Everywhere is magical when it is dressed for the holidays, and the things to do in New York at Christmas and the city’s well known attractions make the very most of this special time of year. The Big Apple has always known how to draw the crowds and there is more than enough to see and plenty of things to do in New York at Christmas for all ages.
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Take the Holiday Lights Tour
The Holiday Lights Tour operated by Grayline is one of the very special things to do in New York at Christmas – most especially if you are visiting for a short time only. The tour combines seeing the holiday lights spectacle and the key NYC sightseeing attractions. Light Tour highlights include the Laser Light Show at Grand Central Terminal, Times Square , 5th Avenue, Central Park, and of course the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. Other sights en route include the Radio City Music Hall, Trump Tower, Macy’s and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Book at graylinenewyork.com
Visit the Rockerfeller Plaza
The Rockerfeller Plaza is one of the main reasons to visit New York at Christmas. One of the great attractions of New York anytime, for the holidays it ramps up the spectacular. Of course, special mention must go to the Christmas tree that lights up the Plaza, but everyone should find their feet on the world famous ice rink and if you’re with the kids, you can combine access to the rink with Breakfast with Santa. therink.smartertakeout.net. p.s. if you save your visit to NYC after the holidays, from Jan 8th 2014, you can take advantage of the Sky Skate offer which combines entry to the rink and the Rockerfeller Center Observation Deck.
See the Show at Radio City Music Hall
For more than 80 years The Rockettes have been wowing the audience at Radio City Music Hall and the Christmas Spectacular is one of the most entertaining things to do in New York at Christmas. Perfect all ages, no-one can fail to be enveloped in the true spirit of the holidays as the famous stage is turned into a winter wonderland
Shop in Bryant Park
From the beginning of November and lasting through to the holidays, Bryant Park becomes New York’s very own Christmas Market. With more than 125 vendors and products ranging from hand-crafted holiday decorations to artisan foods and handmade jewelry, you might just find the perfect gift or that special missing piece of your home nativity scene. There’s also an ice rink which is free of charge.
Take the Kids to See Santa
It just wouldn’t be right not to would it ? If you’ve treated the kids to a pre-holidays trip, a trip to Santa’s Grotto will definitely be top of their list of things to do in New York at Christmas. Macy’s and Bloomingdales are always a major attraction and as well as Santa’s Grotto, the outside light decorations and window displays are definitely worth stopping at. For a different way to cuddle up to Santa, Circle Line and Zephyr both offer Santa Cruises.
See Santa Get Rescued
For a rather off the wall but fun event, and another one for if you have kids, (or you have a penchant for men in uniform!) head to the New York City Fire Museum on Hudson Square. Poor old Santa gets stuck on the roof and has to be rescued by firemen. After the drama, Santa and guests are taken inside for a holiday party with hot chocolate and hot dogs and tunes from John Clacher’s Firehouse Band. Kids can pose with Santa for photos if you don’t mind the queue.
Carriage Ride in Central Park
It might be one of the most touristy things to do in New York at Christmas but there’s nothing wrong with that! Make sure you are well wrapped up against the cold and enjoy the ride around the park’s iconic sights and soak up the holiday atmosphere. If you’re lucky and there’s snow, it’s even more magical. Look out for the lights at Charles A. Dana Discovery Center – another place where Santa hangs out.
It goes without saying that one of the greatest attractions of New York at Christmastime is the shopping. Whether you choose the iconic department stores with their spectacularly scenic window displays, the legendary FAO Schwarz toy shop, the swanky boutiques of 5th avenue or the trendy village stores of Greenwich and Soho, the sense of the holidays is everywhere.
Attend a Carol Service
You don’t have to be religious to enjoy a Carol Service. There’s something very inspiring about a congregation coming together in song and this is one time that you can sing in public without worrying whether you can hold a tune or not. Just find your voice and sing out – you’ll be surprised how good it feels. The city’s churches will have a full program of carol services throughout December so check online for special events such as those at Riverside Church, the West Village Chorale, and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.
Whether you want the comfort of tradition or the thrill of the modern, the things to do in New York at Christmas will always deliver. Will you be in the Big Apple this holiday season?
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