The Best Christmas Movies: Holiday Adventures in New York

New York City is a magical place, and it’s the time of year to warm up hot chocolate and sit on the couch and watch your favorite movies. Iconic holiday movies capitalize on the beauty and joy of the city during the season, using NYC as a backdrop to bring Manhattan’s festivities to the big screen. Here are the best Christmas movies!


Elf is a popular holiday destination that will take you away from New York during the Christmas season. New Yorkers, but it’s never quite as magical as when Buddy the Elf comes to town in search of his father. 

A man raised by elves at the North Pole traverses the swirling rubber drops of New York’s Central Park, only to find out that his biological father lives in New York. Buddy discovers a con man in town who works for the Gimbels, better known as Macy’s in Herald Square, and he has to pass Santa Claus to meet his father. No one will forget this inspiring scene when Buddy and Josie help flies Santa’s sleigh through Central Park and unite the community through song and song. 

We must not forget that the only way to spread the Christmas spirit is to sing so that everyone can hear it, and we do. 

Home Alone

Probably the most popular of the best Christmas movies. We couldn’t get enough of the McCallister clan, so the next step would be for Kevin to bring his hoax to New York City. In typical Kevin fashion, he can book a room at the Plaza Hotel and secure the Christmas he dreamed of by taking a trip to a city known for its seasonal splendor and letting his family spend their original holiday plans with him in Miami, the city of Christmas trees. Kevin makes friends, watches the orchestra, and makes some friends at his new home in the heart of Manhattan, right next to Rockefeller Center. 

The Family Man

Instead of Scrooge and Jack Campbell, the audience forgets Nicolas Cage and enters another universe with three ghosts. Just think, clapping hands on your cheeks and yelling at the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center. It’s a modern Christmas carol, but where better to celebrate victory and repair your Christmas trees than in New York? 


Jack leads a glamorous life as a Wall Street executive who completes a multibillion-dollar merger. To ensure the merger’s success, Jack convenes a crisis meeting on Christmas Day. 

In a series of events involving a man who appears to have magical powers, has a lottery ticket and drives a car, Jack is transported in his Ferrari to New York City, where he is married and has a family. He decides how he wants to spend Christmas next year but ultimately has to behave himself. His father’s family gives him a gift: a lottery ticket with instructions on how to spend Christmas with a lonely man in New York City who has missed getting one. 

Bill Murray is called, of course, and there are three ghosts in this comedy, but it’s modern and we’re called Bill Murray. 

In Scrooged, Murray plays a hungry Frank who works at the network’s headquarters in New York City. Hungry Frank is asking its staff to perform a live production of “A Christmas Carol” on Christmas Eve. 

There Frank is transported to a dress rehearsal for the live show, and in true New York fashion a ghost from the past appears as a taxi driver. This hasty attitude prompts three spirits to visit him so that he can reconsider his “hasty life decisions.” 


Serendipity begins with a plot that does not aim to celebrate the feast, but rather to find the true spirit of Christmas. 

Christmas in New York City has a way of bringing people together, so it makes sense to follow the steps and streets of Manhattan in search of strangers with whom you have an immediate connection. The film, which is released a year later, follows Jonathan and Sara as they try to reunite in New York. When fate brings her back to the restaurant the same day, the acquaintances go in the opposite direction. This first meeting perfectly captures the spirit of Christmas and the winter activities that every couple in New York wants. 

Miracle on 34th Street

This timeless 1947 classic still warms us after all these years, and it’s one of the best Christmas movies in New York City. 

A New York Supreme Court judge ruled that Kris Kringle is not recognized as Santa by the federal government, so the U.S. Postal Service must deliver the children’s Christmas lists to their homes. Kris’s sanity is questioned when he insists he is, but only a real joker could get caught up in a legal battle between the government and his own family. Of course, we must follow him when he takes on the responsibility of calling Santa Claus at Christmas and continuing his duties as a Christmas elf.

These best Christmas movies are considered such for a reason. They give the warmth and excitement that we all desire – both kids and adults!

What about those famous actors-native ot NYC? Are they in any of these movies?