If one city in the continental U.S. represents everything the holidays stand for, New York City is that place. It has vibrant colors, soft white blankets of snow, beautifully decorated trees, ice skating rinks, and store window treatments that come straight from all of our childhood dreams. In our opinion, NYC is iconic and whimsical during the holidays, a place where even the most Grinchiest can find some sort of joy.
For The Dancer
Radio City Christmas Spectacular
Say the word Rockettes and you automatically think of high kicks, glitz, and glam, which is why Radio City's Christmas Spectacular is a must-see over the holidays. The Rockettes dance and dazzle their way through The Twelve Days of Christmas Carol, the Parade of the Wooden Soldiers, the Living Nativity, and more. Each 90-minute performance showcases 36 Rockettes (who are all between 5'6" and 5'10.5") and 1,300 costumes. Live animals such as donkeys, camels, and sheep are a part of the cast as well. Get your jazz hands ready!
For The Shopper
Holiday Window Displays
Many high-end stores on Fifth Avenue, such as Sak's, Lord & Taylor, Bergdorf Goodman, and others off 5th Ave, such as Barneys, Bloomingdale's, and Macy's have display designers working for months on the creations that they place in their store windows. Long ago, Macy's started this tradition of creating magical tales of the holidays in their windows and the other stores have since followed. Children will be in awe of the displays and adults will appreciate the show of artist ability as well. Best of all, window shopping is free!
For The Arborist
Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree
A world-wide symbol of the season, the Rockefeller Christmas tree has been a tradition for over 75 years. This year it stands tall, bright, and beautiful; lit by 30,000 LED lights on five miles of wire and topped with a Swarovski crystal star. If trees are your thing, also hop around the city and check out the trees at Madison Square Park, Wall Street, South Street Seaport, Botanical Gardens, and a few of the museums like the MET.
For the Romantic
Horse Carriage Ride in Central Park
What is more romantic than snuggling under a blanket, listening to the clop of the horse's hoofs, while the snowflakes lightly fall around you and twinkle in the holiday lights of Central Park? Probably nothing. Horse-drawn carriages can be pre-arranged on the Central Park website or you can walk-up and hop on between 5th and 6th Avenues. If the horses are dressed for the weather, that means so should you. The breeze gets quite chilly; wear layers.
For The Athlete
Bryant Park Ice Skating
If you did not grow up on the frozen Great Lakes, it can feel like you have two left feet or no feet at all when you strap on shoes with a thin piece of metal on the bottom and walk out on the ice, but if you can master the ability to stay upright (and possibly a circle or two if you want to get fancy), an evening ice skating at Bryant Park is the thing to do. The Pond at Bryant Park is a 170' x 1000' ice skating rink that offers free admission to everyone. They also offer ice skate rentals (along with free lockers), online reservations so you can skip the line, and professional coaches if you aren't Johnny Weir. If The Pond is too busy, you can also skate at the Rockefeller Center and the iconic Wollman Rink in Central Park.
For the Foodie
Gingerbread Extravaganza at Le Parker Meridien
Check out this gingerbread wonderland located inside the lobby of the Le Parker Meridien on 56th Street. Purchase a one dollar ticket through the concierge's desk and you can vote on your favorite houses created by local bakeries and restaurants. Marshmallows, gum drops, frosting, Graham Crackers...a stomach ache waiting to happen.
For The Engineer
New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show
Inside of the Enid A. Hupt Conservatory on the 250 acres of the Botanical Gardens, big kids and little kids alike will find an enchanting, and perplexing, setting awaiting them. Each year the garden makes models of the iconic New York landmarks, such as the Brooklyn Bridge, and Statue of Liberty, out of nuts, bark, and leaves. Model trains chug over the bridges and past the replicas in the exhibit. The New York Botanical Garden happens to be right beside the Bronx Zoo, which also features a Polar Bear Express experience, complete with real-life reindeer.
For The Party Animal
Time Square New Year's Eve
The party-goer can find many places to sip down spiked egg nog during the holiday season, but anyone who's anyone knows the biggest party of the year happens in Time Square on New Year's Eve. Finish out your holiday trip to the Big Apple with a bang and watch the ball drop you into 2012.
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