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How to Save Money And Beat The Crowds When Visiting New York City This Christmas

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The Christmas season is one of the most magical times of the year to experience New York City.

It's also one of the busiest and most expensive times to visit, and that will certainly be true for the 2022 holiday season. These insider tips will help you save money and beat the crowds to have the best time on your trip to New York City this Christmas.

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree NYC

New York City's Tourism Recovery

New York at Christmas is a bucket list trip for many travelers.

From the colorful lights of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, to ice skating at Central Park's Wollman Rink, to watching the Radio City Rockettes perform, there's nothing like the holiday season in New York.

However, Christmas in New York has been a diminished experience for the past two years, with forced closures, restrictions, and cancellations limiting everything from entertainment to dining to holiday activities.

Empire State Building at Christmas New York City

But with all everything back to normal now, NYC is predicted to recover 85% of 2019's tourism numbers this year (after plunging dramatically due to the restrictions imposed in 2020 and 2021.)

This Christmas season will be a return to normalcy in New York, but that means that crowds will be back, and so will high prices.

Here are some of the best ways to minimize costs, avoid crowds, and maximize your holiday trip to New York.

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Woman in Central Park NYC

Ways To Save Money Visiting New York City At Christmas

New York is a notoriously expensive destination, but there are some ways you can keep your spending down.

Go to shows at off-peak times. Do you want to catch a performance of the iconic Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall or see The Nutcracker performed by the New York City Ballet?

Tickets for weekday matinees are often much cheaper (think savings of $50 or more) compared to weekend evening performances.

Radio City Music Hall New York City

Don't stay in Midtown Manhattan. You might think that you need to stay in Midtown Manhattan to be in the heart of all the action, but you'll pay the price for this convenience.

You can find more affordable hotels in the neighboring boroughs of Queens or Brooklyn, and you'll be just a short subway ride away from Manhattan.

Take advantage of free activities. There are plenty of free things to do in New York City at Christmas.

Ice Skating Central Park NYC

For example, the New York Public Library and the American Museum of Natural History are free to visit, and both display beautiful Christmas trees every year.

Bryant Park Winter Village offers free ice skating (if you bring your own skates) and strolling down Fifth Avenue admiring the Christmas lights and window displays is always a fun, free activity.

How To Beat The Crowds In NYC

With tourism numbers approaching 2019 levels again, the crowds are back in the most visited city in the United States.

Snow in New York City

If you're planning a holiday trip to New York, one of the best ways to avoid the biggest crowds is to avoid peak travel times.

The week of Thanksgiving and the weeks right before Christmas and leading up to New Year's see the biggest holiday crowds in NYC.

However, the first week of December is a better time to visit, with more moderate crowds.

Christmas in New York

And the first week of January is an even less crowded, highly underrated time to visit New York.

All the holiday crowds will be gone, but the Christmas decorations and festivities remain until at least January 6th (if not a few days longer.)

And if you want to avoid wall-to-wall crowds of people, try to skip the most popular Christmas attractions in New York (like Rockefeller Center and Fifth Avenue) on weekends, especially as it gets closer to Christmas.

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