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 — 82 feet tall and weighing 14 tons, the Norway Spruce from Queensbury, New York — has been decorated with 50,000 lights and topped with a dazzling 900-pound star made with 3 million Swarovski crystals.
Dining at 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: Ace’s Perfect Pizza is now available on the Rink Level at Rockefeller Center. Serving both Sicilian and Detroit style pizza through the holidays.
2. Beatnic: Beatnic offers a creative plant-based menu of house-made burgers, sandwiches, salads, and baked sweets.
3. Chipotle: Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurant offers a complete menu of fresh made-to-order gourmet burritos, tacos, fajitas, and salads with barbacoa, beef, chicken, carnitas (shredded pork) or vegetarian fillings.
4. City Winery: An outdoor pop-up wine garden operating 7 days a week, City Winery serves locally-crafted wine on tap. There is also a Mediterranean-inspired menu of charcuterie, cheeses, burrata and other offerings that will complement your experience.
5. FieldTrip: A community-based dining experience that celebrates culture through the shared experience of rice. Try varieties like the crispy fish with cilantro-lime rice and cornmeal-crusted cod, fried chicken with Carolina Gold vegetable fried rice and veggies with basmati rice, all $12 and under.
6. Limani: This Greek/Mediterranean spot favors fresh fish and Hellenic home cooking, dishing out mains like wild black bass for two and char-grilled lobster with broccoli rabe and feta in an all-white, modern space.
7. Lodi: Fashioned after Italian cafes, look out for their selection of baked goods, cured meat and cheese, more antipasti like marinated mussels and larger plates like braised beef with potato purée and gremolata.
8. Magnolia Bakery: Magnolia Bakery offers freshly baked, classic American desserts, including cupcakes, cakes, banana pudding, cheesecakes, muffins, pies, cookies and brownies, as well as a range 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.
10. Starbucks Coffee: High quality, whole bean coffees are sold along with fresh rich-brewed, Italian style espresso beverages, a variety of pastries and confections, and coffee-related accessories and equipment.
Other Stunning Christmas Window Displays On Fifth Avenue
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, with new LEDs and over 600,000 individual points of light, the experience is more colorful, vibrant and immersive than ever before. Sir Elton John helped unveiled the new display and windows on November 22.
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.
3. Bergdorf Goodman: Bergdorf Goodman is back at it with more eye-popping window displays this year all based on the theme “Magic in the Making,” which aims to “draw back the curtain of luxury” to feature the imagination and many skills that go into creating special items, including woodcraft, dress-making, paper sculpture, mosaic, papier-mâché, metal craft and scrapbooking.
4. Macy’s: This year’s windows celebrate “togetherness” and “festive nostalgia” with Tiptoe as she visits her woodland friends to spread holiday magic and cheer. Each display showcases a different world crafted with core materials, such as gingerbread and flannel.
Source and Images: Rockefeller Centre
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Manoj Chopra or “Chops” as he is known to his friends and colleagues is a chef, restaurateur, and hotelier, and has had the joy and satisfaction of cooking, serving and watching people enjoy his food for over 40 years! As a ‘Punjab da puttar’, the joy of hearty, home cooked food is in the genes; all he had to do was to live up to it! Manoj Chopra’s journey has been fascinating, to say the least, and from cooking a meal for one of India’s most famous leaders to a stint in Baghdad, to setting up a hotel in Mumbai to starting an Indian restaurant in San Francisco, “Chops” has done it all and more.
Manoj lives in New York and is a Food Columnist with Travel and Food Network! Sharing his experience and knowledge is something he is hugely passionate about and to be part of the Travel and Food Network “community” gives him a chance to do just that.