New York City's fall-winter holiday season includes major events like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the New Year’s Eve ball drop in Times Square. Whether you're holding a meeting in New York City during the fall and winter months or just thinking about it, this guide to holidays in the City will help with logistics.
Courtesy, Macy's Inc.
For nearly a century, New Yorkers—and visitors, of course—have turned out in droves on the fourth Thursday of each November to see the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, a supersized procession of Broadway performers, celebrities and giant floating balloons. The parade runs down Central Park West from 77th Street, then east along Central Park South to Sixth Avenue, where it turns south and ends in front of Macy’s Herald Square.
This year’s parade will take place on Thursday, November 22. If your attendees are in town early, they might enjoy viewing the inflation of balloons the night before the parade—another holiday tradition. Crowds gather around the American Museum of Natural History from around 4:30pm until 9:15pm, when the gates close, to watch the enormous helium-filled balloons come to life.
Grand Central Terminal Holiday Seasonal Market. Photo: Will Steacy
Beginning in mid-November, Grand Central Terminal hosts a one-of-a-kind indoor holiday seasonal market that runs through December 24. Cheerful stalls set up in Vanderbilt Hall sell gift items like candles, glassware, holiday ornaments, jewelry, and knitted hats, gloves and scarves. There are also plenty of places within the station for your attendees to have a glass of wine or a meal. (See meeting venues near Grand Central Terminal.)
As the days grow shorter, department stores, including Macy’s, Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue and many more, put together over-the-top decorations for their holiday window displays. Your attendees can stroll up and down Fifth and Madison Avenues in Manhattan to take in the spectacle.
Photo: Angela Cranford/ MSG Photos
Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular
This famous wintertime revue stars the world-famous Radio City Rockettes performing on one of NYC’s most glamorous stages. The brilliance of the hall’s art deco design is seen in all areas, from the famously exquisite theater to the luxurious private apartment, the Roxy Suite, as well as other notable spaces for private events, with a total capacity of up to 5,874 attendees. (See meeting venues near Radio City Music Hall.)
Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. Photo: Diane Bondareff/ AP images for Tishman Speyer
Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree
Viewing a towering 75-foot Norway spruce decked out in thousands of colorful lights is another perennially popular holiday tradition. In late November the tree is erected in the plaza outside 30 Rockefeller Center—where attendees can also ice-skate or take in a holiday performance from the world-famous Rockettes dance troupe—and radiates comfort and joy until early January. (See meeting venues near Rockefeller Center.)
NYE Ball Drop. Photo: Amy Hart
New Year’s Eve
On New Year’s Eve each year, nearly a million people flock to Times Square to watch the ball drop. Revelers arrive early, so visitors who want to be part of the action should plan to arrive on-site by noon on December 31 and stake out space near the triangle where Broadway meets Seventh Avenue at 45th Street.
In addition to midnight’s confetti-laden display, there are concerts, parties and even fireworks—not to mention the live broadcast of Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, which has been hosted by Ryan Seacrest in recent years. For more information, visit timessquarenyc.org.
New York City’s prominence as a global business and financial capital and vibrant mix of arts and culture means it's a can’t-miss destination for meetings and events. NYC & Company, the City’s official CVB, works with planners at every stage of the event cycle to create the best possible experience for attendees. Get in touch so that we can partner with you on your next event.