Credit: @eulises74 on Instagram

It’s going to be a festive December in New York State, with a variety of activities and events to get you into the holiday spirit. Travel back to the Gilded Age, check out the holiday happenings at one of the greatest wonders of the world, discover past holiday traditions from around the world, be amazed by a magical light show, and more! 

Masks are encouraged, but optional in most settings per New York State guidelines. Individual businesses or attractions may require mask wearing. Call ahead and check websites and social media to make sure attractions and amenities are open and available.

Magic of Lights at Jones Beach State Park (Long Island)

Through December 30

Three Christmas trees made of green lights at Jones Beach

It’s time to wind through the sparkling path of one of Long Island’s favorite holiday traditions, the Magic of Lights at Jones Beach State Park! This dazzling drive-through lights experience brings your favorite holiday scenes and characters to life using the latest LED technology and digital animations. This year’s display will be bigger and brighter than ever, featuring a larger-than-life sparkling Christmas Barbie display, the supersized Bigfoot Monster Truck, and life-sized dinosaurs celebrating a Prehistoric Christmas! Jones Beach; $25-$30 per car; $60 limo.

A Gilded Age Christmas(Hudson Valley) 

Through December 31 

Christmas tree inside room at Staatsburgh State Historical Site

Staatsburgh State Historic Site, the former home of financier and philanthropist Ogden Mills and his wife Ruth Livingston, and one of the great estates of the Hudson Valley, invites you to experience a Gilded Age Christmas. You’ll marvel at the 65-room Beaux-Arts country home’s  beautiful interiors, with their original furniture, art, and décor lavishly decorated for the holiday season, and meet people within it dressed in Gilded Age garb! Staatsburg; $8/Adults, $6/Seniors & Students, Children 12 & under are free.

Home for the Holidays (Central New York)

Through January 7, 2023

If you’re seeking a place to immerse yourself in the wonder of the season, the City of Binghamton has what you are looking for! Featuring hundreds of elaborately decorated trees, and dazzling displays representing holiday traditions from around the world, the Roberson Museum and Science Center’s Home for the Holidays has been a community favorite and tradition for more than 60 years. The Roberson also offers mansion tours, craft workshops for kids, and live entertainment every weekend, plus seasonal planetarium shows (additional $4 fee). Spaces for this amazing presentation fill up quickly, so reserve your visit now! Binghamton; Adults: $8, Military: $6, Students: $6, Seniors: $6, Members and children 4 & under: Free.

New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show (New York City)

Through January 22, 2023

The Statue of Liberty and other landmarks made of plant material at the New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show
Credit: @nybg on Instagram

Be amazed as model trains navigate meticulously crafted miniatures of New York City landmarks, all made entirely out of plant parts, at the New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show, a New York City tradition for more than 30 years. The Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge, and Rockefeller Center are just a few of the more than 190 landmarks that form a fantastically rendered cityscape built from seeds, bark, leaves and twigs, serviced by a robust half-mile of track, and all set within the stunning and historic Enid A. Haupt Conservatory. On select evenings, experience the gardens after dark as their magnificent landscapes and buildings are beautifully illuminated for NYBG GLOW, an enchanting holiday light experience that’s back for its third year. Bronx; Adults: $30, Students (with valid ID)/Seniors (65+): $28, Children (2-12 years): $15. Patrons/Members and Children under 2: free.


10th Annual Snowflake Festival (Hudson Valley)

December 2

Kingston is ushering in the holiday season with the return of the annual Snowflake Festival, a free community celebration taking place in the city’s Historic Stockade District that promises to once again dazzle guests of all ages. Explore the charming and decorated historic streets while enjoying an array of holiday-themed activities and live entertainment including carolers, dancers, horse-drawn carriage rides, a fire torch juggler, a Christmas tree lighting, ice sculpture carvings, a visit from Santa, and much more as stores open their doors offering treats and warm beverages to all. Kingston; Free.

Yuletide In The Country Tours & Holiday Dinner And Brunch (Finger Lakes)

December 2-4, 9-11, 16-17

People in period dress stroll the snow-blanketed streets during Yuletide In The Country Tours at Genesee Country Village & Museum
Credit: @gcvmuseum on Instagram

The Genesee Country Village & Museum beckons you to explore a wintry village bedecked in holiday splendor with its annual Yuletide in the Country Tours. You’re invited into theatrical vignettes that illuminate the link between today’s cherished holiday traditions and the cultural customs that newcomers to the region would have shared throughout the 19th century. Experience the Italian American tradition of Festi dei Setti Pesci, a special Hanukkah celebration, and moments of fika and hygge with Swedish settlers. You may even encounter St. Nick himself! Hungry? Pair your festive experience with a delicious dinner or brunch! Mumford; Prices vary.

