Holiday Fun in New York City
Source: Tween Parent Staff
Bright holiday lights, the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, department store window decorations, ice skating outdoors, the smell of roasting chestnuts.... it's the holiday season in New York City. Yes, it's crowded, noisy and hectic, but there is nothing like experiencing New York City in December to get you into the holiday spirit. With this in mind, we have some sightseeing ideas that will have your preteens singing Jingle Bells all the way up Fifth Avenue.
Bright Lights and Cool Trees
- Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree - Always a classic, this year's tree comes from Hamilton, New Jersey and is referred to as the Miracle Tree. While planting the tree in 1931, Mary Varanyak predicted that one day it would become a Rockefeller Christmas Tree. Located in Rockefeller Center at 50th Street and 5th Avenue.
- Unicef Snowflake - Lighting up 57th Street, this giant chandelier is made up of 16,000 Baccarat crystal prisms and weighs 3,300 pounds. Visit on Friday nights at 6pm and enjoy musical performances along with free hot chocolate and cookies. Located at 57th and 5th Avenue.
- Grand Central Terminal Kaleidoscope Light Show - This spectacular display of lights, themed this year on a train ride through a snowy forest filled with magical creatures, is continuously displayed every half hour from 11am - 9pm daily through New Year's Day. Located in the main concourse of Grand Central Terminal on 42nd Street and Park Avenue.
- Holiday Tree at the Pond at Bryant Park - This tree has it all. Decorated by Toronto designer, Brian Gluckstein, you can enjoy looking at it while ice skating on Bryant Pond or sipping hot chocolate at Celsius. Located in Bryant Park on 6th Avenue and 40th Street.
- World's Largest Menorah - Celebrate the first night of Hanukkah, on December 21, with the lighting of this 32-foot, 4,000-pound golden menorah. The celebration begins at 5:30pm and continues through the eight-day holiday. The first night includes folk dancing and live music. Located in Grand Army Plaza at 59th Street and 5th Avenue.
- Under the Stars Light Show at the Time Warner Center - November 7 kicks off the synchronized light show complete with falling snow in the Time Warner Center lobby. The show runs every 15 minutes from 4 - 10 pm and continues through January 2. The snow falls on Friday to Sunday evenings. Located in The Time Warner Center at 59th and Broadway.
- Natural History Museum Origami Tree - This tree is decorated with approximately 500 origami creations, featuring creatures found in the museum. Volunteers will be on hand to teach visitors of all ages the art of origami folding. Located on Central Park West and 79th Street.
- Metropolitan Museum of Art Tree - Set in the Medieval Sculpture Hall this tree is decorated with angles and cherubs. A realistic nativity scene surrounds the base. A lighting ceremony takes place at 7pm on Friday and Saturday evening. Located in the Metropolitan Museum of Art at 5th Avenue and 82nd Street.
- Chorus Tree at the South Street Seaport - With the East River and Brooklyn Height as backdrop, this tree literally comes to life when the Big Apple Chorus performs Fridays at 6 and 7pm and on the weekends at 3 and 4pm. Located at the South Street Seaport on Pier 17 (Fulton Street and the East River).
Holiday Window Shopping - New York City Style
- Bloomingdale's - Songs from Tony Bennett's new album, A Swingin' Christmas, set the mood for the retro holiday scenes in these windows. Reminiscent of pop-up greeting cards, these windows are a must-see. Located at Lexington and 59th Street.
- Barney's - A Hippy Happy Holiday is the theme of these windows that celebrates the counter culture of the 60's. Located at Madison Avenue and 61st Street.
- Bergdorf Goodman - These whimsical windows are a feast for the eyes. Preteen fashionistas will appreciate the attention to detail in these all white scenes depicting the four seasons. Located at 5th Avenue and 58th Street.
- Saks Fifth Avenue - Inspired by the children's book "A Flake Like Mike", the theme of these windows is individuality. These beautiful windows plus the decorative snowflake lights that cover the storefront are sure to capture your preteens imagination. Located at 5th Avenue and 50th Street.
- Lord & Taylor - These windows showcase elaborate scenes of favorite Christmas traditions that are packed with exquisite animated figures and exacting details. Located at 5th Avenue and 38th Street.
- Macy's - The story, in these windows, is about believing in the magic behind the scenes. Each window showcases the machinery and other strange devices used to create enchanted Christmas elements. Located at Broadway and 34th Street.
Get Gifted - Holiday Markets
For interesting and unique gifts, check out one of these markets.
- Grand Central Holiday Fair - Located in the Vanderbilt Hall in Grand
- Central Terminal at 42nd Street and Park Avenue.
- Columbus Circle Holiday Market - Located at Central Park West and 59th Street.
- Fete de Noel at Bryant Park - Located at 6th Avenue and 40th Street.
- Union Square Holiday Market - Located at the south end of Union Square Park on 14th Street.
Smooth Moves - Holiday Ice Skating
- Rockefeller Center Rink - Located at 5th Avenue and 50th Street.
- The Pond at Bryant Park - Open through Jan 25, 2009 and located at 6th Avenue and 40th Street.
- Wollman Rink - Located in Central Park a few minutes walk north from the 59th Street and 6th Avenue entrance.
- The Polar Rink at the Natural History Museum - Located on the 81st side of the museum. Enter the museum at the 79th Street and Columbus Avenue to purchase tickets.
- Seaport Ice Rink at the South Street Seaport Museum - Located on Pier 17 at South Street and Fulton Street in lower Manhattan.
Holiday Tea, Hot Chocolate... and People Watching
- Serendipity 3 - Famous for their frozen hot chocolate and ice cream sundaes, this restaurant is also an excellent location for people watching. Located at 225 East 60th Street between 3rd and 2nd Avenues.
- The Four Seasons Hotel Lobby Lounge - From November 29 - December 28, enjoy the "Holiday Tree Tea" while over looking the hotel's 24-foot tree. Located on 57th Street between Madison and Park Avenues.
- Afternoon Tea at the Palm Court - After a recent renovation, this New York City institution is back. Enjoy the best of everything while relaxing in the opulent Plaza Hotel. Located at 5th Avenue and 59th Street.
- La Maison du Chocolat - This upscale chocolate shop features a small tearoom inside the store where you can relax and enjoy their decadent hot chocolate and other treats. Located at 30 Rockefeller Plaza on 49th Street.
- Celsius - Sip hot chocolate while enjoying the spectacular views of Bryant Park and the surrounding buildings. Located in the northeast corner of The Pond at 6th Avenue and 40th Street.
- Jacques Torres Chocolate - A chocolate lovers dream come true, this shop on the Upper West Side features a small bar where you and your kids can enjoy a variety of thick, rich, creamy hot chocolates. Located on Amsterdam Avenue between 73rd and 74th Street.
Find your way around central Manhattan with this handy map.
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