The holiday season is a popular time to visit NYC and it is not hard to see why. The festive holiday spirit is in full force and there are many activities suitable for everyone. Whether you are a visitor or a local, the holiday season in the city is something everyone is excited about. We compiled a list of must do’s holiday activities for New York City.
Bryant Park Winter Village –(41 W 40th St between Sixth and Fifth Avenues)
The Bank of America Winter Village opens on October 29 and stays open through March 5, 2017. During the holiday, the skating rink is surrounded by a winter village filled with food and gift vendors. The 17,000-square-foot outdoor rink is also free to the public and you can bring your own or rent the skates. Weekends are particularly popular and the line can go around the block. Come early if you plan on ice skating at this rink. There is also a big Christmas tree overlooking the rink and makes for some wonderful photo opportunity.
Radio City Christmas Spectacular
This annual Christmas show at Radio City Music Hall is a holiday staple in NYC featuring the famous Rockettes. This show runs from November 11, 2016 through January 2, 2017. Click here for ticket information.
Christmas Tree Lighting, the Ice Skating Rink and Decorations at Rockefeller Center
This is another holiday event that is televised on NBC each year. A tree is selected after an exhaustive search and will be decorated with 45,000 LED lights. The lighting event takes place on November 30 at 7pm.
In addition to the tree lighting ceremony, Rockefeller Plaza has the famed ice skating rink and the whole plaza is highly decorated for the holiday. This area can get very pack during the holiday season. I would advise against ice skating at this rink as it is small and the line is atrocious. Head to nearby Bryant Park for the free ice skating at the Winter Village. Additionally, Saks Fifth Avenue has their holiday light show that is on an entire front facade of the store and timed to Christmas music. You can see this light show from Rockefeller Center (5th Avenue between 49th and 50th Street).
Holiday Window Displays
Department stores in NYC go all out for the holidays and everyone gets competitive to see who has the best Christmas displays. Most are located in midtown Manhattan so you can see all of it on the same day. Below are the list of the popular ones in NYC.
Bloomingdales (November 18 – January 4)
Barneys (November to January 4)
Bergdorf Goodman (November 17 – January 4)
Henri Bendel (November 17 – January 4)
Lord & Taylor (November 12- January 6)
Sak’s Fifth Avenue (November 23 – January 4)
Tiffany & Co (November 13 – January 4)
Macy’s (November 20 – January 4)
This is a popular holiday market located in Union Square and is reminisce of the European Christmas markets. The market has winding paths full of artisinal crafts and treats. This year, there are new sections like Little Brooklyn, a warming station, a kid’s craft studio, live music and other. The market opens from November 17 to December 24.
Ice skating at Wolman’s Rink
This rink has been a winter tradition in NYC for decades and is located in the middle of Central Park with the woods and building overlooking the skaters. The rink is open 7 days a week.
New Year’s Eve Ball Drop in Time Square
This is the most iconic celebration in the US for New Years. If you can brave the cold, no water, no food and no bathroom break for at least 10 hours, then this event is for you. Find more information at Times Square Alliance website.
NY Botanical Garden 25th Annual Holiday Train Show
This holiday model train show runs through 150 landmarks and has been popular with both children and adults. The show runs from November 19, 2016 to January 16, 2017 and you are highly recommended to purchase tickets in advance. Click here for more info.
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Author: Chau Hoang
Feature Photo: Colin Miller Photography featured in Bryant Park Blog