Nothing glitters as much as NYC in the winter. Vibrant colors and Christmas light displays 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. From returning favorites like the Tree at Rockefeller Center and Macy’s holiday windows, to over-the-top displays in Dyker Heights and LuminoCity Festival on Randall’s Island, here’s where the holiday spirit really shines!

photo: Magical Winter Lights

LuminoCity Festival

Experience 12 acres of light art at this festival, including a skating unicorn, or the castle in the clouds. The artistry will dazzle and delight audiences of all ages. Plus, the market will be your one-stop destination for all food, drink, and retail needs! Buses will run between West 125th Street 4,5,6 Subway Station every 30 minutes. FYI- tickets can be purchased as an add on during checkout only - tickets cannot be purchased on site.

Nov.23-Jan.5
Randall's Island Park
20 Randall's Island
Uptown
online: luminocityfestival.com

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photo: Hello Panda Festival

Hello Panda Lantern Festival

This winter festival will celebrate the holiday season with a lantern park, diverse entertainment, food, modern art exhibitions, interactive games, cultural handcrafts, cultural heritage experiences, and live stage performances. It’s the largest ever lantern festival in New York, running from Dec. 6 through Jan. 26!


5 p.m. - 10 p.m.
CitiField
123-01 Roosevelt Ave
Queens
online: hellopandafest.com

photo: Max Pulsinelli (WCS - Communications)

Bronx Zoo Holiday Lights

It's back! For the first time since 2007, the Bronx Zoo will feature dazzling light displays that will cover and sparkle acres of the zoo. Bigger, brighter and greener, the holiday celebration will light up the Bronx from November 21st to January 5th.

5 p.m.- 9 p.m., Sunday-Thursday; 5 p.m.- 10 p.m., Friday-Saturday
$29.95 adults/$22.95 kids
Bronx Zoo
2300 Southern Blvd.
Bronx
Online: bronxzoo.org

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!

Full schedule coming soon.
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.

photo: Nyki Elle Photography

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

Macy's theme for the year is "Believe in the Wonder" and it's presented by the main character “Santa Girl”, who teaches us about the power of magical thinking and reminds us we all have Santa’s spirit in our hearts. The windows tell the tale through combining modern technological and interactive elements with old school artistry.

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

The Windows 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 10-story facade featuring some very familiar faces. The holiday windows this year are celebrating the cinematic release of Frozen 2, and are guaranteed to bring visitors to Arendelle like never before. 

Sak's Fifth Ave.
611 Fifth Avenue at 49th Street
Midtown

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. 5, 2020
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. 12, 2020 (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 you're there.) Visit the spot to get into the holiday spirit!

30 Rockefeller Plaza
Midtown West
Online: rockefellercenter.com

Lights Tour at Dyker Heights

Visit the neighborhood so festive that it has its very own holiday lights tour! For the 12th 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 & Jesseca Stenson

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