As a former Yankee Girl (New Yorker), there may be an obvious bias here, but few things come close to Christmas in NYC. Look beyond the crowded sidewalks to the avenues lined in white lights, the store windows dressed in holiday flair. We all know the cherished traditions: the Rockefeller Tree and the Rockettes, ice skating in Central Park, The Nutcracker at Lincoln Center. But what if you want to make a new tradition? Consider these seven spirited outings, the kind even a Grinch couldn’t turn down.

Winter Village in Bryant Park

Alright, this may sound a bit mischievous, but one of my co-workers loves getting a Vin Chaud at the Bryant Park winter market, and with hot drink in hand, watches the ice skaters fall down. Don’t get us wrong—you can skate, too! It just gets a little crowded and slushy. But this is free entertainment, both to skate and to people watch. Not what you have in mind? It’s a good thing there are plenty of holiday vendors stationed nearby who can help you with your gift list.

Metropolitan Museum of Art Christmas Tree and Neapolitan Baroque Crèche

You’re going to see a lot of Christmas trees around the city, from the Rockefeller beauty to the trees inside your hotel, and the rows of Fraser firs on the sidewalk, waiting for their rightful owner. But the tree at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is particularly special. It comes dressed with angels and is complemented by the Neapolitan Nativity scene at its base. And viewing this tree comes with an added bonus: all those exhibits just a few moments away. The Fragonard exhibit and “Jerusalem: 1000-1400” are on display through January 8, 2017. Don’t miss them, either.

The Hip Hop Nutcracker

This is what happens when you take Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker score, subtract some ballet, spice it up with hip-hop, and add the New York sarcasm that can only be derived from a show with a stellar cast. And if the MC Kurtis Blow doesn’t make you think you’ve entered an 80s party in New York City, then DJ Boo at the turntables might do the trick. Yes, there are plenty of Nutcracker spin-offs you could watch this month, but you don’t want to miss this one at the United Palace in Washington Heights. The dance moves are head-spinning and the energy is infectious.

230 Fifth Rooftop Igloo

It gets cold during a New York City winter, so the last thing you want to do is stand on a 230 Rooftop outdoorbar terrace freezing your soul away while sipping on a spiked hot chocolate. Luckily, this popular summer hangout has figured out a clever way to get visitors to its rooftop (in addition to the prime views of the Empire State Building). The answer: igloos. These temporary bubble domes are the perfect place to enjoy a cocktail without getting your hands cold.

5th Avenue Holiday Window Displays

You’re going to walk a lot while you’re in New York City, and the crowds may move sluggishly. But you don’t want to rush by the best holiday window displays in the world, do you? Head down Central Park on the east side and walk south on 5th Avenue to see Tiffany’s, Bloomingdale’s, and Saks all done up, and veer over to Herald Square for the always charming Macy’s windows.

Final Christmas Spectacular.

We’re celebrating the 90th Anniversary of NYRangers hockey, and we hope you’ll join in on the fun! … A special dedicated game in the Spririt of Christmas. New York Rangers vs. Minnesota Wild DEC. 23 Fri 7 PM EST · The Garden · New York, NY, United States… GOO Rangers!!! BUY tickets GO Buy Tickets to Game


Also published on Medium.