Christmas or New Year: Which Holiday Should You Spend in New York?

City Tales

Christmas or New Year: Which Holiday Should You Spend in New York?

City Tales

12 December, 2017

If you’re planning a trip to New York in December, you’re in for a big treat. New York City really comes into its own during the holidays, with so many Christmas and New Year’s attractions and celebrations to take part in. However, if you can only visit for a few days, you may have to choose which holiday you spend in New York! This blog post will look at some of the amazing things you can do at Christmas and New Year, helping you figure out which holiday is right for you! 

New York at Christmas

New York City is one of the best cities in the world during the Christmas period as the city pulls out all the stops with decorations and special events.

The Rockefeller Tree

Standing over 70ft tall, the Rockefeller tree is the biggest Christmas tree in New York City, and perhaps one of the biggest decorated Christmas trees in any city in the world. The lighting of the tree always happens on the day after Thanksgiving, so this is something to keep in mind if you ever visit New York in late November. You’ll find the Rockefeller tree at 29 Rockefeller Plaza over the entire Christmas period. You really can’t miss it if you walk between Fifth and Sixth Avenues and between West 48th and 51st Streets. 


The Rockefeller Tree is over 70 feet tall! (Image Source: Flickr)

New York City’s Famous Ice Rinks

Next to the Rockefeller tree, you’ll find an ice skating rink. There’s nothing better for getting into the Christmas spirit than skating under the Rockefeller tree! There are other ice skating rinks all around New York however, and many of the best ones are found in New York’s parks. You’ll find a great ice rink in Central Park, which has its own stunning Christmas tree, and you’ll also find a particularly good ice rink in Bryant Park.


The Rockefeller Ice Rink

Saks Fifth Avenue Window

Saks Fifth Avenue is one of the World’s most famous luxury department stores. Its worth a visit at any time of year, but it pulls out all the stops at Christmas time with its incredible Christmas window decorations. With beautiful Christmas lights, decorations, and even animatronic characters, the Christmas window displays at Saks Fifth Avenue are unlike anything you’ve ever seen! As this is such a popular Christmas attraction — especially for families with children — you should expect long lines. But it’s well worth the wait!

New York at New Year’s

New York City takes its New Year’s celebration seriously! You can expect special celebrations in the myriad bars around the city, with music, dancing, and amazing atmosphere. However, by far the best way to celebrate New Year’s in New York, is to join in with the Times Square Balldrop celebration. Each year, over a million people take to Times Square to celebrate New Year’s — and a further 100 million watch the event on TV. This makes it a prime candidate for the biggest New Year’s celebration in the World! When the last minute of the year begins, the timer comes up on the screen and the huge Times Square ball begins to drop. When it gets to zero the ball explodes and over a ton of confetti bursts into the air! 


The Ball Drop at Times Square bringing in the new Millennium in 2000 (image Source: Flickr)

The Best of Both Worlds

One thing to remember is that while many of the Christmas decorations and special events only run until New Year’s Day, many more run until as late as the 7th of January. This means that you can visit New York on the 30th or the 31st of December and still enjoy Saks Fifth Avenue window display, the Rockefeller Tree, the ice rinks dotted around the city, etc. So, perhaps the best choice is to come for New Year’s but to make sure you take in the Christmas sights!

There are also so many attractions to see in New York that run all-year-round. So, although it’s great to see the various Holiday attractions, make sure you visit some of the city’s famous monuments and museums. Check out our range of New York City tours, including a World Trade Center Area tour and a Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island guided tour!

We hope you have a brilliant Christmas and New Year’s, wherever you end up, and that this blog post has helped to set your New York vacation plans in motion! Please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions about New York City or one of our guided tours. Plan your next big adventure with us today!

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