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Christmas in New York

by Katie McCabe  |  @awelltraveledpair  |  December 16th, 2019

It's the most wonderful time of the year in one of the best cities in the world. There's no better place to visit during the holiday season than New York City. Shortly after Thanksgiving, the Big Apple comes alive with festive shows, sparkling lights, and one epic Christmas tree. There are so many amazing things to see and do during this time of year, but here are my top picks.

Rockefeller Center

Rockefeller Center is the heart of Christmas cheer during the holiday season. Known for its iconic Spruce tree, dazzling decorations, and lively skating rink, this spot is one you don't want to miss. Grab a cup of hot chocolate, gaze at the towering tree, and listen to Christmas classics at the enchanting Rockefeller Center.

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Radio City Music Hall

Also located in Rockefeller Center is the famous Radio City Music Hall. Home to the historic Christmas Spectacular, this legendary music hall is one of the most well-known buildings in all of New York. Even if you don't catch a show here, a visit to see the splendid exterior is a must. 

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Top of the Rock

The Top of the Rock offers uber-impressive views of Manhattan's skyline. Visitors take an elevator to the 70th floor where they can find 360° sweeping views of the city below. Be sure to buy tickets in advance, as most days do sell-out.

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Central Park

There's nothing more magical than a stroll through Central Park during the holidays. The winding paths lead visitors by beautiful sights and stunning backdrops. For those looking for a more exhilarating experience, try sledding in the park, or ice skating at Wollman Rink. 

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See a Show

You can't visit NYC during the holidays and not see a show, it's like a Christmas sin. The two most popular shows are hands down Radio City Music Hall's Christmas Spectacular and the New York City Ballet's The Nutcracker. Other strong contenders are A Christmas Carol, the New York Philharmonic's Holiday Brass, The Lion King, and Hamilton. Be sure to buy tickets in advance.

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5th Avenue Window Displays

Every year, Manhattan's flagship department stores display their elaborately designed windows during the Christmas season. Each storefront offers its own unique theme, some traditional, some unconventional. Locals and tourists alike happily wander up and down 5th Avenue, admiring each display, and enjoying window shopping at its best. 

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Dinner at Rolf's

If a traditional Bavarian meal surrounded by sparkling decorations and over 100,000 lights sounds good to you, then a stop at Rolf's is definitely in order. Located in Gramercy Park, this Christmas staple has become quite popular over the years. If noshing on wiener schnitzel and potato pancakes in an extravagant, over-the-top Christmas scene is your thing, then be sure to make a reservation at Rolf's

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Brooklyn's Dyker Heights

Dyker Heights is the city's most Christmassy neighborhood. Every season, thousands of people visit south Brooklyn to admire the hundreds of decorated homes. Guided tours can be found on TripAdvisor, or self-travel can be done by subway, taxi, or bus. The best displays can be found on 11th Avenue to 13th Avenue, and from 83rd to 86th Street. 

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Celebrate New Year's Eve in Times Square

There's no better way to end the Christmas season than by celebrating New Year's Eve in Times Square. This renowned festivity has been celebrated since 1904, and now attracts over two million people each year. Crowds pack into the famous square to partake in the long-held tradition of watching the ball drop, bidding farewell to the departing year, and welcoming a new one with a festive spirit. 

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