Last updated: 09:00 PM ET, Fri November 25 2016

6 Things To Do in NYC While Waiting For the Tree Lighting

Destination & Tourism Lisa Iannucci November 25, 2016

6 Things To Do in NYC While Waiting For the Tree Lighting

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

The annual Christmas tree lighting at New York City’s Rockefeller Center takes place on Nov. 30 at Rockefeller Plaza. The tree stays lit until Jan. 7, 2017. It’s an extremely popular attraction and if you are lucky enough to see the beautiful spectacle, you should also make the most of your trip to the Big Apple. Here are six other things you can do while you are there:

Ice skate: Winter in New York City isn’t complete without hitting the ice – hopefully not literally – at The Rink at Rockefeller Center. You can purchase from a variety of packages, such as afternoon tea and skating, starlight skating, skating and dinner, or breakfast with Santa and skating. If you are just there for general skating, you might have to wait to skate. Two other skating alternatives are Bryant Park’s 17,000-square-foot outdoor rink (bring your own skates) Rink at Winter Village, which is free and much easier on the wallet, and Trump Wollman, a public ice rink in the southern part of Central Park.

Bryant Park Shops: Bryant Park has an ice skating rink and 128 holiday shops, including kiosks and eateries so you will be certain to find that perfect gift.  You can also get some great food samples here too.

READ MORE: A Guide to the Perfect Day in New York City's Central Park

Broadway: Don’t expect that you’ll go straight to the box office and get a Christmas miracle by scoring tickets to Hamilton, the hottest show on Broadway. Yes, it can happen, but there are so many other Broadway and off-Broadway shows that you can also enjoy too. Of course there’s the iconic holiday Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes as well as Kinky Boots, and the family-friendly Wicked, Lion King and Aladdin.  Check out TKTS and see if you can score a discount on your tickets.

Window shops: You don’t have to holiday shop to look at these windows at Barney’s and Macy’s. The storefronts are a sight to behold and worth the visit to the Big Apple just to admire the incredible displays.

Buy a book: Whether you want a stocking stuffer or a gift for a loved one, head down to book lover’s favorite place to go — The Strand on 12th Street. It’s the sole survivor of what was once called Book Row. Today, this independent bookstore carries over 2.5 million used, new, and rare books, covering topics as far-ranging as occult to philosophy to finance. The store also offers an ever-changing array of literary gifts that make great holiday gifts. You can find Moleskines and coffee mugs, and everything in-between.

A mug of cocoa: When it’s time to take a break from all your holiday shopping and browsing, Max Brenner is the place to be. It’s not just chocolate, it’s an entire chocolate experience. They have chocolate products, a full menu of food and of course, an entire menu of desserts.  Make sure to order the hot chocolate Hug Mug. Max Brenner operates more than 50 locations in six countries worldwide.