New York City does some things exceptionally well – pizza, bagels, Broadway and perhaps most importantly, the holidays. It’s harder to think of a more magical place to spend those frosty months. Over the top parades, top-notch shopping, ice-skating and other winter activities round out a perfectively festive season. These recreational ideas will have you in the holiday spirit in no time.
Watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has secured its place as a holiday tradition alongside napping, watching football and avoiding political conversations with distant family members. When you’re spending Thanksgiving in New York City, it’s worth braving the cold and the crowds to see the extravagant procession in person. For prime viewing spots, situtate yourself no later than 6 AM starting at 75th St. on Central Park West, or find a spot by 7:30 AM anywhere along Sixth Avenue between Central Park South and 38th Street. These are the recommended stretches for experiencing the parade at street level. For those who want to kill two birds with one stone, the Time Warner Center shops open at 9 AM, providing a holiday shopping opportunity and a rare chance to watch the balloons float past the 2nd and 3rd story windows. Balloon enthusiasts can even do a walk-thru during the balloon inflation on Thanksgiving Eve in Central Park on the Upper West Side at Columbus Ave. and 79th St. from 3 PM to 10 PM.
Shop Black Friday
Even the most highbrow shopper can enjoy a good deal, and with New York City’s wide array of luxury shops and boutiques, good finds are plentiful. For example, British luxury store Belstaff, in Lenox Hill, is offering up to 40 percent discounts on pre-fall and fall fashions. Nicole Miller is a must stop for fashion fanatics, considering outerwear styles are going for up to 25 percent off. TopShop is another hotspot, promising steep discounts of up to 50 percent off on select fall and winter styles. Accessory junkies can clean up with a visit to Ted Baker London, where satchels and other garb are going for half off.
Enjoy an NYC holiday lights tour
It can be argued that New York twinkles year round, but during the month of December, it takes on a whole new shimmer. Historic buildings, buzzing storefronts and apartment buildings show off their holiday spirit with ornate light displays. Soak it all up with a two-hour driving New York City Holiday Lights Tour, which passes by sights like the famous Rockefeller Center Tree, the city’s best ice-skating rinks and Fifth Avenue’s impressive strip of department stores. Book your tour here!
Take dinner to the next level
Nothing says the holidays like splurge meals and excessive dinner parties. Many people share the same idea, so reservations are recommended for some of New York’s hottest spots. For those who prefer their dinner with a side of dancing, hangouts that take their direction from Vegas are best. The lavish Lavo presents superb modern takes on traditional Italian classics, while Tao Downtown offers an excellent Asian Fusion menu. Both restaurants have their own adjacent nightclubs, which regularly host internationally renowned DJs. Order a warming winter cocktail and hit the dance floor. It’s the perfect follow-up to an ultra-luxe dining experience.
Go ice skating at Bank of America’s Winter Village
New York City is home to many ice skating rinks, but none are more beautiful and fully outfitted than Bank of America’s Winter Village Rink, located in beautiful Bryant Park. This midtown attraction features a full rink with skate rentals and lockers on site in addition to an outdoor mall of luxury shops, a full heated bar and numerous unique dining options to appease any visitor.
These are just a few of the reasons New York City becomes a winter wonderland from November through February. Extravagant shopping, outdoor activities and twinkling lights keep tourists coming back for long holiday weekends year after year.