FUN THINGS TO DO IN NEW YORK CITY THIS HOLIDAY SEASON 2012
Having spent so many wonderful holiday seasons in New York City, we felt we’d share some of our favorite traditions and activities. We hope the attached serves as a useful guide to help you and your family navigate your way through some of New York’s great sights and attractions this season.
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Christmas Holiday Shows and Events in New York City
Radio City Music Hall, 1260 6th Avenue, New York, NY 10020; Now – December 30, 2012; $46 – $255 www.radiocitychristmas.com 866-858-0007.
13th Annual Winter’s Eve at Lincoln Square
Sidewalks come alive with street performances by musicians, jugglers, stilt walkers and more. The celebration features free entertainment, food tastings, in-store activities and shopping and begins with a neighborhood tree lighting ceremony at Dante Park – Broadway and 63rd Street. Festivities continue along Broadway from Time Warner Center to 68th Street. November 26, 2012 at 5:00pm. www.winterseve.org 212-581-3774
Angels, soldiers, and sugarplum fairies prance across the Lincoln Center stage in a show that delights children and adults alike. New York State Theater, Columbus Avenue & 63rd Street, Lincoln Center, New York, NY 10023; November 23 – December 30, 2012. For tickets: www.nycballet.com/nutcracker/nutcracker.html
New York Philharmonic – The perennial favorite that always sells out, this incredibly rich oratorio features an elaborate mix of chorus, soloists, and orchestra that must be heard live. The New York Philharmonic delights with the city’s most popular Messiah performance. Don’t forget the custom of standing for the “Hallelujah” chorus, as King George II reportedly did at the London premiere. There are five opportunities to watch at Avery Fisher Hall: Dec 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 2012; Tickets $33 – $107. Avery Fisher Hall, 10 Lincoln Center Plaza, 212-875-5656 www.nyphil.org/ConcertsTickets
Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
The Musical at The Theater at Madison Square Garden – Discover the joy of Dr. Seuss’ quintessential holiday tale as it comes to life on the stage. Hit songs like “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” and “Welcome Christmas” set the tone for this heartwarming seasonal classic as the Grinch discovers there’s more to Christmas than he bargained for. December 13–30, 2012; Tickets $40-$149. The Theater at Madison Square Garden, 4 Pennsylvania Plaza (Seventh Ave) between 31st and 33rd, Manhattan, NY, 212-465-6741 www.theateratmsg.com/events/2012
Holiday Shops and Activities in NYC
The Holiday Shops at Bryant Park – Open daily, the over 100 boutique-style shops and specialty food stores from around the world offer exquisite and distinctive apparel, jewelry, decorative goods, imported and local food, and much more. Now – December 28, 2012. For a complete list of vendors, an insider’s guide to The Holiday Shops and more, please visit www.theholidayshopsatbryantpark.com or call 212-661-6640.
Holiday Shopping in Union Square – One of Manhattan’s most popular Holiday Markets, The 19th Annual Holiday Market in Union Square offers shoppers a wide variety of items which include handcrafted jewelry, fine art, clothes, handmade ornaments and toys. The market will be open from Now through December 24, 2012 from 11am to 8pm daily. www.urbanspacenyc.com/union-square
Grand Central Holiday Fair - Stop by Grand Central Terminal for a warm and festive holiday shopping spree. The annually held Holiday Fair offers fun and original gift ideas and a merry atmosphere. Now through December 24th, 2012 at Grand Central Terminal – 87 E. 42nd St. at Park Avenue. Hours are 10am-8pm Monday-Saturday and 10am-7pm Sunday. Closed on Christmas Eve.
9th Annual Holiday Market at Columbus Circle - Open November 28 to December 24, 2012, 59th Street and 8th Avenue. 10am to 8pm Monday – Saturday and 10am to 7pm on Sunday.
The Holiday Gift Shops at St. Bartholomew’s – 2012 marks the 8th year for the Holiday Gift Shops at St. Bart’s. Open Now through December 24, 2012 from 8am to 8pm daily. On Park Avenue at 50th street.
