You know the only thing better than watching Christmas movies during the holidays? Watching Christmas movies set in New York City. The twinkling lights, magical displays and romantic music all build off of each other — making the equivalent of Disney for adults.
But with so many Christmas movies being released year after year, it becomes difficult to filter out the ones set in New York City. And to make things even harder, a lot of films revolve around a character leaving New York (and who would want to watch that?).
So without further ado, here are the best Christmas movies set in New York City.
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Best Christmas Movies Set in New York City
Something from Tiffany’s (2022)
Available on: Amazon Prime Video
One of the newest Christmas movies set in New York City, Something from Tiffany’s is the perfect blend of cityscape scenes with a heartwarming story line.
The plot follows two couples whose relationships become intertwined after an accident outside of Tiffany & Co in SoHo. During the commotion bags get misplaced and the protagonist has to track down the engagement ring he bought, only to feel a spark with a girl he didn’t plan on proposing to.
Because this is one of the most recently released Christmas movies set in New York you’ll notice a lot of today’s popular holiday attractions. Bryant Park, SoHo, and Little Italy are all instantly recognizable and charmingly decked out for the Christmas.
Available on: HBO Max, FuboTV
A true Christmas classic, Elf is one of the handful of movies set in New York City families can watch year after year and laugh just as hard as the first time.
The movie tells the story of Buddy (Will Ferrell) on his trip from the North Pole to New York to meet his biological dad (James Caan). Along the way he develops a love interest (Zooey Deschanel) and has to help Santa save Christmas on Christmas Eve.
Elf is also one of the best Christmas movies set in New York to watch with kids, since the humor is clean and the story line is easy follow. That doesn’t mean adults won’t enjoy it too though, the movie is great for the whole family.
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
Available on: YouTube (for free), Peacock, Disney+, FuboTV, Amazon Prime Video
Released in 1947, Miracle on 34th is one of the most memorable Christmas movies set in New York City. The film tells the story of Kris Kringle, becoming (and convincing people) that he is Santa Claus.
The beginning of the movie takes place during the 1946 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which makes the movie all the more impressive. The crew only had brief moments to get their shots, and I’d say they hit their mark considering the movie is still watched today.
I consider Miracle on 34th Street one of the quintessential Christmas movies set in New York because it shows how much the city has changed in more than 75 years. Plus, the themes of faith and compassion are timeless, even inspiring a remake in 1994 (but I suggest watching the original).
The Night Before (2015)
Available on: Amazon Prime Video
If you’re in search of Christmas movies set in New York City, but want to stray away from classic romantic comedies I suggest watching The Night Before.
Starring Seth Rogan, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Anthony Mackie the movie tells the story of three friends who have celebrated every Christmas together since childhood. As they grow older and their paths begin to part ways the friends decide to have on last hurrah leading to a drug induced and relationship-testing Christmas Eve.
Since the film is rated R I wouldn’t encourage watching it with kids. But if you have your own group of raunchy friends this is one of the best Christmas movies set in New York to celebrate the holidays with.
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)
Available on: Disney+
Rarely is a sequel better than the original, but Home Alone 2 is an exception. One of the best Christmas movies set in New York City, we get to follow Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) on his unsupervised trip to the Big Apple.
Following a similar plot to the first film, Kevin’s parents forget him when taking the family on vacation. He’s left to fend for himself and finds himself intertwined in the criminal plans of the Wet Bandits (Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern).
Viewers get to enjoy scenes of Central Park, The Plaza Hotel and the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree (one of the best in NYC) as Kevin navigates the innocent mischief one would expect from a 10 year old.
Available on: Pluto, Amazon Prime Video, Paramount+
Scrooged is essentially a 1988 rendition of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. In the movie Bill Murray returns to the big-screen (after filming a different holiday classic, Ghostbusters) and plays the role of Frank Cross.
Cross is a selfish television executive who is visited by the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future on Christmas Eve in order to teach him about the truly important things in life.
Scrooged is one of the best Christmas movies set in New York City because it serves as a reminder to be grateful and giving, while still being engaging and entertaining.
Santa Claus: The Movie (1985)
Available on: Hulu, Paramount+, Showtime
A lot of Christmas movies set in New York City show Santa, but only one explains how he came to be. In Santa Claus: The Movie viewers learn Santa’s origin story as well as the work drama in the North Pole.
Because it was made in 1985, the movie has some dated special effects which could be a turn-off for some folks, but I choose to think of them as extra character. Kids don’t seem to mind either, so watch the film with your littles!
Although the movie was a box-office failure, it’s frequent reruns on TV have made it one of the most popular Christmas movies set in New York City. If the cult following doesn’t make it a classic, I don’t know what will.
The Family Man (2000)
Available on: Peacock
Any other Nicolas Cage fans here? If so, The Family Man has to be on your watch list. Following traditional holiday themes, the movie is about a wealthy Wall St. executive who gets a glimpse into a humble, but more fulfilling life.
