Monday, December 10, 2012

4 Must-See NYC Christmas Sights

Christmas is right around the corner, and there's no better place to celebrate the season than New York City. So much to do! So much to see! The only downside? It's so, so cold.

But there are mild days in December, and besides: the glow of multi-colored Christmas lights will warm you right up. Here are four of my favorite New York City holiday sights that make the season merry and bright:

4. The American Museum of Natural History's Origami Holiday Tree

The origami tree in 2011.

The 13-foot origami tree, in the American Museum of Natural History's Grand Gallery, is festooned with 500 decorations. Depending on the entrance you use to get into the museum, you may have trouble finding the tree -- we did last year! Just ask an employee for directions; it's worth the extra step. Through January 6, 2013.

3. Union Square Holiday Market

One of my favorite New York City Christmastime hot spots is the Union Square Holiday Market. And there's no doubt it's a hot spot. The outdoor market is so crowded you can hardly move, even if the weather is so cold you can barely feel your fingertips. But the 150 stalls are always fun to browse. In the past, you could buy anything from ornaments to spices to purses to big furry hats. Through December 24, 2012.

2. Christmas Windows Along Fifth Avenue

No surprise here: First-time holiday visitors to New York City should take a walk down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue to view the intricate window displays in some of the city's top department stores. However, beware: This will not be a leisurely stroll. The sidewalks are like sardine cans, and you might find yourself trying to avoid collisions with other sightseers more than taking in the beautiful vistas. We took a look at the windows one winter, and that was enough for me. That being said, they are worth seeing at least once.

1. Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

The tree in 2010.

Without a doubt, the number one holiday visit you must make in New York is to the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. I'll admit it. The first time I saw it, I was underwhelmed. The tree looks larger than life on TV! But it's not just the tree that makes the scene magical. Don't get me wrong. The tree is still pretty gigantic, but it's that combined with the famous ice skating rink below it that truly makes the scene worth remembering. Keep in mind that Rockefeller Center is extremely crowded during the holiday weekends; I've had better luck on a weekday. Through January 7, 2013

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