New York City has a certain glow year-round, but during the holidays — the season when New Yorkers turn their attention to all things sparkly and festive — the lights are even brighter. The pleasures are many: There are the detailed department store windows, the towering Rockefeller Center Christmas tree and the smaller celebrations of the season. You can see it all on foot, but to make the most of your time, let a professional do the driving while you take in the once-a-year magic of New York during the holidays. Here are five of our favorite New York City holiday light tours.
The Ride: Holiday Edition
To see the holiday lights with a side of interactive entertainment and comedy, climb aboard the Ride: Holiday Edition kicking off on Nov. 20. This 45-foot long custom bus offers a remix of the traditional bus tour, with all stadium-style seating facing the streets of New York. You will look through floor-to-ceiling windows while a booming sound system sets the mood for a fun journey. Don’t expect a rehearsed commentary over a loudspeaker — this 75-minute tour has charismatic hosts that want to get you involved in the show. Get tickets.
Lights of the Holiday by CitySights NY
For the best of the holiday season without freezing in the streets, hop aboard the Lights of the Holiday tour, offered by CitySights from Nov. 29 through Jan. 1. A special seasonal route will showcase holiday highlights including the famous window displays at Macy’s and Lord & Taylor department stores along with the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree and the laser light show at Grand Central Terminal. Cover a lot of holiday ground with this approximately two-hour tour. Get tickets.
Holiday Lights Tour by Gray Line
Dress warm if you want to spark the holiday spirit from the top deck of the Holiday Lights Tour by Gray Line, on offer from Nov. 29 through Dec. 30. This nighttime tour, lasting between two and three hours, showcases the best of the holiday sights and sounds in Midtown Manhattan and beyond. See all of the best of the holidays in one convenient loop with this tour — but be sure to bring a hat, scarf and gloves if the top deck is calling you. Get tickets.
Holiday Lights & Movie Sites by On Location
Make your favorite holiday movies come to life by choosing the Holiday Lights & Movie Sites bus tour by On Location, available from Nov. 29 through Jan. 4. Departing from Columbus Circle, this 2 ½ hour tour showcases film locations with all the twinkling trees and roasting chestnuts you remember from the movies. This tour includes both the biggest and best of the holiday decorations (the Rockefeller Christmas tree) and the film locations that help make New York such an iconic place to visit (backdrops for Home Alone 2, Miracle on 34th Street, and more). Get tickets.
Holiday Lights Tour by Skyline Sightseeing
See how New York celebrates the holidays with the Holiday Lights Tour by Skyline Sightseeing, on offer starting Nov. 28. This nighttime tour kicks off in the heart of neon Manhattan: Times Square and continues on to showcase other sparkling sites from Rockefeller Center to Radio City Music Hall to the Empire State Building. Depending on traffic, this tour offers 1 1/2 to 2 hours of peeping into the most impressive holiday decorations in the city. Get tickets.
Click here to read more about great ways to celebrate the holidays in New York City, and don’t forget to check out our deals and discounts for tours, cruises and shows this holiday season.