Does any city celebrate Christmas better than New York City? With epic holiday attractions that transform skyscrapers and city sights into a magical, twinkling landscape, it’s hard to argue with its legendary status as the place to ring in the holidays. In fact, spending Christmas in NYC is a top bucket-list experience. Why not cross it off your list this year?

Find out just how festive a Christmas in NYC can be with this guide. Detailing all of the things to do in NYC, you’ll quickly discover why this is the most wonderful time of year to experience the Big Apple.

Christmas in NYC is Legendary

New York City has so much Christmas spirit it inspired Clement Moore Clarke’s famous poem ‘Twas the Night before Christmas.” In addition, Miracle on 34th Street took place in NYC. This movie proved Santa resides at Macy’s and it’s been an iconic place to visit during a Christmas in NYC.

Absolute Must-Do’s During Christmas in NYC

When you’re visiting during Christmas in NYC, prepare yourself to be a part of the masses. This place is busy! However, some of the super touristy spots draw a crowd for good reason. The suggestions that follow are prime spots for experiencing Christmas in NYC.

Rockefeller Christmas Tree 11223461865_1b5f08c1d7_z CC RSZ

Rockefeller Christmas Tree/fAnthony Quintani, flickr

Rockefeller Christmas tree

If you’re a super fan of Christmas, you’re pretty familiar with the Rockefeller Christmas Tree. It’s a showcase of the NYC Christmas scene (it even has its own program dedicated to its lighting, scheduled for November 30 at 7pm). In addition, it makes a regular appearances on the Today show during the holiday season. And I’m a big fan! (Hi Savannah and Matt!)

The main reason to visit: The Rockefeller Christmas Tree is the most iconic vision of an NYC Christmas. Standing at 78-feet tall, it is a sight to behold. Yes, there are crowds. But, even a glimpse of the tree is truly magical.

Tip: Use the B, D, F, M to 47th-50th Sts-Rockefeller Center Subway line to easily access Rockefeller Center.

Rockettes_342919351_c3e582597c

The Rockettes/ralph and jenny, wikimedia

Radio City Christmas Spectacular

The Radio City Rockettes are an undeniable part of any celebration during Christmas in NYC. The high-kicking chorus line combines with classic numbers like the “Parade of Wooden Soldiers” for a sensational 90-minute show.

Tip: There’s no intermission at this show, so if you’re bringing the kids plan accordingly.

5th Avenue Window Displays 16043849492_289e971b9e_z CC

Bergdorf Goodman Window Display/phil roeder, flickr

5th Avenue Window Displays

Walk 5th avenue, from 34th street to 58th street, to view storefronts festooned with holiday décor. Retailers such as Macy’s and Barney’s are known for their legendary displays. Likewise, these ornate displays attract an audience so bring your patience. This tour can also take upwards of two hours. As a result, it’s also wise to dress warmly and comfortably.

The impressive window dressings are unveiled around Thanksgiving.

Tip: They’re best seen at night, so make this an after dark activity.

The Nutcracker NYC FB

New York City Ballet/Facebook

The Nutcracker

The New York City Ballet’s The Nutcracker is simply enchanting. Featuring some of the most elite dancers anywhere along with marching toy soldiers and a one-ton Christmas tree, this show is the highlight of the holiday season. Accordingly, tickets do sell out so reserve yours now! Performances available November 25 through December 31, 2016.

Tip: Get the orchestra middle seating for the best unobstructed views.

Bank of America Winter Village FB RSZ

Bank of America Winter Village/Facebook

Bank of America Winter Village

This Winter Village in Bryant Park is a one-stop holiday haven. You can ice skate around the rink, with the New York Public Library in the background. Then, do some holiday shopping at nearby markets. Before you go, warm up with a cup of hot chocolate and seasonal treats from food vendors. As bonus, it’s totally free to enter Winter Village and The Rink is free. However, it is $20 to rent skates (or bring your own).

Tip: Dine at Public Fare, a pop-up cafe that compliments Winter Village, for seasonal food and cocktails.

NYC Holiday Train Show FB

New York Botanical Garden/Facebook

New York Botanical Gardens Holiday Train Show

The Holiday Train show is a tradition of Christmas in NYC. More than 20 miniature model trains wind through 150 iconic New York City landmarks, creating an outstanding replica of the five boroughs. The display is open November 19, 2016, through January 16, 2017.

Tip: Advance tickets are highly recommended.