Lord & Taylor Holiday Window Displays (424 Fifth Avenue at 38th Street)
Bergdorf Goodman Holiday Window Displays (Fifth Avenue and 57th Street)
Saks Fifth Avenue Holiday Window Displays (611 Fifth Avenue between 49th and 50th Street)
Barneys New York Christmas Window Displays (660 Madison Avenue at 61st Street)
Bloomingdale’s Christmas Window Displays (Lexington Avenue between 59th Street and 60th Street)
Macy’s Christmas Window Displays (Herald Square, between 34th and 35th on Broadway)
Most department stores run their holiday displays from mid-November to mid-January.
Not Just For Kids
The Museum of the City of New York 2012 Children’s Holiday Party - Arts, crafts, magic shows, a buffet supper and meeting with Santa Claus is enough to get any child in the holiday spirit. Museum of the City of New York at 1220 Fifth Avenue; Monday, December 10, from 3-6pm; visit https://boxoffice.mcny.org/public/ 212-534-1672
Eleventh Annual Grand Central Holiday Train Show – The New York Transit Museum Gallery at Grand Central Terminal is returning with its 11th annual Holiday Train Show, which features a full train track with a fully functioning train and miniature New York City background. The vintage trains made by Lionel, American Flyer and Louis Marx & Company, which date as far back as the 1920s, will also be on display. Now through February 10, 2013 at New York Transit Museum Gallery Annex; Grand Central Terminal, 42nd St. between Vanderbilt and Lexington Avenues www.mta.info/mta/museum/whatsnew.htm
Now through January 13, 2013 – The New York Botanical Garden- Bronx River Parkway at Fordham Road. The New York Botanical Garden’s Holiday Train Show is a beautiful scene of The Big Apple built entirely out of plants and natural material like seeds, bark and leaves. A few of the included landmarks are the Brooklyn Bridge and The Statue of Liberty constructed by Paul Busse. New this year is the replica of Macy’s flagship location (“The Miracle on 34th Street”) that greets you as you enter the Haupt Conservatory. The miniature trains are also incredibly impressive works of art to view and run the familiar New York City Landscape. www.nybg.org/hts
The Grinch’s Holiday Workshop at the Children’s Museum of Manahattan – Step into The Grinch’s Holiday Workshop and walk right into the pages of Dr. Seuss’s classic holiday tale, which comes to life in the Children’s Museum of Manhattan’s new exhibit. Kids can create art projects inspired by Seuss’ iconic style and story, view scenes from the book covering gallery walls, participate in a scavenger hunt, play in a real-life sleigh and learn how to give back to those in need. Join Cindy-Lou Who, the lovable dog Max and the “Mean One” himself, the Grinch, for a new interactive experience, inspired by Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas! On view now through Sunday, January 6, 2013 at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, 212 West 83rd Street between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue. All activities are free with admission, $11 www.TheGrinchWorkshop.com
Hotels, Museums, Trees and Lights
Madeline’s Tea at the Carlyle- Stop by to enjoy Madeline’s Tea at The Carlyle’s famous Bemelmans Bar. Madeline’s Tea is a delightfully playful afternoon for children and parents alike. Guests can listen and sing along to tunes from the Madeline Song Book with Tina de Varon while dining on Madeline’s Children’s Buffet, afternoon tea, or an a la carte menu for adults. Every Saturday from Now through December 22, 2012 with seatings at 10am and 12:45pm. Don’t forget to check out the gingerbread house on display in The Gallery. It’s an endless source of temptation for both young and the young at heart. Located at 35 East 76th Street. www.thecarlyle.com 212-744-1600
Victorian Holiday Lighting (At the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center – Inside the Park on 110th St between 5th and Lenox Aves) - Sunday, December 4, 2012 from 4:30pm to 5:30pm. Celebrate the season in Manhattan’s Victorian winter wonderland at the Central Park Conservancy’s 16th Annual Holiday Lighting. Enjoy hot cocoa, live carolers, cookie decorating, crafts and an opportunity to take photographs with Father Christmas. FREE. No advance registration. All ages welcome. For more information, call 212-860-1370. http://support.centralparknyc.org/site/
Origami Christmas Tree at the American Museum of Natural History – For over thirty years the museum has celebrated the holiday season with its origami tree. This year, the museum draws inspiration from its own items for the 500 folded-paper works, constructed by volunteers beginning in July. See which pieces made their way onto the 13-foot tree. Tree viewing began on November 19, 2012 and tree will remain up until January 6, 2013. Central Park West at 79th Street. 212-875-5456 www.amnh.org
Christmas Tree at The Metropolitan Museum of Art - Now through January 6, 2013. The Museum will display its Christmas Tree and Neapolitan Baroque Creche. The twenty foot spruce will be adorned with 18th century Neapolitan angels and Cherubs flanking the nativity scene in the Museum’s Medieval Sculpture Hall. Lighting ceremonies are held Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays at 3:30pm and 4:30pm, and Fridays and Saturdays at 4:30pm, 5:30pm, and 6:30pm. 1000 5th Ave at 82nd Street. www.metmuseum.org 212-535-7710
Park Avenue Tree Lighting Ceremony – December 2, 2012 6:30-7:30pm at The Brick Presbyterian Church located at 91st Street and Park Ave. Every year since 1945 the firs that line Park Avenue have been lit to remember and honor those who have lost their lives in our nation’s wars.
