Destinations

10 Greatest Things to Do in December in New York, NY

Miracle on 34th Street. Home Alone. Elf. There’s a motive these blockbuster vacation hits all happen in New York City: to place it merely, it’s magical. While you might have to battle the biting winds or search reprieve from the frigid chilly, it’s New York’s winter climate that offers town its hard-nosed grit and lovable appeal year-round.

Even if it’s simply phantasm, it looks like town will get just a little smaller come November, as everybody huddles nearer to remain heat.

Bookending New York’s vacation traditions are the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on one facet and the New Year’s fireworks in Times Square on the opposite. But nestled in between these extremely televised occasions are loads of smaller affairs that pack all of the punch of vacation cheer with an added dose of New York marvel.

During the vacations, locals and guests can decide to recreate romantic film moments by ice skating in Bryant Park, or ordering up frozen hot chocolates at Serendipity III. If it’s not nostalgia that tickles your fancy, head to Dyker Heights and take in the lights, or take within the metropolis views in miniature on the New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show

It should be mentioned, nonetheless, that the actual vacation magic of New York lies within the unknown, buried within the recollections and power of one million wintery wonderlands passed by. Something adjustments within the air when the primary snowflake falls – an indescribable sense that something is feasible. Give in to this sense and abruptly you’ll notice that town turns into your oyster, a playground the place hidden gems and long-lost secrets and techniques current themselves to you at each flip. 







New Year's Day Polar Bear Plunge

Photo courtesy of @Chennai

Are all of those vacation actions making you are feeling just a little too heat and cuddly? Cool method down by beginning your new yr off with an icy dip at Coney Island. The New Year’s Day problem is free for swimmers, although a voluntary donation of $25 helps to maintain this swim going yr after yr. Registering early will maintain you out of queue on the day of the swim, so all it’s a must to do is present up, strip down and soar in. That’s simpler mentioned than carried out although, so should you’re not occupied with taking part, observers are additionally welcome to come back and snap some priceless pics.

Recommended for Things to Do in December as a result of: What higher approach to ring within the new yr than by plunging your physique into sub-zero waters?

Andrea’s skilled tip: Reserve your spot prior for less than $20 and skip the queue on swim day.

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The Nutcracker Ballet


The Nutcracker Ballet

Photo courtesy of www.nycballet.com

For many kids across the nation, The Nutcracker was not solely their first introduction to ballet, but additionally a shining image of the vacation season. The Nutcracker in New York, which debuted in February 1954, pays homage to that custom with elaborate staging and a number of the best performers on the planet. All in, the present options 90 dancers, 62 musicians, 32 stagehands and a couple of separate casts of fifty college students that re-create Tchaikovsky’s beloved world flawlessly. If you’ll be able to solely see one present this vacation season, do not even hesitate. Make it The Nutcracker. The present runs from late-November to early-January, supplying you with loads of time to catch a chunk of the magic, even after the brand new yr.

Recommended for Things to Do in December as a result of: This spectacular occasion is a vacation custom that is reigned supreme for many years.

Andrea’s skilled tip: Get to know the dancers at pre-performance dancer chats, held on choose Fridays all year long. Check the web site for particulars.

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Dyker Heights Light Show


Dyker Heights Light Show

Photo courtesy of nyclovesnyc.blogspot.com

Make the trek over the bridge and into Brooklyn’s Dyker Heights to see a dizzying show of Christmas lights. Each yr, the neighborhood comes alive with decorations and shows that may solely be described as over-the-top. For optimum viewing, plan on getting in mid-December and contemplate taking a automobile. While the subway will get you shut, lots of the most spectacular shows are a mile or extra from the station, and youthful ones may need a difficulty traipsing the crowded neighborhood by foot. If a automobile is not an possibility, there’s all the time the bus or a rideshare. One factor is for certain: it does not matter the way you get right here, simply that you just make it.

Recommended for Things to Do in December as a result of: It’s an over-the-top native gentle present that is certain to impress.

Andrea’s skilled tip: Take a automobile, however contemplate parking it when you get to the neighborhood.

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Radio City Christmas Spectacular


Radio City Christmas Spectacular

Photo courtesy of www.radiocitychristmas.com

While we advise steering away from Rockefeller Center for ice-skating, we’re very happy to suggest that you just go to for a present. Specifically, the Radio City Christmas Spectacular starring The Rockettes. Founded in 1925, The Rockettes are a dance troupe greatest identified for his or her lengthy legs and excessive kicking refrain traces, a cultural sensation and key staple of their Christmas present. Show attendees can anticipate to listen to traditional tunes together with “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree” and “Here Comes Santa Claus” whereas The Rockettes entertain by means of a combination of recent dance and ballet. The family-friendly present kicks off in early November and runs by means of New Year’s Day.

Recommended for Things to Do in December as a result of: It’s among the finest methods to get into the vacation spirit.

Andrea’s skilled tip: Arrive early for an opportunity to take an image with the dancers.