Jingle Falls USA (Greater Niagara)

December 3 and 10

The water flowing through ice at Niagara Falls with snow and ice covering the base of the falls
Credit: @kryptonist on Instagram

Celebrate the holiday season in Niagara Falls during Jingle Falls USA! This three-weekend event (which holds its kick-off November 26) is jam-packed with fun events that are sure to get you and your family in the holiday spirit. Enjoy life-sized gingerbread displays at the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute, join a park naturalist on a winter wonderland walk of Niagara Falls, and stop by the Cave of the Winds Pavilion for kid-friendly crafts and a visit with Santa during Holiday Happenings. Hop aboard the Candy Cane Express, meet reindeer, Siberian huskies and alpacas, warm up by a fire pit, take a picture inside a giant snow globe, and more as the spirit of the season takes over Old Falls Street. Niagara Falls; Some registration and fees apply.

Troy Victorian Stroll (Capital-Saratoga)

December 4

A saxophone-playing Santa and elf delight crowds at the Troy Victorian Stroll
Credit: @enjoytroy on Instagram

Step back into the Gilded Age at the Troy Victorian Stroll! For 40 years, this community tradition has transformed the streets of historic downtown Troy, which served as a filming location for the HBO series The Gilded Age, into a bygone Victorian era, complete with visitors in period dress strolling the city. There’s something of interest for people of all ages with the stroll’s activities and entertainment strategically spread throughout the streets amidst unique shops, storefronts, restaurants, bars, and parks. Troy; Free admission.

Empire State Plaza Tree Lighting (Capital-Saratoga)

December 4

Empire State Plaza Holiday Tree Lighting

The holiday spirit is waiting this December 4 in the Empire State Plaza when the annual Tree Lighting ceremony lights up an evening of festivities in downtown Albany. Bring the whole family or your group of friends and go ice skating on the plaza, take a horse and carriage ride, visit with Santa Claus, and watch a dazzling fireworks display. Live performances, caroling, crafts, and more await. Albany; Free admission.

Lake Placid Holiday Village Stroll (Adirondacks)

December 9-11

Lake Placid Holiday Village Stroll

Celebrate the spirit of the holidays in the fairy-tale winter wonderland of Lake Placid at this annual tradition that’s back for its 13th year. Lake Placid will be merry and bright with a weekend full of festivities including a skating party at the Olympic Center ice rink, an ugly sweater party, a free showing of The Polar Express at the Palace Theatre, a holiday wine tasting, and a Santa fire truck parade! There will also be dining specials, live entertainment into the late evening hours, plus tons of great shopping in this amazing and historic storybook village! Lake Placid; Free.

Oswego YMCA 31st Annual Reindeer Run (Thousand Islands-Seaway)

December 10 

For a fun and healthy activity, gather with friends and family and share your holiday spirit by dressing in your favorite festive gear for the Oswego YMCA 31st Annual Reindeer Run. This 5k Fun Run can be enjoyed individually, or raced as a team of two or more, and prizes will be awarded to the top three finishers, both male and female, and for the best costumed teams and individuals. Following the run, enjoy holiday music, refreshments, and snacks! Oswego; Free to spectate.

Athens Victorian Stroll (Catskills)

December 10

Athens Annual Victorian Stroll

Get ready for a free, fun-filled day of celebration featuring family-friendly activities, free goodies to eat, and entertainment galore in a northern Catskills village as it gets transported back to its Victorian roots at the annual Athens Victorian Stroll. Don’t be surprised if you run into a stilt walker leading a caroling group of Victorian-garbed revelers or see a chainsaw-wielding ice carver transforming a block of ice into a wintery sculpture. And don’t forget to bring your skates – there’s family ice skating at Athens Riverfront Park! Athens; Free admission. 

Holidays at The Lodge (Chautauqua-Allegheny)

December 10 and December 17

The Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History in Jamestown, a nature center, gallery, and library dedicated to the life's work of famed ornithologist and wildlife artist Roger Tory Peterson, is decking its halls with boughs of holly, festive garland, and other trimmings for Holidays at The Lodge. Everyone will enjoy bird ornament decorating, fresh hot chocolate and cider, a visit from Santa Claus, and four area choirs singing holiday songs. Jamestown; $5 per person and includes admission to the entire museum; free for museum members.

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