Nothing glitters as much as NYC in the winter. Vibrant colors and bright lights mark the arrival of the holiday season, and some places really pull out all the stops. Take to the streets of NYC and witness some shining and twinkling light displays that would make the stars jealous.

Luminaries at Brookfield Place

Create your own light show with Luminaries, the annual interactive light show at Brookfield Place. Designed and created in collaboration with the LAB at Rockwell Group, this light show features colorful lighted lanterns that will be on display above visitors' heads for the duration of the exhibit. Stop by between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. to witness some spectacular light shows or simply create your own by accessing any of the three Wishing Stations situated on the ground floor. Make a digital "wish" and watch it come to life in the lanterns above!

Until Fri, Jan. 4, 2019
Brookfield Place
230 Vesey St.
Battery Park City
212-978-1698
Online: brookfieldplaceny.com

As always, the big three department stores are fantastic places to find some of the holidays’ most festive and inspired displays.

Glittering Window Displays at Macy's, Bergdorf Goodman, and Bloomingdale's

Macy's theme for the year is "Believe in the Wonder of Giving" and it's presented by the whimsical Sunny the Snowpal, a snowman astronaut who gives Santa a helping hand… in space (Space Santa?). The windows tell the tale of family, teamwork, and, of course, the wonder of giving — while combining elements of the modern world.

Macy’s Herald Square
151 W 34th St.
Herald Square
Online: macys.com

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Bergdorf Goodies at Bergdorf Goodman

Bergdorf takes the season in a different direction, with a ploy to excite your entire family's sweet tooth. Less like a light show and more like an explosion of color, "Bergdorf Goodies" is a collection of sweet candies, peppermint candy canes, gingerbread houses, and other sweet holiday treats, both modern and retro.

Bergdorf Goodman
754 Fifth Ave. at West 57th
Midtown
Online: bergdorfgoodman.com

Bllomingdale's Grinch-themed windows

For an interactive display with a bit of a Dr. Suess bite, head to the Grinch-themed display at Bloomingdale's, which allows visitors to press buttons and play music, take fun selfies that place you inside the scene, peer into telescopes, and more hidden treasures. And, of course, it's bright and full of light!

Bloomingdale's
1000 Third Ave. 59th St. & Lexington Ave.
Midtown
Online: bloomingdales.com

 

The Theater of Dreams at Sak's Fifth Ave

Sak's warrants its own section thanks to a huge light show it puts on every 10 minutes. Using LED lights and 3D projectors, a two-minute show plays out across the building's facade, celebrating the grandeur of the Broadway stage. Music accompanies the "Theater of Dreams" light show, which was designed by Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids.  

Through Jan. 9, 2019
Sak's Fifth Ave.
611 Fifth Avenue at 49th Street
Midtown
Online: broadwaycares.org

Big Bunches of Cheer on Sixth Avenue

If you're in Rockefeller Center, it's a quick walk over to Sixth Avenue and 50th Street, where you'll not only find Radio City Music Hall decked out for the holidays, but some oversized decorations that make for fun photo ops. A set of cheery larger-than-life red Christmas ornaments and an enormous string of lights can't be missed on the west side of the street.

1251 Sixth Ave.
Midtown

photo: The Shops at Columbus Circle

Holiday Under the Stars at Columbus Circle

The Shops at Columbus Circle are back with the annual Holiday Under the Stars display. The installation can be seen from every floor and features 14-foot, specialty-crafted stars which light up from the inside for a spectacular view. Visit past 5 p.m. for a dazzling light show which begins every half hour on the hour.

Through Jan. 3, 2019
Show: 5 p.m.-midnight every half house, daily
The Shops at Columbus Circle
10 Columbus Circle
Midtown
Online: theshopsatcolumbuscircle.com

Winter Lantern Festival at Snug Harbor

A newcomer to the lights displays, this gorgeous collection of playful light sculptures is a must-see. Featuring glowing lanterns in the shape of vibrant flowers, mushrooms, animals, jellyfish and more, this event lights up the night. Walk through a tunnel of light, enjoy cultural performances or just explore the many bright creations of this festival. 

Through Jan. 6 (except on Mon. and Tues.)
$23/Adult, $15/Child
1000 Richmond Terrace
Staten Island
Online: nycwinterlanternfestival.com

The Tree at Rockefeller Center

If you can brave the tourists and crowds, Rockefeller Center is a beautiful place to see some spectacular lights draped over the gigantic Christmas tree centerpiece while the iconic ice skating rink adds to the charm of the season. (You can also catch the Saks Fifth Avenue light while your there.) Visit the spot to get into the holiday spirit!

30 Rockefeller Plaza
Midtown West
Online: rockefellercenter.com

photo: Marianne Nicolson, The Harbinger of Catastrophe, 2017 (detail). Joshua Voda, NMAI.

Transformer at the National Museum of the American Indian

There's still one month left to view the spectacular works of light and art and the season of all that glitters is the best time to do so. This exhibit consists of the experimental art of 10 American Indian artists who project a sense of their place in the world between the traditional and the modern. Using lights, digital projections, sounds and an eclectic mix of other media, this light show is one of a kind — and an engaging way to start a conversation with kids about some heavy topics… in a light way.

Through Jan. 6, 2019
National Museum of the American Indian
Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House
One Bowling Green
Battery Park City
Online: nmai.si.edu

Lights Tour at Dyker Heights

Visit the neighborhood so festive that it has its very own holiday lights tour! For the 10th year, A Slice of Brooklyn will be running tours of the Dyker Heights lights displays, which are remarkable and strive to outdo thesmselves each year. The nabe draws hundreds of thousands of visitors during the holiday season, as this is one light display you don't want to miss. Please be aware that these are actual homes and people do live here: remind your family to be respectful.

Dyker Heights
83rd through 86th Sts.
and 11th through 13th Aves.

Joe DiMartino's Winter Wonderland on Staten Island

One man has managed to nearly surpass the department stores in sheer brightness and spirit of giving. Joe DiMartino's house is a magnificent sight to behold every winter as he fills it with intricate displays, colorful decorations, and plenty of lights to please the eyes. He began the tradition in honor of his wife's death in the September 11 tragedy, and now uses the public attention he's received to raise money for a local hospital's children's cancer ward. Stop by to marvel at the displays, and drop a donation in the bin for a good cause.

107 Sharrotts Rd.
Charleston, SI
Online: facebook.com/Lights4Life

Santa's Corner in Whitestone

After taking a break for a year due to traffic concerns from onlookers, this awesome Queens house is back and better than ever. Put together by retired firefighter Kevin Lynch and his family, the light display is amazing to behold in person. Lynch once claimed that his goal is to be seen from the moon — he might not be quite there yet, but it certainly comes close.

23rd Ave. & 166th St.
Whitestone, Queens

—Yuliya Geikhman

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