The Holidays in New York City are simply a must-do experience for everyone. For a city that is already filled with energy twelve months a year, the buzz during the holiday season is unquestionably electric. With so many restaurants and hotels offering seasonal menus, vacation packages and other holiday incentives, there are simply not enough days to fully embrace all that New York has to offer for tourists and locals alike during the Holidays.
The newly renovated Palace Hotel (455 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10022) is always festive on the East Side with one of my favorite Christmas trees in the city that completely transforms the outside courtyard on Madison Avenue. On the West Side, The Muse Hotel (a Kimpton property – 130 West 46th Street, New York, NY 10036) proves to be an ideal destination when wanting to enjoy all of the amazing shows on Broadway and additional Holiday offerings at historical landmarks such as Radio City and Carnegie Hall.
With so many things to do and see while enjoying the magic of New York at the Holidays, these three particular favorites are absolutely vital to gain the full experience.
1. Radio City Spectacular
If you love New York, and have not yet seen this show, you should make sure to get the full Radio City experience this year. Quintessential New York, this show has been gracing the Manhattan holidays for more than 85 years. The Rockettes have danced their way into the hearts of locals and tourists alike, and the fascination with them shows no signs of slowing in the future.
“Each holiday season, the Radio City Christmas Spectacular brings families, friends and loved ones together like nothing else can and this year, we are proud to present the most immersive experience yet,” said Don Simpson, executive vice president of productions, MSG Entertainment.
“Radio City Music Hall is not only a national landmark, but also an integral part of the heart and soul of New York City. The legendary theater’s intimate setting lends itself to hosting a wide variety of memorable events, shows, live performances, and special events which have become part of Radio City’s great history,” said Richard Claffey, senior vice president and general manager of theatre operations.
Enter the historic Radio City lobby with the grandiose chandelier, and you immediately feel the buzz of excitement. With Santa Claus hat and 3D glasses in hand, prepare for a rather short show by comparison (about 90 minutes), but an interactive experience that is sure to make everyone feel the love for this holiday season. A personal favorite is the Santa Claus number by the Rockettes – spectacular! Also, inquire about Stage Door Access for a chance to enjoy a one-hour guided tour to better understand the behind-the-scenes of Radio City.
1260 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020
2. Matilda on Broadway
While I know that Matilda is not a ‘holiday activity,’ it’s simply a perfect getaway to escape the cold weather, and enjoy one of the most refreshing family-friendly shows to grace Broadway in some time. Of course, there are a number of quality shows that I also enjoy, and I will always be a big promoter of everything Broadway because the shows, talent and crews do amazing work, and are so important to the true New York experience. After finally seeing Matilda, I understand all of the hype that surrounds this show. It’s really a show for all ages.
Winner of 50 international awards, including the Tony Award®, and one of the biggest hits on Broadway, this show is a sweet story of an extraordinary girl who must take a stand and challenge everything in her life to create her own destiny. With the help of her teacher, Ms. Honey, and her vivid imagination, this tiny girl overcomes every obstacle thrown at her. For my performance, Eliza Holland Madore played Matilda and was joined by a very talented cast, including Mitchell Sink playing her classmate, Bruce. Watch out for this kid – he is clearly on the road to having his own show with his incredibly likable personality and overall high level of talent. Truly entertaining!
225 West 44th Street
New York, NY 10036
3. Afternoon Tea at Mandarin Oriental
Sitting high above the bustling streets of New York City, tea in enjoyed in the Lobby Lounge on the 35th Floor. With sweeping views across Central Park and onto the Upper East Side being picture-perfect all year, it’s especially memorable at the holidays. Until Christmas Day, the Mandarin Oriental New York will be offering their Nutcracker Tea, which features their festive sandwiches and sweet confections.
A rather relaxed atmosphere without a defined area for afternoon tea, but the alert staff and amazing ginger scones make it a great option. The views are out-of-this-world, and with a light snow falling outside, the view inside while sipping warm tea and savoring the delicate treats is simply perfection. When you do have to pull yourself away from the Lobby Lounge, I suggest taking some time to enjoy the Shops at Columbus Circle, where the Williams-Sonoma, Boss, Pink and other retailers are fully decorated and prepared for the Holidays.
80 Columbus Circle at 60th Street
New York, NY 10023