The Rink Rockefeller Center CC

Ice Skating at Rockefeller Plaza/petercruise, flickr

Rockefeller Plaza

Rockefeller Plaza is the capitol of Christmas in NYC. A larger-than-life Christmas tree adorns the plaza. Right in front of it all is The Rink, the most iconic place to skate during Christmas in NYC. It’s also the busiest. They only let 150 people on the rink at a time. As a result, the rink isn’t crowded. However, lines are long. Bring your Christmas cheer and embrace the experience. No Grinches allowed—no matter the crowds!

Tip: The Starlight Skate lets you reserve the last skate of the night, beginning at 10:30pm.

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Dyker Heights/Dov Harrington, flickr

Dyker Heights Neighborhood

Travel to Brooklyn to see a state-of-the-art neighborhood light show unlike any other. Now in its 10th year, the Dyker Heights tour has become somewhat of a legend. Likewise, it’s gets bigger and better every year. 30-foot toy soldiers, illuminated nativity scenes, Santa in his sleigh. The residents of this neighborhood never fail to impress. Through the end of December you can see the sights on foot or go on a guided bus tour.

Tip: The best light displays are on 80th to 86th streets, between 10th and 13th avenues.

Kids and Santa at fire place on Christmas eve

Time to tell Santa what you want for Christmas!

Santaland at Macy’s

Macy’s holiday window displays aren’t the only thing to see at this department store. Come inside to visit Santaland, a magnificent showcase of all things Christmas. Holiday trees, elves, toy trains, snow and even Santa himself make an appearance. At this winter wonderland, it’s hard not to feel like a kid again.

Tip: As far as crowds go, it’s best to avoid the weekends.

WollmanRink

Wollman Rink/NYC JD, Wikimedia

Ice Skating in Central Park

Skating at Wollman Rink in Central Park is a beloved tradition of New York locals. Likewise, it’s a must-do for any out-of-towner. The public rink, with a location on 62nd and 63rd Streets, is framed by the twinkling New York City Skyline. This alone makes it a romantic place to lace up and hit the ice.

Tip: Enter at Central Park South, 59th Street and 6th Avenue. From here, Wollman Rink access is a two-minute walk.

Union Square Holiday Market FB

Union Square Holiday Market, Urban Space/Facebook

Union Square Holiday Market

Internationally renowned, the Union Square Holiday Market is an excellent place to do your holiday shopping. A vast selection of craftsmen and artists create a unique assortment of gifts sure to catch your eye. Moreover, the items are high quality and affordable. The market opens November 17 and closes December 24.

Tip: Bring cash for vendor purchases. Not all are credit card friendly.

1251 Avenue of the Americas

Colin Knowles/flickr

Bonus: Giant Christmas Ornaments

Across the city, you can find Giant Christmas Ornaments decorating city blocks. Standouts include giant red ornament balls on 6th avenue near Radio City Music Hall, as well as  large vintage-style Christmas light bulbs in front of the McGraw-Hill building at 1221 6th Avenue.


Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting New York City to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Growing up in Connecticut, watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade was a Thanksgiving tradition. On Thanksgiving Day, we’d wake up early, race to the TV, and wait for the parade to begin. As I grew older, I came to learn that our little tradition wasn’t exactly unique. Families across the country huddle around the TV to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade!

However, watching the parade from the comfort of your home and going to NYC to attend the parade are two completely different experiences. Those who want to experience the parade in person need to plan ahead and be ready for an experience unlike any other.

Use this quick guide to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade for a memorable holiday experience in NYC.

Macy's Thanksgiving Parade 15891446191_45f544b600_b Flickr RSZ

Image via Anthony Quintano / flickr

Get a Sneak Peek of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade

Make some of your best parade memories before the parade even kicks off! You can watch the parade balloons being blown up the day before the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. From 3:00pm to 10:00pm between 77th and 81st streets between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue, you can watch as parade staff and volunteers bring your favorite characters to life.

From Kermit the Frog to Snoopy, they’re all ready and waiting to march the night before the parade begins.

Image via Anthony Quintano / flickr

Image via Anthony Quintano / flickr

Know the Parade Route

To find the perfect parade watching spot, you need to know the parade route. The parade route begins at 77th Street and Central Park West. It heads south on 77th until it reaches Columbus Circle, where it turns east onto Central Park South.

In the past, the parade has marched down Broadway at this point on the route and many people still believe that it does to this day. Don’t make the mistake of finding a spot on Broadway, or you’ll miss the entire parade.

While marching down Central Park South, the parade then turns onto 6th Avenue and heads south. From there, the route marches from 59th Street to 34th Street. Upon reaching 34th Street, the parade route turns west and concludes by marching into Macy’s Herald Square.

