New York is a special place to be all year round, but in december, as everybody gets ready for Yuletide celebrations, it’s particularly magical.  Whether it’s holiday markets, seasonal shows, department store windows, there are plenty of great things around the city for you to check out.  Here are a few of them:

Rockefeller Christmas Tree: Every year, a giant tree pops up in Rockefeller Plaza, decorated top to bottom in tinsel.  Overlooking the famed Rockefeller Plaza ice skating rink, it’s an essential sight to see, especially when it’s all lit up at night.  Just a fair warning: it gets crowded.

5th Avenue window-browsing: Every December, the various high-end department stores on Fifth Avenue put up elaborate window decorations based around various themes.  Most of the time they’re holiday-themed in one way or another, but each one is different, and even if you can’ afford anything in the stores, the windows are 100% worth perusing, regardless of the crowds.  

Christmas shows: The most famous of these is the “Radio City Christmas Spectacular”, but it’s by no means the only one.  Holiday-themed shows in New York City run the gamut, from more traditional (like the Nutcracker) to the notoriously raunchy Blunderland Variety Show.

Holiday markets: In various parks in Manhattan are “winter villages”, holiday-themed markets where all sorts of merchants congregate.  You can find just about anything, from jewelry to hot chocolate to socks.  A perfect place to go if you want to find gifts for everybody on your list in just one place.  They can be found in Union Square, Bryant Park and Columbus Circle.  

Ice skate: Even if it isn’t cold enough for the water to freeze, various places around the city offer ice skating during the Holiday season.  The most famous of these is Rockefeller Plaza, and while it’s certainly a great time, it’s hardly the only one, and it does get a bit crowded.  You can also try out Central Park, Bryant Park, Chelsea Piers, Riverbank State Park, and that’s just in Manhattan!