What to see and do
The 90th Anniversary Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, featuring giant helium balloons, musical performances, marching bands from across the country, and special celebrity appearances kicks off the holiday season on November 24.
The world-famous Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting ceremony takes place on November 30, and the tree remains lit through January 7.
The Rockettes kick their way into the holidays as the Radio City Christmas Spectacular returns from November 11-January 2. The production will dazzle audiences with brand new dance numbers, extravagant costumes, and traditional fan favorites. (www.radiocitychristmas.com)
The New York City Ballet presents George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, one of the most beloved and anticipated holiday classics, from November 25-December 31. (www.nycballet.com)
A Slice of Brooklyn’s Christmas Lights Tour, running December 1-31 (excluding Christmas Eve and Christmas Day), will dazzle guests with Dyker Heights’ sparkling lights exhibitions featuring 30-foot-tall toy soldiers and nativity scenes. (www.asliceofbrooklyn.com)
The New York Botanical Garden’s cherished ‘Holiday Train Show®’ celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. Coney Island’s Cyclone and Wonder Wheel and the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge make their debuts alongside 150 iconic building models in the display that features model trains traveling through the miniature city landscape. The show runs from November 19-January 16. (www.nybg.org)
A classic holiday tradition continues with the 13th Annual St. George Theatre Christmas Show from December 9 - December 11. Just steps from the Staten Island Ferry, this two-hour production features over 100 actors, a live orchestra and numerous holiday standards set in holiday scenes from the North Pole to the surrounding neighborhoods of Staten Island. (www.stgeorgetheatre.com)
Visitors can enjoy one of the City’s many outdoor skating rinks that are open during the holiday season such as the Rink at Rockefeller Center (www.therinkatrockcenter.com), Wollman Rink in Central Park (www.wollmanskatingrink.com), the Rink at Brookfield Place (www.gpice.com), and Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park (www.wintervillage.org).
The Louis Armstrong House Museum, a national historic landmark, hosts annual holiday tours throughout the holiday season, featuring Louis Armstrong’s voice recording of “’Twas the Night before Christmas (A Visit from St. Nicholas)” from December 1-30. (www.louisarmstronghouse.org)
The Guinness World Record-winning Gingerbread Lane at New York Hall of Science returns from November 11-January 15, displaying more than 1,000 handmade gingerbread houses and structures. (www.nysci.org)
Both the Manhattan and Brooklyn Grand Army Plazas host special menorah lighting celebrations each day through the festival of lights, December 25-31.
Where to shop
Many of the City’s famed department stores, including Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdales, Lord & Taylor, and Tiffany & Co. design elaborate holiday window displays that can be enjoyed throughout the holiday season.
Perhaps the most famous stretch of retail in the world, Fifth Avenue has housed the biggest fashion and consumer brands for over 100 years. From specialty shops to department stores, Fifth Avenue between 49th and 60th Streets has something for everyone on your holiday list.
New York City’s beloved holiday markets return this year to locations across the City including Bryant Park (October 30-January 3), Union Square (November 17-December 24), Columbus Circle (November 29-December 24), and Grand Central Terminal (November 14-December 24). Visitors and locals can find homemade treats and presents for every family member.
Brookfield Place, which opened in Lower Manhattan last year, is the height of luxury shopping in NYC with retailers including Ermenegildo Zegna, Gucci, Tory Burch, and Salvatore Ferragamo.
Newly-opened Westfield World Trade Center houses more than 100 stores and is a destination in itself, combining retail, dining, culture, art, and architecture. (www.westfield.com) Where to stay
Visitors have no shortage of options when it comes to new hotels this holiday season, including The Beekman, Four Seasons New York Downtown and Arlo Hotels’ two new properties.
Z Hotel NYC is offering a Making Memories Package from October 7 to December 24. Components of the package include a Deluxe Queen overlooking the Manhattan skyline, dinner for two in the hotel’s new restaurant, the ceLLar bar, ice skating at Rockefeller Center, and a picture flip book capturing memories of your NYC trip. (www.zhotelny.com)
For the holiday shopping season, ROW NYC offers a Bloomingdales Shop & Stay package, providing guests with a Bloomingdales’ $50 gift card, duffle bag, VIP leather wallet, key chain and special in-store offers. (www.rownyc.com)
Conrad New York will again offer its Conrad Skate package, including a stay in the hotel’s luxurious suites, breakfast at ATRIO Wine Bar & Restaurant and private skating lessons with Olympic skaters at The Rink at Brookfield Place, with a special autographed takeaway gift and hot cocoa at the hotel, post-skating.
Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve, The Time Hotel New York offers a Holiday On Point Package. The offer includes Caviar pizza from Serafina paired with a Magnum bottle of Dom Perignon Rose Champagne delivered to the suite at midnight, as well as overnight accommodations in the Triplex Penthouse Suite and limo transfers to and from the airport. (www.thetimehotels.com)
The Surrey is launching a new package, Champagne Wishes to celebrate the holidays and toast the New Year in true luxury. Visitors who reserve a salon or suite during the holiday season will receive a child bottle of Veuve Cliquot, Champagne Truffles and a Champagne and Pearl Sugar treatment at the hotel’s Cornelia Spa. (www.surrey.com)
During December, The Loews Regency offers unique and festive holiday experiences, including a 15-foot-tall Christmas tree.(www.loewshotels.com)
Celebrate Thanksgiving at The Paul NYC from November 17 - 30th, and enjoy 12 percent savings. (www.thepaulnyc.com)
Where to eat
Tavern on the Green, the Central Park holiday mainstay, offers a three-course prix-fixe Brunch menu from 9am-3pm. For Christmas Eve and Christmas Day they will offer their Traditional Tavern on the Green Christmas dinner for $125 per person. Seating will be 4pm-11pm on Christmas Eve and 11am-9pm on Christmas Day. (www.tavernonthegreen.com)
The Palm Court at The Plaza offers special Christmas high tea service with a three-tiered assortment of holiday delicacies on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day for $125 per person. Their holiday menu runs from November 1 - January 3.
Marcus Samuelsson’s Red Rooster Harlem presents a three-course prix-fixe menu for $55 per person featuring American holiday staples such as cornbread, honey glazed ham, and roast turkey.
David Chang’s renowned Momofuku Ko presents an eight-course tasting menu for both lunch and dinner on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day for $225 per person (https://ko.momofuku.com)
Geoffrey Zakarian’s The Lambs Club presents a Holiday Carolers Brunch each Saturday in December and Christmas Day, featuring a traditional caroling troupe. Reservations are $68 Per adult and $35 per child. (www.thelambsclub.com)