Courtesy of Cat Bowen

The Best Holiday Light Displays In New York City, Because It's More Than Rockefeller Center

Ad failed to load

It's easy to associate Christmas in New York City with all things commercial. After all, with movies like Miracle on 34th Street and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York dotting our collective memories, no one would blame you for thinking it's all about store displays and Rockefeller Center. To be fair, that's a big part of it, but by no means all of it. There are lots of tucked away holiday gems to explore, and it turns out, the best holiday light displays in New York City aren't just in Midtown.

All across the five boroughs, there's something to see, and it's not always what you expect — and it's not all Christmas. My family celebrates both Christmas and Hanukkah, so it's important to me for some memorable menorahs to be tossed into the mix. Thankfully, the holidays in New York are very inclusive — even spreading to our famous New Year's bash — so that everyone can enjoy the joy of the season. Alas, there's yet to be a Festivus pole erected, but know that I have one at my own home, and feats of strength will be displayed along with the airing of grievances, which is practically a sport in the city.

Ad failed to load

Dyker Heights, Brooklyn

cattbowen on Instagram

The holiday light displays in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, are something to behold. Imagine a neighborhood wherein everyone in a 20-block radius is trying to recapture the glorious electrical grid nightmare Christmas tradition of a one mister Clark Griswold, complete with a drunken brother-in-law draining crap out of his recreational vehicle in the guise of tour buses filled with egg nog fueled tourists. That's Dyker Heights for you. Yes, the span between 86th street and Bay Ridge Parkway between 11th and 16th avenues are sometimes beautiful, sometimes head-scratching in their overt volume and scope, but they are quintessentially New York.  

The Holiday Train Show At New York Botanical Garden


The New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx puts on a spectacular train display that runs through Jan. 15, so there's plenty of time to see it. It is arguably the most intricate series of miniatures you'll ever see. When it's lit at dusk, it's truly something to behold.

Christmas At Historic Richmondtown


Take a sleigh ride by day and view the tree and candlelit walks at night. Christmas in Historic Richmondtown in Staten Island is a gorgeous step back in time. As one of the oldest constantly occupied neighborhoods in New York City, not only will you be able to take in the sights, but you also may learn something along the way.

Ad failed to load

The Largest Menorah


The world's largest menorah lives in Brooklyn at Grand Army Plaza. The first lighting this year is on Dec. 12, and it's complete with latkes and toys for the kids. Put on by the Chabad Lubavitch Jews in the area, it's eight crazy lights of fun.

Christmas At The Queens Botanical Garden


Santa Claus? Check. Cocoa? Check. Giant tree? Check. Also, it's right around the corner from some of the best Chinese food in the country. Not even kidding. Located in Flushing, Queens, you should definitely go see this beautiful display at the Queens Botanical Garden and then go stuff your face full of coastal Chinese cuisine after.

Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:

Watch full episodes of Romper's Doula Diaries on Facebook Watch.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

Umm, Toys "R" Us Has A BOGO 50 Percent Off Deal So You Better Stock Up

After the holidays, you were probably hoping that your kid's massive toy collection would keep him entertained for a little while, at least. But that was wishful thinking, wasn't it? Because now that a couple of months have passed, all those must-hav…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

Turns Out, Kim Kardashian's Favorite Mom Products Look A Lot Like Your Own Faves

Being a mom is really hard work, especially for the first few months, and Kim Kardashian West is no different in that regard. Now the mother of three, Kardashian says that there are a few products she just can't live without when it comes to raising …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

These 9 Instant Pot Recipes Will Make Even The Pickiest Eater Happy At The Table

Like any parent, I've had my share of parenting hits and misses, but one of my favorite "wins" is my daughter's diverse palate. I don't even know if I can take credit for it, but I would like to think I had something to do with her love for lentils, …
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

Soda Might Hurt Your Fertility, Study Says, & Here's What You Can Do

Who doesn't love sugary drinks? I stopped drinking soda years ago, but I still love gulping down those fancy Starbucks coffee beverages. I don't have a big sweet tooth, but I am a sucker for sugar-sweetened beverages every now-and-then. Turns out, th…
By Annamarya Scaccia

10 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 30s

If you're like me, you evaluate the pros and cons of any major life decision. When my husband and I were considering starting a family, I thought about my career, education, and financial stability. I wanted to know how a pregnancy and childbirth wou…
By Steph Montgomery

This Woman Thought She Had An Eyelash Stuck In Her Eye. Then It Moved.

