Things To Do In NYC: Holiday Edition

By A Charlie Brown Christmas, Bryant Park, central park, christmas, Christmas Eve, Christmas Spectacular, Christmas tree, Columbus Circle, Grand Central Station, holidays, ice-skating, Lasker rink, Lincoln Center, Lord and Taylor, macys, nyc, NYC Ballet, Radio City Music Hall, Rob Thomas, Rockefeller, rockettes, The Nutcracker, Tiffany and Co., union square, Washinton Square Park, Winter Village, Wollman rink,

Years ago, listening to Rob Thomas’s “A New York City Christmas” was enough to convince me that New York was a magical place to be during the holiday season. Now that I live here, my expectations have been surpassed.

Seeing the amount of work that the people of New York put into transforming their city is in and of itself, magnificent. It takes weeks to set up lights, holiday shops, windows and, of course, trees!

The Christmas Trees of NYC

There is an immense amount of work that goes into the preparation of the Rockefeller Christmas Tree.

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

It takes over a year of searching and planning to decide on the perfect tree.  This year’s tree is an 80-year-old, 10-ton Norway spruce from Gardiner, New York. There are over 45,000 lights on a wire that stretches five miles long. The tree is decorated so meticulously, that every angle offers a good view.

There are also other Christmas trees around the city that you will not want to miss! Washington Square Park has a beautiful tree underneath the arch.

Bryant Park also has a Christmas tree, but the park is a must for different reasons entirely.


The ice-skating at Bryant Park is often recommended over Rockefeller Center ice-skating because A) it is free (although if you need to rent skates, you have to pay), and B) it tends to be less crowded. This is a perk for those of us that can’t maneuver on skates as well as we would like.

Bryant Park Ice Skating

Bryant Park Ice Skating

There are also two spots to ice-skate in Central Park, the Wollman Rink, near the Central Park Zoo, and the Lasker Rink, located in the middle of the park. The Wollman Rink is closer to a lot of the other Christmas activities, although the Lasker Rink will most likely be less crowded.

Looking for a romantic date night or something fun for the kids? Ice-skating should definitely be at the top of the list!

Holiday Markets

Now, back to Bryant Park. It is also known for its Winter Village shops. There are over 125 boutiques from all over the world that display stunning gift ideas for just about everyone on your list!

Even if you’re one of those people that somehow miraculously has their shopping done already, it is still a joy to wander in and out of these shops. Maybe grab a cup of hot cocoa on a cold winter night!

There are several other holiday shops to check out too! One of your priorities should be Columbus Circle – located near the southwest entrance to Central Park.

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Union Square Market

Not only are there more amazing gift options from artisans and designers, but also some great food too! Union Square has a great holiday market that is open from Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve.

Grand Central even has a holiday market with over 75 vendors!

Window Displays

I have not forgotten about the holiday window displays, with Macy’s, of course, being the most famous. They choose an exquisite theme each year, this year being no exception.

Unveiling of Macy's Window Displays

Unveiling of Macy’s Window Displays

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” Macy’s designed an interactive, unmissable “Peanut’s” gallery! The inside of Macy’s is also beautifully decorated although, I always have a hard time leaving once I step inside this ten-story wonderland!

While I would rank Macy’s at the top of the list, Lord and Taylor and Tiffany and Co. also have enchanting window displays that are worth checking out.

And More…

Now, I know most of the things that I have mentioned are outdoor activities, but if you need a break from the cold, there are things to do indoors as well. The Radio City Christmas Spectacular is an unforgettable experience.

Not only will you see plenty of high kicks from the Rockettes, but “The Living Nativity” and “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” are also unmissable features.

The New York City Ballet will also be presenting The Nutcracker at Lincoln Center.

I haven’t seen it yet, but I am dying to! Experiencing The Nutcracker in some shape or form is a great way to celebrate the Holidays!

Now I know that this is an extensive list, but do the things that jump out at you the most and, in the words of Rob Thomas, have a “Merry New York Christmas!”