New York City is an adventure any time of the year but Christmas in New York City is magical. The city takes on a glow that will enchant even the most disenchanted Grinch.
Many of the things to do and see won't cost you anything. The whole family will enjoy walking along Fifth Avenue and stopping to view the Christmas window displays at Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord and Taylor and Bergdorf Goodman. Every year these retailers compete to see who can create the biggest, the best and the most innovative window designs. They never disappoint.
It isn't just Fifth Avenue that has charming window displays, you can stroll any of the avenues and have a similar experience. Macys at Harold Square is among the most famous.
Rockefeller Center is the home of perhaps the most famous Christmas tree in the world. Every year for the last seventy years people have flocked to New York City to view this tree. It is usually a Norway spruce a minimum of 65 feet tall and 35 feet wide, though they prefer it to be between 75 and 90 feet tall.
It takes over five miles of lights to light it. It is no wonder that thousands of people come to NYC to see it for the month that it is lit. The lighting ceremony is a big draw and usually, happens the first week of December.
Rockefeller Center is also the home of New York City's most famous skating rink. It is enchanting to standing at the railings and looking down on the people whirling around. But if you want to have a more relaxed skate head to Central Park and skate at the Wollman Rink. If you don't have your own skates with you, don't worry, you can rent them.
Part of the New York Christmas experience is attending the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall, George Balanchine's The Nutcracker by the New York City Ballet at Lincoln Center and for the 29th year the Big Apple Circus at Damrosch Park. These are performances that sell out early, it is always wisest to order your tickets early.
For shopping, the biggies Macys and Bloomingdales are just the tip of the iceberg. If you want something more local try one of the Christmas Markets. Head for Union Square, Bryant Park or Grand Central Station. You will find crafts and unique items to thrill everyone on your gift list.
For three weeks in December Little Italy is the place to be. Events include a tree lighting, a concert and a parade. While you are there sample some authentic Italian food and visit the Italian food markets.
The Metropolitan Museum has a phenomenal crèche display and a magnificent Christmas tree. Any time of the year is a wonderful time to spend a few hours wander through the thousands of pieces of art but at Christmas, it is extra special.
South Street Seaport will also be ablaze with a fifty foot Douglas fir and on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings there will be a performance by the Big Apple Chorus. The whole city will have a festive air and if you are really lucky a dusting of snow.
Christmas truly is a magical time in New York City.