Tree Lighting Celebration at Citi Pond inside Bryant Park- Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 6pm. www.bryantpark.org
Lighting of the World’s Largest Hanukkah Menorah- This 32 foot tall, two ton candelabra will be lit at the Grand Army Plaza at Fifth Avenue and 59th Street. The nightly lighting ceremonies will be accompanied by folk dancing and holiday jelly donuts. The festivities take place December 8 – December 16, 2012. Every evening at 5:30pm during the holiday a candle will be lit. For the Sabbath, the lighting will be at 3:30pm on Friday and 8:30pm on Saturday.
The 36th Annual Three Kings Day Parade at El Museo del Barrio - On Wednesday, January 6, 2013 El Museo will once again celebrate its time-honored tradition of the Three Kings Day Parade, its renowned procession through the streets of el barrio with lively music, colorful costumes, floats and thousands of participants. Admission is free. For more information, please visit . www.elmuseo.org
Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting - November 28, 2012 from 7pm-9pm. The Norway Spruce will be illuminated by 30,000 environmentally friendly LED lights on five miles of wire! It will remain on view until 11pm on January 7, 2013. www.rockefellercenter.com
Chorus Tree at South Street Seaport – The South Street Seaport kicked off the holiday season with a traditional tree lighting ceremony where an over 50 foot Norway Spruce was lit up the day after Thanksgiving. Now, the bright lights of New York City are drowned out by the beautiful lights of the holiday at the South Street Seaport’s Historic Cobblestone Area – South Street and Fulton. The St. Cecilia Chorus Carolers perform on Fridays at 6pm and 7pm and on Saturdays and Sundays at 3pm and 4 pm through Christmas, providing a festive break from the holiday madness. www.southstreetseaport.com
Carl Schurz Park Tree Lighting – On Sunday, December 2 from 5-6pm enjoy gratis hot chocolate, cookies and candies, as critically the acclaimed choir Cantori New York and the Orbal Brass Quartet serenade you.
Carl Schurz Park, East End Ave at 86th Street; 212-459 4455 http://www.carlschurzparknyc.org/events.html
Macy’s Santaland and Puppet Theatre- Visit the real Santa Claus at Macy’s Santaland located on the 8th floor of Macy’s Herald Square. Open daily from 9am to 9pm, from Friday, November 23 through Monday, December 24, 2012. Admission is free.
ABC Carpet & Home – 888 Broadway between 18th and 19th Streets. Visiting the very authentic Old Saint Nick at this fancy home goods store is a lavish, Victorian affair with a setting draped in crushed velvet and filled with sumptuous housewares. Weekends through Sunday, December 23; Saturdays 10am-3pm and Sundays 11am-3pm. Admission is free and it is one of the best places to see beautiful Father Christmas with little or no wait.
Santa Pub Crawl -For the over-21 crowd, you can follow Santa and his helpers this holiday season to local bars for the Santa Pub Crawl. The 2012 Santa Pub Crawl New York City will take place on Saturday, December 15th. For more information, visit http://santacon.info/New_York-NY/?all
Ice Skating in New York
The Ice Rink at Rockefeller Center – www.therinkatrockcenter.com 212-332-7654
Citi Pond at Bryant Park – Citi Pond is the centerpiece of Bryant Park’s winter season. The 170’ x 100’ rink features free admission skating in addition to high quality rentals. Opened October 26, 2012 and remains open through March 3, 2013. Sunday through Thursday, 8am – 10pm and Friday and Saturdays from 8am –midnight. www.citipondatbryantpark.com
Trump Wollman Rink – Located in Central Park, the rink is near the east side of the Park, just steps from the Central Park Zoo and The Plaza Hotel. It offers ice hockey, a skating school and party facilities. For more information including rink hours call 212-439-6900 or visit www.wollmanskatingrink.com.