Knowing the parade route will help you map out the perfect spot for your parade experience. Typically, the areas near Central Park and Columbus Circle will be the most crowded. The reserved grandstand areas are in this location as well as major news networks. The best spots with fewer crowds will be anywhere along 59th Street to 34th Street on 6th Avenue.

Download the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade app a few days before you visit to establish a game plan. The app features everything from the parade route to the lineup of performers.

Don't forget to stay warm while watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade.

Don’t forget to stay warm while watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade.

Wear a Lot of Layers

Take this message to heart – November in NYC is cold! Between the wind barreling through the streets, the potential for snow, and the frigid temperatures, you will be freezing — especially if you’re not used to this type of weather. I grew up with this weather and I still think it’s freezing cold!

I recommend wearing the following items:

  • A sweater/sweatshirt
  • A winter jacket
  • A warm hat
  • Sunglasses – just because it’s cold doesn’t mean it’s not bright!
  • Comfortable and warm boots/shoes
  • Gloves
  • Hand warmers
  • Scarves
  • Extra layers, if necessary

 

The Tri-State area can have unpredictable weather. One year, it can be beautiful weather with plenty of sunshine to keep you almost warm. Other years, it can feel like you’re trapped in the arctic. Look at the weather forecast and plan, plan, plan!

What to Bring to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade

Aside from yourself and plenty of layers, you’ll want to bring the following items with you to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade:

  • Hot Chocolate or CoffeeStay awake and warm throughout the parade.
  • ChairsIf you arrive early enough, that is.
  • A Fully Charged Cell PhoneIt is all too easy to get separated from the rest of your group or family during the chaos of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade crowds.
  • SnacksNo one wants to watch a parade while hungry.
  • An UmbrellaRandom rain or snow showers are entirely possible in the Big Apple.

 

Image via karmakazesal / flickr

Image via karmakazesal / flickr

Get to Your Spot Super Early

Parade audiences stake out their parade spots earlier and earlier every year. Some of the more invested individuals even camp out overnight. I’d recommend getting to the area between 6am and 7am at the latest to find a spot. After this time slot, the crowds start pouring in and it becomes nearly impossible to move or find a spot on any of the parade route streets.

Remember, many roads will be shut down to make way for the parade. To get to the parade route, taxis will be able to bring you as close as possible without interfering with the parade. Your best bet is the Subway system or walking to your chosen spot.

Keep in mind that while getting there early will secure you a fabulous spot for the parade, you will be in that spot for hours before the parade begins at 9AM. Bring your breakfast, take a bathroom break before scoping out your spot, and get ready to … wait.

Enjoy the parade from the warmth and comfort of an NYC hotel booked with Reserve NYC.

Enjoy the parade from the warmth and comfort of an NYC hotel booked with Reserve NYC.

Watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade from an NYC Hotel

Seeing the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade in person is an unforgettable experience. However, not everyone is a fan of the cold weather (that would be me). One solution to this predicament is to watch the parade from an NYC hotel room that faces the parade route.

You can kick back, order room service, and enjoy the parade right from one of NYC’s towering and luxury hotels. Hotels with a view of the parade can be pricey – but absolutely worth it! See if you can book a parade-facing room in one of these NYC hotels:

 

Save your sightseeing adventures for the day before or after the parade.

Save your sightseeing adventures for the day before or after the parade.

Go Sightseeing the Day Before or After the Parade

Several Manhattan and NYC businesses and attractions close for the Thanksgiving holiday and to avoid the chaos of the parade. If you plan to spend a Thanksgiving vacation in NYC, make sure you complete your sightseeing the day before or after the parade. An NYC CityPASS is one of the best ways to save money while seeing all of the top attractions in the Big Apple!

I recommend using Thanksgiving day to watch the parade, make lunch and/or dinner reservations (well in advance, of course), and enjoy a stroll through the city to walk off your Thanksgiving Feast.

Get Ready for the Best Parade You’ve Ever Seen

There’s no doubt that the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade is one of the best – if not, the top – parade you’ll watch during your lifetime. Between the celebrities, the floats, and the gigantic character balloons, it’s absolutely magical.

To best prepare for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, book your hotel room and reserve your tour and attraction tickets with Reserve New York City. On top of the discounted prices, you’ll skip the lines entirely and spend more time enjoying your vacation in the Big Apple.

Crisp, cool autumn air. Colorful fall foliage. Vibrant cityscapes. These all combine for one of a kind fun during fall in NYC. After the hot and sticky summer, you can actually feel the city come back to life. The energy, the excitement—it all makes fall in NYC one of the best times of year to visit.

