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Friday, December 15, 2017

Things to Do and See in New York City during the Christmas Season

horse and carriage ride

Whether you’ve fallen in love with New York City from afar or surrendered your heart to it on many visits, you’re due for a long weekend during the holiday season in the world’s greatest city.

Although New York City is composed of five boroughs (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island), most visitors are familiar with Manhattan, as it's the borough featured most frequently on television shows and movies. Manhattan also is where most hotels and famous attractions are found. It's easy to forget that Manhattan is an island, hemmed in by the Hudson and East Rivers.

Manhattan may seem massive, but it’s easy to get around – by foot, taxi or public transportation – and there’s something to see on nearly every block, especially during the holidays. December ranks as Manhattan’s most popular month for visitors. This trip is perfect for getting into the holiday spirit. The city is decorated to the max and the Rockettes perform a classic Christmas pageant at Radio City Music Hall. Rockefeller Center’s huge Christmas tree, decorated with over five miles of lights, towers over the plaza.

See Video Near the end of Article

Shopping areas such as Fifth Avenue with Macy’s and Saks are near your hotel, as is famed Restaurant Row on West 46th Street. Shopping ranges from high style on Madison Avenue to lively, local street fairs ideal for finding cheap eats while immersing in a neighborhood.

Saks Fifth Avenue Holiday Display,  611 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10022

While winter in New York can at times be challenging if you're sensitive to the cold, it doesn't stop the crowds that descend upon the city to experience Christmas and New Year's here. Macy's, Bloomingdale's and Saks Fifth Avenue transform their shop windows into Christmas-themed dioramas so elaborate that people line up to see them. You can also experience ice skating at one of several outdoor rinks, including at Bryant Park, Rockefeller Center and Central Park. Hang around for the New Year's Eve ball drop in Times Square, a celebration so famous it needs no explanation.

The “Big Apple” has an allure that most U.S. cities simply do not have, yet most people cannot tell you what it is that is so magical and mysterious about New York City. It doesn’t get much more picture-postcard NYC Christmas than the sight of the stately Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, towering above the ice rink below, all decked out in its finest holiday bling. Things get even more festive when thousands of revelers fill the area for the lighting of the Norway spruce. A star-studded lineup, usually hosted by NBC Today show anchors, provides plenty of live entertainment. The crowning moment comes when the switch is flipped and the Swarovski star–topped tree’s tens of thousands of (energy-efficient LED) lights come alive. Expect plenty of “oohs” and “ahs” from the crowd. If you can’t make it to the big event, worry not—you can see the tree (and snap plenty of photos of it) through early January.

  • Bergdorf Goodman, this landmark department store is known for high-end designer clothes & shoes, plus premier service and during the Christmas Season is well known for its holiday window displays that burst with color and energy.

Bergdorf Goodman
754 5th Ave, New York, NY 10019

  • Columbus Circle Holiday MarketWinter holiday market selling crafts, art, home accessories & food from outdoor vendors.

Columbus Circle Holiday Market
Columbus Cir & 59th Street, New York, NY 10019

  • Dyker Heights Christmas Lights, Brooklyn: The residents of the Dyker Heights homes stretching from 11th to 13th avenues and 83rd to 86th streets, decorate with bright lights, life-size nutcrackers and teddy bears, animatronic toys, nativity scenes, flashing LED light snowflakes, and any other flashy decoration imaginable.

Dyker Heights Christmas Lights

While Manhattan has the Rockefeller tree lighting and the holiday window displays –  Dyker Heights in Brooklyn might just be the most lit neighborhood in the city!

Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, New York

  • Central Park Harlem Meer 

  • Rockefeller Center: Lace up those skates and hit the ice under the dazzling Christmas Tree and gold plated Prometheus statue.

Rockefeller Center, New York, NY 10111

  • Macy's Herald Square: The flagship store on 34th Street Herald Square is a must-see for New Yorkers and out-of-towners during the holiday season. 

151 West 34th Street, New York, NY 10001

While you’re looking for the best things to do in New York City during the holiday season, consider staying at the best Christmas hotels. While New York's elaborate Christmas window displays may get all of the attention in December, the hotels in Manhattan go all out in their holiday decor as well!

Lotte New York Palace, 455 Madison Ave, New York, New York

While most hotels are very well decorated for the holiday season, here's a list of the top hotels in New York City that go all out with their Christmas displays and holiday decor.

* Four Seasons Hotel New York
* Waldorf Astoria New York, New York
* Le Parker Meridien
* The Standard East Village
* Gramercy Park Hotel

Where to Stay in New York City:

New York hotels are somewhat more expensive than hotels in the rest of the U.S., but most travelers going to the city are prepared to pay more for their accommodations. Most travelers, even those going to NYC for the first time, realize that finding a place to stay in the city can be a daunting task. On the other hand, finding affordable accommodations is possible, even in Manhattan. If there is an area of the city where you prefer to find your accommodations, it is still possible to find something on the more affordable end of the price range that is within that location.

New York City`s Theater District, Times Square brings the vibrant energy and excitement to the city. This iconic symbol is always abuzz with entertainment from the thrilling Broadway shows, outdoor concerts, and sports games. Be apart of the studio audience for Good Morning America, Saturday Night Live or the Today Show. Tour the variety of shops and restaurants along the brightly lit streets. Check out Madame Tussauds and Ripley`s Believe it or Not, one of Times Square`s newest attractions.

The Peninsula Hotel, New York City

There are plenty of large New York hotels that are situated near major attractions such as Broadway and Lincoln Center. These larger hotels are often listed at prices that match their high-end addresses in Manhattan. On the other hand, there are a few smaller establishments within this area of the city that offer rooms at much more affordable prices than the larger corporate names.
 The key to finding accommodations in these smaller establishments is to plan your trip early by choosing your dates and then searching online to choose your accommodations.

The Warwick Hotel, New York City

Hotels.com offers great rates on many of the large New York hotels as well as those smaller establishments and is well worth checking their site for these specials. Another popular site for finding great deals in New York City is Booking.com .

If you're looking to book your New York City hotel from the UK check out Expedia.co.uk  for some great deals.

St. Regis Hotel, New York City

When it comes to finding accommodations in New York City, the option of sorting New York hotels according to their locations is an important one for a lot of travelers. If you would like to be near the theater district, you will notice that the big corporate hotels are very expensive. If you are trying to meet a specific travel budget, you will want to look for smaller, boutique hotels with fewer guestrooms and, in most cases, without an elevator. If these features sound okay to you, choosing one of the small, privately run establishments will help you to meet your set travel budget while letting you enjoy all that the city has to offer.

And finally, if you happen to be spending the rest of the year's holiday season in the Big Apple and will be in the city during the New Year here's one final event of MUST DOs...

  • New Years Eve, Times Square: Celebrate where the ball drops, fireworks burst and the streets are bathed in a literal ton of confetti.

New Years Eve, Times Square, New York City

Related Article:   The Best Christmas Hotels in New York City

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