Best Places for Hot Chocolate
Dylan’s Candy Bar – Visit the upper level of this Willy Wonka like candy store for a mug of hot chocolate topped with either cookies, birthday cake or, of course, candy. One size $7.00. Located at 1011 Third Ave. www.dylanscandystore.com
Sant Ambroeus – 1000 Madison Avenue (between 77th and 78th St.) 212-570-2211 www.santambroeus.com Their hot chocolate is beyond!
Lexington Candy Shop – Sit at the counter and have an old New York experience as you and your children will enjoy the classic Nestle’s cocoa. One size: $1.50 or $2.95 made with milk. 1226 Lexington Avenue at 83rd Street. www.lexingtoncandyshop.com
Petite Abeille – 134 W. Broadway, 212-791-1360, TriBeCa, Manhattan. Petite Abeille gets its name from a Belgian children’s book—the moniker translates as “little bee.” This hot chocolate is made from 70% Callebaut chocolate, which is shaved, melted down and mixed with whole milk. Divine! www.petiteabeille.com
MarieBelle New York – 484 Broome St., 212-925-6999, SoHo, Manhattan. MarieBelle is known for intricately designed, handcrafted chocolates that look like miniature works of art. The staff at the confectionery’s Cacao Bar and Tea Salon puts the same care into its dark, rich, pudding-thick Aztec hot chocolate, which comes in European (made with water) and American (made with milk) varieties. It’s also available in a spicy version. www.mariebelle.com
The City Bakery –3 W. 18th St., 212-366-1414, Union Square, Manhattan. This Union Square mainstay doles out impossibly tasty liquid cocoa, higlighted in countless imaginative iterations at the bakery’s own Hot Chocolate Festival every February. The 2012 flavors include ginger, banana peel and beer. www.thecitybakery.com
New York Road Runners Emerald Nuts Midnight Run
After all that hot chocolate indulgence, kick off your New Year’s resolution with the annual Emerald Nuts Midnight Run on December 31, 2012 at 11:45pm. The 4 mile run starts with a spectacular fireworks display and includes dancing and a costume parade and contest. Rumour has it champagne is offered instead of water at one refreshment stop along the race route. New Year’s festivities will be held at the Central Park Bandshell, just south of the 72nd Street Transverse in Central Park, New York. Registration will close at 11:45pm on Wednesday, December 26. Registration fee for non-NYRR members is $60. http://www.nyrr.org/races-and-events/emerald-nuts-midnight-run
Holiday Bus Tours
Year after year New York is the top destination for Holiday travels. Come get a taste of why Christmas in New York makes the season bright for so many. See the lights, the music, everything that makes New York spectacular during the holidays! On this guided bus tour through New York you will see the city’s famous holiday lights! Come see Rockefeller Center’s Holiday splendor. Rockefeller Center’s lighted Christmas tree and its outdoor skating rink are just some of the many sites you’ll enjoy on this unforgettable tour of New York City and its Holiday lights. The tour runs approximately 2.5 hours daily at 6pm, 6:30pm, or 7pm, November 28, 2012 – December 30, 2012. Tickets range from Free for children under the age of 5, $33.95 for children between the ages of 5-11 and $48.95 for Adults. There is a $5 savings for tours booked online. Reserve online or call toll free at 888-880-9108. http://www.nytours.us/?event=offer.detail&offerId=5170
Christmas Kitsch, German pilsners and Eggnog
Once a year in Gramercy, Rolf’s, the landmark German/French Bavarian restaurant, transforms into the North Pole with an over-the-top holiday display. Let your holiday spirit take over and go see over 80,000 Christmas lights strung up, along with shiny stalactites of ornamental balls hung from the ceiling, and all accented by gnarly tree branches, evergreens and faux icicles. This is a must see for those who appreciate Christmas kitsch and German sausages. Order the eggnog and settle in to the snug, pewlike booths while listening to a continuous loop of Christmas anthems. Rolf’s French Bavarian Restaurant, 281 Third Ave. (at 22nd St.)
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