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Options for seeing NYC during the Holidays

San Francisco...
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Options for seeing NYC during the Holidays

Hello there and Happy Thanksgiving to the NYC regulars. Have been reading quite a few of the Top questions, and a few pages of the forum posts before posting.

We're a family of 4 including 2 teen boys visiting around Christmas. We've been there before when the kids were young and I don't think they remember much. I've been there many times but on work and one hardly gets time to see the sites. Our teens are into sporting activities, one of them will go to see the closed doors of Citi Field for obvious reasons -- wished they had holiday tours.

In any case we're there for 6 days staying at a mid-town hotel and will visit the usual touristy sights. Have booked Wicked and looking at Spiderman perhaps, our dinner restaurants are set and we are just waiting for some of the reservations to open 30 days in advance. That's the background Here is my dilema

we are city dwellers used to walking around, taking buses and streetcars but we consider 30 degrees to be freezing so we're wondering what the best way would be to visit the touristy places for an overview. Here in SF, we suggest people do a highlight tour and then check out the places they want to spend time in. We are getting the metro card so we will go around most of the days by bus or train. here are my questions

1) It may be cold by our standards 25 or 30 degrees will be cold so would you suggest using the HO/HO tours (we've read the reviews) or one of those half day guided tours to see Manhattan and Brooklyn ? If so which ones ones do the regulars see here often as the better ones ? I can see us freezing as we wait 30 mins for a HOHO and not looking forward that ?

2) We specifically chose Christmas day to visit the 911 Memorial and we're looking for a lunch spot relatively close by with a regular menu -- we'll would have pigged out with many pre-fixe dinners by then - we just won't be able to eat another one. i know my family ? Any suggestions around that area. We've checked out eater and opentable -- we saw bouley but it just has a pre-fix.

3) As it is not baseball season, where can we take our sons to see anything Mets related ?

4) Besides the great museums, central park, The Rock, SOL cruise given its closure, christmas lights, are there any other places, sites that regulars take their teens during the holidays ?

Thanks so much for all your help in advance.

Edited: 21 November 2012, 16:56
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1. Re: Options for seeing NYC during the Holidays

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2. Re: Options for seeing NYC during the Holidays

Great advice Patrick, but you need to stop promoting your services. It is against TA guidelines. Many of us are in the travel industry and we cannot push our wares here. We all do it because we love travel and helping others to see our destinations in he best light.

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3. Re: Options for seeing NYC during the Holidays

Two other possibilities for lunch on Christmas Day are Landmarc and Odeon. If you like Indian, Tamarind Tribeca is one of my favorites.

Is ice skating of interest to your teens? There are rinks at the south end of Central Park (Wollman), in Bryant Park, and at Rockefeller Center. (There is also one at the north end of Central Park - Lasker - which is much less crowded).

I believe the Mets Clubhouse Shop is still on 42nd Street between 5th & 6th Avenues, across from Bryant Park and the NYPL. Also, the SNY is on 6th Avenue at 51st Street, and the main studio is open to the plaza.

Have fun!

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4. Re: Options for seeing NYC during the Holidays

We'll go to one of the Ice skating venues for sure. Thanks for that. I am sure my son won't mind spend the whole day at the Mets Shop while we go shopping for other things. There are so many restaurants that we want to go to while there that I am sure we will OD on food before we leave.

What would you suggest about the bus tour in lieu of a HO-HO ?

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5. Re: Options for seeing NYC during the Holidays

I was in NYC during the holidays a couple years ago. It was so beautiful - and a ton of fun! I kept warm by wearing a wool hat (red since it was Christmas), a 3/4 length wool coat, gloves, scarf, boots, and wore clothing in layers. One thing you'll notice is that it's really cold outside, but when you go inside, the temperature is really high.

Depending on the weather, it may be too cold for a bus tour. Instead you might identify places & sights you'd like to visit, take the subway to the neighborhood, visit the sight(s) and walk around.

Whenever I'm in NYC, I make a point of stopping at Raffetto's. They make the best pasta and sauces(!). I love that everyone speaks Italian in there. I usually get a couple boxes of raviolis & sauce and bring it all home. http://raffettospasta.com/about.html

After getting something to eat around the 911 Memorial, if you're up for an excursion, walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and visit The Chocolate Room on Court Street. Such great things in there, like a really good spiced hot chocolate! The bridge is a little more than a mile. It's a really quick walk and you can take the subway back to your hotel afterwards. thechocolateroombrooklyn.com/cafes/…menus.php

Have a great trip!

Edited: 21 November 2012, 23:48
New York, NY
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6. Re: Options for seeing NYC during the Holidays

First, although you may not want to hear this, the temp can actually go well below 25 F. Unusual, but not impossible. Then again, you may get lucky and have weather in the 50s.

I can't really speak to the HOHO buses. But the worse the weather gets, the harder it will be to find a cab. Subway stations can also be frigid.

Basically, you're best bet is to come with warm layers, and appropriate footwear (especially if snow is on the ground). Then do what we do - walk, subway, etc. Standing still on a street corner waiting for a bus or cab will make it worse - keep moving to stay warm.

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7. Re: Options for seeing NYC during the Holidays

I would highly recommend one of the walking tours... there are many companies that provide it.... but we use Big Onion more than any other... This last visit we went on their Lower East Side Eating Tour.... you get some history while eating small portions of ethnic foods along the way... The Brooklyn Bridge walking tour (followed by pizza and ice cream under the bridge... pretty great combo) and their Harlem tour. I have also take a bike tour of Central Park and a Central Park Conservancy tour so there are LOTS of options.... There are Broadway tours, Lincoln Center tours... and of course, the Museum of Natural History has GREAT exhibits that teens love....

I posted photos and notes for my family while we were there

www.virginia2nyc.blogspot.com

It may give you some ideas....

San Francisco...
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8. Re: Options for seeing NYC during the Holidays

Hello Globe Great to see you here -- Thanks for the Raffetto's. advice. This will be our 3rd Christmas in NYC and the last time was when they were younger and easier to manage in some ways than teens if you know our drift. At least this time they won't mind hanging out in the hotel playing on playstation while we go boutique shopping.

NooYawkuh good advise on the layers -- we do that here to in June and in our Winter as well but it does not get frigid so we will need the extra parka and gloves.

Edited: 22 November 2012, 00:13
Fremantle
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9. Re: Options for seeing NYC during the Holidays

Thanks for the great tips on the walking tours we are in NYC for the Holiday Season to escape the hot summer in Australia. We plan on doing the walking tours as the reviews posted so far sound great.. this is our first trip to NYC but I am sure it won't be our last.

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10. Re: Options for seeing NYC during the Holidays

Important to know that during the winter, subway terminals are cold during the winter, but the cars are heated. Likewise in the summer: terminals are warm, but the cars are air-conditioned.