New York City is one of the most fun cities in the world during the holiday season. The activities abound, the whole city gets decorated with holiday lights, Christmas decorations, and intricate window displays. Spending holidays in NYC can get expensive, but there are SO MANY fun free things to do (and to see!) in New York City in December – and that’s what this post is all about. Here is my list of top 10 Things To Do (and To See!) in NYC during the winter holiday season:
1. Gigantic Christmas decorations and lights in midtown Manhattan
Giant red ornaments at 1251 Sixth Avenue, near Rockefeller Plaza in NYC. If you let your imagination run wild, these Christmas ornaments will remind you of huge caramelized apples or gigantic pomegranates, quite appropriately for the season! Very shiny and deliciously looking, aren’t they?
Gigantic Christmas lights on 6th Avenue. They look like huge lipsticks of different colors or rockets ready to launch, don’t they?
There are beautiful lights everywhere in midtown Manhattan:
2. Rockefeller Center
Rockefeller Center is one of the main attractions in NYC. Especially in the winter. It is home to the iconic Christmas Tree, that’s about 85 feet tall this year:
The tree is placed right in front of the Rockefeller building:
This iconic NYC Christmas tree is topped with the Swarovski star topper composed of multiple precision-cut crystals. A replica of the Swarovski star is also on display in the Rockefeller Center – and you can see all the intricate detail, crystals and facets up-close, which is pretty cool:
A little further, you can see a famous bronze statue of Atlas in front of Rockefeller Center. In Greek mythology, Atlas was forced by Zeus to hold up the heavens as a special punishment – as we can see on this photo:
The world famous ice rink at the Rockefeller Center:
This skating rink is right underneath the Christmas tree and the bronze gilded statue of Prometheus:
A little further from the Christmas tree, there is a cute alley decorated with the wire-sculpted angel figures. Each herald angel holds six-foot-long brass trumpet:
Giant toy soldier at Rockefeller Center NYC:
3. Radio City Music Hall
Radio City Music Hall is home to the traditional NYC Christmas show – The Radio City Christmas Spectacular featuring the women’s dance team known as the Rockettes.
The front of the music hall is decorated with the huge Christmas tree that constantly changes colors:
4. Saint Patrick’s Cathedral
Saint Patrick’s Cathedral is another popular attraction in NYC that attracts millions of people each year:
5. The Saks Fifth Avenue Holiday Windows.
Every Christmas season, Saks Fifth Avenue’s flagship store in NYC unveils the store’s iconic holiday windows. This holiday season (2014), the holiday windows represent the scenes from classic fairy tales. Besides the holiday windows, the entire facade of the iconic luxury retailer is also decorated with intricate light display:
Take a look at these amazing holiday windows. We’ll start with the Little Red Riding Hood:
And, of course, Big Bad Wolf:
And, here is a fairy tale of Rumpelstiltskin by Brothers Grimm, with the miller’s daughter spinning straw into gold:
The fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty is showcased as well:
Here is some more of Sleeping Beauty:
Cinderella arriving at the Ball:
Snow White being tempted by an evil apple merchant:
More of Snow white:
6. Strolling along 5th avenue from the Rockefeller Center towards Central Park
Take a stroll from the Rockefeller Center towards Central Park, along the 5th avenue and you’ll see a lot more beautifully decorated buildings and displays. This is how the world’s premier jeweler Tiffany & Co. is decorated during the holiday season:
And here is Harry Winston jewelery store decorated with elegant Christmas lights:
7. Giant Snowflake in NYC
As you continue walking along the Fifth avenue from the Rockefeller Center towards the Central Park, you will see a giant snowflake above the intersection of 5th avenue and 57th street. This snowflake is known as UNICEF snowflake, and it’s a beautiful illuminated crystal ornament that lights up the fifth avenue at night.
8. Plaza Hotel, Apple store, and Pulitzer Fountain on Fifth avenue
Right by where the Central Park starts at the 5th avenue, you can see The Plaza Hotel, a iconic century-old luxury hotel:
Right next to the Plaza hotel, is the Pulitzer fountain in Grand Army Plaza. During the winter holiday season, the basin of the fountain is decorated with lighted trees:
Across from the Plaza Hotel, is an iconic Apple Store glass cube on Fifth Avenue:
The Apple Store glass cube is at the base of the General Motors building:
And here is the World’s largest Hanukkah Menorah. It’s a 32-foot-high, gold-colored, 4,000-pound steel structure at Grand Army Plaza (Fifth Avenue and West 59th Street, across the street from The Plaza hotel):
9. The Frick Collection Museum and The Metropolitan Museum of Art
If you’re cold or tired from walking, visit The Frick Collection Museum and The Metropolitan Museum of Art – 2 amazing art museums in NYC.
10. Broadway Theaters & Times Square
Finally, no December visit to NYC is complete without watching a holiday appropriate Broadway show. Get yourselves tickets to shows, such as the Phantom of the Opera, Big Apple Circus, or How the Grinch Stole Christmas, among many others!