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Serendipity 3


Serendipity 3

Photo courtesy of seenonrho.wordpress.com

Romantic film fanatics will bear in mind this restaurant from the 2001 John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale movie, Serendipity. In the film, the 2 stars share a dessert that kick begins their love affair and consequently cements this spot in lover’s minds ceaselessly. Due to the recognition of this dessert haven and their now notorious frozen scorching chocolate, be ready to attend earlier than being seated. However, should you’re keen to eat extra than simply dessert, the restaurant takes reservations for dinner. Looking to drag off a romantic stunt of your personal? Serendipity’s “The Golden Opulence Sundae” could also be your reply. Covered in 23-karat edible gold leaf, this creamy deal with prices $1,000, making it some of the costly desserts cash should buy.

Recommended for Things to Do in December as a result of: It’s an opportunity to recreate film magic and bask in scrumptious dessert.

Andrea’s skilled tip: If you make dinner reservations, you will skip the lengthy queue on the entrance door.

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Winter Village at Bryant Park


Winter Village at Bryant Park

Photo courtesy of mamasbites.com

Ice-skating in Rockefeller Center sounds excellent in principle, however the actuality of the scenario is that it is typically a madhouse with a steep admission charge. Instead, toss on some skate within the shadow of the New York Public Library at The Rink at Bryant Park. While we’re not promising that there will not be hordes of skaters right here, admission is free, which makes queuing up just a little simpler to abdomen. If you already personal skates, be happy to convey them with you. Otherwise, skate leases will price you between $18-$33, relying on the date. And here is a professional tip: head on-line to order your spot – a brand new characteristic this season that can make the entire expertise run extra easily.

Recommended for Things to Do in December as a result of: It’s a free various to skating in Rockefeller Center with simply as a lot appeal.

Andrea’s skilled tip: To get monetary savings, convey your personal skates and locker lock.

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Union Square Holiday Markets


Union Square Holiday Markets

Photo courtesy of djfeyphotography.blogspot.com

Once you’ve got overcome the sticker shock on fifth Avenue, make your method just a little additional south to Union Square. Usually dwelling of town’s largest inexperienced market, radishes and rhubarb are changed in the course of the holidays with a bevy of presents made by native artisans. Helmed by Urbanspace, coordinators of the favored summer time pop-up Madison Square Eats, the market opens this yr on November twenty first and options every part from hand-crafted jewellery to brew-your-own beer kits. As you weave your method by means of the stalls, strike up conversations with the artists and get an inside peek at that their course of. That method, when your sister-in-law thanks you for her canine’s new couture collar and leash, you can inform her all concerning the girl who made it.

Recommended for Things to Do in December as a result of: These markets mean you can store for a New York reward that is hand-crafted and distinctive.

Andrea’s skilled tip: Go on a weekday as an alternative of in the course of the weekend craziness.

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Fifth Avenue Window Displays


Fifth Avenue Window Displays

Photo courtesy of nyclovesnyc.blogspot.com

Every yr, thousands and thousands of New Yorkers and guests stroll down fifth Avenue to peruse the home windows of Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, Saks, Barneys and numerous others that pull out all of the stops for his or her annual shows. While it is true that you’re going to discover this exercise on almost each vacationer’s to-do listing, do not let that diminish your pleasure for this long-running vacation custom. These high-end retailers plan all yr for his or her grand unveilings and no element is missed. As every window appears to be like to trump the one subsequent to it, the result’s a strip of pure magnificence within the type of literal window watching and shiny, shining gentle reveals.

Recommended for Things to Do in December as a result of: A free NYC custom, that is one touristy occasion you do not wish to miss.

Andrea’s skilled tip: Each retailer unveils their home windows on a distinct day, so do your analysis earlier than heading out to gaze.

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The “Secret” Macy's Day Parade


The “Secret” Macy's Day Parade

Photo courtesy of Sue Rodman

Not so quick there, parade-goer. Instead, we suggest turning your consideration away from parade day for only a second. On Thanksgiving Eve, the evening earlier than the large present, a not-so-secret custom has been happening since 1927. Taking up two full metropolis blocks round The Museum of Natural History, individuals collect to look at the parade’s well-known balloons take form. It’s an effective way to see favorites like Snoopy, Big Bird and Spongebob with out waking up with the solar and elbowing for a spot on the parade’s entrance traces. The inflation occasion opens to the general public at 3PM the Wednesday earlier than the parade, and closes round 10PM.

Recommended for Things to Do in December as a result of: Get up-close-and-personal with the balloons earlier than they hit the parade route.

Andrea’s skilled tip: Go round 5PM to see the balloons actually come alive.

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New York Botanical Garden


New York Botanical Garden

Photo courtesy of NYBG Photo by Marlon Co.

During the hotter months, the plant assortment right here boasts over 18,000 totally different species from all over the world. But within the winter, the spotlight of the season is the Holiday Train Show that runs this yr from Saturday, November 23, 2019 — Sunday, January 26, 2020. The metropolis is recreated in miniature with pure supplies comparable to birch bark, acorns, and cinnamon sticks whereas mannequin trains snake their method by means of the tiny streets. 175 iconic sights are featured, together with The Statue of Liberty, Central Park, Brooklyn Bridge and Rockefeller Center. Those with littles will even be glad to see practice royalty, Thomas the Tank Engine, on full show.

Recommended for Things to Do in December as a result of: It’s a household pleasant exercise that can delight everybody huge and small.

Andrea’s skilled tip: Tickets promote out, so advance reservations are strongly beneficial.

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