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New York City pulled out all the stops to keep the holiday spirit alive during this difficult year.

By Stacey Leasca and Kelly Marshall
December 11, 2020
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Visitors enjoying Rockefeller Center.
Visitors enjoying Rockefeller Center's Christmas Tree.
| Credit: Kelly Marshall

We won’t lie. We are feeling the weight of this holiday season too. But, while the world seems to be spinning on a different axis right now, one thing is clear: New York City is still New York City. And it’s still one of the best destinations in the world to feel the holiday spirit.

 From the city’s famed holiday window displays to its outdoor markets, and of course, being home to the most famous Christmas tree on earth in Rockefeller Plaza, there is just something about New York City during the holidays that makes it shine a bit brighter. And this year is no different. You can still bundle up before hitting the streets, grab a hot cacao before dropping your spare change in a Salvation Army bucket, or take to a rooftop ice skating rink. Sure, all this means donning a mask, social distancing, and following other rules and regulations, but that’s okay. Because this is New York. And we’ll get through it all together. Need proof? Just keep scrolling to see how New York City is still showing up and showing out this holiday season to ensure yours is merry and bright no matter what. (And if you can’t get here in person, you can always visit from afar.)

New York’s most loveable public sculptures, Patience & Fortitude remind visitors to 5th Avenue to stay vigilant with mask wearing this holiday season.
New York’s most loveable public sculptures, Patience & Fortitude remind visitors to 5th Avenue to stay vigilant with mask wearing this holiday season.
| Credit: Kelly Marshall

The New York Public Libary’s famed lions are ready for the holiday season, sporting not only their own masks, but seasonally appropriate wreaths too.

Bryant Park Dining and Eataly Flatiron
Left: Families and friends alike enjoy taking a break from skiing and shopping by reserving a winter pod available for reservation at the Bryant Park Winter Villiage. Right: Tastes of fried maitaki mushrooms, aranicini, vin brulée and negronis provide visitors to Eataly’s roof top restaurant Serra Stellata cozy European holiday vibes.
| Credit: Kelly Marshall
The holiday windows of Saks Fifth Avenue
The holiday windows of Saks Fifth Avenue offer festive, hopeful and thoughtful vibes for New Yorkers this year.
| Credit: Kelly Marshall

It wouldn’t be the holidays if Saks went dark. City dwellers can still check out the twinkling lights outside the store all season long.

Bryant Park Winter Village
Left: Aminita, a vendor of Turkish towels, scarves and linens stays warm at The Bryant Park Winter Village. Shop info: @beachhousetowels. Right: The Bryant Park Winter Village provides visitors with socially distanced and open air shopping venues.
| Credit: Kelly Marshall
Visitors enjoying Rockefeller Center.
Visitors enjoying Rockefeller Center's Christmas Tree.
| Credit: Kelly Marshall

This is it. The pièce de résistance of the holiday season. The Rockefeller Christmas Tree. It’s still okay to come to get a selfie with it (even if you’ve lived here forever. It’s OK, we won’t tell anyone).

Holiday entertainment at Union Square Green Market
Left: Hannah Kidwell belts out jazzy holiday standards at the Union Square Green Market. Right: Holiday schedule of events at Union Square Green Market.
| Credit: Kelly Marshall

Come on, this is New York. Just because theaters and entertainment venues are closed doesn’t mean you need to forgo arts and culture. Just step outside and odds are you’ll run into a performer like this.

Skaters enjoying the lighter crowds at Bryant Park Winter Villiage this year.
Masked skaters enjoying the lighter crowds at Bryant Park Winter Villiage this year.
| Credit: Kelly Marshall
Rockefeller Tree and Salvation Army Bell Ringer
Leftt: Timed entry and reservations allow skaters a more relaxed experience to enjoy the Rockefeller Christmas tree and the masked gold Prometheus statue. Right:The Salvation Army took fundraising to the next level this year by providing boom boxes and dancing volunteers to many iconic locations such as Macy’s department store. Even the most cynical New Yorkers can’t walk away without a smile.
| Credit: Kelly Marshall

This year may be the perfect time to finally get out and skate at Rockefeller Center. Without the crowds, you could finally work on your tricks or at least experience this New York City holiday stalwart without the tourists. And be on the lookout for Salvation Army volunteers working their absolute magic on the streets of New York for cause that raises millions a year for those in need.

New York’s stores are still going all out when it comes to epic window displays like this. Put on your parka and go for a walk to get fresh air and get a tourist-free view of the windows all to yourself.

Visitors take selfies and family portraits at the Pulitzer Fountain at the corner of Central Park as one street performer provides a backdrop of haunting holiday tunes.
Visitors take selfies and family portraits at the Pulitzer Fountain at the corner of Central Park as one street performer provides a backdrop of haunting holiday tunes.
| Credit: Kelly Marshall
Brooklyn's Vale Hotel Ice Rink on the roof
Stunning city views make the rink at the William Vale roof top a most unique holiday experience.
| Credit: Kelly Marshall
Bryant Park Holiday Market
Christmas In New York and other socially distanced vendors hope for a busy but safe shopping season at Bryant Park Winter Village.
| Credit: Kelly Marshall
Grand Central Station
Most visitors are headed to the Apple store at Grand Central Station versus a train commute as out of towners steadily opt to stay home or shop local this holiday.
| Credit: Kelly Marshall

Grand Central is showing her holiday spirit with a few tasteful decorations, though really, nothing can take away from her already epic architectural beauty.

Bryant Park Grill outdoor dining tent
Guests enjoy the elevated and socially distanced holiday dining at Bryant Park Grill.
| Credit: Kelly Marshall
Shopper selecting a wreath from Mountain Sweet Berry Farm’s beuatiful selection of holiday adornments.
Shopper selecting a wreath from Mountain Sweet Berry Farm’s beuatiful selection of holiday adornments.
| Credit: Kelly Marshall

Yes, you can still get outside and shop this year at many of the city’s outdoor markets, like this one at Mountain Sweet Berry Farm’s at Union Square Greenmarket.