Things To Do In NYC In December & Weather
December is one of the most popular times to visit New York City. The city is full of Holiday decorations, from the tree at Rockefeller Center, to the elaborate Holiday Window displays to the houses of Dyker Heights, Brooklyn. In addition to the decorations, and shopping, there are plenty of seasonal things to do in New York in December, like the Holiday markets, Ice Skating, the popular train show at the New York Botanical Garden, and Christmas themed shows.
The month (and the crowds) culminate for New Year’s Eve. Who hasn’t dreamed of counting down the last seconds of the year in Times Square. It’s a once in a lifetime experience. As in most people who do it once, never do it again. If you don’t want to stand out in the cold for hours, there are many places that offer packaged dinner and champagne toasts to celebrate the new year in comfort.
And of course, book a Streetwise New York Tour to get a real insight into the local life and history of New York’s neighborhoods. We’ll adjust the route according to your interests and pace. If it’s cold we’ll mix in indoor markets, shops, and cafes to keep you warm!
See our full list of things to do in New York in December below! If you’re considering coming to New York another month, check out our guide, “When is the best time to come to New York?”
Weather in New York City in December
As winter arrives to New York, temperatures become colder. During the day the average highs are 43F (6C), at night the average temperature reaches 32F (0C). While not as cold as January and February, you should prepare for the cold! On average three days a month in December, the temperature will reach below 20F (-8 C).
While it’s cold, if you’re hoping for a white Christmas, it’s unlikely. Since the average low temperature is 32F (0C), it often is not cold enough for snow. It snows on average only two days a month in December in New York. Still, normally it rains about eight days a month in December.
How to pack for New York in December
You need a good winter coat! Most New Yorkers will wear down feather coats in the winter. In addition, bring hats, gloves and a scarf.
Wear layers! It is well worth it to bring base layers (thermal clothing). Uniqlo’s heatech thermals are a good cheaper option.
Keep your feet warm and dry! If it rains or snows, streets may get wet, icy, and snowy for days. Winter boots are essential. As are good warm socks. Be aware when choosing boots, that the sidewalks are salted, to melt the ice. Salt may stain your leather boots!
What to do in New York in December
There are year-round activities, we recommend, like going up a skyscraper, boat rides to see or visit the statue of liberty, museums, and Streetwise New York walking tours of New York’s many can’t miss neighborhoods!
This is a list of seasonal activities and December-specific events and deals. Take advantage of coming to New York during the Holiday Season!
- Christmas (National Holiday)
- Chanukkah (Menorah Lighting and events – Dec 18 – Dec 26, 2022)
- New Years Eve
- Bryant Park Winter Village (Holiday Market)
- New York Botanical Garden Train Show (Bronx)
Music and Entertainment
- Met Opera
- New York Philharmonic
- NYC Ballet Nutcracker
- Rockettes Christmas Spectacular
- New Years Eve in Times Square
- New Years Eve Fireworks in Central Park, Prospect Park, Brooklyn Bridge
- NBA Basketball: New York Knicks or Brooklyn Nets game.
- NFL Football: Giants or Jets game.
- NHL Hockey: NY Rangers, NY Islanders or NJ Devils game.
- College Basketball at Madison Square Garden
- Ice Skating at Wollman Rink in Central Park, Bryant Park, Rockefeller Center, Brookfield Place
- Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree and Holiday Window displays on Fifth Avenue.
- Dyker Heights Christmas Lights (houses with over the top lights in Brooklyn)