These activities are just a few of the reasons why autumn in New York City is truly spectacular.

Fall in NYC : New York City Manhattan Central Park panorama in Autumn lake with skyscrapers boat and colorful trees with reflection.

View Central Park Fall Foliage

Central Park is the jewel of New York City, adding a natural oasis to this urban paradise. It’s made even better when Mother Nature’s paint brush highlights trees with bright oranges, reds and yellow. At Central Park, you can take advantage of guided walking and biking tours. Conversely, you can simply stroll through the over 800-acres on your own or rent a row boat for a scenic tour.

Noteworthy stops:

  • Bow Bridge
  • Conservatory Pond
  • Bethesda Terrace and Fountain
  • Strawberry Fields
  • The Ramble
  • Central Park Reservoir

 

Fall in NYC: MetLife_Stadium_(Giants-Patriots) RSZ

Image via MjaMes1408, Flickr

Catch a NYC Sports Team in Action

Whatever kind of sports fan you are, you’re covered during fall in NYC. Many times the Yankees and Mets are in the MLB playoffs, while the Knicks and Nets are starting their NBA season. In addition, the Giants and Jets are in the middle of a new NFL season. You can’t forget about the New York Rangers, either, who are slicing the ice in the NHL.

Fall in NYC: NYC Food & Wine Festival FB1 RSZ

New York City Wine & Food Festival/Facebook

Attend a NYC Fall Festival

During fall in NYC, there’s no shortage of festivals and events to attend. From September through November, here’s a quick list of what’s happening.

New York Film Festival: September 30-October 16
An engaging festival testing the limits and ideas of motion pictures.

New York City Wine & Food Festival: October 13-16
This star-studded event showcases the absolute best from the culinary and wine world. Moreover, it benefits the fight to end world hunger.

NYC Craft Beer Festival: October 14-16
Sample drinks from over 75 breweries, including ciders and meads. New for this year, is the inclusion of spirits.

Open House New York: October 15-16
Explore the extraordinary architecture that defines the New York City landscape.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade: November 24
The 90th annual parade, with marching bands, celebrities, larger-than-life balloons, and so much more is a can’t miss.

For even more NYC events, browse our calendar of events.

Fall in NYC: Great Jack o Lantern Blaze FB2 RSZ

The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze/Facebook

Get Spooky this Halloween

New York City takes Halloween to a whole new level. All October long, there are spooky, creepy and downright haunting events happening. Take a look!

The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze: September 30-November 1
This Halloween attraction features over 7,000 glowing pumpkins. On top of this eerie scene, you can visit the Pumpkin Planetarium, see flying ghosts and Sleepy Hollow’s Headless Horseman. With a location at Van Cortlandt Manor, you’ll need to take the Hudson Line north 50 minutes. But, the trip is worth it!

New York’s Haunted Hayride: October 13-31
This attracton is not for the faint of heart. A location on Randall’s Island secludes you from the rest of New York. Which makes the three new experiences: House of Shadows, Purgatory Haunted Village and Theater Macabre even that much more disturbing. Try to get away–Rikers Island is just a short swim away!

Brooklyn Horror Film Festival: October 14-17
Fans of horror films gather at this yearly festival, dedicated to the most terrifying movies ever made.

Into the Veil: An After Dark Exploration: October 15
Roam through Green-Wood Cemetary–at night–where you’ll discover musical events, live readings, stargazing gatherings and other activities. Even better, there’s a cash bar on-site!

Fall in NYC: BangOn NYC FB1

BangOn!NYC/Facebook

BangOn!NYC: Warehouse of Horrors: October 29
Held in a Williamsburg Warehouse, this Halloween party feautures freaky performers, horrifying art, a flesh-suspension zip line show, a haunted house and so much more.

Village Halloween Parade: October 31
The premier Halloween Parade in NYC, this is hands-down one of the best Halloween parades anywhere. Over 50,000 costumed patrons roam the streets, wearing anything from zombie gear to pop culture get-ups. The parade runs up Sixth Ave from Spring St to 16th St in Manhattan, from 7-11pm.

Webster Hell: October 31
After the Halloween Parade, hit the official after party at Webster Hall (errr, Webster Hell on Halloween). All four floors of the club will come alive with the Halloween spirit. It all starts with a virgin sacrifice, so you know you’re in for a bizarre yet amazing time. Dress to impress as the costume contest winner gets $5,000!

