New York City feels like the center of the holiday universe. From the well-known attractions like the Rockettes or the tree in Rockefeller Center to the lesser known happenings like Christmas themed bars or favorite holiday markets. The city seems to overflow with the holiday spirit, and sometimes deciding what to see first is the real struggle. But BlueOrange, a travel agency based in the city, has the answers for you. Read on and then start planning your holiday getaway to the Big Apple.

Rockefeller Center

The Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center is the ultimate symbol of the season. The Swarovski crystal star at the top weighs over 500 pounds and is nearly 10 feet in diameter. It’s an ideal spot for instagrammable photos and to spread holiday cheer. But it’s popular for locals and tourists, so consider going at off times. The tree is lit from November 29 through January 7 from 5:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. For an amazing photo opportunity, consider going when it’s lit each morning. The crowds aren’t out so early, but the sky is still dark, making your pictures merry and bright!

The ice rink at Rockefeller Center is also picture perfect, but the lines can be long. If you have your heart set on skating this season, consider Wollman Rink in Central Park or the Winter Village at Bryant Park where admission is free! Skates are available to rent, and you can still get into the holiday spirit.

Holiday Markets

When you visit the city during the holidays, don’t miss the markets that pop up in popular areas. You’ll be able to shop local goods and crafts, food, drinks, art, clothing and more. The atmosphere is festive, welcoming and full of good cheer, even if you aren’t shopping.

Look for the Bryant Park Holiday Market, Columbus Circle Holiday Market, Chelsea Market and Grand Central Station. There’s also the Holiday Market in Union Square that offers live music and unbeatable views of the Empire State Building from the southeast corner.

Window Shopping

While window shopping in New York City is a favorite pastime year-round, during the holidays the city’s windows really sparkle. Stroll past Saks Fifth Avenue to see their amazing music and light show. But also look for Tiffany’s, Macy’s in Herald Square and Bergdorf Goodman that work to make their windows amazing for the holidays.

See a Show

Radio City Music Hall’s Rockettes never disappoint during the holiday season. Their Christmas Spectacular runs through New Year’s and offers glitz, glamor and high kicks that help define the season in New York. But the Rockettes are just one show you can see in a city famous for the theater.

The New York City Ballet’s Nutcracker offers a memorable version of the holiday classic. Elf The Musical is playing in the Madison Square Garden Theater this December. And if you want a more classic approach to the season, get tickets to the New York Philharmonic’s Handel’s Messiah on December 12.

Hanukkah Events

New York isn’t all about Christmas this season. If you celebrate Hanukkah, then there are events to put you in the mood as well. Plan to attend the Seventh Annual Latke Festival, December 18, at the Brooklyn Museum that will feature 20 restaurants competing for the title of Best Latke in NYC.

Or make plans to attend the Light Up the Night Hanukkah Gala at Lower Manhattan’s Museum of Jewish Heritage. The gala includes incredible views of the harbor, an open bar and buffet with latkes and other favorites.

Don’t miss the World’s Largest Hanukkah Menorah across the street from The Plaza hotel to begin the Festival of Lights this year. The 32-foot-high Menorah is typically lit around 5:30 p.m. or around 3:30 on Friday and 8 p.m. on Saturday around the Sabbath.

Celebrate Kwanza

The American Museum of Natural History hosts a one-night Kwanza celebration on December 30 that features African dance, spoken word, live music and traditional crafts to celebrate African-American heritage.

No matter how you want to celebrate the season, New York City has something for you. Visit the city this season to get in the mood and make new memories. Let BlueOrange, a NYC-based travel agency, plan your visit or any of your upcoming getaways.

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