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8 Ways to Celebrate Big Apple Style

by Irvina Lew

Dec 16, 2019

Victoria Shmakova Ananchenko | Dreamstime.com

Destinations / North America

During the holiday season, Manhattan can feel like magic. The electricity in the air springs from the glittering lights and over-the-top decorations to school kids on the subway. What’s best are the smiles everywhere. Folks dressed in seasonal scarves and hats, carrying shopping bags or slinging them over stroller handles. The holiday season showcases annual favorites like The Nutcracker, The Christmas Carol and free local events.


Here are eight ways to celebrate in the Big Apple.


Stroll Fifth Avenue

The walk down Fifth Avenue to the Empire State Building, dressed in its festive red and green glow, is like none other. You’ll see horses and carriages on Central Park South and opulently decorated holiday window displays. At Rockefeller Center, stop to look at Prometheus and the famous Christmas tree.


Go Skating

Head to The Rink at Rockefeller Center and line up to rent skates and get on the ice — it’s a thrill. Tickets are sold in the Skate House and are first come, first served.


Cruise the Harbor 

The panoramic view from a fully glass-enclosed deck plying the waters of the Hudson and East Rivers features the iconic New York skyline: Empire State Building, Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty and One World Trade. Bateaux New York by Hornblower offers holiday-themed dining cruises with live music, even on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.


Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan, New York. Photo: Joe Sohm | Dreamstime.com

Watch the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall

The American precision dance company puts on an annual mini-performance during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, but for the real deal — with glorious costume changes inside an inspired setting — get tickets to the “Christmas Spectacular.” The Rockettes have performed in New York since 1932, when the Art Deco, Edward Durell Stone architectural marvel Radio City Music Hall opened. Like the tree, they are intrinsic to the holiday season.


Attend an Opera

The Metropolitan Opera features the annual holiday English language adaptation of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, through Jan. 4, 2020. Julie Taymor, the visionary theatrical creator, entices youngsters with dancing bears and twirling birds. The classic fairytale tells the 100-minute story of a good prince’s dangerous quest to rescue the maiden. Saturday, Dec. 29, 1 p.m. ticket holders are invited to a complimentary, pre-performance open house.


Take The Ride

Discover New York’s dynamic Midtown (or downtown) on an interactive and entertaining bus tour. The 75-minute voyage includes an expert guide, comedic commentary, singers, dancers and instrumentalists and your family will be part of the Broadway cast!

Sail on the Staten Island Ferry

Take the free Staten Island Ferry (Whitehall Terminal in downtown Manhattan), which passes the Statue of Liberty, for fabulous photo opportunities. There’s a holiday schedule and ferries run every 30 minutes for Christmas.


Go Underground

When weather disappoints, head to Grand Central Terminal, an architectural landmark. Meet at the clock in the main concourse, walk under the iconic Zodiac ceiling and shop (60 shops), dine, (35 eateries) and visit an exceptional holiday fair in Vanderbilt Hall.


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