’Tis the Holidays in NYC!
’Tis the Holidays in NYC!
From fun-filled events and attractions to awe-inspiring holiday windows and restaurants serving festive fare and creative cocktails, here is a guide to things to see and experience in New York City during the holidays.
This holiday season, take a spin around the ice at Central Park’s famous Wollman Rink, with NYC’s breathtaking cityscape as a backdrop. The rink is on the eastside of the park between 62nd and 63rd streets.
For free ice-skating, enjoy the 17,000-square-foot Rink at Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park. The seasonal attraction also boasts an open-air holiday market.
View Holiday Under the Stars at The Shops at Columbus Circle in the Time Warner Center (The Shops at Columbus Circle). After a few bracing glides around the rink, warm up at The Shops At Columbus Circle in the Time Warner Center, on the southwest corner of Central Park. While in this glass skyscraper, view Holiday Under the Stars, which features 12 14-foot stars that hang from the ceiling of the 150-foot-tall Great Room. After taking Instagram-worthy pictures of the twinkling display, visit the MasterCard Priceless Holiday Lounge on the second floor of Time Warner Center for refreshments.
For even more photo ops, head to Rockefeller Center in Midtown to see the world-famous Christmas tree in all of its sparkling glory. The tree will remain illuminated until 8 pm Jan. 7. You can also view a pretty spectacular holiday tree on the Upper West Side at Dante Park, near Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.
If your plans have you heading downtown, add French flare to your holiday festivities at Le District. The Francophile foodie mecca has a chalet open for the season. Located on the destination’s patio, Le District Chalet serves as the perfect place to warm up with hot chocolate, cider, homemade beignets and more. Cold-weather enthusiasts can also enjoy treats outside, kept cozy with heat lamps.
And, over in Brooklyn, holiday enthusiasts can view a Jewish tradition at the borough’s Grand Army Plaza—the main oval at the entrance to Prospect Park—where passersby can see the lighting of the world's largest menorah every night of Chanukah.
Fans of Will Ferrell movies, Christmas and elves can get their fix of all three at "ELF The Musical". Based on the 2003 hit starring Ferrell, James Caan and Zooey Deschanel, this year’s limited engagement runs at The Theater at Madison Square Garden through Dec. 27.
Those who prefer the high kicks of the world-famous Rockettes can head to Radio City Music Hall in Midtown for Radio City Christmas Spectacular. This holiday tradition sees the venerable music hall transformed into a winter wonderland as the iconic Rockettes delight fans of all ages.
On the Upper West Side, the New York City Ballet captivates audiences with "George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker" at Lincoln Center. Tschaikovsky’s iconic score transports ballet enthusiasts to a world of glowing enchantment—complete with toy soldiers, mischievous mice and the sumptuous Land of Sweets.
Even farther uptown in the Bronx, The New York Botanical Garden is getting in on the holiday cheer with its annual Holiday Train Show. The show features trains as they journey through a display of 150 landmarks—including the Brooklyn Bridge and Statue of Liberty. The Garden also will celebrate the holidays with the Winter Harmonies Concert. The concerts will take place on two Sundays, Dec. 13 and 20, at 2 and 4 pm. Le Train Bleu will perform favorite Baroque orchestral works, with flutist Ransom Wilson as music director. The 2:00 concerts on both Sundays are special performances for families.
Holiday Eating & Drinking
If you’re dining out during the holidays or want to grab a thirst-quenching cocktail, there are plenty of places in the city to do so.
In Central Park, Tavern on the Green will offer a special Christmas à la carte and three-course prix fixe menu Christmas Eve. A three-course prix fixe menu will also be available on Christmas Day.
Each Saturday in December, in addition to Christmas Day, The Lambs Club in Midtown features a special holiday brunch. While sipping Michel Cluizel Hot Chocolate (with a trio of mouthwatering flavors from which to choose, including milk chocolate, velvety dark chocolate or creamy white chocolate—complete with house-made sweets toppings) and nibbling on fancy fare such as house-cured smoked arctic char, farro porridge and stuffed French toast, brunchgoers are serenaded by the festive sounds of holiday carolers. Brunch is served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
For even more yummy hot beverages, 21 Club in Midtown West offers several holiday cocktails. While enjoying the warm glow of the venue’s fireplace, patrons can savor seasonal selections such as Pumpkin Spice—a lively elixir with Widow Jane Bourbon, pumpkin spice and Fee Brother's Bitters; Autumn in New York, with charred oak bourbon, Campari and cinnamon-caraway syrup; and everyone’s favorite holiday beverage, eggnog.
At Rock Center Café, folks can enjoy festive pick-me-ups such as the Hot Bourbon Toddy and Harvest Sangria (think cabernet sauvignon, VSOP Cognac, apples, oranges, cinnamon and nutmeg) while taking in views of the Rink at Rockefeller Center and the famous Prometheus statue. The restaurant will also serve special menus on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
This time of year, travelers are treated to spectacular displays in the windows of the city’s many venerable retailers.
For a treat for all the senses, check out florist Jeff Leatham’s senses-inspired Bloomingdale’s displays. Chillin’ Out is the theme of Barneys New York’s 2015 showcase, featuring live ice-carving demonstrations and ice-themed work by world-renowned artists.
Visitors can also check out Lord & Taylor’s hunger-inducing gingerbread kingdom display (and the lush path of garland and holiday lights strung on the scaffolding at the building entrance) and the Peanuts gang having fun in the Macy’s windows. Saks Fifth Avenue’s holiday theme is The Winter Palace, with couture frocks displayed against whimsical decorations.
Pictured: Holiday Under The Stars, The Shops At Columbus Circle; New York City Ballet; Rock Center Café; Bloomingdale's