The holidays in the City? Yes, please! Nothing brings on the holiday spirit like a day in the Big Apple. And you can take a big bite of it without breaking your holiday budget. Just check out these activities, and enjoy the holiday in true New York fashion!
It’s always exhilarating to be in New York City, and even more so at the holidays. This time of year, the lights, the windows and the hustle and bustle of New York grows exponentially. Being a native New Yorker, I look forward to my family’s annual trip into the city for our New York Christmas fix. Without breaking the bank, we have an amazing day and night. Here is our list of must-see holiday activities every year.
Christmas at Rockefeller Center
First, there’s the Christmas tree. If you haven’t seen the tree first hand, you have probably seen it in a movie or on television. Since 1933, the tree has been the centerpiece of Rockefeller Center. Adorned with more than 45,000 lights, the tree is breathtaking, and everyone should experience it up close and personal, at least once! Rockefeller Center is also one of the best spots for seeing holiday lights displays in the Northeast.
And there’s the ice skating. The skating rink is usually crowded, but it is just as much fun to watch as it is to skate. Magical how ice (and holiday music) can melt the coldest Scrooge heart!
Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular
Yes, this is the show everyone talks about – and every year, there are traditional old favorites as well as a few surprises. Besides the famous Rockettes performing in their holiday kick line, Radio City is converted to a winter wonderland with a unique take on ”The Nutcracker.” And there are ice skaters, tapping toy soldiers, dancing teddy bears, dozens of Santa Clauses, and more surprises. My kids are always in awe of the Live Nativity in the finale – complete with real camels!
Store Window Displays
There are a number of window displays throughout New York City, but one of our favorites has always been the windows at Macy’s in Herald Square.
Here’s what Macy’s says on its website:
“Since the early 1870s, Macy’s has been stunning spectators with its famed holiday window displays and celebratory events. Macy’s was the first store to feature holiday windows created for the pure fun and joy of the season and, with that, began a tradition that still lives on today.”
This year’s windows feature a 15-foot-tall Santa Claus. “In creating this year’s windows, we wanted to focus on the idea of what Christmas meant to us as children. In thinking back to those feelings, we kept returning to the idea of six key qualities [believe, celebrate, together, giving, love, and magic] that truly exemplify the spirit and magic of the season.” —Roya Sullivan, Macy’s national director of window presentation, told the New York Times.
Other great window displays can be found at Bloomingdales, Lord & Taylor, Saks 5th Avenue and Barney’s New York.
Check out these other free things to do in New York City .
What New York City holiday attractions do you consider must-see for your family?
This post was updated by Allison Taylor in November 2017. The original was written by Shari Von Holten.