Sprinklings of fairy lights illuminate Central Park at Christmas time in New York City. Tourists visiting the city have high expectations for the world’s favourite Christmas destination. As the inspiration and backdrop for so many iconic Christmas movies, people flock to the capital in search of an authentic Christmas atmosphere. The city does more than deliver: it provides visitors for the chance to live an ideal fairy-tale-like Christmas throughout December. Here’s a look at the top events in New York in the Christmas period:
Skating at the Rockefeller Centre Ice Rink
This outdoor ice rink is synonymous with happy families and romantic couples gliding and laughing across the ice. The rink is guarded by the beautifully lit Christmas tree and surrounding decorations. In the heart of the city, take a spin around the ice before warming up with a hot chocolate or some eggnog. If the rink is too busy for your liking, there are many others around the city during the festive season such as Trump Rink in Central Park and The Rink at Bryant Parks Winter Village.
Rockefeller Centre Tree Lighting Ceremony
A yearly occurrence, the Tree-Lighting Ceremony marks the beginning of the Christmas Season in New York. Although there are many lighting celebrations, the Rockefeller Ceremony is considered the largest and most elaborate. Proceedings beginning at 7pm, but it is necessary to arrive early to secure a good spot. It can get very crowded as viewing is free and celebrities are frequent performers. Hours of performances precede the lighting, which is usually done by an honoured guest.
Winter Village at Bryant Park
For the spirit and soul of all things festive, visit the Bank of America’s Winter Village at Bryant Park. Admission is free and leads to a wondrous world of Christmas themed shops, cafes and an ice rink. Skating is free for guests with their own skates, but others can rent top quality skates while there. Over 125 boutique holiday shops are stocked with hand-made gifts and treasure, clothes and knick-knacks. There are also many stalls selling delicious warming winter treats.
Radio City Christmas Spectacular
Escape the chilly outdoors and head inside for some entertainment. Featuring the legendary Rockettes, this spectacular is hour’s longs extravaganza of song, dance and music. Incredible costumes and backdrops accompany the classics that propelled the show to fame. Each year new material is added so even if you have been before, do not dismiss a return visit. This year’s use of digital mapping technology promises the most elaborate performance yet.
Times Square Ball Drop
If you avoided the Christmas rush in favour of the discount deals in the post-Christmas sales, chances are you will be in New York for Christmas Eve. The city is perhaps the world’s favourite New Year’s Eve Destination, and the focal point is the Ball Drop in Times Square. Even though most of the word will already have rung in the New Year, it doesn’t really happen until it has been celebrated in ostentatious New York style. Street closures begin around midday, and the best viewing spots are filled by 3pm, so be prepared for a long and cold wait. But there are plenty of street performances to keep you entertained. At midnight while the fireworks are going off, try and catch a glimpse of the New York Road Runners Emerald Nuts Midnight Run. The four mile marathon begins with the first fireworks and contestants are dressed up in wacky costumes. Be sure to think of some crazy New Year Resolutions among all the madness.
Book a centrally located hotel in Manhattan and you can enjoy any of these alternatives without worrying about transport after partying all night.