There’s nowhere like New York City during the holidays. Once we pass Thanksgiving, all stores start to decorate for the holidays. Decorations range from cheap drug store style to bigger operations, like the stores along Fifth Avenue and Macy’s flagship location. It all adds up to one magical city.
There are so many things that go on around NYC during the holidays that it can be hard to check out even the few that you’ve decided on for a given year. With our move continuing to creep closer, this year’s plans have even more significance. Here are some of the top types of holiday activities with some thoughts on which one is the best in each.
Pictures with Santa. If you have a kid, this is one of those biggies. This year, we took Q to Macy’s, expecting for it to be a bit of a production. We were pleasantly surprised with how efficient they really are if you sign up for their Fast Pass. I highly recommend it! Other options around the city include Bloomingdale’s, ABC Home (Sunday only, bring your own camera) and Petco (perfect if you’re planning on including your pet in the photo!).
Holiday Markets. There are a number from which you can choose. Of them all, I think my favorite is still the Union Square Holiday Market – though it tends to be quite crowded. It has the best selection of stores though. A close second would be the Bryant Park Market. Other options include the Grand Central Holiday Fair and the Columbus Circle Holiday Market.
Train Show. If you have the patience for the lines you’ll likely encounter, the train show at the New York Botanical Garden is the way to go. Running through January 16th, the show is massive, with trains working their way through replicas of 150 area landmarks. Another much smaller option is the 15th Annual Train Show at the Transit Museum in Grand Central. This one is free and easy to pop into if you’re in the area and want a touch of holiday trains without the long trip up to the Bronx.
Ice Skating. I absolutely love ice skating, and ’tis definitely the season to make the most outdoor skating across the city. You have your pick of several locations – Rockefeller Center, Bryant Park, Central Park (where your options are both Wollman Rink and Lasker Rink) and Prospect Park (the LeFrak Center). I’m partial to Bryant Park, where skating is free (if you bring your own skates) and the surface is larger and less crowded than Rockefeller. This year I’d hoped to check off either Rockefeller or Central Park, but looks like those will have to remain on the list for next year.
Window Displays. This is a New York City must! Best options are of course Macy’s and the stores all along Fifth Avenue.
What’s your favorite NYC attraction during the holidays?