Photo: Alex Haney / Unsplash

You know Rockefeller Center and Wollman Skating Rink but they’re packed with tourists. Here’s Epicenter-NYC’s list of holiday activities that are a bit lesser known —and thus, hopefully, lesser crowded:

Bartow Pell Mansion Museum 
Bartow Pell Mansion Museum is located just 10 miles from Manhattan, hidden within Pelham Bay Park. The mansion-turned-museum is adorned with 10 unique  Christmas trees. (Including one that The Unmuted’s Nicole Perrino decorated!) During the holiday season, the mansion offers candlelight tree tourstea parties with teddy bears and Christmas caroling. For more information on events, ticketing and directions visit its website

Westchester Winter Wonderland
Looking to stay warm and look at Christmas lights? Check out the Westchester Winter Wonderland, located just outside the city. It boasts a 1.2 mile-holiday light drive-thru experience. including a 100-foot light tunnel and giant Christmas trees. The entire experience lasts about 25 minutes. For more information on tickets and pricing check out its website

New York Botanical Garden: GLOW
The New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx is glowing with holiday lights. This outdoor experience takes you through 1.5 miles of colorfully lit paths and trees. After checking out the lights, we recommend grabbing a bite to eat at the Bronx Night Market Holiday pop-up. For more information visit its website

Skate at the Riverbank Skate Park
Looking for a place to ice skate without the crowds? Check out The Rink at Riverbank State Park in Harlem. This ice rink has some of the city’s most affordable prices with tickets for adults starting at $5, tickets for kids at $3 and only $6 to rent your skates. The rink is open Fridays from 6 to 9 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. 

Illuminate the Farm: NYC Winter Lantern Festival
Perhaps one of our favorite holiday activities are the lanterns at the NYC Winter Lantern Festival, located at the Queens County Farm. Experience six acres of hand-crafted lanterns in all shapes and sizes (think farm animals, flowers and more). Find out more information on tickets and pricing on its website.

Wave Hill Gardens
Wave Hill Gardens is the perfect place to get away from the city’s chaos — without going too far (check out our day trip below for an exciting Pennsylvania getaway). Located in the Bronx, Wave Hill Gardens features more than 20 acres of gardens and woodland — a true treat for us city dwellers. It offers a variety of winter-themed activities like bird watching and family art projects. Find out more by visiting its website.

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