Winter in New York is a magical time with all of the lights, glitter and snow. Some of the best events of the year take place during the holidays, keeping you even more in the festive mood. Here’s your guide to 2014’s best holiday-themed events in New York City.
Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting
30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, NY 10111
Date: Dec. 3, 2014 at 7 p.m.
One of the most iconic images of New York City at Christmastime is the Rockefeller Center tree, a family favorite that attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world every year. The tree lighting ceremony includes special musical performances by popular bands and singers. The area surrounding the plaza will light up as well, and Saks Fifth Avenue will host its famous wonderland window scenes. The tree will remain lit every night after the ceremony until Jan. 7, 2015.
West 63rd Street and Broadway
New York, NY 10023
Date: Dec. 1, 2014 at 5:30 p.m.
Stretching along Broadway for about 10 blocks, this big street party features a tree lighting at Dante Park, then musical performances, food tasting and family fun all night long. This year is the 15th annual Winter’s Eve party, with a tree lighting ceremony to kick off the night with Arlo Guthrie, Kinky Boots and emcee Billy Porter. The Cafe Wha? House band will play throughout the night as you treat yourself to tastes of some of New York’s finest restaurants, watch Okamoto Studio create a dazzling ice sculpture and catch the jugglers, stilt-walkers and other street performers. Festivities continue until 9 p.m. but the tree will be lit all month long.
George Balanchine’s “The Nutcracker”
David H. Koch Theater
20 Lincoln Center
New York, NY 10023
Date: Performances run from Nov. 28, 2014 – Jan. 3, 2015
No winter in New York would be complete without a performance of George Balanchine’s beautiful ballet “The Nutcracker.” Now performing for the 60th year in a row, the New York City Ballet offers shows almost every night this December. Brilliant set design, trained ballerinas, elaborate costuming and classic orchestral music will take you to this winter dreamland on the stage. You’ll be leaving the theater with a bounce in your step and dreaming of sugar plum fairies once you leave.
New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show
New York Botanical Garden
2900 Southern Boulevard
Bronx, NY 10458
Date: Nov. 15, 2014 – Jan. 19, 2015
The indoor Enid A. Haupt Conservatory is where you’ll find one of the most-talked-about holiday events in all of New York City. While Grand Central also boasts a train show, it doesn’t compare with this one at the botanical gardens in the Bronx. More than 150 landmarks of the New York skyline (including the Flatiron Building, the Empire State Building, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Chrysler Building and Saint Patrick’s Cathedral) are recreated every year out of nuts, bark, leaves and plant parts. Large-scale model trains happily chug past these landmarks above your head and at ground level, delighting you and your entire family.
Radio City Christmas Spectacular
Radio City Music Hall
1260 Sixth Avenue
New York, NY 10020
Date: Nov. 20 – Dec. 31, 2014
Come to Radio City Music Hall this year to see the Rockettes in action. The quintessential holiday performance for the whole family, the Radio City Christmas Spectacular is a magical show that focuses on the heart of Christmas. Every year features something new, so even if you’ve seen it before, you still haven’t seen the full thing. The Parade of the Wooden Soldiers is the highlight of the show, but Santa Claus also makes an appearance through a 3D imaging of Times Square and New York City, and pieces of “The Nutcracker” are also featured. The show ends with live animal reenactments of the miraculous birth of Jesus, reminding us of the true meaning of the season.
Jennifer is a writer, reader, crafter, traveler and New Yorker. She works in midtown New York City for non-profit organizations. Her degrees are in communication studies and art history.You can contact Jennifer at @egyptologist. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.