Destinations / North America

How to end the year New York Style

It’s always a treat to visit the Big Apple but Christmas time is especially enchanting. New York City’s holiday festivities create a sense of magic, providing a truly unforgettable travel experience.

Even during the chilly months, the city that never sleeps offers an array of things to do and see. Here’s how to make the most of your Manhattan trip to end the year in style.

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1. See The Nutcracker

This ballet performance has captivated audiences at NYC’s Lincoln Center each Christmas time since 1954. Seeing The Nutcracker performed by the New York City Ballet in such a distinguished venue makes for a special night out. It runs from 25 November to 31 December and tickets can be purchased from 18 September onwards.

Where to stay: Stay nearby at The Empire Hotel, located a short walk from other attractions such as the Time Warner Center, Broadway and the Columbus Circle. Alternatively, check out Hudson New York Central Park, a themed hotel that’s close to Central Park, the Museum of Modern Art and Radio City Music Hall.

2. Experience the Rockefeller Christmas Tree in all its glory

A tradition since 1933, the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Plaza is a sight to behold. Spanning up to 100 feet tall (it must be transported on a crane!), it’s decorated with 18,000 lights. Viewing is free and begins with the annual tree-lighting ceremony on 30 November. The tree will stay standing until 7 January. While you’re at Rockefeller Center, take a skate on its famous ice rink – another adventure that’s quintessentially NYC.

Where to stay: Close to Rockefeller Center is the Wyndham New Yorker Hotel, an ideal place to stay if you’d like to be close to Madison Square Garden, shops and plenty of nightlife options. Other nearby hotels include The Jewel, which faces Rockefeller Center, and Lotte New York Palace, a five-star treat for the senses.

3. Dine at the Russian Tea Room

The much-loved Russian Tea Room between Carnegie Hall Tower and Metropolitan Tower is lavishly decorated during the Christmas period. Spend an afternoon having a high tea in this decadent winter wonderland, embracing the glitz, glamour and glee of Christmas time in Manhattan.

Where to stay: Located across the street from the Russian Tea Room is the elegant Park Central Hotel, which is also walking distance to the Theater District. Or stay at one of the city’s most famous hotels – The Plaza – and indulge in unrivalled luxury at the heart of the city.

4. Visit the holiday display at the MET

During the holiday season, the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) displays its famous Christmas tree and Neapolitan Baroque crèche. The 20-feet-high spruce is adorned with 18th-century Neapolitan angels and hosts a stunning nativity scene at its base. Embodying the jovial spirit of the yuletide season, the exhibit runs from late November to early January and.

Where to stay: Stay nearby and explore NYC’s famous Fifth Avenue when you stay at The Mark. It’s close to attractions such as Central Park’s Belvedere Castle and the Guggenheim Museum. The Carlyle is another landmark hotel in Manhattan, offering superb dining options and an on-site spa.

5. Experience the New Years Eve action at Times Square

If you’re in NYC for NYE, Times Square is the place to be! Each year since 1907, thousands of people flood the iconic area to witness the Ball Drop. At 11:59 on 31 December, the Times Square Ball makes it 60-second, 141-foot descent to ring in the New Year. In the lead-up to the main event, visitors enjoy musical entertainment and a variety of other festivities.

Where to stay: Times Square abounds with plenty of shopping and entertainment options, so stay close to the action at New York Marriot Marquis, Hyatt Times Square, or W New York.

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What more could you want in a holiday? If you’re planning the trip of a lifetime, visit HotelsCombined to find your perfect NYC accommodation and start preparing yourself for incredible amounts of fun!

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Sebastian Morgan
I’m a blogger, history buff, and serious over packer, currently based in Taiwan. Eats, drinks, and destinations are my thing. When I’m not writing about those, I’m either hitting up the local hot springs or slurping down a bowl of sesame noodles. I hope to one day do both at the same time.
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