New York City radiates with the spirit of the holiday season as visitors experience stunning decorations, spectacular events and world-renowned entertainment. Why not take a trip up the east coast and enjoy everything the city has to offer during this very special time of year?
The holiday season kicks off when soaring balloons, beautifully crafted floats and of course Santa Claus himself arrive in Herald Square during the 84th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade as it begins at 9 am on 77th Street and Central Park West.
November 5 – December 30
Now in its 78th year, Radio City Music Hall’s Christmas Spectacular continues to amaze both visitors and residents alike. Experience the joy of Christmas with performances by the world-famous Rockettes along with stunning special effects, costumes and excitement that will create lasting memories.
Ticket prices start at $45
November 17 – January 2
The Theater at Madison Square Garden will host Wintuk, a Cirque du Soleil holiday production, for its fourth and final season.
Tickets range from $30 to $220, with a special 30 percent discount for select children’s tickets
The Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting draws holiday visitors from around the world. Decorated in festive LED lights and topped with a Swarovski crystal star, the tree, which has become more eco-friendly in recent years, can be viewed till early January
November 26 – January 2
The New York City Ballet will present one of the season’s favorite annual productions: George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker. The show is truly a magical experience—whether it’s a family tradition or a once-in-a-lifetime event.
Tickets range from $20 to $135
December 1 – January 9
The lavish Midtown hotel Le Parker Meridien will host its second annual Gingerbread Extravaganza, during which local bakeries display their large-scale confectionary creations. For $1, vote on the best gingerbread design and enter to win a prize. All proceeds will benefit City Harvest, an organization that feeds hungry New Yorkers throughout the five boroughs.
Through January 9
The Big Apple Circus celebrates its 33rd season this year with an all-new show, Dance On! New York City’s circus returns to the big top at Lincoln Center. Seats are never more than 50 feet from the ring.
Tickets range from $15 to $92
November 21 – January 30
Visit The Jewish Museum on the Upper East Side to view The Hanukkah Project: Daniel Libeskind, featuring Hanukkah lamps from the museum’s collection, each with a rich and beautiful history.
In the Bronx, visitors can experience the Annual Holiday Family Day at the Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum from 10am to 2pm. Get into the spirit at the festively decorated 19th-century mansion. Reservations are requested; call 718-885-1461 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
November 20-January 9
Also in the Bronx, at the New York Botanical Garden, is the family favorite Holiday Train Show, featuring toy trains that zip through more than 100 replicas of NYC landmarks. Handcrafted by award-winning designers, the set is made from natural supplies such as orange slices, cinnamon sticks, bark and pinecones.
December 11 and December 18
In Staten Island,the annual Candlelight Tours will take place. See the sights and sounds of Historic Richmond Town, which will be lit by candles, oil lamps and blazing fireplaces.
Tickets cost $22 for adults and $10 for children 12 and under; prepaid reservations are required. Call 718-351-1611, ext. 281, for tour times and reservations www.historicrichmondtown.org.
Brooklyn comes alive for the holidays with the Lights of Dyker Heights. The spectacle attracts thousands of visitors during the holiday season. The best displays can be seen on the blocks between 83rd and 86th Streets from 11th to 13th Avenue in this small neighborhood between Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst.
December 1 – 9
During the week of Hanukkah, be sure to visit the Menorah of Brooklyn in downtown Brooklyn at Columbus Park, right outside Borough Hall. And in Manhattan, don’t miss the lighting of the World’s Largest Menorah at Fifth Avenue and 59th Street, right in front of the Plaza Hotel.
In Queens,the Queens Historical Society presents the Annual Historic Holiday House Tour from 1pm to 5pm. This guided trolley tour includes stops at five festively decorated museums and historical sites,
Tickets cost $10 for adults, with children under 12 free
November 27 – January 3
NYC & Company will once again launch its annual Harlem for the Holidays promotion. Harlem is a remarkable area to visit during the holidays, as it offers the finest in culture, dining, shopping and more. Sundays are always special in Harlem, when the many beautiful churches send the rousing sounds of gospel choirs through the historic brownstone-lined streets. Plus, it’s easier than ever to explore all that Harlem has to offer with free trolleys making stops throughout the neighborhood every Sunday
The City twinkles with holiday spirit, particularly as its famed stores and iconic hotels strive to outdo last year’s celebration. Bloomingdale’s, Bergdorf Goodman, Barneys, Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord & Taylor and Macy’s spruce up their window displays with beautiful holiday-themed decor that dazzles visitors year after year.Shoppers looking for unique gifts created by local artists and vendors flock to indoor and outdoor Holiday Markets at Columbus Circle, Bryant Park, Union Square and Grand Central Terminal.
You’ll find plenty of information to help plan your visit at www.nycgo.com
Where to Stay
With more than 77,000 hotel rooms in New York City there is certainly no shortage of places to stay. Some of our favorites include:
A stone’s throw from the MTV store, W New York-Times Square is in the heart of the theater district, with museums a few blocks north and downtown a quick subway ride away.
