Packages Offered: November and December
Tour Length: 4 Days/3 Nights
There is nowhere else in the world like New York City at Christmas: the twinkling lights, the elaborate holiday window displays and the festive decorations. Gaze in awe as you witness Rockefeller Center, New York City’s most famous and popular destination for holiday decorations. Take a stroll up Fifth Avenue and admire the brilliance of the holiday window displays – true works of art! Take in a Broadway Show or watch Radio City Music Hall’s “Christmas Spectacular featuring the Rockettes!” From the sights on the streets to the pulse of the city, this trip is guaranteed to put you in the holiday spirit.
Arrive early afternoon in New York’s financial district where you will disembark the coach and enjoy a snack or late lunch on your own. A local, New York City guide will board the coach and lead you on a 3-hour New York City Highlights windshield tour. Some of the sights you will see are: Central Park and Strawberry Fields, Lincoln Center, The Dakota Apartments, Harlem, Trump Tower, The Flatiron Building, Brooklyn Bridge, Greenwich Village, SOHO, Tribeca, Chinatown, Little Italy, Battery Park, Wall Street and the World Trade Center site.
Late afternoon/early evening, check into your Midtown Manhattan hotel or New Jersey accommodations. There will be time to settle in, relax and refresh before dinner. ( If you are staying in Manhattan, the coach driver will depart for his accommodations in Secaucus, NJ and will be off duty for the remainder of the evening.)
An included welcome dinner will be served in a traditional New York or New Jersey Deli Return to the hotel after dinner.
After a hearty breakfast served in the hotel, head out for a day to capture all things holiday---Big Apple Style!
Your first stop is Herald Square, home of Macy’s Department Store. Meet a Macy’s guide and embark on a fascinating historic store tour. Learn about the magic of Macy’s and how Rowland Hussey Macy turned his 1858 dry goods shop into the iconic store it is today. Hear of how the parade was featured in Miracle on 34th Street and how Macy’s became a sponsor of the parade. After the tour there will be time to shop and redeem your Macy’s coupons.
Grand Central Terminal. The Holiday Fair is one of the finest, longest-running indoor holiday fairs in New York City. Shop at over 40 vendors for American-made and handmade products with locally sourced materials in one of the most beautiful architectural settings in the world. Have a leisurely lunch on your own at one of the many eateries located in Grand Central Terminal.
After lunch, meet your local NYC guide and embark on a deliciously sweet International Holiday Cookie Tour and Taste. Visit international bakeries and markets and sample cookies such as: Italian Ameratii, Swiss Cinnamon Stars, Swedish Krumb Cake, Chinese Double Almond Cookies and Hanukkah Torah Cannoli.
Gather for an included dinner, served at a retro 1950’s diner. Entertainment abounds as singing waitstaff deliver your meal. Make sure to notice the retro-themed memorabilia such as photos of many past “Miss Subways,” an indoor train, a 1956 Predicta television and a “drive-in theater” screen that showcases performances of the 1950’s.
After dinner there will be time to attend a Broadway Show. (Note: Tickets to a Broadway show are not included in the prices below. For budgetary purposes, plan on 60.00 to 80.00 per ticket. Notch Above Tours will gladly purchase tickets on the group’s behalf once a show has been selected.)
After breakfast served in the hotel, visit the St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Explore this Neo-Gothic Style Roman Catholic cathedral church that is a prominent landmark in New York City. The cathedral, which can accommodate 3,000 people, is built of brick clad in marble, quarried in Massachusetts and New York. It takes up a whole city block, between 50th and 51st streets, Madison Avenue and Fifth Avenue. The Pietà, sculpted by William Ordway Partridge, is three times larger than Michelangelo's Pietà. Commemorating his visit to the city in 1979, Pope John Paul II bust is located in the rear of the cathedral.
Next, explore the winter wonderland of Central Park, the most visited urban park in the United States. Over the past century and a half 29 sculptures have appeared in the park and where countless movies have been filmed. Shop for unique holiday gifts at the Columbus Circle Holiday Market located in the Park. The Columbus Holiday Market is internationally known as one of the most elegant and beautiful places for holiday shopping. Lose yourself in glittering aisles of art, jewelry, home goods and delicious eats from local artisans and designers.
Explore Rockefeller Center and witness the skaters gliding on the famous ice rink and stare in awe at the iconic Rockefeller Christmas tree. Shop for holiday gifts in the boutique shops and enjoy lunch on your own at one of the many eateries located in the plaza.
