Hard to beat New York City for holiday dazzle

New York City draws droves of visitors throughout the year for arts and culture, sightseeing, shopping and one-of-a-kind experiences. However, during December that draw intensifies as the city sparkles in lights, Big Apple-sized decorations, and holiday festivities.

is now home to an 82-foot-tall Norway spruce adorned with 50,000 lights and a 900-pound crystal-studded star. In addition to viewing and photographing the tree, visitors can also take to ice skating at The Rink at Rockefeller Center.

The Radio City Rockettes are again kicking it up at Radio City Music Hall in their Christmas Spectacular. This is the 89th year for the show, which this year includes 140 performers, a live orchestra and a menagerie of camels and sheep that parade across the stage in a live nativity scene. The 90-minute show runs through Jan. 2.

At Lincoln Center, the New York City Ballet reprises George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker. According to the ballet’s website, during the holiday season, “the entire Company is immersed in activities surrounding George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker. All 90 dancers, 62 musicians, 40 stagehands, and more than 125 children in two alternating casts from the School of American Ballet join forces to make each performance as magical as possible.” Shows run through Dec. 31.

Shoppers and those who simply love to window shop will find store windows from Fifth Avenue to 34th Street and Herald Square decorated in festive and imaginative ways. Saks Fifth Avenue’s flagship store at 611 Fifth Avenue draws a crowd inside and out. Some 600,000 lights bedazzle the 10-story façade with a 10-minute light and musi c show that runs every 10 minutes from 5 to 11 p.m. as well as those one-of-a kind store windows.

Macy’s Herald Square store at 34th Street has its windows dressed for the season with a theme of togetherness and festive nostalgia. Further uptown, Bloomingdales at 59th Street lights up Fifth Avenue with a 700,000 LED light show with synchronized music every 10 minutes.

Throughout New York, there are several holiday immersive experiences such as ARTECHOUSE’s Spectacular Factory: The Holiday Multiverse that closes Jan. 8. Described as “an imaginative multiverse of holiday villages, where guests of all ages will get to take a spin on a candy cane carousel, get up-close-and-personal with a thousand nutcrackers, float among giant swinging jingle bells and even ride a train through holiday wreaths.”

Another immersive experience is Santa’s Secret at Hudson Yard Shops that includes a cabaret, live band and speakeasy. “Explore a series of eight immersive holiday installations as you make your way to Santa’s secret speakeasy. On this winding path you’ll find everything from living gingerbread girls and rugged lumberjacks to ice queens in life-sized snow globes.” It runs through Dec. 31.

And, of course, other expansive venues such as Grand Central Station and the Oculus Center at the World Trade Center are festooned with lights, garland, trees, and wreaths. Grand Central Station Holiday Fair showcases 36 local artisan vendors with giftable items such as clothing, accessories, artwork, jewelry, keepsakes, home décor and more. It closes Dec. 24.

This is but a fraction of the many holiday delights and experiences awaiting those fortunate enough to travel to New York City during the holiday season.

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