This post has been written by a guest writer – Charlotte.
Every year New York City is transformed into a winter wonderland, the freezing temperatures and often snow fall only add to the magic of this festive time of year, as long as you’re wrapped up that is. So get your scarf’s and gloves at the ready to explore some of the best New York has to offer at this enchanting time of year.
During the festive season New York’s biggest and most famous department stores decorate their windows with the most elaborate displays. Each year Macy’s bases theirs upon scenes from Miracle on 34th Street, the iconic Christmas movie set in the store itself, ideal for children or even the big kid in all of us. In 2009 the 2nd of the two window displays was based upon Letters to Santa where your own letters could be sent to the North Pole, along with colourful displays of letters from children all over the world. Barney’s window displays are the height of everything chic with a touch of humour thrown in, perfect for the fashionista out there; the displays are usually unveiled in late November and stay until the New Year. If you’re concerned you may miss out on some of the best displays, a walking tour is available covering approximately 2 miles of prime window display area and lasting around an hour and a half – obviously not including any time spent shopping after being drawn in by the beautifully enticing displays.
The first thing I think of when I think of Christmas in New York is the tree at the Rockefeller Center, a worldwide symbol synonymous with the festive season in the Big Apple. The tree, a perfect 84 foot Norway Spruce chosen from a selection of thousands, will have its 30,000 lights and Swarovski crystal star top switched on to tens of thousands of spectators and the millions watching at home on Tuesday 30th November 2010. The switch-on is accompanied by musical performances from current artists with the ceremony itself running from 7pm to 9pm. If you aren’t lucky enough to be there to watch the switch-on, the tree will be illuminated until 2nd January 2011 daily from 5:30am to 11:30pm daily and for 24 hours over Christmas Day.
Ice Skating in Central Park
One of the most romantic and picturesque ways to spend an evening in the city over the holidays has to be Ice Skating in Central Park. The Manhattan skyline provides the perfect back drop to a truly enchanting winter activity. The first of 2 ice rinks in the park, the famous 30,000 square foot Wollman Rink, situated on the East side of the park and very close to Central Park Zoo, opening to the public in 1950, has since become a holiday tradition for many of all ages and abilities enjoying skating with a back drop of both trees and parkland and towering skyscrapers. At night fall the twinkling lights of the nearby buildings make the experience all the more romantic. And for those feeling the cold the nearby 8,000-square ft. skate house and heated tent provide an ideal place for people to warm up with a hot drink. The Lasker Rink, located in the Northern area of the park, a swimming pool during the summer months is transformed into an ice rink for the winter and is host to many ice hockey events.
If you’re visiting the city with children, there is surely no more magical way to spend the day than a visit to see Santa. And he certainly is a busy man, with many of the top attractions offering you the chance to meet St. Nick himself. Macy’s Santaland is open daily from 9am to 9pm from 25th November 2010 up until Christmas Eve, admission is free and the digital photographs of your children meeting Santa are available to purchase. For the children firmly on the nice list this year, parents can treat then to breakfast with Santa at the Rockefeller Center. The experience includes a family breakfast at the Rock Center Cafe, a visit from Santa and his Elves, a gift for each child and a VIP skating session on the famous Rockefeller Ice Rink. Meeting Santa is a magical and fantastic experience for any child although explaining why the main man isn’t in the North Pole is something I’ll leave up to you!
After a memorable trip to New York, a keep-sake to associate with your time there is often bought, and what better way to remember a Christmas trip to the city than with a Christmas decoration bought from The Christmas Cottage. The store, located between 55th and 56th Street, is the oldest Christmas shop in New York City, selling designer themed trees and unique New York inspired decorations all year round since 1985. The decorations, ranging from glittery baubles adorned with Manhattans skyline to fascinating snow globes are sure to provide the owner with not only a vast choice of souvenirs but also the perfect gift for many of their family are friends keen to own their own part of Christmas in the city that never sleeps.
Charlotte writes for new travel site Simonseeks.com and if you are looking to visit New York this Christmas, you might want to also look at the top rated recommended New York hotels on Simonseeks, where you can find inspirational travel guides and expert advice.