Christmas is always a special time of year, and this is particularly true in New York City. The metropolis boasts a number of iconic yuletide activities. From the tree at Rockefeller Plaza to the Christmas window displays at Macy’s, there are few places in the world as festive as New York during the holidays. No matter your children’s ages or interests, there is always something fun and exciting to do in the Big Apple around Christmas. Here are some of the best yuletide activities you can do in the city.
1. See the Christmas Tree in Rockefeller Plaza
You’re can’t be in New York for the holidays and not see the tree at Rockefeller Plaza. Rising to skyscraper heights, New York’s most famous Christmas tree is adorned with 45,000 strings of lights. It’s truly an incredible sight to behold. While you’re there, snap a photo of you and your family with the tree. It just might make next year’s Christmas card.
2. See the Rockettes
Each year, the Radio City Rockettes hold their famous “Radio City Christmas Spectacular.” The performance is world-renowned, and for good reason. You won’t forget a show by the Rockettes anytime soon. Tickets for the performance typically start at $67, but sometimes you can find a deal through sites like Groupon.
3. Take a Bus Tour
Bus tours are a great way to see the Christmas sights in comfort. You don’t have to worry about fighting crowds of tourists or tending to whiny children who are tired from too much walking. City Sights NY has the most popular bus tours, but they can get a bit pricy. If you want to save money, keep your eyes open for other holiday tours. Sometimes school bus companies will offer cheap Christmas tours for families.
4. Head to Macy’s at Herald Square
No day of New York sightseeing is complete without a trip to Macy’s. The flagship store, located on 34th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues, has an impressive Christmas window display. The windows bring to life the famous tale of a little girl named Virginia, who in 1897 wrote to her local newspaper asking if Santa Claus was real. The editor’s response, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus,” is one of the most famous reader response letters ever written.
5. Go on an Insider Shopping Tour
It’s the holidays, so chances are you’ve spent a lot of time looking for Christmas presents for your kids and other family members. Why not treat yourself for once, and go on an insider shopping tour around the city? There are a number of different tours available — some of the more well-known ones go to the Garment District, NoLita/ SoHo and of course Fashion Avenue. Tours start at around $50, but with all the discounts you’ll receive it’s definitely worth the money.
6. Go Skating at Wollman Rink
Skating at the Wollman Rink in Central Park is a winter tradition for New Yorkers and tourists alike. Using the rink costs about $17 per person if you go on the weekends, plus, there’s a $7 fee for skate rentals. However, the price is definitely worth it. How many times do you get to skate in the middle of an urban oasis with the excitement of the city all around you? Plus, the Wollman Rink is fun for the whole family.
7. Skate, Eat and Shop at Bryant Park
Central Park gets all the attention, but Bryant Park is a wonderful place to spend an afternoon during the Christmas season. A number of locally owned shops open in the park during the holidays, and they’re great for last-minute Christmas gifts. There are also several vendors selling food and hot drinks in case you need to warm up. There’s even a skating rink, though admittedly it’s not as much fun as the Wollman Rink. In any case, Bryant Park becomes its own Christmas village during the holidays, and you don’t want to miss out on the fun!
These are just a few of the many great holiday activities available in the Big Apple. What are some of your favorites?