Happy Holidays from Metro Tours!
It’s the most wonderful time of the year in New York City! If you ask us, you really can’t pick a bad time to visit. But if you want a really special experience and are adventurous enough to brave some pretty serious crowds, then we suggest coming during the holiday season. Specifically, sometime between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. And since we are squarely within that timeframe as we speak (ok, as we type), we wanted to take this opportunity to provide some of our favorite NYC holiday attractions and activities to incorporate into your visit. If nothing here tickles your fancy, give us a shout! We love creating custom itineraries for visitors. We take into account your length of stay, your preferences and your budget to come up with an agenda that is perfectly tailored for you and your group. And don’t just take our word for it, but we are pretty good at it. But, we digress.
Back to business. We like to offer suggestions of both popular tourist attractions and lesser-known, local favorites. Next to each of the suggestions here, we will note the level of crowd and other tourists you can expect. Plan accordingly and proceed with caution!
1.) New York Botanical Garden’s Holiday Train Show: This is wonderful activity for children, or children at heart. “Marvel at model trains zipping through an enchanting display of more than 175 famous New York landmarks—imagine the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, Rockefeller Center, and other favorites—each delightfully re-created from natural materials such as birch bark, acorns, and cinnamon sticks.” A bonus is that this stop won’t be too terribly crowded.
2.) The Rockettes Christmas Spectacular: Nothing says “Christmas in New York City” quite like this famous show at Radio City Music Hall. This is a great way to see the famed Radio City and take in some awe-inspiring holiday sights and moves. What we love about adding this show to a holiday itinerary is that the show is put on several times a day, so you can find a time that works best for your day’s plans. We suggest stopping in neighboring Magnolia Bakery for one of their famous cupcakes or our favorite banana pudding. Caution: both the show and this area of town will be very crowded, and very touristy.
3.) Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree: Confession time. We included the Rock Center tree because it’s obligatory. If you are in the neighborhood (perhaps you just took in the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular at nearby Radio City), then you should stroll over to Rock Center. The massive tree all lit up is a beautiful site. If you are lucky, you may be able to snag an optimal position for a quick photo. Our advice: extremely touristy; get in and get out.
4.) Union Square Holiday Market: If you will be in NYC before Christmas and Hanukkah and you are not quite done with your holiday shopping yet, the Union Square Holiday Market is the perfect place to browse unique, handmade items from artisanal soaps and jewelry to tree ornaments and toys. Grab a cup of hot apple cider and an apple cider donut for the stroll…shopping works up an appetite! If cider is not your taste, there are plenty of other food vendors as well. There is also a holiday market located midtown at Columbus Circle, but keep in mind that one doesn’t open until Dec. 4th. This will be a moderate to heavy crowd depending on time of day.
5.) Ice Skating at Brookfield Place: There are a number of places in NYC you can lace up and hit the ice. We suggest Brookfield Place in TriBeCa because it will be one of the more accessible and thinly crowded. Located right outside of Brookfield Place shopping mall with many dining and shopping options when you are ready to thaw out. We also love the views of the Hudson River. And if it’s REALLY cold out, you can migrate from Brookfield Place to the Oculus without even going outside.
6.) Holiday Windows: New York City department stores like Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdale’s and Saks Fifth Avenue really know how to do the holidays right. Their annual window displays of intricate and astounding scenes always seem to somehow top the prior year. Crowds will be thick here.
7.) Rolf’s Restaurant: Located in the Gramercy neighborhood, this German restaurant really shines during the holiday season – literally. Rolf’s is famous for its over-the-top ornament and light display. If you aren’t able to squeeze into a spot at the bar for a pre or post dinner drink, this place is still worth peeking into if you find yourself in the area.
8.) Walking Tour: Of course, we saved the best for last! 🙂
We hope that you enjoy everything this great city has to offer this holiday season!