Winter Wonderlands: Holiday Lights in the Hudson Valley and Beyond

Christmas time in New York is a magical thing. The city that never sleeps, gets even brighter with the massive tree in Rockefeller Center, the cheerful holiday windows and entire neighborhoods that deck their own halls with jaw dropping displays. From the time I was a small child, my family would go “hunting for Christmas spirit” every Christmas Season. To this day, I am amazed by the effort and heart that individuals and families put into creating displays to share with their communities. There was something magical about finding these wonderlands as a kid, and I can’t say the magic has faded one bit, well into adulthood. I now share this tradition with my daughter and hope to help as many families as possible enjoy find these very special places. I have long kept a running list of the best holiday displays in my neck of the woods and beyond and am always looking to add to it. Additional recommendations are very welcome. These are my top picks in Westchester, NYC, Fairfield and beyond.

WESTCHESTER COUNTY

Roy's Christmas Land: 50 Parsons Street, Harrison (bring a letter for Santa’s mailbox)

21 North Kensico Avenue, White Plains (don't forget to go to the backyard for hot chocolate)

Highview Ave., Port Chester

Westchester’s Winter Wonderland at Kensico Dam (tickets required)

58 Gedney Park Road, White Plains

155 Vaneck Drive, New Rochelle

1605 Pelham Parkway North, Bronx

75 Highview Terrace, Yonkers

50 Iroquois Road, Ossining

16 Luigi Road, Putnam Valley

FAIRFIELD COUNTY

226 Roseville Terrace, Fairfield, CT 06824 (walk through)

68 Lewelyn Road, Stamford, CT 06902 (walk through)

75 Meadows End Road Milford, CT 06460

Sam Bridge Nursery in Greenwich (deer, rides and Santa)

MANHATTAN

In Manhattan Bergdorf's, Saks 5th Ave, Bendel's, Barney's and Macy's usually have the best windows. Macy's also has Santaland, which is great but go on a weeknight to avoid crowds. Don’t miss the light show projected on the exterior of Saks.

Both the Union Square and Bryant Park Holiday Markets are excellent for holiday shopping. Grand Central also has a nice one.

FAO Schwarz reopened this season in Rockerfeller Plaza. Big yay for little kids, and big kids at heart.

Radio City Christmas Spectacular and the tree at Rockefeller Center

Rolf’s German Restaurant

For ice skating, Wollman Rink in Central Park is my favorite. Rockefeller Center is timeless, but crowded. Bryant Park also has a nice rink as part of their holiday market.

THE OTHER BOROUGHS

Brooklyn

Dyker Heights in Brooklyn is the best of the best neighborhood for lights, the most outrageous displays are generally between 11th Avenue to 13th Avenue and from 83rd to 86th Street

Queens

Lynch Family Christmas House: 166th Street and 23rd Avenue, Whitestone.

185-07 80th Drive, Jamaica Estates, Jamaica.

Little North Pole, Beach 143rd Street and Neponsit Avenue. Neponsit, Queens

The Bronx
In the Bronx, the Holiday Train Show at the NY Botanical Gardens is the big do not miss. Even in the winter, the gardens have plenty to see and do, but their train show is always a stunner.

Further Afield But Worth the Drive.............

A Frosty Fest: 778 Broadway, Ulster Park

Winterfest and the Tunnel of Lights at the CT Trolley Museum

Fantasy of Lights (drive through) in New Haven

Holiday Light Fantasia (drive through) in Hartford

The Christmas Village in Torrington, CT

ERDAJT Holiday Light Display: 8 Patrick Drive, Lagrangeville (drive through)

Kevin McCurdy’s Holiday Spirit Festival: 38 Sheafe Rd., Wappingers Falls

Watt Christmas Wonderland: 310 Scotchtown Road, Goshen

Holiday Lights in Bloom at Orange County Arboretum: Thomas Bull Memorial Park, Route 416, Montgomery

And finally, for a MAGICAL Polar Express train experience, try Essex Steam Train (Essex, CT) and the Railroad Museum of New England (Thomaston, CT)

Wishing you happy holidays and an adventurous 2019!

Robyn Pring