There’s no place like NYC for the holidays

The Rockefeller Center tree is a classic holiday spot, but there are plenty of others.
NYC & Company
The Rockefeller Center tree is a classic holiday spot, but there are plenty of others.

New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood is where poet Clement Clarke Moore wrote “A Visit From St. Nicholas,” first published in 1823. That’s one compelling reason to visit The City That Never Sleeps. Here are other festive reasons why there’s no place like NYC for the holidays.

Christmas classic

The 107th annual reading of Clement Clarke Moore’s poem will take place at The Church of the Intercession at 3 p.m. on Dec. 17. The poem will be read by MSNBC reporter Joy-Ann Reid. Then, join St. Nick as he leads the congregation to the grave of Clement Moore for a wreath laying ceremony and a reception in heated tents.

Festive trees

Bundle up and visit the 80-foot tree at Rockefeller Center adorned with a Swarovski star and tens of thousands of lights. Or, head indoors to admire the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s 20-foot blue spruce or the 13-foot Origami Holiday Tree in the American Museum of Natural History.

Hanukkah celebration


The 32-foot-high menorah goes up every year across the street from The Plaza hotel for the Jewish Festival of Lights; this year Dec. 12. The menorah lighting take place daily throughout the eight-day holiday. Take a nighttime tour through the Hasidic section of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to see the menorah lights, and to buy latkes at a neighborhood bakery.

Yuletide eats

Get The Weekender in your inbox:
The Globe's top picks for what to see and do each weekend, in Boston and beyond.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

You’ll find chestnuts roasting on an open fire on practically every corner in midtown, a perfect grab to snack on while admiring the window displays.

There are many hot chocolate options: While shopping at the Bryant Park and Union Square markets, get a cup of cocoa at Max Brenner ( Serendipity3 by Bloomies, frequented by celebs, is known for its Frrrozen Hot Chocolate, and the Serendipitous Hot Chocolate.

And for that memorable holiday meal, New Yorkers go to Rolf’s in Gramercy Park. It’s known for its schnitzel and Christmas decorations on steroids.

Traditional shows

The Rockettes’ Christmas Spectacular runs through Jan. 1 (, and “The Nutcracker,” performed by the New York City Ballet at Lincoln Center, runs through Dec. 31 ( Paul Winters Winter Solstice Celebration, held annually in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, is Dec. 14-16 this year (

Holiday shopping


Visit Fifth Avenue’s pricey stores like Tiffany’s, and Soho’s funky boutiques. For a unique gift, visit the bookshop at United Nations Headquarters (

At the holiday markets, you’ll find decorated kiosks that sell artisanal gifts.

Seasonal stays

The Marriott Residence Inn Central Park has a Family Ice Skating package that includes admission for four (two adults and two kids) at Central Park’s Wollman Rink, including the skate rentals. Rates begin at $248 per night.

Book the Hotel Elysee’s Bloomingdale’s Shopping Package and you’ll get 15 percent off storewide and a $50 gift card, a personal shopper, and complimentary delivery of your purchases to the hotel. Rates begin at $269 per night (two-night minimum). www.elyseehotel

The six Triumph hotels in Manhattan have hooked up with Streetwise to offer complimentary holiday walking tours. The closest hotel to the holiday window displays is The Iroquois New York. Double-room rates begin at $289 per night.


The Plaza hotel celebrates the 25th anniversary of “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York” with a pricey package, which includes a photo booth session, a backpack, a “Home Alone 2” paint can (with the DVDs), and a room service ice cream sundae cart. The package begins at $900 per night. www.theplaza

Laurie Wilson can be reached at