2015 New York City Holiday Events Calendar

The holiday season is rapidly approaching, and 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 annual New York City holiday events calendar.

89th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

The lineup for the 89th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was recently announced, and this year’s event promises to be as fun and festive as ever.

Considered the official kickoff to the holiday season, this year’s parade will feature appearances and performances from Mariah Carey, Trey Songz, Cirque du Soleil, Andy Grammer, Miss America Betty Cantrel, the cast of Sesame Street and many others.

Four new giant characters will join the parade procession including Angry Birds’ Red, DINO the mascot for Sinclair Oil, Ice Age’s Scrat and his Acorn, and a new version of Ronald McDonald. There will also be 12 marching bands performing along the parade route and performances from casts of Broadway shows such as “Fiddler on the Roof,” and “The King & I.”

The 2015 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 ending at 12:00 noon at 34th Street in front of Macy’s Herald Square

There are three recommended areas on the route for watching the parade: the first leg along Central Park West, Time Warner Center and, finally, 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. 26, 2014, 9:00 am — 12:00 pm
Where: 77th Street and Central Park West to 34th Street/Herald Square, Manhattan
Info: www.macys.com/parade For more information, call the parade hotline at (212) 494-4495.

Holiday windows in NYC

One of the most cherished Manhattan holiday traditions is also a free one — enjoying the department store 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

‘Tis the season for the 83rd annual Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting! The 2015 tree has been chosen and will be lit for the first time on Wednesday, Dec. 3 with live music performances from 7:00 – 9:00 pm.

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 Dec. 3. The tree stays lit and can be viewed until 8:00 pm on Jan. 6, 2015.
Where: Rockefeller Plaza, between West 48th & West 51st Streets and 5th and 6th Avenues, Manhattan.
Info: rockefellercenter.com http://www.rockefellercenter.com/

Radio City Christmas Spectacular

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, 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.

When: Nov. 13 through Jan. 3
Where: 1260 Avenue of the Americas, New York City
Info: radiocitychristmas.com

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 us 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: Nov. 21 – Jan. 18
Where: 2900 Southern Blvd, Bronx, NY 10458
Info: www.nybg.org/hts

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 glowing 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: Nov. 27 and runs through Jan. 3
Where: West 62nd and 65th Streets and Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues, New York City
Info: nycballet.com