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5 Fun Tours to Celebrate the Holidays in NYC

Category Tours

|by ShowTickets Editors |

Get in the holiday spirit with these lively tours

New York City is one of the most visited destinations in the world for the holidays. But, the crowds and traffic can make it difficult to navigate the city. With that in mind, we’ve have rounded up five fun tours that combine the best of both words – sightseeing and the holiday glory, which comes in many forms, from the towering Rockefeller tree to the glittering window displays to the cheerful carolers. 

New York City lights up for the holidays (Photo: iStock)

New York City lights up for the holidays (Photo: iStock)

The Ride Holiday Edition
The Ride claims some impressive stars: It has more TV screens (40) and LED lights than any other tour bus, as well as a booming club-quality sound system, stadium seating and floor-to-ceiling windows. The brightly painted bus is also massive, measuring 45 feet long and 14 feet tall, which is the largest vehicle allowed by law on the streets of New York. In other words, The Ride is as much a part of the action as the city around it. And during the holidays? The Ride gets even more colorful, with cheery seasonal tunes and decorations. The 75-minute holiday-themed tour is led by an energetic host who quips about NYC history, gossip and drama as the bus winds past sparkling lights, bedecked storefronts and the general Christmas cheer that permeates Times Square, Carnegie Hall, Radio City Music Hall, Columbus Circle and Central Park. 

Rockefeller Center Tour
Few holiday icons are as beloved as the Rockefeller Christmas tree, which presides over Rockefeller Center. On this lively tour, you'll get up close to the tree – bring the camera – while also learning about the fascinating history and art of Rockefeller Center, from the gilded statue of Prometheus to the mighty Atlas holding up a globe to the swirling mural by Catalan artist Josep Maria Sert, which reveals such well-known historical figures as Abraham Lincoln and Mahatma Gandhi. The tree may be the plaza's holiday jewel, but the surrounding plaza is equally colorful for the season, with toy soldiers and angels brightening the walkways, holiday carols filling the air, Salvation Army volunteers ringing their bells and ice-skaters twirling on the famous rink. 

Holiday Lights and Movie Sites Tour
The only thing more glittery than Christmas in New York is a holiday movie filmed in the city. During this two-and-a-half-hour tour, expect to relive parts of Home Alone 2 at the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree and see the lavish windows at Macy's, originally made famous by the film Miracle on 34th Street. The tour bus is equipped with video screens, which show clips of well-known movies and TV shows based in NYC. Also, each tour is overseen by an actor who gives you not only the cinematic history of spot, but also juicy secrets on how certain scenes were shot. 

Night Tour and Holiday Lights Tour
Manhattan skyline is eye-catching by day – but even more so by night.
For the best of the holiday lights without freezing in the streets, embark on the comprehensive Night Tour and Holiday Lights Tour, which packs in iconic sights like the Empire State Building and  Brooklyn Bridge, plus the top holiday displays, including the intricate window dressings at Macy's and the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. If you're lucky, Mother Nature will add her two cents to the experience, and let it snow, let it snow, let it snow. 

Hornblower Christmas Eve Dinner Cruise with Santa
Change it up this year – and set sail with Santa. This three-hour NYC Harbor cruise includes a festive buffet, holiday tunes and a welcome glass of sparkling wine or apple cider. Hang out with jolly Santa while taking in 360-degree panoramic views including Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and Brooklyn Bridge. Plus, you can hit the dance floor – a DJ spins tunes throughout the cruise. Happy holidays!

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