There’s no denying it: the Big Apple knows how to do Christmas! Whether it’s the bold, colorful window displays on Fifth Avenue; the Rockefeller Christmas tree; or the holiday markets which pop up over the city, New York has got Christmas locked down.
We shouldn’t be surprised. Like Miracle on 34th Street taught us, Santa Claus lives in Macy’s, not the North Pole – so it totally makes sense that NY has some extra Christmassy magic!
Here are some of our favorite things to do this Christmas if you’re lucky enough to book cheap tickets to New York.
Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park
If you have your own pair of ice skates, the free ice rink at Bryant Park is a great festive activity (skates are also available to rent). The focal point of the Bank of America Winter Village, the outdoor rink holds the same enchanting atmosphere as the other ice rinks in the city.
There are also 128 holiday shops for you to browse at your own leisure. Wrap up warm, and wander around the winter wonderland with a hot chocolate in hand, and make time to stop by one of the cool eateries such as Marty V’s Burger and Super Mac + Cheez.
Macy’s Santa Land
If you’re planning a visit to the big guy this Christmas, Macy’s is the place to see him. Taking up residence in the13,000 square foot North Pole village which appears in Macy’s once a year between November 25 – December 24, Santa is available for visits from all. Just head up to the 8th floor of Macy’s Herald Square on 34th Street to say hi – don’t forget to write a letter to Santa to bring with you! For every letter he receives, Macy’s will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish®.
Unsurprisingly, Santa’s a pretty popular guy around this time of year so you might have to wait in line to see him but don’t worry – with live elves, an enchanted forest and a large train display, there’s plenty to entertain you while you wait!
Tip: Book an express pass to save your spot in line to meet Santa!
Radio City Christmas Spectacular (The Rockettes)
The Radio City Christmas Spectacular is one of the most iconic Christmas shows in New York. All the festive greats are there: Santa, the Nutcracker, the nativity and of course, the Rockettes! Since its first show in December 1933, the Christmas Spectacular has developed from a 30 minute show into a 90 minute long festive exravaganza sure to get you into the Christmas spirit.
The show is different every year, but the old classics remain: visitors are treated to iconic performances of the “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” and the “Living Nativity” alonside new elements to the show. With multiple performances every day through January 2, it’s the perfect seasonal treat.
George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker
A real Christmas treat; The Nutcracker is performed by the New York City Ballet every year during the holiday season. It’s a true classic and perfect for this time of year: we challenge you to watch it without feeling the warmth of Christmas cheer. Welcome toy soldiers and magic into your life in the David H. Koch theater.
A classic Christmas tale, the New York Ballet’s rendition features over 200 performers, stunning costumes, sparkling lights and a huge Christmas tree – weighing in at one ton, it grows from 12 to 40 feet! A magical festive feast for the eyes and ears.
Check Out The Festive Window Displays
New York is famous for its Christmas window displays: come December, all of the shops are illuminated with festive cheer and decorations. Saks Fifth Avenue is famous for its displays: the theme this year is “Land of 1000 Delights”. Candy canes and bright colors adorn the window, while a ten-story tall light show plays every day from 5pm – 11pm through January 2.
Macy’s, Barney’s and Bloomingdale’s are also in on the action so be sure to stop by on your trip to New York over Christmas. There’s nothing quite like seeing all your favorite stores dressed up for the festive season!