Classic holiday sights you can't miss this season
The holiday season in New York has long been known as one of the best times of the year to enjoy the city. Whether you're in town for a few days or a New Yorker with the week off, here are some of the city's best holiday sights you simply can't miss.
Christmas TreeWhat: More than 30,000 LED lights decorate this 80-foot Norway spruce from Flanders, N.J., topped with a Swarovski star. This annual staple has been one of the city's most celebrated holiday traditions since 1933.
Where: Between Fifth and Sixth avenues and 48th and 51st streets
When: 5:30 to 11:30 p.m., through Jan. 7
Best time to go: As one of the city's most popular holiday attractions, expect massive crowds throughout most of the day. Stop by late and you might get lucky.
holiday LightsWhat: This holiday tradition has lit up the Financial District since 1989, with some 50,000 sparkling lights illuminating the area this year.
Where: World Financial Center, 220 Vesey St.
When: 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. through Jan. 3
Best time to go: Though the garden is open all day, you'll be better off going after work hours to avoid the crowds and catch the lights.
Holiday TreeWhat: If you're in the mood for a dazzling holiday tree but want to avoid the crowds at Rock Center, your best bet is Bryant Park's 55-foot tree from Chestnut Ridge, N.Y. This year's tree boasts some 30,000 lights and 3,000 custom-fabricated ornaments.
Where: 40th Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues
When: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays, 7 a.m. to midnight weekends through Jan. 1
Best time to go: Like Rock Center, the best time to check out the tree is after dark so you can see it in its full illuminated glory.
4St. Patrick's CathedralWhat: Tour this massive national landmark, the largest decorated Gothic-style Catholic cathedral in the country. The church remains open during renovations.
Where: Fifth Avenue between 50th and 51st streets
When: Open daily from 6:30 a.m. to 8:45 p.m.
Best time to go: Though the cathedral offers walk-in tours, you can schedule a free tour during the week for groups of 10 or more.
5F.A.O. SchwarzWhat: One of Manhattan's most famous shopping destinations and the oldest operating toy retailer in the country, this is among the pre-eminent shopping spots in the city. Perfect for window shopping, the store has floor upon floor of toys and games and some of the best holiday decorations around.
Where: Fifth Avenue between 58th and 59th streets
When: Holiday hours vary; check online for the day you want to go.
Best time to go: Weekends will be hectic, but the shopping rush will likely die down after Christmas. Try a weekday morning or afternoon for a good shot at calmer crowds.