Throughout the movie, Jack (Nicolas Cage) learns about the life he could’ve had if he prioritized love over his career. Although a bit predictable, it’s still one of the best Christmas movies set in New York City for a cozy night in.
And not only is The Family Man one of the best Christmas movies set in New York, it’s also a heartwarming romantic comedy. The holiday theme is sprinkled in but not overwhelming, meaning you can enjoy it all year.
New Years Eve (2011)
Available on: HBO Max
A truly star-studded cast makes New Years Eve one of the best Christmas movies set in New York City. Although it’s about New Years Eve, you’ll still get scenes of the Big Apple wearing it’s holiday-best.
And when I say the movie is chock-full of A-list celebrities I mean it. Zac Efron, Michelle Pfeiffer, Robert De Niro, Josh Duhamel, Sarah Jessica Parker, Ashton Kutcher and Halle Berry are just a few of the big names.
The film covers a group of New Yorkers who are looking to have the best New Years Eve ever (or avoid it). Along the way some of their stories overlap, but in general there is no major plot just individual feel-good stories.
Dash & Lily
Available on: Netflix
Now Dash & Lily may not be one of the best Christmas movies set in New York City, but it is one of the best Christmas series. Seriously, this show might be my favorite thing to watch on the list.
The show follows two young-adults who meet through a notebook at New York’s famed bookstore, The Strand. They leave each other tasks, write about it in the notebook, and then leave it somewhere for the other to find.
Dash & Lily is a cute coming of age story that both adults and teenagers will enjoy. Plus, the crew gives us some of the best New York City Christmas scenes filmed in recent memory.
Movies set in New York City with notable Christmas scenes
When Harry Met Sally (1989)
Available on: Netflix, HBO Max
This cute and timeless rom-com follows two best friends who unwittingly fall in love. There are plenty of New York City landmarks in the film, including an infamous scene at Katz Deli that the restaurant now acknowledges with a sign.
Admittedly not one of the first Christmas movies set in New York City that come to mind, but there are a few holiday scenes. Notably, Harry and Sally pick up a Christmas tree and set it up in their shockingly large NYC apartment.
Available on: Starz
One of the best movies set in New York City, Serendipity starts (and ends) with Christmas shopping at Bloomingdales.
After trying to buy the same cashmere gloves, Jonathan and Sarah decide to have dessert at Serendipity 3 (for some of the best hot chocolate in NYC) although they’re both in committed relationships.
The movie then covers all their serendipitous meetings, and in doing so shows beautiful scenes of the Big Apple. Serendipity is one of the most original rom-coms and should be on every New York City fan’s watch list.
Collateral Beauty (2016)
Available on: Netflix
A bit of a heart-wrenching movie, Collateral Beauty is a movie about loss, honesty and love. The film stars Will Smith as Howard Inlet, a dad who’s daughter has passed away and is spiraling emotionally.
Howard begins writing letters to Love, Time and Death which his business partners are able to get their hands on. The partners go to incredible lengths in an effort to oust Howard from the company, which only shines a light on their own personal struggles.
The final scene takes place on Christmas Eve, but I won’t spoil the ending. All you need to know is that this is one of the best movies set in New York City with notable Christmas scenes.
Ghostbusters II (1989)
Available on: FuboTV
Ghosts are usually associated with Halloween, but Ghostbusters II has plenty of Christmas scenes in New York City. Taking place 5 years after the original Ghostbusters, the band must get back together to save the city once more.
The Statue of Liberty, Firehouse Hook & Ladder Company No. 8 and the Washington Square Arch are all instantly recognizable in the film. Plus, the climax of the movie takes place during New Years Eve, so most of the scenes take place around Christmas.
You’ve Got Mail (1998)
Available on: HBO Max, FuboTv
A long-time favorite New York City film, You’ve Got Mail hits all the right spots in the Big Apple. The film stars Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan as two business rivals who are engaged in an online relationship, anonymously.
Maybe it’s all the clips of the charming Upper West Side (one of the best neighborhoods in Manhattan), or the fashion of New Yorkers in the 90’s that makes You’ve Got Mail one of the best movies set in New York City.
The Christmas scenes are all the more cute when intertwined with the plot, and the movie has a unique ability to make you dream of NYC.
This is the perfect film for a casual date night at home, whether you’re with someone or alone. Bring the snacks because you’re not going to want to miss a thing!
Christmas movies set in New York City (Post Summary)
- Something from Tiffany’s
- Miracle on 34th Street
- The Night Before
- Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
- Santa Claus: The Movie
- The Family Man
- New Years Eve
- Dash & Lily
- When Harry Met Sally
- Collateral Beauty
- You’ve Got Mail
And there you have it my friends, the 15 best Christmas movies set in New York City