It’s the holiday season, and between all that shopping and cooking and working, you’ve got to remember to do one thing: celebrate!


While there’s literally something for everyone to enjoy all year round, December is jam-packed with holiday cheer, entertainment, and winter fun.


These are our top picks for what to do in NY in December: 


See the Holiday Lights 

You’ve got to go to at least one larger-scale light tour or holiday event throughout the state this month. 


The Holiday Lights of Niagara Trail boasts more than 50 displays and decorations and helps to raise money for United Way. Make the trip until January 1, and don’t forget to stop by nearby Niagara Falls to make it a fun, long weekend.


Not looking to travel as far upstate? You can find the Lighting of the World's Largest Hanukkah Menorah in Manhattan between December 16-23rd. We’re talking about a 32-foot high, 4,000-pound steel menorah!




Of course there’s also the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree in NYC, a renowned holiday symbol that’s being lit by more than 45,000 LED lights on December 3rd and will stay up until January 7th.  If you’re in town a few days earlier, you can also stop by the 15th annual Winter’s Eve at Lincoln Square – one of New York’s largest holiday festivals with musicians, dancers, street performers, food, and the lighting of the Upper West Side Holiday Tree – on Monday, December 1st.


Less of a fan of holiday lights and more a fan of holiday libations? Book a stay at one of the charming bed & breakfasts located in the Finger Lakes and visit the Christmas Around the World with the Lake Ontario Wine Trail for festive food and wine pairings.  Now that’s one way to kick off the holidays!



Take in the Theater


From the Sugarplum Fairy to Ebenezer Scrooge, New York’s got live theater across the state to keep you out of the cold and get you into the holiday spirit. You can always make a visit to the Great White Way, but these are just a few more regional options by location:


Skaneateles, Finger Lakes: Dickens Christmas in Skaneateles , 11/29-12/21


Manhattan, NYC: George Balanchine's The Nutcracker, 11/28-1/3


Port Jefferson, Long Island: 19th Annual Charles Dickens Festival , 12/5-12/7


Buffalo, Greater Niagara: Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella , 12/2-12/7


Hudson, Hudson Valley: A Christmas Carol, 12/20-12/4



Head Outdoors


Ready to bear the cold and experience the coolest side of New York? There are seriously tons of options for hiking, skiing, and snowboarding all winter long, but these are our top 5 picks for December:


A photo posted by Joanna Tomasik (@malinajt) on



Mohonk Mountain House, New Paltz, NY


Olympic Sports Complex, Lake Placid, NY


Whiteface Mountain Ski Center & Gondola, Wilmington, NY


Hunter Mountain, Hunter, NY


Catskill Scenic Trail, Stamford, NY



Ring in the New Year


If you’ve made it to December 31st after all this fun, there’s only one thing left to do: Ring in 2015!


From the New Year's Eve Party Cruise on Lake George, to a relaxing New Year’s Eve Package at the Pavilion Grand Hotel in Saratoga Springs, to the second largest New Year’s Eve Ball Drop in Buffalo, there are more than enough ways to close out 2014.


Or, if you’re finally ready to cross an item off your bucket list, you can always layer up and catch the Times Square Ball Drop in person. You’ve got to do it at least once!


Whatever you choose, we here at I Love New York would like to wish you a Happy December and Happy Holidays!


PHOTOS: Filip Wolak for Lincoln Square SID. Instagram: @Mamiecakes. Instagram: @malinajt.