On Dec. 19th and Dec. 20th the Philharmonic performs “Winter Wonderland,” “O Tannenbaum,” and a medley of Irving Berlin classics like “White Christmas” and “Happy Holiday,” and a carol sing-along that will warm your spirits. Plus: a reading of “The Night Before Christmas” by Whoopi Goldberg on Dec. 19 and Mo Rocca on Dec. 20. Perfect holiday fun with family and friends. Tickets for the event range from $35–$75. To end the year with a fun high note, check out “Bernstein on Broadway” Dec. 31st. Toast the New Year and the New York Philharmonic’s Laureate Conductor’s 100th birthday with West Side Story’s star-crossed lovers, On the Town’s fun-loving sailors, and Wonderful Town’s bright-eyed New Yorkers! The night will feature Tony winner Annaleigh Ashford, Hamilton’s Christopher Jackson, Cinderella’s Laura Osnes, and Next to Normal’s Aaron Tveit. Audience favorite Bramwell Tovey will conduct. The evening will set you back $105 – $285, but i’m sure you would have spent that in champagne anyway.
Holidays in New York
For years as Christians celebrated at home, Jews needed an option for what to eat on Xmas and Chinese was the answer. This fun tradition has begun to spread outside of the Jewish community and for some families, even the most devout Christmas celebrators, have begun to embarrass festivities.
Chinatowneateries can be pretty busy year round but especially during the holiday season. If you want to try something new this holiday maybe take the trek out to Williamsburg and try “Shalom Japan.” The restaurant is run by husband and wife chefs (he’s Jewish; she’s Japanese) and their food plays on traditions from both cultures. They take reservations for seven or more and boast inventive dishes like “Matzoh Ball Ramen” , “Sake Kasu Challah”, and “Okonomiyaki, Pastrami, Sauerkraut, Bonito.”
Out of all the yuletide razzle-dazzle NYC has to offer, the Dyker Heights Christmas Lights 2017 display is by far the most spectacular. (Sorry, Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree). Each year, over 100,000 people flock to the Brooklyn neighborhood to witness some of the most over-the-top Christmas lights we’ve ever seen—think huge inflatable Santa’s and snowmen, and houses that blast Christmas carols from loudspeakers.
Thereis a lot of ground to cover, as many houses in the area participate over multiple blocks and avenues. Most of the homeowners—and professional decorating companies—hang their Christmas lights and decorations the weekend after Thanksgiving. However, the best time to see the lights is mid-December through New Year’s Eve.
Isuggest going anytime between dusk and 9pm, if you plan to travel by foot. Most of the houses turn their displays off after 9pm. If you’re traveling by subway, take the D Train to 71st St, Brooklyn. However, you’ll have to walk 15 minutes to get to the houses (and the terrain is a bit hilly). Word to the wise: Traffic as well as parking is generally lousy, so you might want to leave your car at home.
If weather trends stay on course for New York City, you’ll want to prepare yourself for some major snow this holiday season. Take advantage of the wintery weather and join the fun at any of the dozen local parks for some sledding! Prospect Park in Brooklyn or Central Park in Manhattan are classic locations to enjoy some slip-sliding fun. If you aren’t the adventurous type, you can always just make some snow men while you hear the shouts of people sliding around you. Just don’t put Frosty in the path of a wayward sledder.
Shopping in NYC during the holidays can be a bit hectic due to the tourist-packed streets. But there are definitely redeeming qualities to making the trek into the crowds: beautiful holiday window displays! Every year starting in mid-November, the most of the major department stores in New York City create one-of-a-kind presentations of holiday-cheer in their exterior windows, usually with an original theme or throw-back to celebrate years past. You can totally make an evening just out of “window shopping”.
The Botanical Gardens in the Bronx showcases a special display enjoyable for the whole family. Enchanting model trains zip through a display of 150 landmarks, each re-created with bark, leaves, and other natural materials—all under the twinkling glow of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory. Marvel at G-scale locomotives humming along among familiar sights such as the Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty, and Rockefeller Center on nearly a half-mile of track. This year’s exhibition showcases Midtown Manhattan’s iconic skyscrapers and other architectural wonders, featuring new replicas of the Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, General Electric Building, and St. Bartholomew’s Church. Tickets range from $23 – $30 for adults, but they have specials for seniors, students, and children under 2 are free.
