Updated: 11/30/2022

The holiday spirit shines brightly throughout New York State. This year, you can find drive-through light displays, Santa sightings, classic holiday performances, and much more. Get ready to celebrate the season with these winter holiday happenings across New York. 

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.

GLOW at the New York Botanical Garden (NYC)

Holiday lights at GLOW at the New York Botanical Garden
Credit: Marlon Co/The New York Botanical Garden

The New York Botanical Garden's favorite holiday train show is back! This beloved tradition returns for its 31st year with a miniature wonderland in the warmth of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, showing more than 190 replicas of New York landmarks artistically crafted out of natural materials and more than 25 model trains and trolleys. Walk the grounds at night and take in the sights of NYBG GLOW, returning for its third year with more illuminated displays. It expands across even more of the Garden’s magnificent collections, including an all-new display of 60 glowing orbs in the water feature of the Native Plant Garden. Open through January 16, 2023. Train and GLOW combination ticket, $54 adults, $39 children (2-12), and free for children under 2. The Bronx

Westchester's Winter Wonderland (Hudson Valley)

Holiday lights reading "Winter Wonderland"
Credit: Nick Rouke / @nick_rouke_photo

This 1.2-mile drive-thru experience features thousands of lights spread out across Kensico Dam Plaza, as well as characters, Christmas tree displays, and more. Maneuver through festive surroundings in your vehicle, pass glittering peace angels and glowing snowballs, drive down Candy Cane Lane and through a 100-foot light tunnel, and wave at friendly elves at their playground. New for 2022, see a new North Pole and a live Santa display, a captivating Kaleidoscope Alley, and an expanded Peace on Earth LED showcase with animated trumpets and angels. Open select days through January 1, 2023. $25 per car (weekdays); $35 per car (weekends); Valhalla

Peace, Love & Lights (Catskills)

An illuminated outline of a bus and candy canes at sunset in the Catskills
Credit: Courtesy of Bethel Woods Center for the Arts

Say “Hippie Holidays” at this colorful drive-thru light show on the site of the original Woodstock music festival. Bethel Woods Center for the Arts has created a 1.7-mile drive through a “Twinkle Tunnel” and themed areas including “Holidays Around The World" and “Groovy Way," a nod to this historic site. Keep an eye out for Santa and other holiday favorites, and take advantage of discounted admission to the Museum at Bethel Woods (just $5 per guest after 5 pm with a valid light show ticket). Open select days first through December 11, 2022 and then daily from December 15, 2022 through January 1, 2023. Tickets start at $30 per car | 5-10 pm with last entry at 9 pm. There is no drive-thru on Mondays, and instead, Sullivan 180 Walk-Thru Mondays will take place 5-9 pm (Last Entry at 7:30 pm). Bethel

Magic of Lights (Long Island)

Three Christmas trees made of green lights at Jones Beach

Drive through illuminated holiday scenes and favorite holiday characters at Magic of Lights in Jones Beach. The displays employ the latest LED technology and feature imaginative and inspiring digital animations, creating a wonderful, winding path for you to enjoy from inside your vehicle. Open select days through December 30, 2022, tickets start at $25 for weekdays when purchased in advance online or $30 at the door, Wantagh

Festival of Lights at Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady Fatima (Greater Niagara)

Just five minutes from Lewiston and 20 minutes from Niagara Falls, the glass-domed Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady Fatima sits on 35 acres featuring statues and monuments. During the holidays, the grounds are home to a spectacular festival of lights and an international nativity display, both open for self-guided tours. Open select days through January 2, free, Youngstown

Winter Wonderlights (Thousand Islands-Seaway)

A winter holiday light display with Olaf the Snowman

Zoo New York hosts its third Winter Wonderlights, themed weekend holiday celebrations at this 32-acre zoo at Thompson Park. Families can expect to see Santa and Mrs. Claus, take part in winter and holiday activities, and of course, see the zoo’s animals amid festive decorations and lights. Fridays and Saturdays through December 30, 2022; $7 per person; Watertown

Holiday Lantern Tours (Central New York)

Ever wonder how early New Yorkers celebrated the holidays? The Farmers’ Museum Holiday Lantern Tours will take you back to a different era via lantern-lit, hour-long walking tours limited to groups of 12 visitors at a time. Learn about the history of Christmas and other religious holidays as they were celebrated in Upstate New York in centuries past. Guides will lead you through the museum grounds,  decorated in their winter finest. It is recommended that visitors with potential mobility issues contact the museum beforehand to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. December 2 and 3 at various times; purchase tickets in advance and dress warmly; $18 adult members and $20 nonmembers, $10 juniors (7-12), and $5 children (3-6); Cooperstown

Christmas at Fenton History Center (Chautauqua-Allegheny)

Santa's Workshop - Photo Courtesy of Santa's Workshop

Credit: Photo Courtesy of Santa's Workshop

The Fenton History Center is spreading cheer with a "sensory-friendly" Santa Claus on December 4 and a Christmas Open House on December 17 when the mansion's halls will be fully decked out for the holiday. $10 adults, free for children; Jamestown

Wild Lights (Adirondacks)

The Adirondacks’ newest wintertime tradition returns—bigger and brighter. The Wild Center’s Wild Lights, an enchanting and illuminated winter wonderland featuring hundreds of thousands of twinkling lights and festive music. Be sure to check out Forest Music, an original immersive 3-D music and light experience, and, of course, take a wintertime Wild Walk on the 1,000-foot elevated walkway with bridges and platforms overlooking the forest canopy. Bask in the glow of Stickwork, an all-natural twig sculpture that has been adorned with enough light to make the forest canopy glow. New this year, warm up indoors with interactive light sculptures or hang with the otters in Otter Falls. Fridays and Saturdays from November 25, 2022 to February 25, 2023; open daily during special weeks in December, January, and February; for members, $5 adults, and free for children under 18; for non members, $10 adults, $5 youth, and free for children 4 and under. Tupper Lake

Village of Lights (Adirondacks)

Santa's Workshop features a holiday light show amid the Yuletide setting at North Pole, NY, a family favorite for generations. Come see Santa Claus, candy canes, and reindeer as this beloved village transforms into a true Christmas Winter Wonderland, complete with caroling and roasted marshmallows. A Nativity Pageant is presented on a hillside. Select evenings through December 30; $24.95 per person, children under 2 free; tickets can be bought in person; North Pole 

The New York City Ballet: George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker (New York City)

From November 25, 2022 to December 31, 2022, see the New York City Ballet’s iconic Nutcracker performance, where 90 dancers, 62 musicians, 40 stagehands, and 125 children, in two alternating casts, join forces in presenting The Nutcracker, with elaborate stage elements and intricate lighting unleashing the viewer's imagination by bringing a Christmas tree that grows from a height of 12 feet to 41 feet. Appropriate for ages 5+; all patrons must have a ticket to enter the theater. Tickets start at $60 on weekends, $45 on weekdays; Manhattan

Handel’s Messiah (Hudson Valley)

This year, the Messiah has returned to stage for the 7th year at the Bardavon on Saturday, December 17, 2022. Celebrate Handel's master work with guest conductor Christine Howlett and soloists Lauren Frey (Soprano), Allison Gish (Alto), Marc Molomot (Tenor) and Shavon Lloyd (Baritone). Tickets start at $40 adults, $35 members, and $15 for children 12 and under; Poughkeepsie

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