Don’t despair: after you’ve ogled the fine fir at Rockefeller Center, you can still get your fill of Christmas trees. Here are our five favorite holiday trees. See them all!
American Museum of Natural History
Central Park West at 79th St.
New York, NY 10024
The American Museum of Natural History’s origami tree got its start in the early 1970s when entomologist—and origami lover—Alice Gray put up a small tree in her office decorated with paper insects. This year, the tree’s theme showcases the Our Senses exhibition, and even features an origami brain, along with a panoply of intricately folded, prettily patterned dinosaurs, animals, and other objects drawn from the museum’s amazing collection.
Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Ave.
New York, NY 10028
The Metropolitan Museum of Art does Christmas by looking to the past. Its Christmas tree is festooned with an antique nativity scene. Some 200 Neapolitan baroque crèche figures—dating to the 18th century—inhabit the scene, from an angler checking out his catch to a donkey looking around to angels flying and fur-wrapped travelers bearing gifts for the newly born Jesus. Check the calendar for daily tree lighting and special concerts.
New York Botanical Garden
2900 Southern Blvd.
Bronx, NY 10458-5126
For many a city kid, the holidays wouldn’t be the holidays without a visit to the massive, marvelous train show at the New York Botanical Garden. As you’d expect from this nature center, NYBG features a gorgeous collection of decorated trees. All told, these trees boast some hundreds of strands of LED lights. So, bundle up, grab a cocoa, and wander around—you’ll be forgiven for thinking you’ve left the city and landed somewhere upstate.
South Street Seaport
19 Fulton St.
New York, NY 10038
South Street Seaport has featured a tree for more than 30 years, complete with a large lovely star on top. After you’ve finished checking out the Christmas tree, you can head to a special indoor holiday market nearby. This special edition of the popular Hester Street Market showcases the best in the city’s artisanal and maker culture—browse one-of-a-kind gifts for everyone on your list, from grandma to fiancé to boss. Bonus! If you pay with your phone, you may qualify for free gift wrapping.
Washington Square Park
Fifth Avenue and Washington Square North
New York, NY 10012
Looking for something to do on Christmas Eve? Head to the annual caroling at the Washington Square Park Christmas Tree. (The park association has sponsored carolers under the arch since 1906!) Of course, you can visit the tree at other times too, especially at night, when the lights glitter off the arch and up Fifth Avenue. Lights go on at 4 pm, and remain lit until 1 am. New York changes, sure, but some traditions endure. Head over and be part of history!