11 of Our Favorite NYC Holiday Movies & TV Shows

December 21, 2021

Whether you’re a New Yorker, former city dweller or just a fan from afar, there’s something magical about the NYC holiday season. Thankfully anyone yearning for a little bit of NYC magic during Christmas, Hanukkah or New Year’s can transport themselves here by simply hitting the play button on their TV remote.

Here are 11 of our favorite holiday movies and TV shows set in NYC.

1. Miracle on 34th Street

This classic film tells the story of Kris Kringle, a stand-in for an intoxicated Santa Claus at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, who goes on to play Santa at the Macy’s store while claiming to be the real man in red.

Miracle on 34th Street was shot on location in NYC and the parade sequences were filmed live during the actual 1946 parade. Interior Macy’s scenes were filmed in the real flagship store and you may also notice a cameo by the American Museum of Natural History and the 60 Centre Street courthouse, among other NYC locations.

2. Scrooged

Based on A Christmas Carol, Scrooged is about a cranky, cynical New York TV executive who is visited by a series of ghosts on Christmas Eve.

Be on the lookout for a bunch of famous NYC film locations like the Seagram Building, the Atlantic Grill on West 64th St., Rockefeller Center and Long Island City’s Court Square-23rd St. Station.

3. Elf

What happens when an elf who was raised in the North Pole ends up in NYC in search of his birth father? Find out while catching a glimpse of iconic NYC film locations like the Empire State Building, Park Avenue, Rockefeller Center, Queensboro Bridge and Central Park’s Bethesda Terrace.

4. Beaches

Not exactly a Christmas movie, but the festive tiny-apartment Christmas scene in which the two main characters, best friends CC and Hillary, sing carols tugs at the heart strings. The film takes you on a journey through the two besties’ lives from childhood into adulthood, with NYC film locations including Tavern on the Green and Coney Island.

5. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York

A young boy loses his father at the airport then mistakenly boards a plane to New York, rather than Florida with the rest of his family. He miraculously manages to book a room at the Plaza Hotel, makes friends with NYC locals and intercepts two robbers along the way.

Some of the many popular Home Alone 2 NYC film locations include LaGuardia Airport, the Long Island City Pepsi-Cola sign, Queensboro Bridge, Radio City Music Hall, Empire Diner, Battery Park, the Statue of Liberty, World Trade Center, Fulton Fish Market, Central Park, Grand Army Plaza, Carnegie Hall, Times Square and Rockefeller Center.

6. Dash & Lily

Centered around a red notebook hidden on a bookshelf at the Strand, Dash & Lily is a lighthearted rom-com TV series in which two NYC teenagers pen messages to each other while falling in love. The streaming series consists of eight fairly short episodes, which you can easily binge on a winter weekend.

Iconic film locations include the Macy’s flagship store, Two Boots, Grand Central Station, Union Square, Washington Square and Ferrara Bakery.

7. An American Tail

A cartoon movie with talking mice, An American Tail tells the story of a young Russian mouse whose family sets sail for the U.S. in search of a better life. He gets separated from his family en route but eventually makes it to NYC where he attempts to reunite with them.

Though it’s not entirely a holiday movie, it opens with a snowy Hanukkah scene and the plot revolves around love for family, so that’s enough for us. Animated New York locations include the Statue of Liberty and aerial city shots.

8. Serendipity

This cute rom-com tells the story of a man and woman who meet at NYC’s flagship Bloomingdale’s and fall hard for each other but rely on fate to determine whether they are reunited.

NYC locations you might recognize in addition to Bloomingdale’s include Serendipity 3 where the couple sips on frozen hot chocolate, the Park Ave & East 33rd St. subway, Central Park’s Wollman Rink, The Waldorf-Astoria, Chelsea Piers and Grand Army Plaza.

9. Santa Claus: The Movie

This ’80s film tells the tale of Santa Claus’ disgruntled elf Patch who flees the North Pole workshop for NYC where he gets a job at a failing toy company run by a schemer.

Though this movie was actually shot in England, it takes place is New York. With a little imagination and help from the NYC background plates used in some scenes, you can pretend it’s the actual city.

10. The Family Man

A successful NYC investment broker who prioritizes work over Christmas and a family life wakes up one day to a different reality—where his ex-girlfriend has become his wife, he suddenly has two kids, drives a mini-van rather than a Ferrari and works as a tire salesman in New Jersey. Which path will he choose in life?

While true NYC film locations include the Seagram Building, skyline appearances and Park Avenue scenes, the movie was mainly filmed in Tarrytown, New York, as well as Los Angeles and New Jersey, where some Newark shots were used as NYC stand-ins.

11. New Year’s Eve

This romantic comedy-drama follows multiple interwoven stories of love, hope and second chances for New Yorkers on New Year’s Eve.

As you may have guessed, Times Square appears more than once in this film. You might also notice 101 Park Avenue, Alice Tully Hall, Langone Medical Center, the Tiffany & Co. store, the Williamsburg Bridge, Queens’ Forest Avenue Station, Columbus Circle, Brooklyn Museum, Radio City Music Hall and the Queens Museum of Art.

While you’re getting in to the holiday spirit, don’t forget to build your gingerbread house and sip on some hot chocolate.

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