philharmonic’s live version accompaniment of Home Alone while enjoying the classic film in quintessential NYC style at Lincoln Center. Consider it movie-date deluxe, get dressed up, sit back in the grand salon and enjoy the immersive wonder of this famous holiday score. Tickets and info here.

ny philharmonic home alone
Credit: Lincoln Center
281 3rd Avenue, Manhattan, between 21st and 22nd Street

Lights upon lights upon lights, flowing garlands, glittering baubles, shiny ornaments, and delicate figurines adorn every inch of space at Rolf’s, a German restaurant famed and frequented for its overwhelmingly incredible holiday decor. While you can get some German classics like schnitzel and strudel to eat, we recommend taking your seats at the bar and having a couple of drinks. At this bustling spot, you’re there for the breathtaking decorations, not the cuisine.

rolfs nyc
Credit: Rolf's
It's A Wonderful Life
323 6th Avenue, Manhattan

If you needed an excuse for a movie date, here’s one to get you both in your feels. A funny, touching and sentimental holiday staple, this film is an absolute must-see on the big screen, and the IFC Center is screening it all month long starting December 7th. Find dates, times and tickets here.

ifc center nyc
Credit: IFC Center
Holiday Train Show and Bar Car Nights at NYBG
New York Botanical Gardens, 2900 Southern Boulevard, Bronx | November 17th, 2018 - January 21st, 2019

This year, it’s little Lower Manhattan up for display at the New York Botanical Garden’s Holiday Train Show, and it’s admittedly cute and pretty enough to get you to reconsider your perspective on NYC trains. See Brooklyn Bridge, One World Trade Center, the Statue of Liberty and more of all your beloved Manhattan sights recreated in intensely accurate and ornate detail, while tiny locomotives chug through the views. If the choo-choo trains alone don’t cut it for you, try an after-dark adults-only experience at Bar Car Nights, where you and your person can get some seasonal spirits, snuggle around some fire pits, watch live ice-sculpting and of course, catch those captivating trains. Tickets here and here—they’re known to sell out, so jump on it.

holiday train show nybg nyc
Credit: New York Botanical Garden
Candy Cane / Flameworked Ornaments Workshops
Brooklyn Glass, 142 13th Street, Brooklyn | Candy Cane: Sunday, December 23rd at 11AM | Flameworked Ornaments: Sunday, December 9th at 11AM, Saturday December 15th at 11AM

If your tree is lacking some love and you want to give it a special touch, how about signing up for a glassblowing workshop? At Brooklyn Glass, you and your love can choose between crafting up sweet little candy canes or delicate, swirling flameworked ornaments to hang up in your home, give as gifts, or swap with each other. These lovingly-made trinkets will turn your holiday ornaments from just decor into lasting symbols of your love, friendship and fun with each other, so don’t hesitate to test your handiwork and make something both of you will look upon with fondness.

candy canes brooklyn glass nyc
Credit: Brooklyn Glass
Unsilent Night
Starts at the Arch in Washington Square Park, ends in Tompkins Square Park | Sunday, December 16, 6PM

Maybe you’re fans of caroling or maybe you aren’t, but no matter how much you dig the seasonal tunes, Unsilent Night adds a whole new dimension to what wintry holiday music can do. Phil Kline’s enthralling and original sound sculpture is comprised of 4 electronic tracks designed to fill the air with dulcet, delicate tones, creating the perfect mystical winter aura to walk along to. Gather at the arch, lift your boomboxes, your phones, or whatever speakers you’ve got, and let the soundtrack play along with thousands of others, then walk the city streets and let the sounds, scene and common sense of wonder lift you and your love up into an aural winter paradise.

unsilent night nyc
Credit: Unsilent Night New York
New York Christmas and Holiday Lights Tour
Meets at New York Public Library’s Schwartzman Building, lasts 2 hours, Free

Combine all the classic New York sights into one evening of guided gazing and wonder with the New York Christmas and Holiday Lights Tour. Even seasoned New Yorkers can appreciate this chilly, picturesque stroll across town for scenes like the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree (in case you missed the ceremony), St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the shops and lights on Fifth Ave, and much more. Bundle up with your love and make all the hallmark holiday pitstops you take for granted. Reserve here.

new york holiday lights tour nyc
Credit: High Quality Tours
The Lodge at Gallow Green
542 West 27th Street, Manhattan

Fulfill your log cabin romance dreams–or get as close as you can– over warm drinks and toasty flames at The Lodge, Gallow Green’s transformed winter rooftop hideaway. Plaid blankets draped over comfy chairs, a hefty fire pit, fragrant pine needles, and eclectic prints decorate this winter getaway to maximize the amount of coziness you and your love can experience. There’s even bunk beds to sit on for an ultra-rustic touch– because there has to be a rooftop for your holiday movie moments.

the lodge gallow green nyc
Credit: McKittrick Hotel
Ridgewood Market’s Nowadays Outdoor Holiday Market
Nowadays, 56-06 Cooper Ave #1, Queens | December Saturdays (1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd)

Super cool and under the radar venue Nowadays is hosting a recurring holiday market the first four Saturdays of December. Shop for unique, interesting gifts among their selection of vintage clothes, handmade trinkets, DIY kits, vegan treats, original art and jewelry over some mulled wine and music. Best of all, they’ve got saunas for when you and your love need a moment to get extra cozy.

nowadays outdoor holiday market nyc
Credit: Nowadays Outdoor Holiday Market, Facebook
39th Annual Winter Solstice Celebration
Cathedral of St. John the Divine, 1047 Amsterdam Avenue, Manhattan | December 20th, 21st, and 22nd

Ring in the winter solstice at the world’s fifth largest church building, the stunning and Gothic Romanesque Revival marvel that is the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. As if the bejeweled stained glass, vaulted ceilings and art installations that line the interior aren’t enough to fully enrapture you, add a few ancient solstice rituals performed by professional musicians, vocalists, and dancers gathering together to welcome back the sun on the longest day of the year. Partake in this mystical ritual with your person at the 39th Annual Winter Solstice Celebration and go, if anything, for the sake of seeing a cathedral more impressive and gorgeous than most buildings in the city.

cathedral st john the divine
Credit: Cathedral St. John the Divine
Gingerbread Lane
New York Hall of Science, 47-01 111th Street, Queens | On Display November 10th - January 14th

Not only entirely enchanting, but astounding in size and complexity, the homemade gingerbread houses at Gingerbread Lane hold the world record for largest gingerbread village and are the perfect edible creation turned art to fuel the holiday spirit in you both. Brick walls made of gum, candy cane staircases and jellybean rooftops are just a few of the jolly quirks that make up the architecture of this delicious structure. After a scenic stroll through the village, you might just feel inspired enough to sign each other up for an afternoon of seasonal creativity at one of their gingerbread house workshops. This is the kind of lighthearted couples bonding it’s good to indulge in.

gingerbread lane nyc
Credit: NYSCI Gingerbread Lane 2018 Workshops

See Our Curated Date Ideas This Week