Thanksgiving and the rest of the winter holiday season are on our doorstep, and for those who revel in winter festivities, there is no destination like New York City! So for those headed to the Northeast in the coming months, we’ve compiled a list of awesome and fun things to do and see with family and friends. Remember to book your bus to New York as far in advance as possible, as seats sell out quickly, and shows are booked early!
Here are our picks for the best of NYC’s famous winter attractions:
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade: November 28, 9:00am
Now in its 87th year, this spectacular parade is viewed by nearly 50 million people at home and in the streets annually. A staple of the holiday season, its famous balloons have served as plot devices on both Seinfeld and Friends. New balloon additions this year include Finn and Jake from Adventure Time as well as a special 75th-Anniversary Wizard of Oz balloon that is more than three stories high and has 90 handlers. This year’s floats include the new Dreidel balloon-vehicle as well as a Cirque du Soleil performance float and the classic “Big Apple” collection of New York landmarks. The NYPD Marching Band, among others, will be providing music. As always, the parade will end with Santa riding down the road and ushering in the Christmas season. If you want to go see the parade in person, you will need to get into the city well before the 9:00am start time to secure a spot on the sidewalk.
The Radio City Christmas Spectacular: November 8 – December 30
If you grew up anywhere near New York City, you’ve probably seen this world-famous show multiple times. It began in 1933 and has since become a staple of the NYC holiday season. It features more than 140 performers and includes live animals, but its most well-known act is the Rockettes dance troupe and their renown kickline. The perfect treat for wide-eyed children, this show tells the story of Santa’s journey around the world on Christmas Eve. Tickets for November performances are as low as $39 a head, but the closer the show date is to December 25 itself, the more expensive tickets get, so starting your holiday a little early could be both a fun and cost-effective way to spend a weekend in the city.
The Rink at Rockefeller Center
It’s been featured everywhere from Futurama to Serendipity and is at the heart of one of New York’s most famous landmarks. The ice-skating rink at Rockefeller Center is a favorite spot for tourists and locals alike and offers a one-of-a-kind winter experience. Admission to the rink is $15 for children under the age of 11 and seniors and $27 for adults plus $12 per person if renting skates (though guests are more than welcome to bring their own). Special rates are available by reservation for groups of 15 or more. This is a favorite winter-date activity as well!
The 2013 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting: December 4, 7:00pm
This star-studded event completes the ambiance of holiday fervor that settles over New York City during December. The lighting of the tree has been a yearly event since 1933 and is broadcast nationwide. The tree is selected very carefully, and in the past has come from as far away as Ottawa (although usually it is from somewhere in the American Northeast). The tree averages just over 70 feet, and is covered in more than five miles of lights. The star at the top is nine-and-a-half feet in diameter and weighs in at just over a quarter-ton. Like most events in New York, those who wish to attend should arrive well before the official start time if they hope to get a good seat for the ceremony itself.
So bundle up and enjoy the cheer! The most wonderful time of the year is on the doorstep, and New York is ready to celebrate.