• Spirit Of The Season: Holiday Happenings In NYC

    Our Ultimate Guide For A Classic New York Holiday (Best Trees, Brightest Lights, Jolliest Santas, and More)

    By September Broadhead, Lauren Vespoli, Miriam Herst, Felicia Czochanski, Nora Fried
    Full tree shot_RM_7693

    AMNH Origami Tree

    TREES
    From origami to 18th-Century decorations, NYC’s most notable Christmas trees boast a variety of extravagant trimmings.

    American Museum of Natural History: This year’s 13-foot Origami Holiday Tree is “Night at the Museum”-themed, featuring origami models of characters and featured artifacts from the movie. On display

    Bryant Park: Tens of thousands of lights and ornaments decorate this spruce tree, which, at 50 feet tall, towers over the free-admission 170-ft by 100-ft ice skating rink and pop-up shops. On display

    Dante Park at Lincoln Square: This year’s 25-foot Balsam Fir hails from West Leyden, New York, and features vintage-style silver glass glitter ornaments. On display

    Madison Square Park: Dating back to 1912, this is one of the oldest holiday trees in the city. The lighting ceremony will feature festive performances by Audra Rox and more. Lighting 12/9

    Metropolitan Museum of Art: Decorated with smiling Neapolitan angels and chubby cherubs, this tree transports visitors back to the 18th century. Lightings occur every Friday and Saturday evening. On display

    Rockefeller Center: The iconic spruce is a worldwide symbol of the holidays in NYC. It features more than five miles of 30,000 environmentally-friendly LED lights and a Swarovski crystal star. On display

    St. John the Divine: The Peace Tree stands as a symbol of longevity and happiness, boasting 1,000 paper cranes. On display

    Washington Square Park: Catch the annual lighting of the 45-ft Christmas tree under the Washington Square Arch. Lighting 12/11

    LIGHTS
    Bright lights, big city—these displays will add some sparkle to your season.

    Garabedian Family Christmas House: Don’t miss nearly 200 animated figurines grooving to holiday music in this Bronx family’s front yard.

    Dyker Heights, Brooklyn: Made famous by the PBS documentary “Dyker Lights,” this neighborhood display has been wowing locals and tourists alike for over 20 years, featuring motorized displays and
    toy soldiers 30 feet tall.

    World’s Largest Menorah at Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza: This menorah stands at a whopping 32 feet tall. Lightings every night of Hanukkah are accompanied by live music and latkes for all. 12/16-23

    Santa’s Corner in Bayside, Queens: At the intersection of 166th Street and 23rd Avenue in Queens you’ll find thousands of glittering lights amidst other lit lawn figures, and a glass display case filled with moving toys.

    Winter Garden: Check out 100,000 twinkling lights strung across a grove of 45-ft tall palm trees, against a backdrop of One World Trade Center and Lower Manhattan skyline.

    DEPARTMENT STORE WINDOWS
    Nothing says Christmas in New York like these lavish window wonderlands.

    Barneys: Have a “BAZ DAZZLED” holiday! Director and costume designer power couple Baz Luhrmann and Catherine Martin designed these fantastical scenes, featuring everything from woodland creatures to ice skaters.

    003_Rzehavi_BG_window_holiday2013-2

    A 2013 Bergdorf window

    Bergdorf Goodman: Bergdorf wishes you an “Inspired” holiday with its “The Arts”–titled windows, celebrating creativity from literature—depicted by a crimson library—to music, represented by a “modern boogie-woogie bugle girl.”

    Bloomingdale’s: Bloomies goes high-tech with interactive windows featuring games and opportunities to interact with the retailer’s social media channels.

    Henri Bendel: Visit Bendel’s enchanted garden—this magical vintage landscape is filled with sparkling accessories, evergreen Cyprus trees, cobblestones, fountains, and Louise the Elephant.

    Lord & Taylor: Lord & Taylor’s windows take viewers on a journey through an enchanted mansion, in a whimsical yet modern ode to the building’s century of history.

    Macy’s: These “Santa’s Journey to the Stars”-themed windows trace the adventuresof a boy’s imaginary space journey with St. Nick, showcasing planet-scapes, custom-designed toys, and an interactive game.

    Saks Fifth Avenue: Saks transforms 5th Avenue into “An Enchanted Experience,” with a first-of-a-kind show complete with video projections, LEDs, and strobe lights depicting the glamorous Art Deco style of the 1920s.

    Tiffany & Co.: Tiffany delights with windows harking back to the elegance of ’50s and ’60s New York, as graphic figures frolic in the City’s holiday landscape.A light show dazzles every 15 minutes from 4pm until midnight.

    SANTAS
    Cruise, dine, or take a selfie with Old St. Nick—here’s hoping you made the nice list!