There are numerous ice skating rinks around New York during the holiday season. The most famous has to be The Rink At Rockefeller Center. It is open from 8:30am to 12am typically (check for specific days) and people tend to spend anywhere from 10-45 mins there at a time. You can reserve your tickets with VIP skate reservations and prices can vary from $60 – $150 per person. If you are looking to skate on a budget, I highly recommend going to Bryant Park and taking advantage of the free ice skating at The Rink open daily from 8am-10pm, October 28 through March 4. If you own your own skates, you can just glide on, but if you are like myself you can rent skates for a reasonable $20 price tag. Central Park hosts two ice skating rinks, The Lasker Rink and Wollman Rink. Prices and times vary between the two but nothing is more romantic than taking someone on a skate in Central park.
You will shout out “5 Golden Rings”, or should I say “kicks”, when you see this show! Every holiday season, one of the most beloved annual Christmas shows in history takes place at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City. The iconic Radio City Christmas Spectacular incorporates more than 140 performers that keep the audience enraptured for 90 minutes. The most notable Radio City Christmas Spectacular performers are The Rockettes, the famed precision dance troupe known for their synchronized kicking. Make sure to take notice at the two numbers that have appeared in every Christmas Spectacular since the first in 1933; “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers”, choreographed by their founder, Russell Markert; and “The Living Nativity” which features real life animals including a camel. As a New York Christmas tradition and a great event for the whole family, the Christmas Spectacular is an event you simply won’t want to miss this holiday season.
For over eight decades, the Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center and the holiday decorations adorning and surrounding have stood as a holiday beacon for New Yorkers and visitors alike. From the beginning, the Tree was a gathering place and reflection of what was happening in the world around it. The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is today a world-wide symbol of the holidays and synonymous with New York City. The 2017 tree will be lit for the first time on Wednesday, November 29. Live performances in the past have included Tony Bennett, Neil Diamond, Josh Groban, Tori Kelly, Sarah McLachlan, Dolly Parton, Jordan Smith, Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, the Rockettes and more. This year the performances will be 7–9pm, at Rockefeller Plaza, between West 48th and West 51st Streets and Fifth and Sixth Avenues. Thousands will crowd the sidewalks for the event and millions will watch it live across the globe. The Tree will remain lit and can be viewed until 9pm on January 7, 2018.
It doesn’t matter if you are Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, or even an Atheist you just have admirer the beautiful architecture and majesty that is St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Every year faithful from around the Tri-State flock to St. Patrick’s Cathedral in celebration of Christmas. A lottery is held every year just for people to receive a special ticket to the Christmas Eve midnight mass. If you are not able to receive a ticket to that, the church also holds a special children’s mass on Christmas day. Some parents will line up as early as 6am to make sure they are able to obtain seats for their children and family.
The theme of this year’s holiday windows at Saks Fifth Avenue is “Once Upon a Holiday,” and the department store teamed up with Disney to celebrate the 80th anniversary of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. For the first time in 94 years, all of its 14 windows are animated, bringing the fairy-tale to life. There is also a light display that plays a timed holiday light show to festive music. Make sure you stake out a good place because it can get very crowded on that 5th ave. street.
The holiday season is one of my favorite times of the year.
New York just blooms with excitement and anticipation. The city comes to life with caroling, dancing, and tourists from all over the world sharing in the urban holiday experience with New York locals.
We at TopDogTours like the Holiday’s so much we even offer a nightly Holiday Lights Tour of midtown Manhattan from the end of November through the month of December giving you all the holiday history that New York has to offer.
Over the next 12 days, in the spirit of the 12 days of Christmas, I’ll be posting a list of my favorite New York holiday traditions that you definitely can’t miss this year!
On the 1st day of Christmas… The Winter Village at Bryant Park
Opening officially on October 28th (and running through March 4th, 2018), the best winter market in New York City takes place. The Winter Village in Bryant Park is not only the largest Christmas market in the city but also by far the nicest on account of its adjacent ice rink and places to shop and eat. This along with its amazing location among all the skyscrapers, makes for an amazing Christmas experience. Make sure to grab some hot chocolate or hot cider and enjoy the unique craft holiday shops.