The Wonders of New York at Christmas

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New York at Christmas is an unforgettable experience with an abundance of festive activities to enjoy. Whether you’re looking to do some Christmas shopping, marvel at the 5th Avenue window displays or see a Christmas show there are no shortage of options. New York has some of the most famous department stores in the world to stock up on presents before the big day.

Some of the biggest attractions in New York at Christmas are the elaborate window displays of 5th Avenue. The big department stores in New York really pull out all the stops at this time of year. The window displays become a tourist attraction in their own right and it’s common to see large groups gathered outside on the pavement. To see all the best displays, it’s a good idea to start at Bloomingdale’s on E. 59th Street and then walk south along 5th passing other famous names such as Bergdorf Goodman, Saks and Lord and Taylor, before turning into E. 34th Street to see Macy’s.

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Macy's on 5th. Fantastic shopping and festive window displays.

Macy’s typically features two different window displays over the festive period; one depicting a scene from the film Miracle on 34th Street and one which appears each New Year. Saks usually features a Christmas storybook theme, whilst Bloomingdales has had some truly spectacular displays in the past including last year’s imaginative Cirque du Soleil offering. Of course, there are tonnes of great Christmas present ideas inside all these famous shops; some stores such as Bloomingdale’s offer an in-store shipping service for any bulkier purchases you don’t want to take on your flight.

If you feel like a break from all that shopping, The Radio City Christmas Spectacular kicks off on November 9th and runs until December 20th. It’s a long standing part of Christmas entertainment in New York; 2013 will be its 86th year and it’s a subtlety-free zone. Expect flying Santas, LED screens, eye catching costumes and an enormous high-kicking dance troupe known as the Rockettes. There are various venues that provide tickets including the Radio City Music Hall Box Office and the Madison Square Garden Box Office. The performance lasts about 90 minutes - bear in mind that the earlier November shows are sometimes cheaper.

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Skating under the Rockefeller Centre Christmas Tree

No Christmas visit to New York would be complete without seeing the iconic Rockefeller Centre Christmas Tree, which is certainly worth braving the crowds for. It’s a long established tradition in New York at Christmas which started as far back as 1933. It stands in central Manhattan just off 5th Avenue from early December through to late January. This year it will be lit on Wednesday December 4th and will remain lit until January 7th 2014.  Tens of thousands of people will line the pavements to see this live, with hundreds of millions tuning in to watch it on TV every year. You can also go ice skating underneath the tree on the Rockefeller Centre’s own ice rink!

There are no parades in New York at Christmas, but those doing their Christmas shopping slightly earlier can enjoy the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (see top photo) on November 28th. The legendary parade travels two miles from alongside Central Park West to Macy’s Herald Square outside the Macy’s department store. More than 3 million people line the streets to see the 25 giant balloons, some of whom arrive as early as 6am! If you want a sneak peek at the balloons as they get inflated you can head to the American Museum of Natural History between 3-10pm on Wednesday 27th.

To experience New York at Christmas check out GlobehuntersNew York flights or call us on 020 3384 6000 and speak to one of our travel experts.

1 comment:

  1. Great blog... going to New York to do some Christmas shopping in a couple of weeks. Do you know where the warehouse designer gear can be found in MYC. Got a feeling I would have to go out of town, but as long as we can get there via the subway? All advice welcome