What’s Open on Christmas Day in NYC?

Your Questions Answered: A little while ago, one of our readers wrote to ask about Christmas in New York City. Specifically, she wanted to know what would be open on Christmas Day in NYC: It would be her last day in the city, as she has a nighttime flight home and some time to spend strolling around by herself. Well, my family spent a lot of Christmases in New York City, so I’m happy to help her figure out how to fill the last day of her vacation with NYC activities!

Radio City Christmas Spectacular in NYC (radiocitychristmas.com)

  • Sure, not EVERYTHING’S open in NYC on Christmas Day, but you’d be surprised at what IS. Since you’re not leaving until nighttime, you have all day to wander the chilly streets and take in the sights. Radio City Christmas Spectacular has shows at 1PM, 4PM and 7PM – plan ahead, buy a ticket, and watch one of the most famous Christmas time shows in the world. Who hasn’t heard of the Rockettes?
  • If you’ve already seen the Radio City Christmas Spectacular Show, or if you’re just not that interested in it, there are several Broadway theaters that aren’t dark (i.e. closed) on Christmas Day. This changes year to year, of course, so check playbill.com to see what your options are.
  • Why not see NYC on Christmas Day from up high? The Empire States Building is open until early Empire State Bldg. is open on Christmas Day (wikipedia.com)afternoon (last year it opened from 10AM-2PM) and Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center is open all day.
  • Also at Rockefeller Center, the ice skating rink is open all day, straight through to midnight on Christmas Day. Other ice skating rinks that are open on Christmas Day include the Wollman Rink in Central Park and the Pond – well, it’s presumably a frozen pond by late December – in Bryant Park. Both remain open through the late evening.
  • Now, tons of restaurants stay open during Christmas Day in NYC. If you want to splurge, consider making a reservation at the Rainbow Room. Yes, this is in Rockefeller Center, like the Rink and the Top of the Rock – this restaurant is pretty fancy, though, and men need to wear jackets. If you’re wearing what you want to fly home in (meaning comfortable clothes), then The Rainbow Room Grand Holiday Buffet may not be the smart choice for you. Chinatown restaurants are by and large open. A great resource for dining is Open Table. It has updated lists of the restaurants in NYC that are open on Christmas Day.
  • And, you know, it IS Christmas Day. If you so choose, there are religious services (and special concerts) in churches all over New York City. St. Patrick’s Cathedral Christmas Day Mass is celebrated nearly every hour on the hour until 1PM. and St. John the Divine hosts annual Christmas Day concerts – usually one mid-afternoon and one at night. The Trinity Wall Street has a late morning Holy Eucharist on Christmas Day too, although St. Paul’s Chapel itself is closed on Christmas Day.

He Knows What To Do in NYC on Christmas Day! (TapRootDancer via flickr.com)B. wrote back and said, in part, “…Going to NYC at Christmas time has been a dream for years and I’m going alone as no one else thinks it’s such a wonderful idea!! (I think it’s just because it’s so cold). But I love Xmas lights and all the excitement. I’m all ready to go shopping and see the sights…Thanks again for all your information.” You’re welcome, B. The Vacation Gals hope you have a wonderful Christmas in New York.

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