If you and your family are thinking about visiting New York City this year for the holiday season, there are certain stops along the way that are not to be missed.
1. The Radio City Christmas Spectacular
For over 75 years, this classic American holiday show has been entertaining audiences in the heart of New York City. The Christmas show includes the world-famous Radio City Rockettes and a cast and crew of hundreds. The show features a Living Nativity with live animals, asurprisingindoor snowfall, fireworks, and Santa Claus flying high above the audience. In addition, there is also a 3D movie which is one of the highlights of the Christmas Spectacular.
|(New York) - Radio City Christmas Spectacular|
Santa and the Rockettes take the audience on a thrilling ride visiting New York City landmarks before arriving at Radio City Music Hall to start the show. The show runs for ninety minutes and does not include an intermission. The show is so breathtaking that many people never get up from their seats for the entire performance. If you would like to order tickets for this year’s show which runs through December 30, call the Christmas Spectacular Hotline at 866-858-0007.
2. St. Patrick’s Cathedral
Located on Fifth Avenue between 50th and 51st Streets in New York City, it is the largest gothic-style Catholic Cathedral in the United States. As people enjoy the sights and sounds of theholidaythroughout the streets of New York,some decide to stop in to say a quick Christmas prayer, attend mass, or light a candle.
|(New York) - St. Patrick’s Cathedral|
For over 125 years, the Cathedral of Saint Patrick has provided a beautiful spiritual place for New Yorkers and tourists and visitors. In fact, over five and a half million visitors come to the St. Patrick’s to worship and pray each year. If you time and would like to learn more about the church’s origin and history, arrange to schedule a tour before your visit to New York City. Tours can be conducted by appointment for groups of ten or more, Monday through Friday around the Mass schedule. For more information about St. Patrick’s Cathedral, visit their website at www.saintpatrickscathedral.org.
3. FAO Schwarz
For almost 150 years, this company has been creating toys to delight children of all ages. The world-famous FAO Schwarz Fifth Avenue store is one of the most famous stores in the world. During the holiday season, many New Yorkers, and tourists from around the globe, line up to daily to see this children’swonderland.
|(New York) - FAO Schwarz|
Upon entering the store, guests will marvel at the Grand Hall which is which is adorned with more that 20,000 computer-controlled colored lights, a giant dance-on piano keyboard (which was featured in the film “Big” with Tom Hanks), and “FAO Schweetz” which is a classic New York candy shop that features hundreds of sweet treats. In addition, guests can view “The Muppet WhatNot Workshop” which is only available at FAO Schwarz. Kids will also love the “Styled by Me Barbie” section, the “Middleton Doll Newborn Nursery,” and the “Madame Alexander Doll Factory.” For more information about the store, call (212) 644-9400 or visit the store’s website at www.fao.com.
4. Horse and Carriage Rides in Central Park
These rides can be found along Central Park South between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. It is a terrific way to relax and see the beauty of Central Park, especially during the holiday season. A standard carriage ride through Central Park costs approximately $50, plus tip forthe first 20 minutes.
If you decide to extend your trip, it will cost $20 more for each additional 10 minutes. Things seen on the tour include: The Wollman Rink, Pond, Zoo, Sheep Meadow, Mall (statues), Dairy (tourist information center), the Carousel, and the Dakota (where the former Beatle John Lennon lived). If you would like to see the sights and sounds throughout Central Park, while snuggling up next to your loved one, this is one activity not to be missed and is certainly a holiday treat. For more information, visit www.centralpark.com.
|Horse and Carriage Rides in Central Park|
While in Central Park, lace up someskates and hit the ice at Wollman Rink. As you are twirling around and practicing a few figure eights, enjoy the beautiful New York City skyline which surrounds the skating rink. For more information about specific hours and rates, call (212) 439-6900 or visit their website at www.wollmanskatingrink.com.
6. Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center
The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, which is located at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, is a world-wide symbol of the holidays in New York City. The tree is illuminated by 30,000environmentally friendly LED lights on five miles of wire. Sitting atop the Norway Spruce is a Swarovski crystal star. The tree has provided Christmas cheer for the people of New York for over 75 years.
|Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center|
The tree is lit daily from 5:30 AM to 11:30 PM. After your family has spent some time gazing at the beautiful Christmas tree, spend some time ice skating at The Ice Skating Rink at Rockefeller Center. It is truly a magical and memorable experience to skate around the rink while looking up at the majestic tree and the dazzling urban backdrop. The rink has room for only 150 skaters at a time which makes it an intimate experience. However, since this is such a popular winter attraction, be prepared to wait awhile before you hit the ice. If you are interested in ice skating, enter from Fifth Avenue (between 49th and 50th Streets). For more information, call (212) 332-7654. Before you leave Rockefeller Center, go underground for a quick bite to eat at The Concourse. This underground city experience offers shops, fine restaurants, and casual places to get light meals.
7. Chanukah on Ice at Wollman Rink
Come celebrate the Jewish: Festivalof Lights on Monday, December 6 from 6-9 PM. Skate to Jewish music, light a giant ice menorah and have Chanukah treats. For more information, call (212)-864-5010.
|Chanukah on Ice at Wollman Rink|
8. Kwanzaa Events
Kwanzaa is an African-American holiday that has been celebrated since the 1960s from December 26th – January 1st. On December 26, head to the American Museum of Natural History. This all-day celebration will honor the seven African-based principles of Kwanzaa with performances of song, dance, and spoken word presented beside an international marketplace. This year’s event features a traditional “Second Line” parade led by the McCollough Invaders Band; empowering dance performances by Kotchegna Dance Company, Allen Liturgical Dance Ministry, and Gestures Dance Ensemble; and homage to the traditions of African culture performed by the Restoration Dance Theatre Company. For more information, visit the museum’s website at www.amnh.org.
9. The New York Botanical Garden
Come check out the Holiday Train Show which is on display through January 9. Spend time gazing at all of the sights in the illuminated winter wonderland in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory. This show offers visitors a chance to see New York City in a completely different way. There are 140 NYC landmarks along the tracks, including the original Yankee Stadium. Take some time to check out Gingerbread Adventures in the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden. Everyone will have a chance to learn about the plants that give gingerbread its distinct flavor and smell. For information about tickets and hours, please visit their website at www.nybg.org.
|The New York Botanical Garden|
10. Holiday Windows
No trip to New York City during the holiday season would be complete without some time admiring the beautiful windows in some of the city’s most famous stories. Macy’s Holiday Window Displays always feature scenes from the classis Christmas movie Miracle on 34th Street, in addition to other holiday-themed windows.
The Saks Fifth Avenue Holiday Window Displays are very popular with children because they are designed around a seasonal book and feature playful animations. After you have visited the tree at Rockefeller Center, just head across the street to see the sights at Saks Fifth Avenue. If you find yourself on Madison Avenue, be sure to check out the stylish windows at Barneys New York Holiday Window Displays. If you have kids in tow, make sure to stop by the windows at Bloomingdales which are always family-friendly and interactive.
11. Visiting Santa Claus
If you would like your children to sit on Santa’s lap and tell him all of their Christmas wishes, there’s no better place to see the guy in the red suit, than Macy’s Department Store. Of course, be prepared to wait a little bit on lines as this is one of the most popular places to see Santa in the city. In addition to having your child’s picture taken with Santa, your little one can visit Santaland. While your child is waiting on line to get a picture taken, he or she will love looking at all of the dancing bears, lights, and animated displays. After a stroll through Santaland, your child has a chance to talk to the big guy himself in his very own cottage. You can enter Macy’s on 34th Street at either Broadway or 7th Avenue. For more information, visit their website at www.macys.com.
|Visiting Santa Claus|
(Your Child Today)