The Holiday Season in the Big Apple

Updated December 2022

Each year on Thanksgiving morning, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade takes place in New York City and signals the beginning of the holiday season in the city. Whether you see it in person or on tv, it’s a start to the holiday season. New York City is definitely a magical place to visit between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.

Here are some of my favorite things to see and do during the holiday season in New York City.

Radio City Music Hall

Christmas Spectacular starring the Radio City Rockettes: What is more iconic than seeing the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall? The first show was on December 21, 1933. Since then, it has grown so much in popularity that there are multiple shows a day from November thru the beginning of January each year. The music and dancing will definitely get you in the holiday spirit. It runs thru January 2, 2023, and is definitely a must see for the holiday season.

Not only is the show great, but Radio City Music Hall is just beautiful.

Rockefeller Center: Nearby Radio City is Rockefeller Center. This is a must visit during the holiday season. There is no more iconic New York City holiday view than the Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center. Every year the Wednesday after Thanksgiving, they have a tree lighting ceremony. The first ceremony took place in 1931 and it has been televised since 1951. I’m sure most of you have seen the photos of the tree arriving in Rockefeller Center last year from upstate New York. In full 2020 fashion, the photos of the tree looking more like a Charlie Brown Christmas tree were all over social media and then there was an owl stuck in the tree. You just couldn’t make this stuff up in 2020! Well, luckily, the owl was saved, and the tree was as beautiful as ever for a somewhat different lighting last year. In 2022, the tree will be lit on Wednesday November 30th and televised on NBC.

Beneath the Christmas tree is the popular ice rink. The rink will be open thru March 2023 and will require a timed ticket to enter.

Saks Fifth Avenue Light Show: Just across from Rockefeller Center is the Saks Fifth Avenue Store. Each night from 5pm – 11pm, every 10 minutes they display their Holiday Light Show throughout the holiday season. Set to music, the lights on the building dance along to the songs, it’s definitely worth seeing.

Saks Fifth Avenue Holiday Light Show
Wollman Rink in Central Park

Ice skating in Central Park: Rockefeller Center is not the only spot for ice skating in New York City, the Wollman Rink at Central Park is another great place to skate off all the delicious holiday treats. Ice skating is the only thing I enjoy about winter. It’s such a fun winter activity and pretty much the only athletic thing I did as a kid. Ice skating in Central Park with the New York City skyline creating a beautiful city backdrop is just amazing. The rink is open this season thru March 15, 2023.

Bryant Park Ice Rink

Winter Village in Bryant Park: Another great place to ice skate in NYC is Bryant Park. The great thing about skating at Bryant Park is it’s free if you have your own ice skates. Skates are available to rent if you do not have your own. The rink is open until March 5, 2023, and reservations are required.

While at Bryant Park, make sure to check out the holiday shops which are a great place to find unique gifts to buy from local artisans. Great place to support small business and find that special one of a kind gift. The shops will be open thru January 2, 2023.

Shopping: We all have Christmas shopping to do and what better place to do it than New York City. The city has every store you can possibly imagine. From the high-end stores of 5th Avenue to the iconic Macy’s in Herald Square to the holiday markets spread throughout the city, there is something for everyone. Heading to Macy’s in Herald Square is a must, the windows outside are great for the whole family to see.

Located on the west side of Midtown Manhattan is Hudson Yards which includes over 100 stores. Besides the shopping, many visit during the holiday season to see the holiday decor. Shine Bright at Hudson Yards includes over 2 million lights and a 32-foot hot air balloon hanging from the ceiling, it’s definitely a beautiful site to see.

Walking throughout the city and particularly along 5th Avenue, you will find holiday decor on the sidewalks and in the shop’s windows.

Food: No trip is complete to New York City without food! The holiday season is a perfect time to find a great independent cafe and grab a hot chocolate and a sugary snack to warm up from the cold weather and fuel up for more holiday activities.

New York City is the perfect place to visit during the holiday season. It will definitely get you into the holiday spirit! Let the holidays begin!

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33 thoughts on “The Holiday Season in the Big Apple

  1. My favorite tree is the one at Bryant Park, I like the red, white, and blue ornaments. I am hoping to see some of the trees this year. My office is a few blocks from Rockefeller so I always stopped by on my lunch break last year.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. December in NYC is definitely on my travel bucket list and you’ve just moved it up near the top! Thanks for sharing all the amazing things to do and the lovely photos which accompanied.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a fantastic city to be able to visit at Christmas time…hopefully one year! Love reading about all the wonderful things to do at Christmas, even though this one will be very different for all of us! I’ve been in the summer and loved it…so much to see and so many wonderful neighbourhoods. Bryant Park was actually a favourite place of mine to just sit and people watch! Stay safe.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Skating in NYC is such a bucket list item! You always see it in all the movies, and it would be so fun to do in person. I love how big cities get really festive around the holidays!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What a lovely post to read! My husband is from NYC and heard a lot of fun stuff you can do around the Big Apple! Can’t wait for our family to spend our 1st Christmas in NYC soon.

    Liked by 1 person

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