New York during the holidays is full of delightful spectacles, from festive window displays to holiday markets to the Dyker Lights. This year, there are two new marvels coming to town: the LuminoCity Magical Lights to Randall’s Island from November 23-January 5 and the Hello Panda Festival–the largest lantern festival in North America–to Citi Field from December 6-January 26. Curiously, both feature Pandas. What’s the significance of Pandas and light shows? We don’t know. What we do know is that both will bring holiday cheer with magnificent light displays, holiday markets, arts and crafts, food and drinks, and more.
First, let’s talk about the LuminoCity Festival on Randall’s Island, only because it starts first.
The festivities will span over 12 acres and offers three light experience journeys:
The Winter Fantasy, the first light display you’ll encounter, offers frosted forests and icy valleys that visitors can climb around. The theme is around winter and arctic exploration.
The Wild Adventure is a nature-and jungle experience, which brings to life the Bifengxia Panda Reserve in China–as well as a mushroom forest, rainforest, and safari.
The Sweet Dream features candy, cake, and confections that are sure to have you heading to the market and food trucks next. There is very limited parking on Randall’s Island, so consider the shuttle service. The festival grounds are open on weekends and holiday weeks from 4-11pm, November 23-January 5.
Next, the Hello Panda Festival at Citi Field will feature over 100 lantern displays plus performances, games, Chinese crafts, and more. You’ll have the chance to taste foods from China, Thailand, and Mexico. The festival will be open 7 days a week from 5-10pm December 6-January 26. Similar festivals will be held in Vernon, NJ, and Catskill, NY. Mind the T-Rex!