Rockette's in NYC

9 Iconic New York City Holiday Experiences to Add to Your Bucketlist

New York during the holiday season is one of the most beautiful sights in the world. From the twinkling lights to the ice-skating in Rockefeller Center, it doesn’t get much better than this. With an abundance to do and see, where does one begin?  We’ve compiled a special New York holiday to-do list to ensure you make the most out of the merriest and brightest season!

Macy's Thanksgiving Parade

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

If your holiday travel plans don’t put you in the Big Apple at Christmastime, there is still holiday cheer to be had at the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade! The historical parade will march down 34th Street with balloons, bands, cheerleaders, celebrities, and of course, Santa will arrive at the end of the parade, signifying the official kick-off to the holiday season.

If crowds and early mornings aren’t for you, the parade balloons are blown up the night before, and is known as Inflation Night, which you can attend instead. Get up close and personal with these massive balloons and watch them come to life.

Radio City Christmas Spectacular

While shows in the New York City area can be costly, The Radio City Christmas Spectacular is an experience unlike any other! This is the perfect show to get in the holiday spirit, and it’s perfect for the whole family.

The iconic Rockette’s kick, smile, dance, and sing in this 90-minute spectacular. From reindeer to a live nativity scene with animals, this high-energy kickoff to the holiday season will thrill even the oldest members of the family.

The show has multiple times. Go as early as 9:00 a.m. or as late as 10:00 p.m. The show runs from late November to early January, annually.

Rockefeller Christmas

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree & Ice Rink

It’s not Christmas in New York without a trip to one of the largest Christmas Trees in the world! Sitting in the famous Rockefeller Center is the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree and Ice Rink.

If you time your trip around the first few weeks of the holiday season, you might get to watch the tree get lit for the very first time. This TV broadcast is one of the highest watched events, next to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Super Bowl.

From its initial lighting, the tree stays until the first week of January. While you’re in the area, visit the world-renowned Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, which is open for a public mass on Christmas Day.

Macy’s Windows (Herald Square) and Fifth Avenue Windows

Macy’s offers those who window-shop a whole new display around the holiday season. The department store features interactive window displays lining every corner surrounding the store.

Inside the store, there is more magic to behold as well. Based on Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus, the little ones in the family can experience the magic of writing letters to Santa, help Santa deliver his gifts virtually, and take in the magic of what it means to believe in Santa.

Fifth Avenue is home to some of the biggest fashion designers in the world, and similar to Macy’s, their store windows feature elaborate displays. Some of the top window displays every year include Tiffany and Co., Saks Fifth Ave, Barney’s, Lord and Taylor and Bergdorf Goodman.

Ice Skating at Wollman Rink

There is nothing quite like ice skating on a snowy day. Take your ice skating experience to the next level at Wollman Rink in Central Park. With the sprawling New York City skyscrapers set as the backdrop, get lost in the charm and history of Wollman Rink.

A trip to Wollman won’t be complete without a carriage ride through Central Park, so make sure to add that to your list as well. Nothing is more relaxing than an evening carriage ride while enjoying a New York City snowfall.

New York City Ballet’s The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker is a classic Christmas tale, and its brought to life at the New York City Ballet. Watching a performance of The Nutcracker by one of the best ballet companies in the world is an absolute bucket-list experience! The show runs from November to December at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center.

Times Square NYE

New Years Eve in Times Square

If your vacation to the Big Apple coincides with New Year’s Eve, you should head to Times Square to see the ball drop at midnight! A piece of advice: arrive early if you want in on the action. Millions come to Times Square every year to mark the arrival of the New Year, and it gets crowded very quickly.

With celebrity musical guests and fireworks, who can resist a New Years kiss with confetti (and lots of it!) pouring down on them? Bring in the New Year in Times Square; it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Bryant Park’s Winter Village

Bryant Park, located just south of Times Square and Broadway is home to the Bryant Park Winter Village. The village is comprised of unique shops and dining stalls where the holiday season magic is felt in full swing. Bryant Park also houses an ice rink and winter concerts in the park.

Christmas Lights Bus Tours

One of the more unique bus tours in New York City during the holiday season will take you to some of the most iconic places in New York City. Perfect for all ages, the two and a half hour bus tour gives families the comfort of a guided, heated bus tour.

Some of the attractions you will visit include the apartment where Buddy the Elf stayed with his father, the Rockefeller Christmas tree, the 34th Street shop windows that helped inspire Miracle on 34th Street, a visit to Lincoln Center, and so much more. The tour departs daily at 3:00 p.m. 

From all of us at 365 Tickets USA, Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for a Happy and Healthy New Year!

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