In winter when the streets are dusted with snow, holiday lights twinkle and some of the most exciting events of the year take place. Enjoy the world's best entertainment, art, cuisine, sports, and of course, shopping! Outdoors, ice-skating rinks at Rockefeller Center and Central Park transform into a sparkling wonderland.
Here's just a sample of the many attractions in New York City's five boroughs. Choose your route according to your interests and schedule. Check out public transportation schedules to take a break from driving.
Who would you like to meet? Mingle and take photo ops with celebrities at Madame Tussaud's in Times Square. Over 220 wax figures of pop stars, Hollywood legends, sports heroes and historic icons will amaze you. Step into the star-studded Opening Night Party or the Marvel Super Heroes 4D Experience. From Spider-Man and Jennifer Aniston to Marilyn Monroe and Charlie Chaplin, there are stars to thrill every generation!
Two blocks north, Guy's American Kitchen & Bar is all about big flavors and good times. Off-the-hook made-from-scratch food, handcrafted signature beers, killer cocktails and rockin' tunes are on tap at this joint run by Food Network star Guy Fieri, a big fan of diners, drive-ins and dives.
A Broadway show is a classic winter tradition. Take your choice of great productions, from Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella to Matilda and Motown the Musical. Get your tickets online in advance, line up for a discount at the TKTS Booth, or try your luck at the box office.
The Radio City Christmas Spectacular, November 8 to December 30, includes ice-skaters, dancing teddy bears, the amazing Rockettes, and many surprises. State-of-the-art technology and breathtaking special effects create a magical wonderland.
Your shopping list should include a stroll (or skating!) in Rockefeller Center and up Fifth Avenue. Bergdorf's, Saks Fifth Avenue, Tiffany's and other famous stores compete for attention with artistic window displays. Made of Baccarat crystal, the symbolic UNICEF Snowflake shines at 57th Street.
Grand Central Terminal celebrates 100 years as the world's largest train station. With dozens of shops, markets, restaurants (including the landmark Oyster Bar), and walking tours that reveal fascinating secrets, it's a perfect stop for a winter visit! The annual Holiday Train Show runs through mid-February.
For laughs, head to The Stand Restaurant & Comedy Club, presenting top comedians like Artie Lange, Colin Quinn and Judah Friedlander. It was voted Best Comedy Club by New York magazine. Tasty options include chef-prepared dinners and drinks before or after the show.
If you like a really big show, go west to the Javits Center. A season of great indoor events includes the International Motorcycle Show in December, the New York Boat Show in January, an International Toy Fair in February, and a Coffee Fest in March.
Love the arts? Choose from a host of great performances at Lincoln Center. The 16-acre architectural masterpiece houses the Metropolitan Opera, Lincoln Center Theater, NYC Ballet, New York Philharmonic, and Jazz at Lincoln Center.
Must sees at the American Museum of Natural History include the world-renowned Dinosaur Halls and Rose Center for Earth & Space. Check out the giant Origami Holiday Tree and the Whales exhibit through January 5.
The vast Metropolitan Museum of Art features Dutch masterpieces, an ancient Egyptian temple and many other treasures from around the world and throughout the ages. Have afternoon tea with a view of Central Park at the Petrie Court Café.
Hop on the free ferry for a gallery tour at the Alice Austen House. The 1690 Dutch farmhouse that grew into a sprawling Victorian Cottage provides a snapshot of city life at the turn of the 20th Century.
Shows at the magnificent St. George Theatre range from the high-energy Christmas Show and Blue's Clues Live in December to The Wizard of Oz and Beauty and the Beast in March. On March 30, Jim Belushi and the Chicago Board of Comedy bring their famous improve sketches to the stage.
The state-of-the-art Barclays Center is the new home of the NBA's Brooklyn Nets. A showcase for world-class entertainment and sports events, from basketball and boxing, to the Rolling Stones, to Disney on Ice, Barclays boasts one of the best seating designs for any arena, with unmatched views for audiences of up to 19,000.
The Brooklyn Flea features over 100 vendors of antique furniture, vintage clothing and collectibles, as well as jewelry, fine art, food and crafts by local artisans. On weekends through March, the Flea's winter home is the former Williamsburg Savings Bank, worth a visit just to see the gorgeous landmark interior!
Tour the Louis Armstrong House Museum, celebrating the life and legacy of the world's most famous jazz musician. Audio clips reveal Louis's homemade recordings, trumpet practice, and friendly conversations.
Lights, Camera, Astoria! Cool interactive exhibits, memorabilia and shows at the Museum of the Moving Image highlight the art of movies, television and digital media.
The New York Botanical Garden, open year-round, is the nation's largest museum of plants. Stroll through winter woods amid towering pines or step into the Victorian-era glass Conservatory to explore a tropical rainforest, a cactus-filled desert, and ever-changing flowers and foliage. See thousands of blooms at the Orchid Show in March.
In cooler weather, many animals at the Bronx Zoo are more active. With 265 acres of wildlife habitats, it's hard to see everything in one day. Consider a two-hour tour of popular exhibits like the Himalayan Highlands and Tiger Mountain. Transport yourself to the tropics in the Asian jungle, and take a spin on the glass-enclosed Bug Carousel!
For more ideas and information, see New York City Regional Tourism Website