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6 NY Holiday Traditions That Prove the Holidays Aren't Cancelled

Updated: Aug 9, 2023

The Holiday Season (Read: tree lighting, ice skating and more) is NOT cancelled!

The holiday season in New York is a warm joyous experience that attracts people from around the world each year. With everything going on in 2020, the fate of the most wonderful time of year has been up in the air. However, no one puts New York in a corner and the organizers of some of the most beloved traditions (think: the Thanksgiving Day parade and Christmas tree lighting) were ready to rise to the challenge. The below New York traditions are all occurring with adjustments made for safety and precaution.

Nov. 26, 2020 on NBC & Telemundo

9am - 12pm

Macy's is leaving nothing to chance this year with COVID-19 still rampant throughout our beloved city. While the 2.5 mile march and ballooning the night before are cancelled, the show must go on. Similar to its reimagined pop up performances and fireworks show for this years 4th of July, enormous balloons will be placed randomly around the flagship store at 34st & Herald Square at different times. Specially rigged cars will carry the gigantic balloons along the way and classic NYC entrainment like the Radio City Rockettes and some of Broadways best will grace your TV screen. Tune in Thanksgiving day to see the celebrations of the Magic of Macy's.

2. Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park

1065 Sixth Avenue

Now through March 7th

Daily 8am - 11pm

Skate reservations are officially available at Manhattan's only admission free ice rink. Rentals are available if you don't have your own skates and all participants must reserve a date and time before hand to enjoy rink access. The entirely outdoor experience also features a Curling Café, Holiday Shops and rink-side bites known as the Lodge Deck.

West 45 Rockefeller Plaza

Dec. 2, 2020 on NBC

7pm - 9pm EST

The annual tree lighting solidifies the transition from Fall to Winter for many New Yorkers. This year a small town tree from Oneonta, NY is getting ready for its big holiday debut at the Rockefeller Center. Though there will be no public access to The 88th Tree Lighting Ceremony the event will be televised as a national broadcast via NBC. The 75-foot Norway spruce is already being decked out with well over 30,000 multi-colored LED lights and will be embellished with a glamorous Swarovski star on top. After the lighting you can visit the tree for FREE daily from 5am - 12am and the whole day on Christmas.

5th Ave between 49th & 50th St.

Nov. 22, 2020 - Jan. 17, 2021

9 am - 12 am

If you're looking to enjoy the holiday season a little sooner, the iconic ice rink at Rockefeller Center is scheduled to open November 21st at 2pm. Skating under the Christmas Tree is as quintessential as it gets for winter activities in NYC. Daily Admission will range from $10 - $50 and assures you a spot on the ice for a select date and time. VIP tickets start at $85 and include Après-Skate drinks and bites in the VIP Lounge.

2900 Southern Blvd, Bronx

Nov. 12, 2020 - Jan. 31, 2021

10 am - 5 pm

The holidays are truly a time of magic and the New York Botanical Garden promises to take us on a wondrous ride through their Holiday Train Show. The 29 year old tradition will take you on a journey through delightful displays of famous NYC landmarks via marvelous model trains. All aboard, reserve your tickets here!

6. Holiday Light Show at Empire State Building

December 19, 2020 - December 25, 2020

20 W 34th St & Virtual


The iconic Empire State Building is here to bring holiday cheer this year with help from a country superstar. The 2020 Holiday Light Show, brought to you in part by iHeartRadio, will feature Southern belle Carrie Underwood. Her first ever Christmas album was released this year and ESB will be showcasing her song "Hallelujah" ft. John Legend. If you can't catch the show in person, you can tune in to the live stream.

The Times Square Ball Drop released the statement “Times Square New Year’s Eve 2021 is happening visually, virtually, safely. Stay tuned.” More information on that to come Thanksgiving Day!

Regardless of where you are and what experiences you choose to embrace this holiday season, we hope you remain safe amidst this challenging time. Whether you'll be #HomefortheHolidays or #OutandAbout tag us in all your holiday cheer @popupgirlsnyc.


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