New York City, NY

Christmas In New York: Photography Spots In NYC During The Holidays

Filippo Cesarini

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and a great time for NYC Christmas photo spots around New York City! I mapped out where the best NYC Christmas Instagram Spots are during the holiday season, including where is the best Christmas tree in NYC.

1. Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

The ultimate classic NYC Christmas Instagram Spot: Rockefeller Center. The Rockefeller Christmas tree centers the square drawing people in from all around the world! Even the Rockefeller tree lighting is a whole televised event. The Rockefeller Tree is lit the entire day, so you can come here whenever to see it shine. You can take photos next to the tree, but the courtyard area is always packed. Your best bet is to take a photo from across the ice skating rink. To get to this ledge, head towards the ticket entrance for ice skating. You won’t have to buy a ticket, but that area is the best angle. Once you are done you can exit out without purchasing a ticket.

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2. Saks Fifht Avenue Christmas

Across from the Rockefeller Center and the Channel Gardens is the famous department store: Saks Fifth Avenue. Every year Saks decorate its Christmas window display with a different theme. Thousands line up to see the different window displays during Christmas in New York. I’ve always enjoyed looking at them because of the fairy tale decorations, the characters and beautiful clothes and shoes.

What’s noteworthy about Saks is that every night there are lighting shows synchronized with music. The perfect spot to watch the Saks light show is actually right at the Channel Garden. The last show if around 11:30pm at night and once that show is over, the Rockefeller Center tree will shut down as well.

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3. Oculus

Oculus is the most expensive transportation hub in New York City and it is the symbol of Lower Manhattan. Oculus is not only a transportation hub but also a high end shopping center with tons of nice stores and restaurants. During Christmas time, Oculus has special decorations that let you take cute festive photos. Even though the area is small, it is still very festive. However I don’t know if this will be there every winter.

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4. Central Park

Central Park is always everyone’s favorite place in New York City regardless of the season. Central Park is not really known for any giant Christmas trees there but everyone goes there for the outdoor ice skating rink. I have to say that Central Park in the winter is still incredibly beautiful, especially after a snow storm.

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5. Bryant Park

If I have to pick one place that has everything you need to see for Christmas in New York, that would be Bryant Park. The reason I picked Bryant Park over Rockefeller Center for Christmas is the fact that Bryant Park not only has a nice Christmas tree, a FREE outdoor ice skating rink, a beautiful carousel, but it also has a fantastic holiday market that has food and shops. Since the Bryant Park ice skating rink is free, definitely expect crowds. However, if you don’t have your own skates, you will need to pay for some rentals and a locker.

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6. Washington Square Park

Washington Square Park is located in Greenwich Village in Lower Manhattan by the NYU buildings so it’s always very lively during the summer. It has a beautiful fountain, street performers and a lot of young people chilling and relaxing on a nice summer night. I actually witnessed a public proposal at Washington Square Park too. You don’t really get to see most of that in the winter, but instead, you are greeted by a giant Christmas tree under the arch. The Christmas tree and the arch makes this one of the most instagrammable places in NYC during the holidays since it’s not going to be as crowded as in the summer.

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7. Madison Square Park

Most people probably know Madison Square Park by the Flatiron building. In the winter, Madison Square Park is transformed into a little gingerbread village (although there is only one gingerbread house). There is usually some awesome art installation there but that changes year over year. Madison Square Park is one of the lesser known spots for Christmas in New York but I think the area is just really pretty in general.

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8. Lotte Palace Hotel

Last but not least of the list is Lotte Palace Hotel, which is a five star luxury hotel near the Rockefeller Center. The rooms are fancy and the hotel has a long history. Lotte Palace Hotel also has a nice court yard which allows it to have a nice Christmas Tree during the holiday time. The tree is in the court yard but there is public access. We were able to spend a long time there and also sit in front of the tree for shots.

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My name is Filippo and I'm a travel photographer. My mission is to help you plan your next trip or even better, find the best photography spots!

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