New York City locals know how difficult it can be to find someplace to go that’s actually open on Christmas Day (December 25). So here’s a roundup of a things to do in the city that sound like fun, whether you live in New York or are here for a visit, and whether you celebrate the holiday, or not.
Christmas Day in New York
Get Centered at Central Park Zoo. The Central Park Zoo is open 365 days a year, including Christmas Day (10am – 4:30pm). Winter can be a great time to visit because the air is cooler and some of the animals are more active. General Admission tickets include entry to the Main Zoo and Tisch Children’s Zoo. Or you can opt for the Total Experience tickets for entry to the Main Zoo, Tisch Children’s Zoo, and 4-D Theater. The Central Park Zoo is located near the southeast corner of Central Park in New York City.
Go ice skating in Central Park. Central Park’s Wollman Rink is open for skating on December 25, from 10am – 11pm. This is the famous New York skating rink featured in the movies Love Story and Serendipity. You can skate with a spectacular view of the NYC skyline. Follow the link above for fees, including for skate rental and lockers. (There’s also a spectator fee.) Located on the East Side of Central Park, between 62nd and 63rd Streets, New York, NY. FYI: We verified this personally with Wollman Rink.
Celebrate the season at the Circus. The Holiday Circus, in Brooklyn, performs on several dates in December, including on Christmas Day, 3pm and 7pm. The event features dozens of world-renowned circus performers under the big top, including tigers, bears, acrobats, jugglers, and magic acts from circuses like Cirque du Soleil, Ringling Bros., Big Apple Circus, and more.
Have a blue Christmas at Birdland. Chill out for Christmas evening of Broadway blues at the Birdland. The New York musical institution hosts performances by legendary veterans, as well as exciting new stars who are carrying and expanding the genre well into the future. Noted travel guide Frommer’s says of the venue: “The big room is spacious, comfy, and classy, with great sound and top-notch talent any night of the week (along with a Southern-cookin’ dinner menu).” Catch William Blake in Echoes of Etta II, at Birdland on Christmas Day 2013 (315 W. 44th Street New York, NY 10036).
Roll with the Rockettes. The Radio City Rockettes Christmas Spectacular performs on Christmas Day (get tickets early before they sell out). Although several discount ticket sources offer deals on tickets to the show for many dates in December, Christmas Day may not be available with these offers. Location: Radio City Music Hall, 1260 Avenue of the Americas.
Wax on with the Madame. Madame Tussauds Wax Museum in New York City is open on all holidays, with extended hours during Christmas and New Year’s Day. It takes approximately an hour and half to complete a visit of Madame Tussauds celebrity wax sculptures, including SCREAM, the interactive horror experience with live actors (appropriate for anyone age 12 or older), Cinema 4D, and Behind the Scenes. You can probably even get Madame Tussauds discount tickets if you get them in online advance. Madame Tussards is located at 234 W 42 Street, New York, NY. Discount parking is available at IKON/Global Garage (143 West 40th St, between Broadway and 7th Ave) when you validate your parking ticket at Madame Tussauds admissions area.
Believe it (or not). Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Times Square Odditorium is open on December 25 from 9am – 1am. (You can save on tickets here.) The New York City attraction, located in the heart of Times Square, Manhattan, features more than twenty unbelievable galleries of interactive and archival exhibits.You can get Ripley’s discount tickets for 22 percent off online. Info & Tickets.
Just go Jewish. Two NYC museums to visit on December. 25: The Jewish Museum (1109 5th Ave at 92nd Street), open 11am – 5pm; and the Museum of Jewish Heritage (Edmond J. Safra Plaza, 36 Battery Place), open 11am – 5pm.
Enjoy the iconic view: The world’s most famous skyline never gets old. On a clear Christmas Day, remember why you love this city and take in the panoramic view from one of the famous observation decks. The Top of the Rock Observation Deck is open December 25, from 8am – 12am (last elevator at 11:10pm). The 67th and 69th floors include outdoor terraces which feature fully transparent, safety glass. The 70th floor offers an amazing open air, unobstructed 360-degree city view. Located at: 30 Rockefeller Plaza, with the main entrance on 50th Street between 5th and 6th avenues. Special offer 60-minute tour tickets are available online for $3.51 off from one source, and $3 off from another.
Also view-worthy, the the Empire State Building Observatory, open on Christmas Day from 8am – 2am, offers an amazing 80-mile views from the 86th floor, 1,050 feet (320 meters) above the city streets. Skip the line at the entrance by getting tickets online. The building is located at 350 Fifth Avenue, between 33rd and 34th Streets. Look for limited metered parking, or park at the garage across the street.