More than six million people are set to join New York City’s festivities between Thanksgiving and New Year, and it’s easy to see why. NYC during the holiday season is one of the most magical places on earth.
The celebrations are five-borough wide, with celebrations in every corner of the City, starting in mid-November and ending with the world renowned New Year’s Eve events.
There’s so much to see and do, with the Big Apple bursting with an even more vibrant energy. It has been tough, but I’ve narrowed it down to 15 must-sees if you’re lucky enough to be visiting this Winter.
1. Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade
Manhattan, 22 November 2018
We couldn’t kick this post off without THE event that marks the start of the festive season in NYC. The party really gets started with the help of world-class music artists, Broadway performers, marching bands and spectacular floats lining the streets of Manhattan in the 92nd edition of America’s most popular pre-Thanksgiving dinner ritual. For more information visit the Macy’s website.
2. Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony
Manhattan, 28 November 2018
Less than a week later sees the iconic seven-story-plus tree being lit up, with the help of live-performers, spreading holiday cheer to the millions of visitors that come to marvel the wonders of the renowned Christmas tree every single year until the lights dim on 7 January.
3. The Rink at Rockefeller Center
Manhattan, October 2018-April 2019
It’s an intimate experience with room for only 150 skaters at one time and whether you’re a pro on the ice or a first-timer (like me), it’s definitely one for the bucket list. A 90 minute session costs $25-$33 for adults depending on the time of season and $15 for children. In addition, you can make your skate an extra special experience with VIP dinners and super intimate sessions.
4. Dr Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical
Hulu Theatre, Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, 13-30 December 2018
The holiday classic from Dr. Seuss comes to the world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden, this December. Warning: heart may grow three sizes after watching the heartwarming musical.
5. Gingerbread Lane at New York Hall of Science
Queens, 10 November 2018-21 January 2019
Each year since 2013, the edible gingerbread village at New York Hall of Science located in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens, has set the Guinness World Record for the largest collection of gingerbread houses and structures.
6. Holiday Lights & Movie Sites Tour by On Location Tours
Manhattan, 23 November 2018-3 January 2019
Tour the City with a difference by joining one of On Location Tour’s Holiday Lights & Movie Sites tours. Operating daily from 23 November to 3 January, this one-of-a-kind sightseeing allows you to experience the magic of your favourite Christmas movies while taking in the spectacular holiday decorations. Reminisce on some of the most memorable moments from Elf, Home Alone and Miracle on 34th Street, with plenty of photo opps along the way!
7. New York Philharmonic Presents “Home Alone in Concert”
Manhattan, 20-21 December 2018
The acclaimed New York Philharmonic will perform John Williams’ score live to the Christmas classic Home Alone for two nights only in this special holiday season event. Tickets range from $45-£115.
8. Brooklyn Ballet’s Nutcracker
Brooklyn, 14 December 2018
New for 2018, the Brooklyn Ballet are Inspired by the classic, resulting in a hip-hop and ballet infused replication, re-imagined in various Brooklyn neighbourhoods, hosted by Kings Theatre in Flatbush.
9. Grand Central’s Holiday Fair
Grand Central Terminal, Manhattan, 12 November-24 December 2018
Offering a warm alternative to outdoor markets, half of Vanderbilt Hall in Grand Central Station is taken over by more than 40 vendors offering American-made hand-crafted products. You’ll find clothing, accessories and home goods in addition to plenty other goods perfect for festive gifts. The location also makes the fair the perfect stop for commuters to grab a snack or a hot drink at one of the food markets.
10. Winter Wonderland Staten Island
Richmond Terrace, St. George, Staten Island, 28 November-24 December 2018
Staten Island’s Winter Wonderland is a festive paradise of fun for the whole family, including rides, games, ice skating, light shows, food, drink and so much more!
11. Get cozy with some festive drinking
New York City is famed for its nightlife, so what better than experiencing it during the festive season? Plenty of bars have festive menus, with themed menus serving Christmas cocktails, mulled wine and eggnog. Town and Country Magazine featured some of the very best last year and it’s a given that the bars will be doing the same again this year.
12. Marvel at the holiday windows
Manhattan, November 2018-January 2019
NYC’s most popular department stores transform their windows into whimsical worlds of festivity, with crowds upon crowds gathering to enjoy the dazzling displays. Head to Madison and 5th Avenue for some of the best in the City, including Bloomingdales, Saks Fifth Avenue, Barneys and Bergdorf Goodman.
13. Radio City Christmas Spectacular Starring the Rockettes
Manhattan, 9 November 2018-1 January 2019
Extravagant costumes and breath-taking state-of-the-art-production is brought to Radio City as the Rockettes dance their way through the holiday season with the Christmas spectacular from Thanksgiving through to New Year.
14. A Slice of Brookyn Christmas Lights Tour
Brooklyn, 1-30 December 2018
More than 100,000 visitors make their way to Brooklyn’s Dyker Heights neighbourhood every holiday season to view the most jaw-dropping Christmas displays in the whole of New York City. The A Slice of Brooklyn tour stops by the most over-the-top and seen-to-be-believed displays while telling the story of how “Dyker Lights” came to be almost 40 years ago.
15. New Year’s Eve Ball Drop
Times Square, Manhattan, 31 December 2018-1 January 2019
Finally, you’ll never experience New Year’s like a New York New Year’s. Times Square, the “Crossroads of the World” has been the historic backdrop to NYC’s New Year’s Eve celebrations since 1904 and remains the most popular New Year’s celebration in the world. It’s televised globally and over one million people are set to watch the ball drop in person this year.
For more information on New York City, please visit www.nycgo.com