New York Christmas and Holiday Lights Tour

This post explains our pay-what-you-wish Manhattan Christmas Lights Tour. Use your feet and the NYC subway to visit many memorable light and holiday displays.

It’s time to celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah and the New Year as Midtown Manhattan lights up like no other place in the world. 

Mechanical window displays, synchronized light, and sound shows, not to mention Santa Claus and toy soldiers surely await you in this winter wonderland.  

Check them all out on our New York Holiday Lights Tour, a 2-hour festive pay-what-you-like walking tour that you won’t forget.  

If you prefer to stay warm, there’s also an On Location Tours Holiday Lights & Movie Sites bus tour. Get more information on the bus tour version here.

Note: We also run a pay-what-you-like tour of the Dyker Heights Lights in Brooklyn.

Join Free Tours by Foot as we experience the holidays in the city as only New York can offer. 

We will take advantage of the subway to beat the street traffic, keep warm and catch some underground holiday music. 

Learn about the artists and backgrounds of these wonderful displays.  You can’t get that on a bus and you can’t beat the price.

Lighting and window displays we visit on the New York Holiday Lights Tour:

Check out our Guide for Christmas in New York.  If you prefer the Holiday Lights & Movie Sites bus tour, you can get an online discount by booking here.  

Note: We also run a pay-what-you-like tour of the Dyker Heights Lights in Brooklyn.

Tour information

This tour is NOT wheelchair accessible. We cannot accommodate wheelchairs or non-foldable strollers.

Reservations: REQUIRED. Click here to reserve. Groups of 6 or more traveling together should visit our group’s page.

7 pm Holiday Lights Tour Meeting PointWhere: The tour meets on the stairs of the New York Public Library’s Schwartzman Building (map).

When: @7pm on Fridays & Saturdays (19:00) between Dec 3rd until Jan 1st. Additional time slots will be posted as needed (no tour on New Year’s Eve).  View our full Calendar

Duration: Approximately 2 hours.

Cost: This tour is free to take, and you get to decide what, if anything, the tour was worth when it’s done. A name-your-own-price tour is a tour for anyone’s budget.

*Please have a subway Metro card with at least $2.75 for one subway ride.

Save more money with a tourist discount pass and our Guide to NYC on a Budget.

About the author

Stephen is the CEO of Free Tours by Foot and has overseen the transformation of a local walking tour company into a global tour community and traveler’s advice platform. He has personally led thousands of group tours in the US and Europe, and is an expert in trip planning and sightseeing, with a focus on budget travelers.

Stephen has been published and featured in dozens of publications including The Wall Street Journal, BBC, Yahoo,, and more.