Fall in NYC: Brooklyn Botanical Garden FB1 RSZ

Brooklyn Botanical Garden/Facebook

Go Sightseeing this Fall in NYC

It’s hard to think of a better time to sight see than fall in NYC. The weather is perfect, and the city is bustling with activity and beauty. Here are some top ways to to explore this fall.

Take the ferry to Governor’s Island: Aboard the ferry, you’ll be rewarded with exceptional views of the New York City skyline.  All for only $2 round trip.

Walk the High Line: The High Line is the perfect place to stargaze during fall in NYC. Every Tuesday in October free high-powered telescopes are set up to showcase those starry, starry nights. Alternatively, the High Line is a great place to stroll during the day. You can people watch and gain a unique vantage point of the city sights.

Visit the Brooklyn Botanical Garden: This natural attraction pretty much rules any time of year. However, it’s made even more amazing with the addition of vibrant fall foliage.

Go on a Bike Ride: One of the best ways to see the city isn’t by foot–it’s by bike! As previously mentioned you can cruise through Central Park. But, another gem is the Hudson River Park Greenway. The 11-mile route cuts through four parks, and includes endless views of the Hudson River.

Drink it up!

Cheers to fall!

Beer Season, Anyone?

Let’s face it, beer and fall–especially October–go hand-in-hand. So, this Fall in NYC be sure take advantage of the many opportunities to put a beer in your hand. The best places to go are listed below.

Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden: Crisp beers and onion rings. ‘Nough said.

Brooklyn Brewery: Local seasonal beers, like Pumpkin Ales, put patrons in the autumn mood.

Bronx Beer Hall: With a location inside an Italian market, Bronx Beer Hall is a great place to drink and eat.

Chelsea Craft Brewing Company: Hit up the tap room for seasonal ales and tasty food.

Threes Brewing Company: Flavors like Oktoberfest, Raspberry and Rustic Melon makes Threes a standout.

Top of the Strand FB1

Top of the Strand/Facebook

Hit the Roof

There’s no question NYC rooftop bars are hot spots for both locals and visitors. During fall in NYC, everyone hits up the city’s rooftops. It’s the last chance to enjoy the scene before the winter chill sets in. Below are the best places to lounge with epic skyline views.

Top of the Strand: The main attraction here are unobstructed view of the Empire State Building, not too mention glitzy Fifth Avenue.

The Press Lounge: This modern lounge boasts 360-degree city views and sunsets over the Hudson River. Found in Hell’s Kitchen, it caters to the classy crowd. No sloppy drunks allowed!

Le Bain at The Standard, High Line: The epic panoramic views of the Manhattan skyline and Jersey City bring the masses, while the endless pitchers of beer keep them happy.

PH-D Rooftop Lounge, Dream Dowtown: If you’re looking for serious views of iconic NYC skyscrapers, the Dream Downtown in Chelsea will not disappoint.

Rooftop at Park South: For a rooftop experience that’s low on swank, head to Park South. It’s not as pretentious as other rooftop lounges, and has fantastic views of the Chrysler Building.

It’s Easy to See Why Fall in NYC is the Best

Experience fall in NYC this season to discover more about this vibrant city. It’s contrast of concrete and colorful landscapes is teeming with possibilities.

Be sure to book your entire vacation with Reserve New York City, where you can add discount tickets to the best NYC attractions and score deals on places to stay.


Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting New York City to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Each year, thousands upon thousands of people travel to the Big Apple — especially for the incredible festivals. From culinary events to cultural movements, the festivals in NYC are not to be missed.

As a result of the diverse NYC neighborhoods, there’s a festival for everyone and every interest in New York City. With this in mind, make sure you spend time at these amazing NYC festivals for an outstanding experience in the Big Apple.

Exciting Art, Music, and Entertainment Festivals in NYC

Tribeca Film Festival NYC

Tribeca Film Festival / Troy Tolley, Flickr

As you stroll through the five boroughs of NYC, it’s quite apparent that the city is filled with artistic talent. Many festivals in NYC celebrate the creative talents of artists of every medium around the world. Whether you’re a dancer, a musician, a fine arts enthusiast, or just love the arts, these festivals are perfect for you.

