Holidays In New York City: The To-Do List

The holidays in New York City can be overwhelming: overcrowding, overbooked restaurants, overpriced hotels, and an overload of cultural offerings. A life-long New Yorker, as a gesture of good-will, I've assembled a list of the Big Apple's many offerings for travelers and residents alike. For (window) shopping, visit the elaborate displays at Saks, Barneys, Lord & Taylor, Bloomies, Bergdorf, and Macy's, as well as the holiday craft fairs at Columbus Circle, Union Square, Grand Central Terminal and Bryant Park. And don't forget to swing by Rockefeller Center for a picture with this year's Christmas Tree! Then, whether you fancy a Broadway show, a seasonal exhibit, some ice-skating, or a visit with Santa to round out your holiday spirit, you'll find something for every interest here. Happy Holidays!

The Radio City Christmas Spectacular (Through 12/30)
This ultimate Christmas show, which debuted in 1933, includes the world-famous Radio City Rockettes performing their beloved March of the Wooden Soldiers, a living nativity, and magnificent special effects. (Radio City Music Hall;

New York City Ballet's The Nutcracker (Through 1/2)
Each winter, the New York City Ballet inspires prima ballerinas of all ages with its staging of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker™, the story of a little girl's flight through toy soldiers, cunning mice, a gifted Nutcracker, and sugarplum fairies. (

Elf (Through 1/2)
Based on the hit movie, Elf is the story of a North Pole orphan who embarks on a journey to New York City to win over his real family and help New York remember the true meaning of Christmas. (

Cirque de Soleil's Wintuk (Through 1/2)
In its final season, Cirque du Soleil's Wintuk weaves breathtaking acrobatics with theatrical effects, following a young boy's search for snow (

The Ice Rink at Rockefeller Center has come to signify the quintessential New York City experience. Every 90 minutes beginning at 8:30 AM, New Yorkers and visitors alike get their skate on. (

A twirl through Central Park's Wollman Rink offers a more natural skating environment. (

Were you naughty or nice? Macy's Santaland, on the 8th floor of the Herald Square store, is open daily through December 24th. (

South Street Seaport's Story Time with Santa is a different way to spend time with the man in red on weekends through December 20th. (

Santa and his elves are also hosting Breakfast at the Rock Center Café through Christmas Eve. A skating session on the neighboring rink is included in the price. (212-332-7620; Reservations essential)

Holiday Train Show at The New York Botanical Garden (Through 1/9)
Explore replicas of over 100 historic New York landmarks like the Brooklyn Bridge, Yankee Stadium, and St. Patrick's Cathedral--made entirely of plant materials--as model trains speed past along a half-mile of track. (

The Jewish Museum will unveil A Hanukkah Project: Daniel Libeskind's Line Of Fire through January 30th. Libeskind, an international figure in architecture and design, created this installation with a selection of Hanukkah lamps from the Museum's renowned collection. (

Through January 9th, Le Parker Meridien hotel will host its second Gingerbread Extravaganza, during which local bakeries display their delectable large-scale confections. All proceeds will benefit City Harvest, an organization that feeds hungry New Yorkers. (