15 Unique Things To Do In NYC For The Holidays
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15 Unique Things To Do In NYC For The Holidays

Because NYC is so much more than Rockefeller Center.

15 Unique Things To Do In NYC For The Holidays

Growing up close to New York City, I had the opportunity to visit the tree in Rockefeller Center, attend the Radio City Christmas Spectacular with the Rockettes, and explore Times Square during Christmas many times. If you're anything like me, these things seem too riddled with tourists now for my liking. Now that I'm older and can go into the city by myself or with my own friends, I like searching for new and fresh things to do that tourists aren't as drawn to. Cue unique list of things to do in NYC during the holidays that are just as spectacular, but without all of the crowd.

1. Flatiron District and Lower Fifth Ave.

The Flatiron Building is one of the most historic buildings in NYC. It was built in 1902 and was one of the city's first skyscrapers. It is most notable for its unusually shaped design. During the holidays, the surrounding area comes alive with New York excitement. Winter-themed structures and statues sprout up across the street where Broadway and Fifth Ave. intersect, and the tip of the Flatiron Building showcases art from talented artists and sculptors that is both beautiful and themed! Madison Square Park across the street is the perfect spot for a holiday stroll, especially when coated with snow. It is a beautiful, serene, scenic, and "only in New York" place to be.

2. New York Public Library and the Empire State Building

While these may seem like usual places to visit, they are often forgotten in the Christmas rush of tourism. Check out the New York Public Library when Patience and Fortitude are sitting tall and proud with wreaths around their necks. The New York Public Library is so beautiful to begin with, that it only feels more like home when you are greeted by giant lion statues that are bearing the Christmas spirit you love! Similarly, the call and beauty of the Empire State Building is much more intoxicating when it is decked with red and green lights.

3. 57th Street Snowflake

If you've never seen the giant snowflake that is hung above the intersection of 57th and Fifth during the holidays, you need to. It first appeared in 1984 and was redesigned in 2005 with 16,000 crystal prisms that illuminate the surrounding area with a glow that will warm your heart.

4. Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum

The Bartow-Pell Mansion is a Greek revival that is located in the Bronx. During the Christmas season, evening tours are given that showcase decorated trees, storytelling, and characters in costumes. Christmas and history, what more can you ask for?

5. The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a popular attraction, but is often lost to Times Square and Radio City Music Hall during the holidays. Use this time to visit this magnificent and beautiful museum and view the Angel Tree and Nativity display that are erected in the Medieval Sculpture Hall during the Christmas season. It is absolutely grand and extensive, including eighteenth-century angels and figurines that were donated in 1964.

6. The Hotel Pierre

Nothing says "good Christmas feelings" as much as a hot cup of tea and some fancy scones and cakes. The Hotel Pierre is one of remaining luxury hotels that still offer tea services. Go spend a cold winter afternoon there with some of your friends and enjoy the warmth of tea and hearty joy of finger sandwiches, scones, cakes, and pastries topped with cream.

7. Winter's Eve at Lincoln Center

Lincoln Center is breathtaking at any time of the year, but nothing beats it while it is coated with light snow and shining lights. The annual Winter's Eve festival that takes place in December is an experience worth being part of. Go to the plaza to see music, dancers, street performers, and carolers spread Christmas cheer.

8. American Museum of Natural History

This might seem like an odd one to be included on this list, but the American Museum of Natural History has this amazing tradition of allowing volunteers to fold paper creations back in July that will trim a ginormous Origami Holiday Tree during the winter season.

9. Christmas Tree Vendors

A New York family tradition is buying and selling Christmas trees on the street. Go buy a Christmas tree, big or small, and start making your own traditions! Some families have camped out on certain corners selling their trees for decades.

10. New York Botanical Garden

Annual Holiday Train Show. They literally fill 6,000 square feet of natural landscapes with model trains and trolleys. Need I say more?

11. Grand Central Terminal

Though the ceiling of Grand Central Terminal is usually beautiful with its being painted with zodiac constellations and resembling a starry night, it completely transforms in the winter. Go take a visit and be swept away by the ceilings and walls that drip with Christmas-themed projections, decorations, and paintings. It's always different.

12. Greenwich Village

All you Bohemians, this is for you. The neighborhood that celebrates artists, writers, actors, and musicians becomes the perfect backdrop for a late-night stroll as the narrow streets become tree-lined and sparkled.

13. Grand Army Plaza

The Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn welcomes all under its archway and array of bronze statues that are dedicated to honor Civil War heroes. On New Year's Eve, this historic and cozy atmosphere becomes the perfect place to view the fireworks because of its location and projected feeling of unity.

14. Dyker Heights

Also located in Brooklyn, Dyker Heights in a neighborhood that takes Christmas to a new level. The Christmas displays are well-known for being over-the-top. Most of the homeowners hire professionals to decorate their houses with dioramas that are much larger than you are. You will literally be blinded by the lights. Talk about the perfect place to drive or walk through as night starts to fall!

15. Boys Choir of Harlem and Apollo Theater

Founded in 1968, this choir records and performs Christmas concerts for audiences all over the world. Stop by the Apollo Theater in Harlem on West 123rd Street and hear their voices ring for yourself!

Happy Holidays everyone!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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