Living in New York City has its many ups (and some downs), but one of the best things about living in our fair city is getting visitors coming to you. From relatives to friends and loved ones, your couch has been undoubtedly surfed by those you hold near and dear. When these visitors are in town, it's nice to show them a good time without spending too much money. Here is a list of the top 5 free things to do with your New York City visitors during the holidays.
1. Central Park
With the fresh snow settling on the bare branches, Central Park has never looked so gorgeous. The Great Lawn is a blanket of white, with tracks from kids as they played in the flurries throughout the weekend. If you have guests coming to visit you in the near future, take them directly to the park. One reason is that it is free. Another reason is because the park is so huge, you can get lost and feel like you've just slipped through the wardrobe into Narnia. With park space all the way from 59th Street up to 110th Street, you can enter anywhere you want and get some much-needed peace and quiet. Why not strap on your walking shoes, grab your camera, and get out there?
2. Rockefeller Center tree and skating rink
Nothing says "happy holidays" in New York City quite like the giant Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center. She's decked out in her finest, with sparkling lights and a gorgeous Swarovski star on the top. It's free to gawk at the tree, as well as the bucolic skaters on the rink spread out before the tree. It gets cold, so remember to dress in layers and bring your patience, as Rock Center is always filled with tourists.
3. Admire the decorations around town
Everyone knows that Macy's has incredible holiday windows to look at, but did you know many other buildings are decorated as well? From office buildings on Fifth Avenue and 48th Street to gorgeous windows at smaller shops on Madison around 65th Street, the city has a lot of sparkling lights to look at. Check out this website for a comprehensive list of FREE views of holiday windows around town.
4. Walk the Brooklyn Bridge
There is nothing quite as beautiful as looking up as you walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and see the big suspension towers come into view. It's especially beautiful covered in snow, and is an iconic scene for any local or tourist. While you can't predict the weather, you can still enjoy a walk across the bridge sans the powdery white stuff. Remember that you can walk one direction and take the subway home, so pick which borough you'd like to start in. Remember to bring your most comfortable walking shoes, and of course don't forget the camera.
5. Times Square (/sigh)
We all know that Times Square is a plague that should be avoided at any cost, but when visitors are in town, they always seem to want to go there. Fear not, New Yorker, you can handle it! Just remember that there are always ways to make any situation fun, and take it with a grain of salt. I recommend walking around at night, when you can take in the insane lights (note: if you suffer from epilepsy, you should stay away from Times Square at all costs).