  • Tribeca Film Festival — All film fanatics have to go to this legendary film festival at least once!
  • Museum Mile Festival — Enjoy free access to all the museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art on “Museum Mile”.
  • Bryant Park Film Festival — Watch free movies in beautiful Bryant Park all summer long!
  • New York Book Festival —Meet upcoming authors, submit your own novel for review, and get your hands on new books.
  • New York International Fringe Festival — Visit the largest multi-arts festival in all of North America. Everything from music to the fine arts can be found here.
  • NYC Horror Film Festival — If you love horror movies, this is the festival to attend. Guests can watch classic horror movies and discover new favorite films.
  • CMJ’s Music Marathon and Film Festival — This is one of the biggest music industry festivals in NYC. A “do not miss” festival for musicians.
  • New York Comedy Festival — Comedy fans from all over the globe flock to NYC for this side-splitting festival.
  • Central Park SummerStage — Enjoy free concerts in Central Park throughout the months of June, July, August, and September.
  • New York Musical Festival — This is the festival for musical theater hopefuls, fans, and current stars. Therefore, look for big Broadway up and coming stars here!
  • New York Festival of Light — Experience unbelievable art created through lights in the growing Brooklyn neighborhood, DUMBO.

 

Culinary Festivals in NYC You Can’t Miss

Culinary Festivals in NYC

Stop by the NYC Food and Wine Festival for excellent vino!

If you’ve ever been to a food or beverage festival, you know how exciting it is. From delicious aromas filling the air to samples being passed out left and right, nothing beats a culinary festival.

If you’re a self-proclaimed foodie, you have to attend these culinary festivals in NYC.

  • NYC Food and Wine Festival — As the largest culinary festival in all of NYC, you’ll find renowned chefs, Food Network stars, and award-winning restaurants here.
  • NYC Oktoberfest — Three weekends full of food, German culture, and fun. The best part of the whole festival is that it’s free to attend!
  • Feast of San Gennaro — Manhattan’s Little Italy celebrates the early Italian immigrants with an 11-day celebration complete with seemingly endless amounts of fun.
  • Madison Square Eats — Taste foods from around the globe in one of the greatest seasonal pop-up food festivals in NYC.
  • Taste of Times Square — Head to Times Square for this outdoor food festival. Experience the sights and sounds of Times Square while tasting the top foods from around the city.
  • Brooklyn Uncorked — Sip award-winning wines from the state of New York with tasty pairings from NYC’s top restaurants.
  • Taste of TriBeCa — You can support the local NYC public schools while sampling exquisite cuisine from one of the Big Apple’s popular neighborhoods.

 

Visit These Spectacular Culture/Lifestyle Festivals in NYC

Diwali at Times Square Festival

Diwali at Times Square/Facebook

New York City is one of the most diverse cities in the world. As the home of Ellis Island and other culturally significant landmarks, it’s no wonder the city boasts so many cultural and lifestyle festivals. Get your ticket to these renowned festivals in NYC today!

  • NYC LGBT Pride and March — As one of the biggest Pride festivals in the country, the world-renowned event offers fantastic vendors, activities, music, and more.
  • Fleet Week NYC — A week-long festival dedicated to our military men and women offers guest the opportunity to participate in activities, meet military professionals, and see the ships.
  • Global Citizen Festival — While the festival offers major musical headliners, it also includes activities that allow guests to have a positive, lasting effect on our society.
  • Sakura Matsuri — The annual Cherry Blossom Festival occurs at the beautiful Brooklyn Botanical Garden and allows guests to learn about Japanese culture.
  • New York City’s Multicultural Festival — Celebrate the amazing cultures throughout our world at one of the top culture-centric festivals in NYC.
  • Diwali at Times Square — Attend the biggest Asian-Indian event in the United States, right in NYC. You might get to meet some of the biggest Bollywood stars!

 

NYC – The Home of Top Notch Festivals

Festivals in NYC

What festivals in NYC will you attend?

The next time you find yourself in the Big Apple, make sure you attend one or more of the top festivals in NYC in addition to all the city has to offer. Whether you prefer culinary masterpieces or performances, cultural events or art showcases, New York City has a festival for everyone.

Did we miss your favorite festival? Let us know and we’ll add it to our Events Calendar.

Use our Events Calendar to find out what festivals are happening during your NYC vacation, and don’t forget to book your hotel using Reserve New York City!

Christmas in New York City is magical! From spectacular holiday displays to dressed-for-the-season landmarks, exciting attractions to twinkling lights on decorated trees and plenty of great shopping plus warming cups of rich hot chocolate and tasty food, you can’t help but be swept into a joyous holiday mood during one of the most festive times of the year! The things to do in New York City for Christmas are endless. Here are some of the best, most festive and memorable ways for you to celebrate the magic of Christmas in the Big Apple.

Christmas ThinkstockPhotos-475004125

New York City has dozens of landmark hotels within walking distance to many of the area’s major attractions. Many lower their prices on Christmas Eve and Christmas day so you can experience luxury accommodations at budget prices right near the holiday action. The Manhattan Club Hotel at 200 West 56th St. is conveniently located in the heart of midtown Manhattan and only three blocks from Central Park. You’ll find the accommodations comfortable with a state-of-the-art fitness center, and the price is on the low end for comparable hotels during the Christmas season.