I'm not a person who is easily icked out. As a kid, I collected bugs and thought I was going to be an entomologist and asked Santa Claus for ant farms and nets to catch bees. I'm still super curious about anything that flies and crawls, which might s…
By Karen Fratti

A Hot Mess Mom's Guide To Surviving Winter

As I sit here at my home office in Connecticut, it's cold. Damn cold. Winter is a rough season in New England and it's even worse when you're a parent and have to manage cooped up, restless children. It's even worse when you're a hot mess as it is, u…
By Jamie Kenney

5 Red Flags Your Toddler Isn't Eating Enough

Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters, at least in my experience. You offer mashed potatoes, they want french fries. You give them crackers, they scream for chips. It's frustrating, to be sure, but it's usually their way of vying for independence. It…
By Candace Ganger

11 Ways Your Pregnancy Will Be Different If You Have A Boy Vs A Girl

If you've been pregnant before, you might start comparing your previous pregnancies to that of your current pregnancy. A lot of things can change from pregnancy to pregnancy, based on a whole host of different factors (including how well you remember…
By Lauren Schumacker

35 Moms Share The Most Disgusting Things Their Husbands Do

I'm a human being who revels in challenges. I like when people present me with one, especially if they don't think I can meet or succeed it, and I like taking a challenge on, especially if it's unexpected. So when I aimed to uncover the most disgusti…
By Jamie Kenney

How Having Kids In Your 20s Affects You Later In Life

For parents, like myself, who had kids in their 20s, there are a number of questions that come to mind. When you're deciding what your future will look like, you'll likely consider what this means for your health, career, and more down the line. Thin…
By Tessa Shull

8 Reasons I Let My Toddler Play Outside Unsupervised

I'm not a helicopter mom, but I'm not exactly a free-range parent either. I like to think of myself as safely ensconced somewhere in the middle. I insist on certain safety measures, like car seats and helmets. I prefer to keep my 2-year-old in my sig…
By Kimmie Fink

12 Moms Share How They Stay Healthy During Flu Season

Unfortunately, we're in the middle of the roughest flu seasons in recent memory. And we’re not totally out of the woods, either. People around the country are still getting the flu, and, sadly, some of them are having to be hospitalized due to flu-re…
By Priscilla Blossom

8 "Mistakes" I'm Glad I Made During My First Pregnancy

As an adult, I've learned you never really stop hating being told what to do. When I was pregnant I was getting instructions at every turn, from doctors, relatives, and complete strangers on the subway. I would nod and smile but then go about making …
By Liza Wyles

Study: Drinking Two Glasses Of Wine A Day Is Good For Your Mind — Here's Why

There’s more scientific proof that a daily drink or two isn't necessarily a bad thing and could have a place in an overall healthy lifestyle. A new study out of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) in New York found that — in mice, at le…
By Tiffany Thomas

Research Says Eating Carbs Can Lead To A Healthy Pregnancy, So Bring On The Pasta

In the world of me, no food is better than bread. I know it's supposed to be pretty terrible for you, high in calories, low in protein, and full of that modern-day demon, gluten... but guys, it's really yummy. Especially warm out of the oven, when th…
By Jen McGuire

These Photos Of Prince George Then & Now Will Give You Serious Baby Fever

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child in Spring 2018. With all of the excitement surrounding the new baby, it's easy to forget all of the good times that have already passed. The couple's eldest is already well into the sc…
By Azure Hall

This Is, Hands Down, The *Grossest* Thing Babies Do Inside The Womb

Your baby's life in the womb may be safe and warm, but it's also kind of grody. Seriously, the whole process of growing into a human being includes more than a few icky moments along the way. But this is the grossest thing babies do inside the womb b…
By Lindsay E. Mack