This article originally appeared in AAA Travel Views and has been modified.
For many people, there is no better time to visit New York City than around the Christmas holidays. With so many yuletide events to keep you busy, if you weren’t in the festive spirit when you arrived, you most certainly will be by the time you leave.
Rockefeller Center seems to be America’s Christmas capital, with its iconic tree, and skaters whirling around on the rink just below. Visitors claim this inspiring sight will get you right in the spirit of the season. But be forewarned: you can expect shoulder-to-shoulder crowds, especially at night. Try visiting during the day, when it may be a little easier to get that great photo in front of the tree.
Skating at Bryant Park
Skate for free at the rink in Bryant Park. Didn’t pack your skates? No worries; skate rentals are available for a small fee and you can even take a skating lesson. This large rink is set up in the middle of the park and is open until March 1, 2015.Surrounding the ice rink is a holiday marketplace with many small kiosks and shops selling unique gifts artwork, jewelry and local food.
Holiday Window Displays
Be sure to check out the window displays at the city’s many departments stores, including Lord & Taylor, Barneys, Bergdorf Goodman, Saks, Bloomingdale’s and, of course, Macy’s. These elaborate window displays are a work of art. Be prepared for crowds especially on weekends and in the early evening.
Shows are what New York is known for, and there are lots of choices during the holidays including live theatrical presentations based on some popular Christmas movies including Elf and A Christmas Story.The Nutcracker ballet is the classic experience at Lincoln Center
for the Performing Arts, and the New York Pops orchestra also offers several performances of great holiday music at Carnegie Hall
.Radio City Music Hall hosts all kinds of events throughout the year, but their most popular is the Radio City Christmas Spectacular where you can see the famous Rockettes in all their leg-kicking glory.
Don’t Miss Out And Walk About
There is so much to see and do on foot that you can easily take your time walking around and exploring:
- Start at Macy’s on 34th Street and walk one block east. Follow 5th Avenue uptown to pass by all the great shopping and windows.
- Check out the beautiful lights at Harry Winston at 56th Street, especially at night. When you get to 60th Street, head east for a few blocks to find Barneys and finally Bloomingdale’s. By then you may be full of Christmas cheer but have an empty bank account!
- Visit the iconic Grand Central Terminal, decked out for the holidays. Besides the many traditional decorations, there is a laser light show on the ceilings and walls of the main hall.
- Visit the New York Transit Museum, to check out the annual holiday train show with replicas of New York City landmarks until February 22, 2015.
- Shop at the annual Grand Central Holiday Fair, located in Vanderbilt Hall. There are more than 70 vendors who sell unique items not found elsewhere in the city. It’s the only holiday market in the city to operate indoors and is a good place to rest if you want to get out of the cold for a while.
Browse all New York City activities.
Looking for a Similar Adventure?
If New York is on your bucket list of places to visit over the Christmas holidays or at any time of the year, contact one of our travel agents to help plan your trip.