It’s that time of year where colorful lights make even a simple drive home festive, and holiday music plays on the speakers everywhere you go. But for a more intentional celebration of the holiday, whether you got your family, friend, partner or just yourself in tow, here are some activities for some great seasonal fun. I included activities that are just around the corner, require a little bit of travel if you’re trying to get out of town, and activities that range in cost from free to a pretty penny. Hopefully, there will be something on this list for everybody. All of these are ongoing through January, making for a handy list to have on hand when you have a free night and are feeling festive.
Space-Inspired Lantern Festival
Experience 20 acres of vivid lanterns and holiday lights from NYC Winter Lantern Festival at the Nassau County Museum of Art, One Museum Dr. in Roslyn Harbor. One ticket covers the entire car. The show will run through Jan. 8. Visit www.nassaumuseum.org to reserve tickets. $50 a car.
Shimmering Solstice at Old Westbury Gardens:
Enjoy this walk-through experience of holiday lights, sights and sounds at the gardens, 71 Old Westbury Rd., Old Westbury. Visit www.shimmeringsolstice.com to buy tickets, $34.95 for adults and $26.95 for seniors.
Magic Of Lights:
Enjoy a magical drive-through holiday experience at Jones Beach State Park, 150 Bay Pkwy. in Wantagh. Also enjoy a holiday village complete with holiday refreshments, illuminating mega trees, a holiday photo with Santa and an outdoor skating rink. Buy tickets at www.magicoflights.com for $25 a standard vehicle.
Long Beach Boardwalk Lights:
Through Jan. 14, enjoy a free holiday nautical-themed lights display on the Long Beach Boardwalk every evening from 5 to 9 p.m. This attraction is free.
Pure Magic LuminoCity Holiday Lights Festival:
LuminoCity is partnering with Nassau County to bring to life a world of magical light installations at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow, 10 Park Blvd, East Meadow. Venture through a wildlife safari, dinosaur adventures, HolidayLand and other themed light displays. Visit www.luminocityfestival.com to buy tickets, $32 for adults and $19 for kids.
All-New Animated Children’s Story:
At Hicks Nurseries, 100 Jericho Turnpike in Westbury, take “A Stroll with Santa” through Dec. 31. Bring a non-perishable food item to donate to Long Island Cares at the end of your walkthrough.
Bayville Winter Wonderland:
There’s many holiday activities at Bayville Adventure Park, 8 Bayville Ave., Bayville, from building a “Dream Bear,” skating, to riding on a train, meeting Santa, and so much more. Tickets for adults start at $26.75, and $22.75 for children. There are also scary Christmas attractions for horror fans available (which cost extra).
From Dec. 21 to Dec. 29, enjoy the holidays and history at Old Bethpage Village Restoration, 1303 Round Swamp Rd. in Old Bethpage. The evening features a candlelight procession each night. See chestnuts roasting on an open fire, broom making, visit Santa and more. Purchase tickets at www.oldbethpagevillagerestoration.org. which are $20 for adults and $15 for children and seniors.
Through Dec. 24, stop by the Milleridge Village, 585 N. Broadway, Jericho, for many activities in the holiday village, including a Polar Express Train, bounces and inflatables, an escape room, characters, holiday lights and sweet treats. Attractions range in price from $5 to $20, and bundles are available. Visit www.milleridgeinn.com for more information.
Spectating (all are free)
The Big Duck:
Even The Big Duck, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is feeling festive. Stop by and enjoy its holiday lights at 1012 NY-24 in Flanders.
The Huntington Holiday Spectacular:
Guests can visit Wall Street in Huntington daily through January to view a winter wonderland, complete with an 80-foot tree. There will be a light show every 30 minutes, and it will be lit from 5:30 to 11 p.m.
The Montauk Lighthouse:
Beginning on Nov. 26, the end of Long Island has been brightened by the Montauk Light House, which is decorated in lights. The address is 2000 Montauk Hwy. Montauk Point State Park is open daily through 6 p.m.
New York City
Spectating (all are free)
Brooklyn’s Largest Menorah:
There is a celebration every night of Hanukkah with live music, hot latkes and gifts for children, as well as a lighting. The Menorah can be found in Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn on Flatbush Avenue.
Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree:
Everyone knows about this, but you can’t make a local holiday guide without including it. See the famous tree at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York daily.
Saks Fifth Avenue Holiday Window:
This holiday window will be on display at the Saks Fifth Avenue New York flagship store, 611 5th Ave. in New York, through Jan. 3. The 2022 show features more than 600,000 lights on the 10-story-tall facade of the building. This year, Saks Fifth Avenue partnered with Elton John to support his AIDS Foundation.
Dyker Heights Christmas Lights:
This neighborhood in Brooklyn takes holiday lights to a new level. For more than 30 years, the giant beautiful homes of Dyker Heights enjoy a friendly holiday lights competition. The lights are visible every day of the week starting at around dusk through around 10 p.m. It is suggested to either enjoy the neighborhood by foot, as the area is very popular and crowded, or to hop on a tour bus run by residents of Dyker Heights. The website is www.dykerheightschristmaslights.com and the price per seat is $75.
Bryant Park Winter Village:
Ice skating, Le Carrousel, holiday shops and more can be found here. The address is 42nd Street and 6th Ave. in New York. The village runs through 8 p.m.
Grand Central Holiday Fair:
Skip the cold air and venture inside Vanderbilt Hall at Grand Central, 89 E 42nd St. for a holiday market that features 36 local-artisan vendors. It is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The fair will end on Christmas Eve at 6 p.m.
The Holiday Market is in full swing every weekend through Christmas Eve. Browse through 50 local vintage and handmade vendors. It is open on Saturdays and Sundays at 80 Pearl St., Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass.