1. The Parade
Of course, Number one is the Thanksgiving Day Parade if you have not been. The route is mapped out below, and it starts at 9am.
2. Balloon Inflation
But how about the balloon inflation the night before? Not a secret so it is pretty crowded! Don't expect an easy time. It is the night before the parade, November 27th from 3 to 10 pm. It starts at West 79th Street and Columbus Avenue, and winds around the American Museum of Natural History.
3. Rockefeller Tree Lighting Ceremony
Another very crowded event, the Rockefeller Tree Lighting will be on December 4th this year. The time is from 7 to 9 this year, but the last time I went (in 2005) we got there at 4 or 4:30 and it was already getting crowded. We stood around for a long time with not much to look at, so make sure to try and get a good spot, keeping in mind everyone else will be doing the same.
I highly recommend watching both the parade and the tree lighting on TV, but I live here, so it is way different for me. Some of you may have this stuff on your bucket list, so go for it! Bring plenty of warm clothes, and maybe even a folding camping chair for the wait. My then 5 year old fell asleep at one point.
4. The Windows
These are just some of the holiday windows to see, there are many in between, and also a few other displays, like this one on 6th Avenue between 49th and 50th Streets...just watch the crowds, it can get packed.
5. Holiday Shops at Bryant Park and Union Square
November 1, 2013 - January 5, 2014
Featuring more than 125 boutique-style shops in the park's tree-lined allées, the Holiday Shops complete the park's transformation into a winter wonderland.
From distinctive apparel to jewelry, decorative goods, local foods, and much more, the Holiday Shops are the perfect place to find gifts for all – adults, kids, and even pets.
If you visit the website there is more than just the shops...there ia also an Ice Skating Rink there. Here is a map of the whole park.
From their website:
The Union Square Holiday Market is a New York institution, and attracts more than one million visitors from the United States and abroad each year. It's a wonderful place to spend time with family and friends, connect with local artisans and be swept up in NYC's holiday merriment. The market is located in Union Square Park, bordered by Park Avenue South, Broadway and 14th Street.
The 2013 season of the Union Square Holiday Market will be open from November 21st - December 24th. Hours of operation are Weekdays 11am to 8pm, Saturday 10am to 8pm and Sunday 11am to 7pm. The market is closed on Thanksgiving Day.