Celebrating The Holidays At Rockefeller Center, New York City

Celebrating The Holidays At Rockefeller Centre | Travel and Food Guide
Celebrating The Holidays At Rockefeller Centre | Travel and Food Guide

The dazzling Christmas window displays in New York add an extra layer of fun and festivity to holiday shopping in the city.

The holidays in NYC begin at Rockefeller Center. Located in the heart of midtown Manhattan, Rockefeller Center holds a prominent place in the city’s folklore and culture. Whether you want to enjoy spectacular views of the Big Apple from Top of the Rock, or visit the Christmas tree, or practice your best moves on the ice skating rink, or catch a performance at Radio City Music Hall, an iconic family-friendly experience awaits.

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

For more than eight decades, the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree has stood as a holiday beacon for New Yorkers and visitors alike. While the lights, decorations, and stars have changed through the years, visiting the Tree remains a quintessential New York experience. To know more about the history of the Christmas tree lighting visit Rockefeller Centre’s official website.

Every year on December 1 Rockefeller Center kicks off the holiday season in New York City with the lighting of the Christmas Tree, considered the “worldwide symbol of Christmas,”. The stunning lighting ceremony takes place at 45 Rockefeller Plaza for all to see, bringing a festive glow and holiday cheer to the area.

This year’s Tree is from Vestal, New York, weighs in at about 12 tons, and stands 80 feet tall. — has been decorated with 50,000 50,000 multicolored lights and topped with a dazzling Swarovski crystal star.

Dining at Rockefeller Center:

Rockefeller Center

Between the tree lighting, ice skating and catching the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular at Radio City, fuel up at one of these delicious restaurants nearby. From steak to desserts, Rockefeller center has plenty to offer the tourist (or local) looking for a great dining experience.

1. Ace’s Pizza: You can now find Ace’s Perfect Pizza on the Rink Level at Rockefeller Center, offering both Sicilian and Detroit-style pizza throughout the holiday season.

2. Beatnic: Beatnic presents an innovative plant-based menu featuring homemade burgers, sandwiches, salads, and delectable baked sweets.

3. Chipotle: Chipotle Mexican Grill presents an extensive menu of freshly made-to-order gourmet burritos, tacos, fajitas, and salads. Choose from a variety of fillings, including barbacoa, beef, chicken, carnitas (shredded pork), or vegetarian options.

4. City Winery: City Winery operates a 7-day-a-week outdoor pop-up wine garden, featuring locally-crafted wine on tap. Enhance your experience with a Mediterranean-inspired menu offering charcuterie, cheeses, burrata, and other delightful options.

City Winery. Photo Credit Rockefeller Centre
City Winery. Photo Credit Rockefeller Centre

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5. FieldTrip: Embark on a community-based dining journey that embraces culture through the communal enjoyment of rice. Explore diverse options such as the cilantro-lime rice paired with crispy fish and cornmeal-crusted cod, or the Carolina Gold vegetable fried rice accompanying fried chicken and assorted veggies – all priced at $12 or less.

6. Limani: In this Greek/Mediterranean establishment, a preference for fresh fish and authentic Hellenic home cooking is evident. The menu features main dishes such as wild black bass for two and char-grilled lobster served with broccoli rabe and feta, all within a modern, all-white ambiance.

7. Lodi: Inspired by Italian cafes, this establishment offers a variety of baked goods, cured meats, and cheeses. Explore their antipasti selection, which includes marinated mussels, and indulge in larger plates like braised beef with potato purée and gremolata.

8. Magnolia Bakery: Magnolia Bakery presents a delightful array of freshly baked, classic American desserts, encompassing cupcakes, cakes, banana pudding, cheesecakes, muffins, pies, cookies, and brownies. Additionally, enjoy a diverse selection of coffee, tea, and iced beverages.

9. Rainbow Room: Rainbow Room has been a New York City classic since it’s opening in 1934 and is often the first choice to celebrate evening sundowners, special occasions, Sunday brunches, and rightly so. The sheer amount of food choices (seafood to meats, salads to vegetarian fare, and desserts to coffee), a revolving dance floor, combined with breathtaking views of the New York skyline epitomizing quintessential New York glamour, rising 65 stories above the landmark Rockefeller Center to host unforgettable moments, is an experience not to be missed.

Rainbow Room
Rainbow Room. Photo Credit Rockefeller Centre

Other Stunning Christmas Window Displays On Fifth Avenue

NYC’s Christmas and holiday window displays at department stores rank among the top holiday attractions. These intricate holiday windows adorned with numerous Christmas lights and enchanting winter wonderland decorations are truly awe-inspiring, making a leisurely stroll through midtown worthwhile.

1. Saks Fifth Avenue Holiday Light Show

Located across the street from Rockefeller Center, the Saks Fifth Avenue light show and holiday window installation takes place at the New York flagship store at 49th Street and 5th Avenue, and is on display through the end of December. This year, Saks Fifth Avenue collaborated with Dior to craft a enchanting Carousel of Dreams infused with Dior’s iconic symbols like the star, clover, and Zodiac signs, paying homage to the couturier’s unique legacy and lucky charms. Adorned with a profusion of flowers, the carousel illuminates nightly in a dazzling light show. Saks’ windows mirror this dreamlike ambiance, showcasing Dior styles and symbols. Inside, Saks hosts a dedicated pop-up space on the beauty floor for Dior Parfums, offering exclusive holiday selections in makeup, fragrance, and skincare.

2. Cartier

Nothing beats the sensation of seeing a red Cartier box sitting under a Christmas tree. But what does come close is looking at the larger-than-life, sparkling red ribbon that wraps around the jeweler’s Fifth Avenue store. Window displays at Cartier feature its famous red airship, along with paper-thin gold sculptures of the architectural features of its store, like windows and a staircase. But the most dazzling parts of its decor are lit-up clouds along the building and a giant red Cartier airship hovering among them.

3. Bergdorf Goodman

Bergdorf Goodman’s captivating windows have made a dazzling return this year, following the theme “Isn’t it Brilliant.” The windows are adorned with radiant elements such as light, mirrors, chrome, ice, dazzling surfaces, and vibrant neon. Each of the seven windows offers a unique interpretation of the theme, narrating its own story. In “First Light,” domestic animals adorned in mirror mosaics, along with monumental roosters, welcome the sunrise. On the opposite end of Fifth Avenue, “The Best and Brightest” celebrates knowledge and learning, featuring vintage-inspired signs, flashing lights, and a neon light bulb illuminating the big idea.

4. Macy’s

Macy’s is reintroducing its endearing woodland character, Tiptoe, a shy reindeer who discovered the confidence to fly by believing in herself. In the previous year, Tiptoe celebrated themes of “togetherness” and “festive nostalgia” as she visited her woodland companions, spreading holiday magic and cheer. This year, Tiptoe is depicted engaging in holiday activities alongside her woodland friends, Polar Bear and Penguin. The windows are adorned with whimsical materials and interactive elements, including a sing-along karaoke display, aligning with Macy’s holiday theme of “Give Love.”

5. Bloomingdale’s

Bloomingdale’s has embraced a Wonka-inspired theme for this festive season. The windows transport you into Willy Wonka’s candy factory, creating an atmosphere of a delightful sugar rush. The theme joyously commemorates what Bloomingdale’s is dubbing the “Best Holiday Ever,” featuring vibrant, luminous windows adorned with sparkle, oversized candies, and chocolates—all inspired by the iconic film.

Source and Images: Rockefeller Centre

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