Christmas in New York
Christmas really is the most wonderful time of the year, the decorations and atmosphere in New York are truly magical. The shops and hotels go all out, providing some incredible dressed windows, stunning trees and beautiful illuminations. Once Thanksgiving is over the Christmas decorations are generally revealed towards the end of November / beginning of December.
Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Ceremony
The turning on of the famous Rockefeller Christmas tree ceremony is a big deal and millions tune into the live broadcast on TV. The tree’s height ranges from 23 – 27 meters and on average it is decorated with 8KM of lights! The official turning on ceremony is always after Thanksgiving, normally in late November and the ceremony is pretty elaborate. This is normally a sell out event as the ceremony normally includes a performance from a famous singer. If you get the chance to purchase a VIP ticket, go for it! This will allow you to have some of the best seats with a great view of the tree, unlimited drinks and snacks and the chance to enjoy a DJ.
For the ultimate Christmas in New York experience, we recommend visiting the Bryant Park Christmas market which runs from late October through until early January. It offers an abundance of stalls with decorations, clothing, ornaments and gifts as well as a cafe and ice skating. You can spend a whole day at this market and really soak up the Christmas vibes.
Another great Christmas market is the one held at Union Square, this is a little smaller in comparison to the Bryant and it runs from mid November until late December. This market offers some delightful gifts, handmade crafts and some great food.
The Grand Central Holiday Fair which is held in the historic Vanderbilt Hall at the Grand Central Terminal, which is a special location for a Christmas market. You will be able to enjoy numerous stalls offering handmade gifts, arts and crafts, toys, jewellery and much more.
You can’t be in New York at Christmas and not pay a visit to Macy’s over the festive period. The department store stretches for a whole block and is 10 stories high! From late November through until late December Macy’s transforms a whole floor into a magical Christmas wonderland called Macy’s Santaland, which can be accessed by everyone and free of charge. The decorations are stunning with beautifully decorated trees, twinkling lights and there is so much to purchase, you really will feel like you have entered the North Pole! Father Christmas is of course at Santaland and you can pay a fee for a photo with him, but we suggest that you book this in advance as he is pretty busy at that time of year!
New Year’s Eve
Picture New Year’s Eve in New York and the icon glittering image of Times Square immediately springs to mind. It’s estimated that around one million revellers flock to Times Square to bring in the New Year! If you’re planning to join them and want to be near the front of the crowd, you need to pick your spot by midday. The prime area to watch the ball drop is at the intersection of Broadway and 7th Avenue. There’s limited access into Times Square on NYE, to join the crowd it’s best to enter from 6th & 8th Avenue. The ball is raised at 6pm then free party accessories are distributed and the show kicks off at 8pm.
Read about our trip to New York here: New York – Camel Travel On Tour
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