The holidays are a magical time in New York City, and there is no better place to enjoy the festivities than Central Park! From ice skating within sight of the Plaza Hotel to welcoming in 2022 with fireworks and a midnight run, here are some of the many ways to celebrate the holiday season in Central Park.
CELEBRATE 2024 WITH FIREWORKS AND A RUN
Every New Year’s Eve, the New York Road Runners hosts a Midnight Run in Central Park. The four-mile run through the Park begins at the stroke of midnight. At the same time, fireworks light up the night, ushering in 2022. More info – NYRRC
LISTEN TO HOLIDAY TUNES AT THE DELACORTE CLOCK
Constructed on a triple archway of brick, the George Delacorte Musical Clock can be found between the Wildlife Center and the Children’s Zoo. it features a band of animals including monkeys, a penguin, a hippo, and a kangaroo that plays every half hour. In December, the Delacorte Clock plays holiday classics such as “Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel,” “White Christmas,” and “Joy to the World.”
In December, Merchants’ Gate Plaza transforms into a festive winter market, featuring aisles of gifts and jewelry from New York City designers as well as foods from local artisans. The Columbus Circle Holiday Market, a tradition for more than a decade, is open daily from December 4 to 24.
GO ICE SKATING
Take in the views while you glide across the ice at the newly reopened Wollman Rink. Skate and locker rentals and are open on holidays; hours and ticket prices vary. If you’re looking for a more traditional experience, when conditions permit and the ice is consistently at least six inches thick, Conservatory Water also opens for free ice skating—just bring your own skates!
BEFRIEND SOME ANIMALS
Managed by the Wildlife Conservation Society, the world-famous Central Park Zoo showcases animals from tropical, temperate, and polar zones around the world. At the Tisch Children’s Zoo, kids can interact with potbellied pigs, sheep, goats, and the only cow in Manhattan. Open year round, you can visit the Zoo’s website for more information and to buy tickets beforehand.
WARM UP WHILE PLAYING BOARD GAMES
Want to slip away from the crowds and challenge your friends and family to some tabletop challenges? Chess & Checkers House, one of the Park’s five visitor centers, features—sticking to the theme—chess and checkers tables (visitors are welcome to borrow game pieces from Conservancy staff, or bring their own) and a variety of other games, such as Scrabble and Jenga.
EXPLORE THE ARTHUR ROSS PINETUM
In the 1970s, philanthropist Arthur Ross set out to return the original stands of pine to the Park, and the Arthur Ross Pinetum, at the north end of the Great Lawn at 85th St., now features 17 different species. As winter settles in—and most of the other trees have lost their leaves—you can still find an abundance of green at the Pinetum.
ENJOY A SNACK OR CUP OF HOT COCOA
Looking for a quick bite or full meal? There are plenty of places in Central Park to find food and drinks. Concession carts selling snacks and beverages are also located throughout the Park.
And, of course, what could be more fun than a walk in the Park—especially if it snows!
About Central Park
Find all the information you need to enjoy your visit to New York City’s iconic Central Park.
Things To Do
From The Philharmonic on the Great Lawn to Shakespeare in the Park to SummerStage, Central Park offers an endless array of things to do, see, hear – and, with two full service restaurants and several cafes, taste. You can visit The Shakespeare Garden, take in a performance at the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theater, take a ride on the Carousel – or just sit and people watch at Bethesda Terrace!
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