119 West 56th Street
Just steps away from Fifth Avenue shopping, Central Park and Broadway Theatres, enjoy newly renovated rooms, many with fantastic views. The hotel features three distinct dining options, gravity fitness and a spa.
35 E. 76th St. (at Madison Ave.)
The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel, has been called home by leaders in world affairs, business, entertainment and the arts since its debut in 1930. It is a true New York landmark.
80 Columbus Circle (at W. 60th St.)
Features 248 luxury guest rooms contemporary in design with stylish oriental flair, in addition to floor-to-ceiling views of Central Park and the Manhattan skyline.
Fifth Avenue (at Central Park South)
The Plaza Hotel has emerged from a $450 million transformation to reflect a new and contemporary spirit. While traditions remain, such as the opulent grandeur of the Beaux Arts décor, exciting new offerings include the elegant Champagne Bar and stylish Rose Club.
While you’re there why not see a show?
You may want to check out some of these plays opening this fall on Broadway
(Availability of all shows subject to change)
Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson
Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre,242 W. 45th St., 212-239-6200
Benjamin Walker plays America’s raucous and rebellious seventh president, writhing about the stage in tight pants and singing about wars with Native Americans.
Time Stands Still
The Cort Theatre, 138 W. 48th St., 212-239-6200
War photojournalist (Laura Linney) can’t seem to sacrifice her professional life for her personal life. Also starrring Eric Bogosian, Brian d’Arcy James and Christina Ricci
Circle in the Square Theatre, 1633 Broadway, 212-239-6200
Dan Lauria and Judith Light star in this play about the life of the celebrated Green Bay Packers coach based on the best-selling biography When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi.
Mrs. Warren’s Profession
American Airlines Theatre, 227 W. 42nd St., 212-719-1300
Cherry Jones plays Kitty Warren, a woman who sacrifices her virtue so her daughter, Vivie, played by Sally Hawkins could have an illustrious life complete with a Cambridge education in this George Bernard Shaw revivial.
Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
Belasco Theatre, 111 W. 44th St., 212-239-6200
Broadway vets Patti LuPone and Sherie Rene Scott to star in this new musical. based on Pedro Almodóvar’s 1988 Oscar-nominated film, an over-the-top story about a woman trying to track down her missing lover.
Driving Miss Daisy
Golden Theatre, 252 W. 45th St., 212-239-6200
Starring acting heavyweights Vanessa Redgrave and James Earl Jones, the Civil Rights–era drama is about the friendship between a rich, elderly Jewish woman and her black chauffeur.
The Scottsboro Boys
Lyceum Theatre, 149 W. 45th St., 212-239-6200
One of the last musicals John Kander wrote with his longtime lyricist, Fred Ebb, who died in 2004. The minstrel-style show tells the tale of nine African-American teenagers arrested in the 1930s for allegedly raping two white women and follows them through their subsequent trials.
The Merchant of Venice
Broadhurst Theatre, 235 W. 44th St., 212-239-6200
Al Pacino stars as Shylock, reviving his Shakespeare in the Park performance from this summer.
The Pee-wee Herman Show
Stephen Sondheim Theatre, 124 W. 43rd St., 212-239-6200
Pee-wee’s next big adventure is on Broadway. Paul Reubens brings his silly yet subversive brand of showbiz to the Great White Way. Don’t worry: his old friends Cowboy Curtis, Chairry and Miss Yvonne will also be on hand. (Show opens November 11).
Al Hirschfeld Theater, 302 W. 45th St., 212-239-6200
A musical version of the 2003 holiday movie about a human raised as an elf who leaves his home at the North Pole to search for his biological father. In an inspired bit of casting, Cheers star George Wendt will play Santa. Previews begin November 2; show opens November 10.
Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark
Foxwoods Theatre, 213 W. 42nd St., 212-556-4750
This much-anticipated musical, with music and lyrics by Bono and the Edge features Reeve Carney as the arachnid-afflicted Peter Parker and Jennifer Damiano as Mary Jane Watson. Julie Taymor is directing what’s sure to be a massive spectacle. Previews begin November 14; show opens December 21.
Tried and True options include:
The Addams Family at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre
American Idiot at the St. James Theatre
Billy Elliot the Musical at the Imperial Theatre
Chicago at the Ambassador Theatre
Jersey Boys at the August Wilson Theater
La Cage Aux Folles at the Longacre Theatre
The Lion King at the Minskoff Theatre
A Little Night Music at the Walter Kerr Theatre
Mary Poppins at the New Amsterdam Theatre
Memphis at the Shubert Theatre
Million Dollar Quartet at the Nederlander Theatre
Promises, Promises at the Broadway Theatre
Rock of Ages at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre
West Side Story at the Palace Theatre
Wicked at the Gershwin Theatre