Midtown East

14 Things to Do and See at Rockefeller Center Besides the Tree

Rockefeller Center is undoubtedly the most crowded place in New York City during the holidays. Everyone, whether they live in town or are just visiting, goes to see "The Tree." But then what?

There is actually quite a bit for families to do besides gazing at the twinkling evergreen and battling tourists in this 22-acre complex. Rockefeller Center is a great holiday destination with plenty of shopping, eating, and culture for kids of all ages. Squeeze it in as part of a holiday windows walk; check it out while you wait for the Rockettes to start kicking; or grab a bite after your show—we've got great suggestions for no-reservation, family-friendly restaurants nearby.

Read on for 14 fun things to do at Rockefeller Center this winter.

Best Restaurants Near Rockefeller Center for Families

Some of those who visit regularly or work near Rockefeller Center admit they find the dining choices less than exciting. But whether you're there over the holidays to see the famed Rockefeller tree, ice skate, check out the holiday windows, or to enjoy one of the other fun experiences in this action-packed complex, you'll need to eat eventually, and there are some good restaurant options if you know where to look.

Here are our top picks for kid-friendly eateries near Rockefeller Center, and for more family-friendly restaurant options in NYC, check out our Restaurant Guide.

NYC Holiday Store Windows Sparkle in 2017

You don't have to go far in NYC to see gorgeous holiday lights and festive Christmas displays. Right here in Midtown Manhattan, the big department stores, such as Macy's and Saks Fifth Avenue, light up the streets with gorgeous gratis holiday window displays. They're playful, colorful, whimisical, and even interactive in some cases.

Take a family stroll down Fifth Avenue to see the 2017 windows—it's one of our favorite FREE holiday activities in the city! But first get a sneak peek of this year's fun with our video and photos of the the top displays.

Be sure to visit our Holiday Fun Guide to find other activities and things to do along the route and throughout the season, including Santa picturestree lightings, and train shows.

Ho, Ho, Smile! Best Places to Take Pictures with Santa in NYC

Santa Claus is coming to town, and he’s not camera shy. New York City parents have a host of options for posing with Santa, from the popular Santaland at Macy's to more casual events, where you can take your own festive photos of the kids and Jolly Old St. Nick.

We’ve rounded up nearly dozen of our favorites from across the five boroughs, including options for those who want to splurge, bring their pets, or just get it over with, as well as those with special needs. With so many alternatives, chances are, wherever you are, your kids won’t be far from Santa.

Find more seasonal fun, including a Santa brunch or tea, in our NYC Holiday Guide.

Holiday Train Shows in NYC for Kids: Botanical Garden and More

Trains are a way of life for most New Yorkers, but there's something particularly special about the little engines and cabooses that take center stage during the holiday season. The New York Botanical Garden's Holiday Train show is one of New York City's top seasonal attractions for families, with electric model trains whizzing by more than 150 NYC landmarks made out of acorns, twigs, bark, berries, and leaves. My family and I make it a point to go every year—it's truly a quintessential New York holiday experience. There's a reason it's on our list of the top 100 things to do with kids in NYC.

But the big NYBG display isn't the only train-centric show in town. Read on for more details on this annual spectacle, as well as a roundup of the other train shows the city has to offer this holiday season. And for an extra special holiday treat, take the kids on a full-size train ride with these nearby Polar Express and Santa locomotives.

Best High Tea Spots in NYC to Enjoy a Cup with Kids

Whether you're celebrating a special occasion or just looking for a memorable experience, afternoon tea—sometimes called high tea in New York City—can be a fun outing with kids. It's an especially great winter outing and particularly fitting during the holidays.

Several places serve high tea in New York City, with varying degrees of appropriateness for children. From the fancy Eloise Tea at the Plaza Hotel to the less frilly Russian Tea Room, there are teas—and the goodies that come along with them—for children of all ages and parents of all budgets. Here's our take on some of the best spots for an afternoon outing in NYC.

Not Just Trains: Best Things to Do with Kids at Grand Central

The typical New Yorker probably passes through Grand Central Terminal now and again, heading off on a family getaway, but there's plenty of fun inside the cavernous space to make the commuter hot spot the destination in itself.

Grand Central Terminal has tons to offer from dining to shopping and even seasonal toy train displays. Next time you are shuttling through the corridors, allow a little extra time to see for yourself what Grand Central has to offer you and your kids. Read on for our favorite ways to pass the time at this NYC institution.

An FAO Schwarz Holiday Pop-Up Shop Opens in Bergdorf

The holidays are a delicate balance of memory-making experiences for the family (ice skating and hot chocolate, The NYBG Train Show, checking out massive holiday lights displays, and hitting up Santaland), but also playing Santa himself and hunting/gathering gifts and spreading holiday cheer without going nuts. I might have found the nexus of these two things when I visited the new FAO Schwatz pop-up shop within Midtown Manhattan's Bergdorf Goodman.

Read on to get all the details and to decide whether to add a trip with (or without!) the kids to your to-do list over the next two months.

Paw Patrol and Olaf Among Macy's New Thanksgiving Parade Balloons

The countdown to Thanksgiving is in full swing and that means the NYC Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is looming large on the streets of Midtown Manhattan. We've got insider tips for where to watch the parade and how to manage the crowds at the balloon inflation, but now we're sharing a sneak peek at the four new additions set to join the 91st annual parade on Thursday, November 23, for the very first time.

Read on to meet the cast of (new) characters.

Find a Baby CPR Class for Parents and Caregivers in NYC

As a parent, you hope you’ll never need to use CPR or first aid. But the scary truth is that if your baby chokes, or suffers a trauma like drowning or an electrical shock that knocks him unconscious, you'll want to know what to do, rather than rely on the availability of a knowledgeable stranger while you wait for the ambulance. 

Have we freaked you out yet? The good news is NYC boasts plenty of infant CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and first-aid classes and refreshers for parents and caregivers, such as grandparents and nannies, where life-saving skills are taught and practiced until you feel as prepared as possible. So read on for our top picks on CPR and first-aid classes in the city.

Also check out our list of babyproofing companies around the metro area, as well as our Baby & Pregnancy Guide for more essential NYC parenting tips.

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