ToursByLocals guide Robin, a licensed Manhattan guide and third generation New Yorker, is joining us today to share some of her favourite holiday activities in the Big Apple.
So you’re finally coming to New York City! There are so many exciting events happening for the upcoming Holiday season. Here are some of my favorite things for this time of year, all of them family friendly:
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
Kicking off the season is the Macy’s Parade down 7th Ave. on Thanksgiving (November 28th). The parade features giant helium balloons of your favorite characters, colorful spectacular floats, performance groups, marching bands and of course Santa. As a child my family went every Thanksgiving before we headed home for our traditional Thanksgiving feast. Ah the memories!! This is something for all to see but get there early and dress warmly.
Lighting of the Christmas Tree
What is Christmas in NY without seeing the Iconic Christmas Tree lighting ceremony at Rockefeller Center? This year marks the 81st anniversary of the tree lighting which will be held on the evening of Wednesday December 4. This event is televised all over the world and will feature musical performances by popular artists (this year's line-up includes Mary J. Blige, Toni Braxton, Mariah Carey, and Kelly Clarkson among others). The plaza will be filled with thousands of revelers and when the switch is turned on, 30,000 lights are illuminated with a sparkling Swarovski Star on top. The tree will remain lit until January 7th, and overlooks the spectacular ice skating ring in the plaza which I highly recommend you try.
Holiday Shopping in NYC
There is nowhere in the world that offers the array of shopping opportunities that New York City does, especially for the holidays. There are pop up markets all over town. One great one is at Union Square on 14th St. and Broadway. Another fun one is in Bryant Park on 42nd St. From there you can walk to Grand Central terminal to visit not only the terminal but the market there as well. The markets all have a festive atmosphere that will make this shopping opportunity fun with unique one-of-a-kind gifts you won’t find in shopping malls. I always find great bargains and gifts at these markets.
Many of the famous ice skating rinks will be open for the season. Whether you are a seasoned ice skater or a teetering novice, the rinks are a place that you will adore. Rockefeller Plaza, Bryant Park and Central Park are just some of the popular ones. Don’t be shy! Rent those skates and get out on the ice for an unforgettable New York City experience. If you’re lucky it will snow while you are on the ice. OK, I have gotten some bumps from falling, but it was a grand time.
Have a great holiday and enjoy your stay in this great city that I call home.
If you’re lucky enough to be planning a New York City trip before Christmas, consider getting in touch with Robin, for a custom private tour of her city.