The day after Thanksgiving, when families are still full of holiday cheer and pumpkin pie, New York City hangs its wreaths, switches over its store displays, and gets ready to celebrate Christmas. The sound of taxis speeding through crosswalks is replaced by the sweet sound of Christmas carols, as holiday shows go up, store windows are lit with icicle lights, and visitors descend on the city to share in the cheer. Plan your perfect holiday trip with these fun and festive stops along the way:
Holiday Windows: The Upper East Side is known for its terrific shopping, but even those on a budget can enjoy the city’s wonderful department stores during the holiday season without spending a dime. New York’s most famous stores, including Macy’s, Lord & Taylor, Saks, Bergdorf Goodman, Barneys, and Bloomingdale’s, all deck out their storefronts with elaborate and festive scenes during the holiday season. With just over a mile between all of the shops, checking out all of the windows is a terrific, but time-effective, tour of central Manhattan.
The Nutcracker: George Balanchine’s holiday classic comes alive with some of the world’s greatest dancers at the NYC Ballet. For those seeking an activity that provides ample holiday cheer to a variety of age groups, this festive celebration more than fits the bill. Whether you’re a visitor or a life-long New Yorker, The Nutcracker’s mix of true artistry and holiday whimsy rarely fails to delight.
Radio City Christmas Spectacular: High kicks earn high marks in this iconic New York show. Celebrating its 80th year on Radio City Music Hall’s famed stage, this highly celebrated musical show can reignite even a Grinch’s passion for the holiday season. The Rockettes’ choreographed numbers are truly a sight to behold, while the classic carols are sure to bring out the holiday spirit in everyone.
Union Square Holiday Market: If you’re looking for that last minute gift in NYC, look no further than the Union Square Holiday Market. Stretching through the entire expanse of Union Square Park, this impressive network of tented stands boasts crafts, snacks, and plenty of authentic New York City charm, with the mix of shoppers, locals, and performers traversing the cheerful stalls.
The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree: New York loves largesse, and nothing’s a bigger gift to the public during the holidays than Rockefeller Center’s Christmas tree. The enormous spruce, which can measure up to 100 feet, imbues the city with its Christmas joy each year right in one of New York’s premier shopping destinations. For those who want a more cost-effective activity to accompany their viewing of the tree, visitors can enjoy Rockefeller Center’s ice rink, which is located directly below.