Rockefeller Center FB

Photo Credit: Rockefeller Center/Facebook

Another great option: The Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 80 Columbus Circle at 60th St., also close to the holiday attractions. The hotel is located inside the historic Time Warner Center on floors 35-54, and offers gorgeous views of Central Park, the Hudson River and Manhattan Skyline. Columbus Circle houses an awesome variety of shops, restaurants and bakeries. No matter what you have a yen for you’ll find it. Have lunch at the Landmarc, a delightful restaurant with a nice, quiet atmosphere. The daily pasta specials are delicious and the restaurant offers plenty of vegetarian options.

Catch the spirit of the season in New York’s number one attraction–the stunning Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, an 80-foot tall tree that’s decorated with more than 30,000 multicolored lights. This spectacular tree absolutely glows beneath the New York City skyline with a radiance that will warm your heart and fill you with holiday joy! You’ll enjoy listening to Christmas carols and festive holiday songs ringing in the air. This outdoor celebration is packed with holiday cheer, live music, and carolers. Ice skating on a crisp winter day or evening is a traditional holiday activity and ice skaters have long enjoyed gliding across the rink at Rockefeller Center with the famed Christmas tree in the background.

Photo Credit: Salon NYC/flickr

Photo Credit: Salon NYC/flickr

If you want to ice skate but prefer not to wait in long lines at Rockefeller Center, head over to Bryant Park’s ice rink, which is quite large and also aglow with twinkling lights. This popular park is a scenic landmark in midtown Manhattan located between 40th and 42nd Streets and Fifth and Sixth Avenues. Admission is free. Skate rentals are $15. The rink is the center piece of Bank of America’s charming Winter Village. A large open air market for handcrafted goods, this New York City favorite offers more than 125 boutiques with lovely gift ideas from around the world, as well as great local food.

During Christmas in New York City, spend some time strolling past the spectacular window displays adorning the shops along fabulous Fifth Avenue. You’ll marvel at the holiday decorations in store windows that re-create classic tales and celebrate the best of the holidays with amazing artwork and moving displays. Macy’s elaborate Santaland is a stunning scene of Christmas trees, elves and toy trains. One set of windows revisits scenes from the beloved movie “Miracle on 34th Street” while another set of windows changes each year to focus on a different holiday theme. If you show up during the week before the store opens at 9 a.m. you’ll only have a short wait.

Photo Credit: Zé Carlos Barretta/flickr

Photo Credit: Zé Carlos Barretta/flickr

Bloomingdale’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Lord & Taylor are just a few of the many stores that create awesome window displays making it the most beautiful time of year to be in New York City. Wander through the stores, browse and maybe even splurge a little!

After you window shop, visit Serendipity 3, the neighborhood’s old-school dessert destination located at 225 East 60th St. between 2nd and 3rd Avenues. Well-known for delicious frozen hot chocolate and other fabulous deserts, it’s usually pretty crowded, but definitely worth the wait!

Expect to be dazzled when you embark on a stroll along 6th Ave. (Ave. of the Americas) near Radio City Music Hall, a New York City landmark called the “Showcase of the Nation.” On display every which way you turn are amazing giant red ornaments, twinkling lights, toy soldiers, decorated Christmas trees, and even a model train. Be sure to take your camera!

Photo Credit: Rockettes/Facebook

Photo Credit: Rockettes/Facebook

No round up would be complete without mentioning the city’s lasting holiday tradition: The Rockettes performing at the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. This amazing one-of-a-kind holiday musical tradition will charm you. The Rockettes, a legendary dance company, have danced into the hearts of millions for more than 85 years spreading Christmas cheer to people of all ages. You’ll be immersed in the magic of Christmas with the world’s largest flown indoor LED screen transforming the interior of Radio City Music Hall into a magical canvas

For an ultimate Christmas experience, the Botanical Garden’s Holiday Train show will take your breath away. Located at 2900 Southern Blvd. in the Bronx, it provides a unique experience for visitors and locals during the holiday season. Watch model trains zip through the miniature, enchanting city past popular landmarks like the Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty and Rockefeller Center. The Holiday event is so popular that visitors are encouraged to make advance reservations.

Photo Credit: New York Botanical Garden/Facebook

Photo Credit: New York Botanical Garden/Facebook

New York City is known for its shows no matter what time of year. But Christmas offers something much more special. You’ll be dazzled by George Balanchine’s “The Nutcracker” performed by the New York City Ballet in Lincoln Center. It’s a most anticipated holiday tradition.

