If Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, then the most wonderful place to be when the festivities are in full swing has to be New York.
The Big Apple is a bucket-list favourite and a fantastic city to visit at any time of the year. But there’s something extra magical about being in New York in the lead up to Christmas, when it seems the entire city has been transformed into a winter wonderland.
Don’t miss these fun-filled activities if you’re celebrating Christmas in New York this year…
An annual tradition dating back to the 1920s, the spectacular Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade kicks off the holiday season in style. Starting at 9am, the three-hour parade sees over 8,000 participants take to the streets in front of thousands of excited onlookers. Expect giant balloons, floats, marching bands, performance groups, celebrity appearances and even a visit from the big man himself!
Ice skating is a popular activity for New Yorkers and visitors alike over the festive season. One of the main hotspots is the Wollman Rink; set in the iconic Central Park, it sees skaters of all ages and abilities take to the ice. It’s open during the day but we strongly recommend a twilight trip, when the twinkling lights of the skyscrapers serve as your backdrop.
The Rockefeller Center is home to the mother of all Christmas trees. The inaugural lighting ceremony is happening on the 28th of November this year; thousands of people line the sidewalks to watch the mighty Norway Spruce sparkle for the first time, while millions tune in to the live broadcast. Don’t worry if you’re not in New York for the ceremony – the tree will be illuminated every evening through to the 7th of January.
Catching a show whilst in New York is an absolute must, and there’s nothing quite like Radio City’s Christmas Spectacular to get you in the festive spirit! Combining singing, dancing and humour with traditional Christmas scenes, this 90-minute show is guaranteed to get your head bopping and feet tapping. If you’re after some of the best seats in the house, it’s a good idea to book in advance.
Just like all major cities, New York has its fair share of Christmas markets. Among those well worth a visit is the Union Square Holiday Market, which sees over 150 local and national vendors set up in snug huts festooned with fairy lights. With ample food and drink options, you could easily while away an afternoon here – it’s the perfect place to pick up some mementos of your trip, too!
Once you’ve booked your flights and accommodation, and applied for your ESTA (the paper visa required to visit the US), you’ll need to think about taking out travel insurance. Medical Travel Compared can arrange quality, affordable cover for your holiday and will even insure pre-existing medical conditions.