Will you be spending the holidays in New York this year? If so, you’re incredibly lucky―Manhattan’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade is only the beginning of our seasonal celebration. From late November until after New Year’s Day, New York City is a magical place, and there’s no better spot to enjoy the most wonderful time of the year.
Once your flight and hotel have been arranged, it’s time to choose your perfect New York luxury car rental to transport you from place to place. Renting a car for a winter vacation to New York is a must―not only will it make exploring the city and surrounding areas infinitely easier, but it beats freezing on corners trying to flag down an empty cab. Look up New York car rental specials to see what kind of seasonal promotions you can find.
Once you arrive, you’ll find hundreds (if not thousands) of holiday happenings awaiting you. We happen to think these 14 things are especially magical.
Bryant Park’s 17,000 square foot outdoor rink offers FREE ice-skating all month long. You’ll also find 128 holiday shops (there until January 3) and good eats.
The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree
Every year, thousands of New Yorkers and visitors flock to the bright and beautiful Rockefeller Christmas Tree. This year’s 78 foot, 10 ton Norway Spruce is illuminating over 45,000 LED lights, and it’s truly spectacular. Not only is this one of the most iconic spots in New York, but it’s surrounded by other festive events and great places to eat or grab a drink.
Dyker Heights Holiday Lights
Since the 80s, Brooklyn’s Dyker Heights neighborhood (11th Avenue between 83rd and 86th Streets) has been turning its streets into the most eclectic holiday light festival you’ll ever see. The spectacle has become so impressive that you can take a bus tour through the area. This is one time where that car rental will really come in handy.
Located in Manhattan’s Gramercy Park at 22nd Street and 3rd Avenue, Rolf’s Restaurant looks like the inside of a Christmas tree right now. Not only do they go all out for their holiday decorating, but they also serve delicious Bavarian food you can wash down with mulled wine or spiked egg nog.
The Radio City Rockettes
How could you entertain the idea of a Christmas/Hanukkah trip to New York without seeing the Radio City Rockettes? You have until January 2 to catch an iconic performance at Radio City Music Hall.
The Yule Ball at The Bell House
Harry Potter fans, rejoice. At the Yule Ball, you can don your finest gowns and robes and rock out to the Harry and the Potters band. Plus, there’s a Harry-themed marionette show called Potter Puppet Pals. The party has two dates, December 15 and 16, and proceeds go to the Harry Potter Alliance, a charitable group.
Winter Solstice Concert
From December 15-December 17, you can celebrate the darkest nights of the year at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine. This is a secular celebration led by the Paul Winter Consort.
The Latke Festival
Yum! The 8th annual Latke Festival is December 19 at the Brooklyn Museum, and it’s every bit as delicious as it sounds.
If you can make it to New York by December 9, head to Madison Square Garden for Z100’s annual Jingle Ball celebration. With a lineup including Ariana Grande, Diplo, Ellie Goulding and Justin Bieber, tickets are understandably hard to come by―but they’re usually available by third party vendors, for a hefty price worth paying.
New York Christmas Holiday Tour
This hop-on, hop-off guided bus tour is a great way to see some of the city’s finest sites. You’ll get glimpses of the Rockefeller Christmas Tree, all the famous displays at Bloomingdales, Saks Fifth Avenue and other department stores, and then drive through Times Square, Columbus Circle, and head to the Holiday Market at Bryant Park.
Need we say more? Every department store in Manhattan goes all out for the holidays with gorgeous window displays. Do your last-minute shopping here… and if you’re done buying for others for the season, shop for yourself.
You can catch several performances of The Nutcracker throughout the city and its suburbs, but if you can swing it, head to Broadway and see the performance by the New York City Ballet. It’s worth it.
Light up the Night Hanukkah Gala
If you celebrate Hanukkah or just feel like honoring the Jewish holiday, head to Lower Manhattan’s Museum of Jewish Heritage for the Light up the Night gala on December 15. The annual soiree usually sees a crowd of 500 or more and includes an open bar, a dinner buffet, and plenty of chances to mingle.
The Union Square Holiday Market
Union Square’s European-style winter market showcases the goods of over 150 local and national vendors, not to mention a host of delicious food vendors. You could easily spend an entire day wandering around this place, assuming you’re dressed in enough layers.