During the holidays, New York City feels even more exciting than usual. The lights are brighter, there’s often snow on the ground and NYC visitation hits its peak. It’s a great time to be in the five boroughs, where you can find massive holiday celebrations. Here are some of the biggest ways to show off your holiday spirit during the most wonderful time of the year in NYC.
1. Wave to the giant balloons in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Millions view from the streets (and millions more on TV) as Broadway stars, marching bands, Santa Claus and, of course, giant balloons proceed from Central Park West and 77th Street down to Macy’s Herald Square. The parade is one of the most immense, fun ways to ring in the season.
2. Visit the soaring Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.
Shortly after Thanksgiving, New Yorkers and visitors gather to watch a towering, elaborately festooned Norway spruce at Rockefeller Center light up. A tree-lighting ceremony hosted by Today show personalities and accompanied by musical performances marks the unofficial arrival of the holiday season. The tree stays lit until shortly after New Year’s Day. While you’re there, consider taking a twirl around the ice rink.
3. Take in two of the world’s largest menorahs.
If you head to either Grand Army Plaza (Manhattan or Brooklyn) between December 22 and 30, you will see one of the world's largest menorahs lit in celebration of Hanukkah—the Jewish festival of lights. They’re 4,000 pounds and 32 feet tall (lighting them requires a hydraulic crane), and the Brooklyn festivities include latkes (potato pancakes) and music each evening.
4. Watch the Rockettes’ high kicks.
It’s no exaggeration to call the Radio City Christmas Spectacular the world’s most famous Christmas show. From November 8 through January 5, the Rockettes will delight audiences of all ages with high kicks, inspiring music and timeless scenes like “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers.” It all takes place at majestic Radio City Music Hall.
5. Peer into department stores’ over-the-top holiday windows.
Window shopping is a lot different during the holidays in New York City. The extravagant themed displays at department stores like Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue and Macy’s Herald Square help turn a retail-centered stroll through Midtown into a memorable event. Stay tuned for details on this year’s astounding setups.
6. Take part in a New Year’s Eve countdown with a million new friends.
People all around the globe will watch as New York City ushers in a new year in style. The Times Square Ball Drop brings together an enormous crowd in Midtown West ready to count down the final moments of 2019. The fete always includes a stacked music lineup; last year, that meant Bebe Rexha, Snoop Dogg and Christina Aguilera. Also featured: 3,000 pounds of confetti!