I ran to my local grocery store on Tuesday for some last-minute Halloween candy. My “monster munchies” bowl had been filled since last week, but let’s face it, a week is a long time and my munchies were seriously depleted! I figured I would scoot in the door, grab a few bags, and be on my way. As I walked in the door, however, I blinked hard to clear my vision. The spooky display of ghosts, goblins and candy corn had been replaced with festive red and green candies, snowmen and brightly lit Christmas trees. I quickly checked the date on my phone, thinking perhaps I had fallen into some sort of time warp, only to find it was still October 31st. Wow- I guess the holidays really are just around the corner!
While it may seem a bit early to be thinking about sleigh rides and snow, it’s never too early to start planning your holiday travel. New York City tops the list of fabulous holiday destinations for groups- particularly students. The Big Apple is always humming with activity, but has a singular energy fueled by anticipation as the holidays approach. The weather is crisp, the people move briskly and the stage is set for wonder!
One of the best holiday traditions in the city is also FREE! The holiday windows at retailers throughout the city never disappoint with their creativity and style. They beckon shoppers to explore wares within the stores using artistic and often mind-boggling displays. Most windows are usually revealed right around Thanksgiving and typically remain on display through the new year. A truly dedicated window shopper may want to consider a holiday windows walking tour.
Break out the disinfectant and strap on those rental skates for another time-honored tradition- ice skating at Rockefeller Center. Situated in the heart of Midtown, the Rink at Rockefeller Center opens in October (they must be in cahoots with my local grocer) and remains open through the spring. General admission skating is first come, first-served, and everyone in your party must wait in line together. Admission ranges from $25-$32, depending on the time of year. There are opportunities to reserve ice time, but it can get pricey.
The 2017 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree will be lit for the first time on November 29, 2017 and remain a shining beacon through January 7, 2018. Take in this glorious evergreen while gliding gracefully on the ice- or clinging to the rail as they case may be!
Head off the ice and up to the Top of the Rock for spectacular, sweeping views of midtown Manhattan and Central Park. Students will love the birds eye view of the city as it sparkles and shines- there’s really nothing quite like it!
Once you’ve experienced the city from above, bring it down to street level and jump on THE RIDE. THE RIDE has a holiday edition of its unique, 75-minute production, allowing you to stay toasty warm on the specially designed motor coach as you are escorted through 4.2 miles of dazzling sights and sounds. The seasons of Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanza are celebrated in brilliant style with seasonal music, specially choreographed performance events, additional cast members and much more!
Kick off the holidays with style (that’s right, I went there!) with the iconic Radio City Rockettes’ Christmas Spectacular. This show, running November 10, 2017 through January 1, 2018, embodies the holiday spirit and is an experience like no other. The Rockettes performs extraordinary moves in gorgeous costumes, amid breathtaking backdrops and inspiring music.
If you are traveling with students, check out the Radio City Stage Door Tour for an insider’s look at Radio City Music Hall. It’s a guided tour through hallowed halls, where secrets of the stage are revealed and you can even meet a Rockette®!
While the calendar may still say autumn, the spirit is singing that the holidays are just a few short weeks away! Gather your group for a fabulous visit to New York City. Simplify your planning by using the Group Travel Odyssey website- a ones stop shop to request group pricing from the best attractions, hotels, dining and transportation in the city. It’s definitely worth the click and makes planning a snap – something we all appreciate during the busy holiday season!