FAMILY FRIENDLY NYC | THE HOLIDAY EDITION / by Brackett Bilodeau

Image courtesy of twi-ny.com

Image courtesy of twi-ny.com

Come winter, New York City transforms into a snowglobe of cheer loved by all -- including locals and visitors alike. From the towering Rockefeller tree to the slew of famously festooned windows, the list of family-friendly activities is endless, keeping hearts of all ages warm with splendor and igniting the inner child in all of us.


NYBG'S ANNUAL HOLIDAY TRAIN SHOW

For over 20 years, the New York Botanical Gardens' annual Holiday Train Show has continuously drawn crowds to the starlit Haupt Conservatory. This year’s show boasts a quarter-mile track weaving through over 150 landmarks and familiar sights like the Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty, and Rockefeller Center -- all crafted from bark, leaves, and other natural materials. Enjoy brand new trains, bridges, and tracks, plus a captivating short film of the show's behind-the-scenes mysteries.

New York Botanical Garden, 2900 Southern Boulevard


BEST OF: ICE SKATING

The Rink at Rockefeller Center

Brave the long lines for a chance to skate beneath the famous Rockefeller Center Christmas tree at the city’s most iconic rink.

600 5th Avenue between 48th and 49th Streets


Wollman Rink

Nothing says “holidays” like ice skating in Central Park surrounded by the sparkling Midtown skyline.

830 5th Ave (inside Central Park)


Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park

Something for the whole family: a professional-style 17,000 square foot rink for the skaters of all ages, plus endless holiday shops and treats. Get to skating, or watch from afar -- hot cocoa in hand.

Bryant Park | West 42nd Street at 6th Avenue
 

The Rink at Brookfield Place

Located in the plaza in front of the Brookfield Place Winter Garden, this new rink offers an exciting downtown alternative. At 7,350 square feet, Brookfield is larger than life and overlooks the enchanting marina.

Brookfield Place |  200 Vesey Street


HOT COCOA STOP: JACQUES TORRES

In 2000, master pâtissier Jacques Torres won over the hearts of New Yorkers with his decadent chocolate confections inspired by the electric city. Over a decade later, Torres, fondly known as “Mr. Chocolate,” continues to keep the city toasty with his award-winning hot chocolates. Try this year’s new menu addition, “Hot Chocolate Snowball,” complete with hand-poured hot chocolate over a scoop of vanilla ice cream and topped with whipped cream.

Multiple locations


BEST OF: HOLIDAY TREES

Rockefeller Center

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree serves as a worldwide institution and, more importantly, the unofficial kickoff to holidays in New York City. This year’s Norway spruce hails from Gardiner, New York, standing at 78 feet tall.

45 Rockefeller Plaza
 

American Museum of Natural History Origami Holiday Tree

For 30 years, the Origami Holiday Tree has captivated crowds as a product of the stunning holiday collaboration between OrigamiUSA and the American Museum of Natural History. Over 1,000 hand-folded origami figures created by artists from around the world adorn the 13-foot tree, inspired by fixtures in the permanent halls, current exhibitions, and other museum collections.

Central Park West and 79th Street


The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The annual Christmas Tree and Neapolitan Baroque Crèche installation showcases a vivid eighteenth-century nativity scene at the foot of an elegantly illuminated spruce dressed with silk-robed angels and cherubs. This longstanding tradition features festive music and lighting ceremonies, perfect for all ages.

1000 5th Avenue


CHRISTMAS TEA AT THE PALM COURT

Carolers, cocktails, and gingerbread houses, oh my! Enjoy a large selection of sandwiches, savories, holiday teas, and spiced treats within an artistic 3-D winter scene for the beloved annual holiday teas at the iconic Palm Court.

Sugar & Spice Tea: November 27th – December 31st

Special Christmas Tea: December 24th – 27th


768 5th Avenue at 59th Street