I love NYC. There is so much to do and see all year round. This is even more true during the holidays. Besides the normal activities, like going to a Broadway show, there are activities that are only available during the holidays. So I am highlight my favorite NYC holiday activities.
(Courtesy Macy Thanksgiving Wikia)
The holiday festivities and activities kick off with the Macy's (Thanksgiving) Day Parade. This is the most extravagant Thanksgiving celebration in the country. The parade, which started in 1924, has colorful floats that attract approximately 50 million viewers, between those who watch in person and on TV. The parade has operated every year, except during the WW II years. It was first televised in 1939. The parade begins at 77th St and Central Park West, and ends at 7th Ave and 34th St. To watch it in person from a great vantage point, make sure you secure your spot by 6 AM. (Bringing a chair to sit in is not advised; and we recommend walking to your spot from a subway station. Parking is expensive and many streets close.) Enjoy seeing Santa come by.
(Courtesy Urban Matter)
Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, there are so many activities that you can do. You can check out store windows decked out for Christmas, walk around hotel lobbies and look at decorations, and wander around a pop-up outdoor shopping village. The Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park is the pop-up shopping village not to miss where there is a free ice skating rink and an eatery. Make sure you see Isaac Mizarahi's Peter and the Wolf at the Guggenheim, indulge in baked goods from places like William Poll or Two Little Red Hens bakery, and all the miniature NY landmarks (and trains) in the Botanical Gardens. And don't forget to see the tree at Rockefeller Center, as well as go ice skating in Central Park.
There are a couple of different NYE activities. If you don't want to watch the ball drop in Times Square, attend the Philharmonic's concert; though I recommend seeing the ball drop if you have never done so. There are so many things to do to prepare yourself for attending the ball drop.
(Courtesy of Casablanca Hotel)
To get the best spot to watch the ball drop, I recommend arriving by 2:30 PM. To stay warm out there for over 9 hours, wear many layers. Make sure you wear insulated mittens, and not gloves. You will not want your finger separated. If able bring hand warmers. Make sure you don't have exposed skin and that you are wearing wind/water resistant clothing. Make sure you watch for symptoms of hypothermia, and if you start to show signs get the attention of any of the EMS all around and make sure you go inside. It is neat to see the ball drop but won't be worth it if you get frostbite. If you have to leave just head home as you likely won't get your spot back. Make sure you leave any large bags, as well as alcohol, at home. Neither are allowed and alcohol actually increases the risk of hypothermia. Do make sure to bring a portable cell charger. Finally, make sure you enjoy yourself.