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Why New York Is a Top Travel Destination During the Holidays

October 26, 2022 By CityPASS

The magic in the air is palpable when walking down the streets of New York City during the holidays. Both kids and adults can get swept up in the spirit of the season, as there’s really no place like New York during Christmas. Twinkling lights, decorations galore, and holiday cheer seem to greet you on just about every street corner.

If you’ve never been to New York during the holidays, here are just a few reasons why you need to experience the most wonderful time of the year in the Big Apple.

Here are six of the many reasons you should pack your bags for NYC this holiday season.

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree and Ice Skating Rink

The first thing on everyone’s list is a trip to Rockefeller Center to visit New York’s most famous Christmas tree. Here, you can soak in the magic of the glimmering tree as holiday music floats through the air. Rockefeller Center is less than a 10-minute walk from Times Square, the epicenter of bright lights and action in New York City.

The outdoor ice skating rink located at Rockefeller Center is a unique spot to take in the views of the tree; it’s open throughout the holiday season for the whole family to enjoy. Tickets are only on sale while the rink is open, so mark your calendars!

Another way to see the tree is from the Top of the Rock Observation Deck, located at the very top of Rockefeller Center. With unparalleled 360° views of NYC below, it’s one of the most incredible ways to see the city. Top of the Rock is included in both New York CityPASS® tickets and New York C3® tickets; both packages save you money on admission to NYC’s top attractions and are perfect for a holiday visit.

Broadway Shows and Holiday Musical Performances

Next, stroll from Rockefeller Center down to Broadway and take in a holiday show. Each year, Broadway has several holiday-themed musicals and performances that are fun for the whole family. Depending on your tastes, there are many shows to choose from, including The Nutcracker, Christmas concerts from your favorite musicians, and more.

The Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular featuring The Rockettes is another perfect way to get into the holiday spirit. This annual stage show features a troupe of dancers, original music, and singing to portray delightful and humorous holiday scenes. This is definitely one of the top attractions in New York during the holidays, one that's been a favorite for generations.

Delicious Seasonal Food

Many of New York’s top restaurants get into the holiday spirit by combining delicious cuisine with a fun, festive atmosphere. Both coveted eateries and pop-up bars go all out when it comes to decorations, decking themselves out with lights, trees, and more. And some create seasonal dishes and drinks just for the holiday season. From beer gardens to top dining spots, you’ll find delicious seasonal food spread out all across NYC.

Countless Holiday Shopping Options

If you’re headed into the city to do some holiday shopping, there’s no shortage of places where you can spend your money. Your first stop should be Bryant Park, just a short walk away from the Empire State Building. Here, you’ll find the Holiday Shops, which are inspired by European Christmas markets. The shops feature local crafts and gifts from around the world in the little shops that line the alleys and terraces of Bryant Park.

The Union Square Holiday Market is one of the city’s top attractions at Christmas and is considered one of the best holiday markets in the country. There are more than 160 vendors and lots of seasonal food and drink options. This is a great place to shop if you’re looking for unique holiday gifts that you can’t find anywhere else.

Snow-Blanketed Central Park

A walk through Central Park covered in sparkling snow is sure to be one of the highlights of your vacation to New York City. Just like at Rockefeller Center, you can take a spin at the park’s outdoor ice skating rink, Wollman Rink. Tickets go on sale in October when the rink opens. You can skate well through the holiday season since Wollman Rink stays open until the end of March.

If you want to really get into the holiday spirit, why not take a ride around the park in a carriage? You’ll feel like you’re living in a Christmas song that’s come to life with the clomping of hooves, falling snow, and holiday cheer in the air.

Magical Holiday Window Displays at Iconic Buildings

Herald Square on 34th Street is home to Macy’s, one of the most iconic department stores in the country. Since 1874, Macy’s has offered window shoppers of all ages some of the best holiday window displays to gaze upon in wonder and excitement. Normally, the window displays go public just before Thanksgiving and stay up until January 1. Each year features a different theme that tells a fun wintertime story for kids to enjoy.

Just a five-minute walk away, the Empire State Building (ESB) also has an impressive holiday window display on 34th Street. Throughout November and December, visitors can take a look at the windows, enjoy festive concerts, and be surprised by celebrity guest appearances at the ESB’s holiday activities.

On 5th Avenue, you’ll find Saks Fifth Avenue, a high-end department store that also likes to get into the holiday spirit. This store has a holiday light show on the front of the building, a tradition that started in 2004. The dates vary slightly each year, but you can see the light show every 10 minutes from 5pm to 11pm every night through most of November and December. The show is several minutes long and features more than 700,000 LED lights.

Experience the New York Holiday Spirit Using CityPASS® Tickets

If you’re looking for a New York package that lets you explore the best the city offers, CityPASS® tickets have you covered, with three bundled ticket options to choose from so you can decide which one is best for your budget and the length of your trip.

Depending on the option you choose, you can save up to on attractions like the Empire State Building, Top of the Rock Observation Deck, the Guggenheim Museum, and so much more. Give them the gift they really want this holiday season — a ticket to the best attractions in New York City!

New York City Lodging

Need lodging for your holiday adventure in New York City? Use this map to find the right lodging for you:

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