After spending a cold day exploring the city, warm up by dining at the historic Russian Tea Room, a midtown restaurant founded by members of the Russian Imperial Ballet in 1927. Walking into the restaurant will transport you back to a different era of sophistication and grandeur. The décor is like something out of a winter palace. Try the Tea Room salad. It’s delicious and the portions are huge. If you like chocolate, the chocolate pyramid with raspberry cream filling is outstanding.

Photo Credit: Times Square/Facebook

Photo Credit: Times Square/Facebook

Ready for more holiday fun? Stay for the Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration and watch the ball drop from the massive crowd that gathers. Spectacular fireworks illuminate the night sky, and the celebration is the largest free-family-oriented event in New York City that has become a premier attraction for visitors from all over the world during the holiday season. While there, look up at the Empire State Building. The skyscraper will be decorated in festive Christmas colors, with green and red lights at the very top!

Make this Christmas a special time in New York City. Its pure holiday magic and truly an enchanting and unforgettable holiday destination well-worth every second you are there!

rsz_concert_499673637Some of the biggest and brightest stars shine on the stages of New York City. Musical venues here are some of the best in the world; playing a gig here means you’ve really made it. Where better to see your favorite band or artist? From the massive Madison Square Garden arena to the indie-haven that is the Bowery Ballroom, New York City concerts cover all genres and settings.

The best New York City concerts happening in 2015 that need to be on your radar include:

Bjork
March 7 – April 4
Carnegie Hall

Bjork is just a famous for her eccentricities as she is her music. Her six-day stint at Carnegie Hall begins the same say as her retrospective at MoMA opens. She has also just release her newest LP – Vulnicura – so 2015 is shaping up to be the year of Bjork.

Hozier_1_CC

Hozier
Photo Credit: Oscar Anjewierden

Hozier with George Ezra
March 22
Hammerstein Ballroom

Hozier (real name Andrew Hozier-Byrne) has been tearing up the charts since the release of his tune “Take Me to Church.” The bluesy rock blend of his music has garnered attention from critics to music aficionados. See him live and say you were there when Hozier officially made a splash in America.

Alvvays
April 2
Bowery Ballroom
Haven’t heard of Alvvays? Don’t fret. This up-and-coming indie group from Toronto is ready to conquer 2015 with their self-titled debut. “Archie, Marry Me” is their most well-known song. Pick up tickets and you might find your favorite new artist to follow.

Florence_CC

Florence and The Machines
Photo Credit: Jason Persse

Governors Ball Music Festival
June 5-7
Randalls Island Park

A diverse mix of artists are set to headline the Governors Ball Music Festival. Look forward to music from Drake, the Black Keys, Deadmau5, Lana Del Rey, Florence and the Machines, My Morning Jacket, Bjork, Ryan Adams and more. Even Weird Al Yankovic will be there! It’s the best ticket of the summer, so purchase yours now before the festival is sold out.

Brad Paisley_1_CC

Brad Paisley
Photo Credit: Amaya & Laurent

FarmBorough Country Music Festival
June 26-28
Randalls Island Park

New York City’s first country music festival is slated for this summer. For three days, NYC will host top-tier country acts like Luke Bryan, Dierks Bentley and Brad Paisley. Start practicing your twang now!

Taylor Swift with Vance Joy and Shawn Mendes
MetLife Stadium
July 10-11

For two nights only, Taylor Swift will bring her pop princess throne to the MetLife Stadium. If you want to “Shake It Off” with Swift, purchase your tickets well in advance as this show will sell out.

Foo Fighters_CC

Foo Fighters
Photo Credit: Elisa Moro

Foo Fighters with Royal Blood
Citi Field
July 15-16

The Foo’s have been slinging hit songs for years, making them one of America’s favorite rock bands. Expect to hear new ditties from Sonic Highways as well as classic Foo Fighter songs like “The Best of You.”

U2
Madison Square Garden
July 18-30

Global rock stars U2 will run through their collection of hits during a six-night gig at Madison Square Garden. Not many artists have stood the test of time like U2, which makes their arena-act even more of a hot ticket.

One Direction
MetLife Stadium
August 5

You either love or love-to-hate One Direction. (Or, if you’re like me, you consider them a guilty pleasure.) Sure, they’re a boy band but they’ve elevated their fame on their latest LP, Four. Hear all their mega-hits, like “What Makes You Beautiful” and “Story of My Life” at this pop-rock show.


Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting New York City to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.