    ABC Carpet and Home: Take a photo with Santa amidst the store’s cozy yet ethereal décor. Weekends through 12/21

    Macy’s Santaland: You’ll be transported to the North Pole as you visit with St. Nick in this 13,000-square-ft holiday wonderland, complete with elves and puppets. Ongoing

    The Plaza Hotel: Little ones can sip tea and nibble mini sandwiches as they hear Santa tell a story, and get their photos taken with the Big Man in Red at this Rawther Fancy Tea. 12/3-19

    Ridge Hill, Westchester: Join Shrek and his friends on an unforgettable adventure to find Santa in the North Pole in this immersive holiday hunt. Through 12/24

    Rock Center Café: Enjoy a sweet breakfast with Santa at one of the city’s most festive locations, followed by a jolly skating performance by him and his elves. Through 12/24

    ZEPHYR Cruise Circle Line: Cruise on the Hudson with Santa, and enjoy interactive games, a DJ, and dancing. 12/13 & 12/20

    HOLIDAY MARKETS
    Perusing these festive markets for one-of-a-kind toys and trinkets will get you in the holiday mood.

    Artists & Fleas, Williamsburg: Hip families can check out the recent holiday expansion of this art and flea market, and be serenaded with acoustic sets by local bands on select weekends throughout the month. Weekends through 12/28

    Brooklyn Flea Winter Flea + Holiday Market: Browse more than 100 vendors indoors for a special antique or vintage gift in a new 30,000-square-ft space in Crown Heights. Through March

    Bryant Park: Visit more than 125 boutique-like vendors for unique gift inspiration, for everyone from mom and dad to the family cat. Through 1/4

    Columbus Circle: Situated at Central Park’s Southwest corner, this picturesque market boasts more than 100 vendors selling everything from artisan chocolates to hand-crafted wooden puzzles. Through 12/24

    Grand Central Terminal: New York’s longest-running indoor holiday market welcomes 22 new artists and businesses among its 76 vendors this year. Through 12/24

    Union Square: Featuring a variety of unique items, from stylish pet accessories to bespoke crafts, this holiday classic attracts more than 1 million visitors each year. Through 12/24

    ICE SKATING
    Skip the line (and the tourists) at Rockefeller Center and get some quality ice time at one of these other city rinks.

    Chelsea Piers: Enjoy twin rinks with beautiful views of the Hudson River—plus helmet rentals for parental peace of mind.

    LeFrak Center at Lakeside: Choose between two 16,000-square-ft rinks—one covered and one open—or skate over the ice bridge between them, against the gorgeous backdrop of Prospect Park Lake.

    The Rink at Brookfield Place: This 7,503-square-ft rink is bigger than Rockefeller Center’s, and looks in on the Winter Garden’s holiday lights.

    Riverbank State Park: This rink overlooking the Hudson, located in Upper Manhattan, boasts some of the cheapest skating in the city, with $5 admission for adults and $3 admission for children.

    The Standard, High Line: Enjoy this stylish skating atmosphere, where you can sip on white hot chocolate and nibble on doughnuts and waffles.

    South Street Seaport: Get in the holiday spirit at this downtown rink, which hosts carolers every weekend through December.

    Trump-Wollman Rink: This Central Park rink limits each skating session to 28 participants, so there’s plenty of ice to go around.

    “NUTCRACKER” SHOWS
    Renditions abound of this classic holiday ballet. This season, catch the Sugar Plum Fairy at one of these enchanting shows.

    Brighton Ballet Theater: This Russian Ballet School production, featuring over 80 young dancers, takes Tchaikovsky’s classic back to its roots. 12/20

    The Colonial Nutcracker: Created especially for ages 5-10, this historical production at the Brooklyn Center for Performing Arts sets the story in Yorktown during the Revolutionary war. 12/14

    Dances Patrelle (Yorkville Nutcracker): This family classic takes the audience through old New York, featuring the city’s most beloved landmarks, and gives young dancers and opportunity to dance alongside the pros. 12/4-7

    The Knickerbocker Suite: This show by the Manhattan Youth Ballet and Manhattan Movement & Arts Center takes place in NYC, featuring the Statue of Liberty, 5th Avenue shoppers, and Central Park. 12/12-14 & 12/19-21

    new york theater ballet

    New York Theatre Ballet’s “Nutcracker”

    New York City Ballet: The richness of Balanchine’s classic rendition will transport you to a land of sweets and keep the little ones rapt. Through 1/3

    New York Theatre Ballet: This Nutcracker will be in the city for just one weekend this year—catch Keith Michael’s inventive choreography. 12/19-21

    Puppetworks: “The Nutcracker” is accompanied by Anderson’s “Steadfast Tin Soldier” at this annual Puppetworks performance, perfect for ages 3 and up. 12/26-30

    CAROLS
    Here we come a-caroling—bundle up and take the family out for a festive sing-a-long.

    Gramercy Park: This gated park opens its doors to the public on Christmas Eve for caroling beside its tree. 12/24

    St. Bartholomew’s: Enjoy evening caroling on the steps of this iconic Midtown church. 12/15

    St. John the Divine: This annual Christmas Concert features Bach’s “Gloria in Excelcis Deo” alongside a capella motets and beloved carols. 12/13

    St. Patrick’s Cathedral: Sing along to traditional and contemporary carols performed by the cathedral’s own choir and other local choruses. 12/18

    West Village: Join the West Village Chorale for their 40th annual festive caroling walk through the Village’s historic streets. 12/20

    Washington Square: The Rob Susman Brass Quartet will accompany carolers under the Arch this Christmas Eve. Songbooks provided. 12/24

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