Next, take your seats at Radio City Music Hall for the matinee performance of the “Holiday Spectacular Show featuring the Rockettes.” Between the iconic dance numbers (“Parade of the Wooden Soldiers,” anyone?!) and ice skaters swirling across the stage to Santa spreading Christmas cheer, it’s the best of the season in one spectacular experience. As you can imagine, this annual tradition is full of rich history—after all, it’s been more than 85 years since the show’s inception.
After the show, embark on a culinary adventure with your NYC guide and chef. Visit local markets and select fresh ingredients that you’ll use to prepare your own dinner! Learn about the varieties of unique products and how they are incorporated into Italian cuisine. Join your chef in the kitchen, where you will be split into culinary teams. During the course of the evening, you’ll learn about the history of the dishes being created, of Italian people in NYC, as well as the basics of Italian cooking. When your work is through, sit down and reap the rewards of your culinary efforts and toast the evening with a glass of vino.
After dinner, join a local NYC guide for a holiday lights tour. Smell the aroma of chestnuts roasting in the street vendor carts as you stroll up Fifth Avenue and admire the elaborate holiday window displays. Watch the magnificent light show that lights up Saks Fifth Avenue and see houses decorated in an “over-the-top-fashion” that is so New York!
Following breakfast at the hotel, pack your bags and check out of your rooms. Your visits on your last day in New York will create memories to last a lifetime.
Board the coach and travel to the Financial District for a photo op at the iconic Charging Bull. This oversized sculpture is a symbol of aggressive financial optimism and prosperity. It draws thousands of people a day and is one of the most iconic images of New York. The photo makes for a great souvenir of your trip or the cover of next year’s Christmas card!
Next, visit Trinity Church, an active Episcopal Parish that has been an integral part of New York City’s history for more than 300 years. Witness the decorative bronze doors and some of the oldest stained glass in the United States. The steeple’s 12 change-ringing bells are the only set in the United States; they rotate a full 360 degrees, producing a shimmering, cascading sound in a complex combination of changing tonal patterns. They can be heard on Sundays and special occasions.
September 11, 2001 was a day that touched the hearts of the entire world. Visit the 9/11 Memorial, built to remember the loved ones that were lost on that day.
Walk a short distance to the Fireman’s Memorial Wall. This wall is dedicated to the 343 members of the NYC Fire Department, as well as volunteer firefighter Glenn J. Winuk, who died on that tragic day of September 11.
Scatter for lunch on your own at one of the local eateries around the Memorial.
After lunch, visit St. Paul’s Chapel, the 9/11 "Little Chapel That Stood." Built in 1766, it is the oldest surviving church building in Manhattan.
Your last stop is in the Bronx at the New York Botanical Garden. Here you will experience the magic of New York City in miniature! The annual Holiday Train Show has become a cherished seasonal tradition for families not just in New York, but also across the country. Enchanting model trains zip through a display of 150 city landmarks, each re-created with bark, leaves and other natural materials all under the twinkling glow of the Haupt Conservatory. Marvel at G-scale locomotives humming along among familiar sights such as the Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty and Rockefeller Center on nearly a half-mile of track. Called "one of New York City's best holiday gifts to itself,", by the New York Times, the Holiday Train Show is a winter wonderland full of twinkling lights and the sights and sounds of New York City at its best.
Depart the Botanical Gardens late afternoon and begin your travels home filled with the spirit of Christmas and visions of sugar plums dancing in your head!
Your Package Includes:
- 3 Nights accommodations (either NY or NJ-see rates below)
- 3 Breakfasts
- 3 Dinners
- 3-Hour New York City highlights tour led by a local NYC guide
- Macy’s Historic Tour
- Time to shop at the Grand Central Station Holiday Fair
- International Holiday Cookie Tour led by a local NYC guide
- Time to attend a Broadway Show (tickets not included-see notes)
- Visit to St. Patrick’s Cathedral
- Time to explore the Columbus Holiday Market in Central Park
- Time to explore Rockefeller Center
- Tickets to the matinee performance of Radio City Music Hall’s “Holiday Spectacular Show featuring the Rockettes”
- Shopping and hands-on cooking session with a local Italian Chef
- Holiday Lights tour led by a local NYC guide
- Photo op at the Charging Bull
- Visit to Trinity Church
- Visit to the 9/11 Memorial and Fireman’s Memorial Wall
- Visit to St. Paul’s Cathedral
- Admission to the New York Botanical Garden including the Holiday Train show
- Baggage handling for one piece of luggage per traveler
- Accommodations in Secaucus New Jersey, group meals and baggage service for the coach driver.
- Taxes and Gratuities (Note: Gratuities for local guides and coach driver are not included and are at your discretion based on service.)
- Call for custom pricing.