Walking in a Winter Wonderland in NYC: New York City, USA

At any time of the year New York, known as “the city that never sleeps” is an amazing experience that overwhelms the senses. With its imposing skyline, huge parks, shopping precincts, monuments and bustling metropolitan atmosphere, there is nowhere quite like it. Visiting in winter and particularly at Christmas is a truly magical experience. The city comes alive with the celebrations. Dazzling lights, huge Christmas trees, roasted chestnut stalls and the tinkling of Santa bells and carol singers on the streets, all make for an enthralling winter break. Here are some top tips for what to look out for during the festive season in the winter wonderland of New York.

Rockerfeller Plaza

Christmas in New York does have a particular focal point and that is the way that Rockerfeller Plaza is transformed into a brilliantly lit winter wonderland. The New Yorkers are light fanatics and nowhere is this more evident than in the plaza. Focused on a huge 80 foot high Norwegian pine that is thought to be the biggest Christmas tree in the world, the Christmas light display is not to be missed. An open air ice rink is another feature of winter at the plaza and this together with the lights, brings crowds of people flocking there throughout the festive period.

The Radio City Christmas Spectacular

Any visit to New York at Christmas time would not be complete without obtaining tickets for what has become a big Christmas tradition, The Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Showing at the Radio City Music Hall, this festive stage show features over 140 performers, lavish costumes, grand sets and an original music score. A combination of song, dance and humour portrays traditional scenes in the style of a 90 minute revue. A tradition that was first established in 1933, the women’s precision dance troupe – The Rockettes feature strongly in the performance and this year celebrate their 85thanniversary. Running between early November and the end of December, the show draws an annual visitor total of around 1 million.

The Majestic Monuments of New York

Of course, New York would not be New York without a selection of the biggest and most famous monuments in the world. There are many that are worth a visit and of course, you would want to start out with the most famous of them all – The Statue of Liberty. A gift from the French in 1808, the statue is over 150 feet tall, looks out over the harbour and symbolises the independence and freedom upon which modern America is based. Another impressive statue is featured at the Columbus Circle Fountain near the south-west of Central Park. At a mere 70 feet high, this statue of Christopher Columbus is not a patch on then Lady of Liberty but, having been sculpted out of marble, it is still very impressive.

Festive Shop Window Displays

New York offers a range of shopping precincts and famous department stores that could keep you shopping for your whole stay. During the festive season and usually unveiled in late November, some of the department stores present vibrant window displays that have enormous entertainment value in their own right. If that was not enough some stores even put on festive shows and presentations. There is a walking tour that covers around 2 miles and features some of the best window displays. Shops on the tour include Bloomingdales, Macy’s, Saks on 5th Avenue (good for visitors with children because it depicts scenes from a children’s book), Lord and Taylor and Barneys. All of the window displays feature vivid lighting and scene depictions that are rich in detail so taking one of these walking tours is highly recommended for great entertainment value.

Ice Rinks

There’s no better activity at Christmas than ice skating, and New York is full of them over the winter season. For the ultimate skating experience in the city, the Wollerman Rink is your best option in the south of Central Park, where you can skate with the skyscrapers of Manhattan as your backdrop. If you’re looking for that ultimate winter in New York photo, here’s the spot to take it.

Other, less notable spots that are likely to be less busy include the Riverbank State Park Ice Skating Rink in Harlem and Battery Park’s rink at Brookfield Place.

Christmas Markets

When you think of Christmas markets your first thoughts might be of countries like Germany or Austria, but the state of New York and its capital city are a equally good destination for festive stalls and surprises. Through the winter season, Christmas markets pop up all over the city selling festive food, drink and gifts, and there’s no better way to spend a chilly evening than wandering around the stalls and sampling the produce on offer.

New York’s biggest Christmas market takes place in Bryant Park’s Winter Village, which is open from the end of October right through to January.


Is New York busy on Christmas Day?

New York is generally quite quiet on Christmas day, as almost all shops and businesses are closed which means that the streets are relatively empty. The roads may get busy in the mornings as people travel to see their family, but traffic is unlikely to be as frantic as it usually is.

Is New York expensive at Christmas?

A trip to New York at Christmas is likely to be quite expensive, as the festive season is one of the peak times for tourism in the city which means that travel and accommodation prices tend to be high. It’s certainly a worthwhile experience, but you should be prepared for peak-season prices across the city as businesses try and make the most out of the influx of tourists to the city.