There’s no better time to visit New York than Christmas, when this dynamic city is magically transformed into a glittering wonderland. They take Christmas very seriously Stateside, and no window is left unadorned or department store devoid of a grotto. The faint hint of snow in the air, the ice rinks and sleigh rides, ducking into a diner for a seasonal hot chocolate and cinnamon cookie, checking out the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular – you can almost hear the jingle in the air as Father Christmas stops by for a look.
Ice skating is a must-do in New York at Christmas time. Wrap the kids up warm, fortify yourself with an eggnog, and take to the ice at the Rockefeller Center with its breathtaking, world-famous Christmas tree or The Pond at Bryant Park. And while nobody does Christmas markets quite like they do in Austria, NYC’s are wonderful, atmospheric and fun, from the splendour of the Grand Central Terminal’s Holiday Fair to the German-style fair in Central Park. There are always things for the little ones to do while you’re eyeing up the merits of the jewellery and other goodies on offer.
Indeed, NYC is a wonderful place to go shopping year-round but especially at Christmas – kids love the live window displays with their dancing elves and Santas. Macys, Saks 5th Avenue, Barneys on Madison Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdales, and Lord & Taylors have gorgeous windows, generous Santas and inspired shopping.
Many of the best holiday shows and kids’ events are those hosted by the city’s top museums, beginning with the lighting of the Christmas tree candles, the most famous of which are at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the American Museum of Natural History. You should also head for Little Italy, which is transformed for the season with parades, carol-singers in costume with lanterns, dazzling Christmas lights, street fairs and wonderful feasts. Or see the lights and trees shimmer at St John the Divine on Riverside, the Bronx Zoo, the Lincoln Center and the Rockefeller Center, truly dazzling after dark. Times Square and Broadway are also lit up by enough wattage to be visible from Space.
Other highlights are The Nutcracker at the New York City Ballet, the Holiday Train from Grand Central Station to the ‘North Pole’ and Santa’s workshop, the Big Apple Circus at the Lincoln Center, the ‘Messiah’ at St John the Divine (see above), sleigh rides round Central Park (see above), and a trip up the Empire State Building at dusk to look at the lights from on-high.
- That’s one big tree! Watch as the Christmas tree is erected in Rockefeller Center (photoblog.nbcnews.com)
- World’s Best Places to Spend Christmas Holidays (startowntravelsite.wordpress.com)