There is no place in the world that I would rather be during the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons than in New York City. I can say this wholeheartedly and without a doubt in my mind, because I have spent many holiday seasons in many places around the world, but despite the wonderful sites elsewhere, I stand firm to my belief that this is definitely the place to be.
Right now, the streets are filled with tourists. Fifth Avenue, Times Square, and Herald Square are almost impossible to walk through, no matter what day of the week, but the shopping is good, the streets are festive, and celebration is in the air. Some say it starts right after Halloween, and this year that pretty much seemed like the case with some retailers showcasing their best Holiday displays. But, truthfully, the celebrations really begin the day before Thanksgiving with the inflation of the Thanksgiving Day Parade floats. This event has gotten crowded over the years, so if you are heading over to Central Park West (between 71st and 81st St) with the little ones, get there early and avoid the crowds. The inflating of the floats happens between 4:00 and 8:00pm.
The fabulous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade which begins on 77th St & Central Park West, turning east onto Central Park South, then south at the corner of Central Park South and marches to 42nd St traveling east along from 7th to 6th Aves (Avenue of the Americas) ending at 34th St. and 7th Ave. Afterward, head over to Macy’s in Herald Square and meet Santa Claus after a quick tour through Santaland.
But that’s not all! The lighting of the Rockefeller Christmas tree, also a huge televised affair, with celebrity performers and favorite television personalities will take place on December 2, with festivities starting at 6:45 and lighting scheduled to begin at 8:00pm. Then afterward, stand on line to catch a glimpse of the Saks Fifth Avenue Holiday window displays, one of the most beautiful in the city…or escape the crowds and take on other displays of festive windows further downtown.
If you want to attend a lighting ceremony, but in a less congested setting, head over to Bryant Park, also on December 2, for the Holiday in Bryant Park celebrations. Take time to enjoy skating on the Pond and holiday shopping.
There’s also the lighting of the tree at Lincoln Square during their celebration of Winter’s Eve on Nov. 30th, but if you missed it the lighting it’s still worth a visit. Even without a tree this area is beautiful and festive, and to see the tree is just magical. While there, take some time to take in the holiday shows at the Metropolitan Opera house, or American Ballet Theaters.
Other fun activities going on during this festive season will be at the South Street Seaport. On November 27 they will have their official tree lighting ceremony, but other festivities will follow, all while having easy access to shops and awesome restaurants.
The fun starts this week before Thanksgiving and continues till Christmas. The city is full of things to do and see, is covered in lights and full of music and smiling faces.
For this New York City girl, there is no place in the world that I would rather be.