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The holidays are the perfect time to visit New York City. NYC is known as “the city that never sleeps” in part because of the bright lights, entertainment, and activities that continue well into the early hours of the morning.

During the holiday season, the lights are brighter, and the city is even more alive. Come alone, come with the one you love, or bring your whole family to enjoy some of the best holiday activities in New York this year.

1. Watch The Rockettes Christmas Spectacular

If there is one Christmas show you see during your time in NYC, most would agree it has to be the Radio City Rockettes in the Christmas Spectacular. These talented ladies perform in a chorus line described as “a precision dance company with great style, flair, and glamour.”

Their Christmastime performances have become a tradition for many NYC families since they first made their Radio City Music Hall debut in 1934.

2. Visit The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

This year’s Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree arrived on November 13th. If you’re in the city for the tree lighting on December 1st, expect a wonderful time filled with Christmas cheer and 5 miles of LED string lights. You might even get to see yourself on TV during NBC’s “Christmas at Rockefeller Center” special.

The tree will remain lit throughout December for most of the day, with 24-hour lighting on Christmas Day.

3. Walk (Or Drive) Through NYC’s Winter Lantern Festival

This year, you can choose from three locations to see these glowing masterpieces, and each venue has something different. Step into a magical, lantern-lit world on Staten Island, Long Island, or Queens. Drive through 20 acres of nature-themed lights in Queens, experience 8 acres of lights with a more modern twist (and a DJ!) on Staten Island, or visit Queens County Farm for a more traditional holiday experience.

4. Window Shop

Shopping at famous department stores in NYC during the holiday season can make you feel like you’re in a Christmas movie. It’s not just the excitement of finding the perfect gifts for friends and family; it’s not just the holiday music; it’s the windows.

Each department store in NYC spends months (if not the entire year) designing the perfect window display that is sure to put shoppers in the holiday spirit. We recommend taking a walk down NYC’s most popular shopping district: Fifth Avenue. Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue never disappoint. Their window displays are also well worth the visit if you’re near Bloomingdale’s or Macy’s.

5. Take a Holiday Cruise

If you’re looking for a unique, family-friendly way to enjoy the holiday season, Classic Harbor Line offers a Cocoa and Carols Holiday Cruise. Listen to Christmas carols, enjoy the 30-minute tour of Christmas lights, and get some complimentary treats, as well!

For something a little more mellow and adult-oriented, you might be interested in the Holiday Jazz Cruise. Step onto the yacht, enjoy a complimentary drink, and listen to relaxing holiday music while you see the city lights in a whole new way.

6. See The World’s Largest Menorah

On 59th Street in Manhattan, you can celebrate the eight nights of Chanukah by viewing the largest menorah in the world. A large menorah has been part of the décor outside of the Plaza Hotel since the 1970s, but this record-breaking display has been erected every year since 2005. If past years are any indication, you can expect live music, an appearance by Rabbi Shmuel Butman, and an unmatched sense of community.

7. Join In The Fun At SantaCon

This event is truly a unique NYC holiday experience. Although they’ve made the news (and become something of a legend), if you’re new to the city, you may not be aware of “The Santas” that hit the ground crawling every year. This year, the pub crawl meets charity fundraiser meets Santa look-alike convention is December 11th.

They do note that “Santa doesn’t just go to bars.” As for where they do go? You have to wait until the week before to find out, but “Part of the fun of Santacon is never quite knowing where the jolly horde will go next!”

Some rules to keep in mind if you plan to join them:

  • Wear a full costume.
  • Pay with cash and tip your bartenders well.
  • It’s for a good cause! Make sure you donate.
  • Leave no trace.
  • Be nice to kids.
  • Respect the police.
  • Bring your vaccination card.

For a full list of rules, go here.

If you’re visiting New York City during the holidays, you’re sure to find an event that will get you into the festive spirit. Be sure to stay at a hotel that is clean, comfortable, and designed with your needs in mind. The Concorde Hotel is happy to accommodate solo travelers, couples, and families. Our staff puts service above all else, and our concierge knows all the best places in NYC to find holiday cheer.

For the best holiday experience in NYC, be sure to book your stay at The Concorde Hotel.