New York City is the number one destination to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas, according to Orbitz.com’s 2016 travel survey. For those of us living in the New York Tri-State area, we are lucky to be just a short car ride away from one of the most festive and exciting cities in the world. To help you plan your upcoming activities, here’s our 2016 New York City holiday events calendar.
90th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
Considered the official kickoff to the holiday season, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is watched by more than 3.5 million people on the streets of Manhattan and by more than 50 million people nationwide on TV.
This year’s parade will feature appearances and performances from Tony Bennett, Sarah McLachlan, De La Soul and the cast and Muppets of Sesame Street.
Guests from Broadway will include Christopher Jackson from Hamilton, the casts of Holiday Inn, the Broadway revival of Cats, NBC’s forthcoming Hairspray Live! and, the Radio City Rockettes, who begin performances of The Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall on November 11.
A new balloon, named Bouncing Dog, will make her debut this year. Look for this 40-foot tall dog as she makes her way down the parade route.
Also, a new Macy’s Parade Emoji Keyboard is available now for download on the Apple App Store and Google Play.
The 2016 parade starts at 9:00 am sharp at West 77th Street and Central Park West, then proceeding to Central Park South to 6th Avenue (Avenue of the Americas), and ends at 12:00 noon at 34th Street in front of Macy’s Herald Square.
Recommended areas for watching the parade include the first leg along Central Park West, Time Warner Center, and along Sixth Avenue between Central Park South and 38th Street. Note the section from 38th Street to Herald Square and Macy’s department store is the telecast area and closed to the public.
When: Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Where: 77th Street and Central Park West to 34th Street/Herald Square, Manhattan
Holiday windows in NYC
One of the most cherished Manhattan holiday traditions is also a free one—enjoying the window displays of some of New York City’s finest and most iconic department stores, such as Macy’s, Barneys and others.
Here are some stores and addresses to put on your holiday look list:
- Barneys New York, 660 Madison Avenue between 60th and 61st Streets
- Bergdorf Goodman, 754 Fifth Avenue at 58th Streets
- Bloomingdale’s, 59th Street and Lexington Avenue
- Cartier, 653 Fifth Avenue at 52nd Street
- Henri Bendel, 712 Fifth Avenue at 56th Street
- Lord & Taylor, 424 Fifth Avenue at 39th Street
- Macys, 34th Street and Sixth Avenue
- Saks Fifth Avenue, 611 Fifth Avenue between 49th and 50th Streets
- Tiffany & Co., 727 Fifth Avenue between 56th and 57th Streets
- Van Cleef & Arpels, 744 5th Ave, between 7th and 8th Avenue
Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting
Another iconic Manhattan holiday moment is the Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting! The 2016 tree will be lit for the first time on Wednesday, Nov. 30 with live music performances from 7:00 – 9:00pm. The Tree will remain lit and can be viewed until 9pm on January 7, 2017.
The giant tree is traditionally a Norway spruce, and is lit with 30,000 environmentally-friendly LED lights on five miles of wire. And to top it off: a Swarovski crystal star.
When: Tree lighting is Nov. 30. The tree stays lit and can be viewed until 9:00 pm on Jan. 7, 2015.
Where: Rockefeller Plaza, between West 48th & West 51st Streets and 5th and 6th Avenues, Manhattan.
The Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes
Since 1933, people of all ages have been enjoying the Radio City Christmas Spectacular show. This New York City holiday tradition features 140 performers, spectacular sets and costumes, the world famous Rockettes, a living Nativity, and an appearance by Santa Claus!
From a unique take on “The Nutcracker” to the original “Here Comes Santa Claus,” the show features ice skaters, dancing teddy bears, dozens of Santa Clauses, and thanks to state-of-the-art technology, a 3D ride with Santa through the skies of New York City.
The Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes, presented by Chase, will run from November 11, 2016 – January 2, 2017. Tickets for the 2016 Christmas Spectacular are on sale now at www.rockettes.com/christmas and the Radio City box office.
When: November 11 through January 2
Where: 1260 Avenue of the Americas, New York City
New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train show
One of the lesser known, but equally festive and family-friendly New York City holiday events is the New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train show. Enter the Botanical Garden’s Enid A. Haupt Conservatory—a stunning Victorian-style glasshouse and a landmark itself—and watch the Garden-gauge trains loop a quarter-mile of track past 150 New York landmarks, including the original Yankee Stadium, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the Trans World Airline Flight Center at John F. Kennedy Airport, and several bridges that remind that Manhattan is, indeed, an island.
This year’s exhibition features 3,000 square feet of additional exhibition space, making room for dozens of new trains, bridges, and tracks; a captivating short film of the show’s behind-the-scenes magic; and a stunning multisensory finale of light and sound.
When: November 19 – January 16
Where: 2900 Southern Blvd, Bronx, NY 10458
George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™
Another timeless New York City holiday classic, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™ is the holiday ballet of all ballets. From the moment the lights go down, you will be transported to a magical place inhabited by marching toy soldiers, a growing one-ton Christmas tree, adorable children, mischievous mice, crystalline waltzing snowflakes, the Land of Sweets and some of the most glorious dancing on earth. As in years past, 90 dancers, 62 musicians, 32 stagehands and about 100 students from the School of American Ballet team up to make The Nutcracker a magical performance for all ages.
When: November 25 – December 31
Where: West 62nd and 65th Streets and Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues, New York City