loading spinner
New York

New York for Christmas: A Festive Celebration

Program No. 20446RJ
There’s nothing quite like New York City for Christmas, from the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall to the festive decorations of Rockefeller Plaza, come find your holiday spirit.
Length
5 days
Rating (4.75)
Activity Level
Starts at
1,699

Your well-being is our #1 priority

To make your experience as safe as possible, we require all participants to be fully vaccinated. See our Safety Roadmap

Enroll with Confidence

We want your Road Scholar learning adventure to be something to look forward to—not worry about. Learn more

Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
climate
Plan ahead.
What kind of weather can you expect? Take a look!
Select your type of room
Price will update based on selection
Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Dec 5 - Dec 9, 2022
Starting at
1,699
Nov 27 - Dec 1, 2023
Starting at
1,749
Dec 4 - Dec 8, 2023
Starting at
1,749
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Dec 5 - Dec 9, 2022
Starting at
2,309
Nov 27 - Dec 1, 2023
Starting at
2,359
Dec 4 - Dec 8, 2023
Starting at
2,359

At a Glance

Christmas in New York! It's a magical time, from elaborate department store window displays to the skating rink and Christmas tree at Rockefeller Plaza, from the iconic Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall to an 18th-century nativity at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and bustling Times Square specially lit up for the splendor of the season.
Activity Level
Let's Go!
Walking 2-3 miles per day with lots of stairs. All transfers throughout the program are by public transportation.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Take your seat for the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, featuring the world-famous Rockettes.
  • Walk through glittering Midtown, the hustle and bustle of Times Square and festive Rockefeller Center.
  • Visit the the Cathedral of St. John the Divine and the famous Christmas tree at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Karl Baudendistel
A New York City resident for more than 25 years, Karl Baudendistel loves sharing his knowledge of the city with visitors from around the world. Having spent 20 years overseeing ‘the business of show business’ for numerous Broadway and touring productions, chances are he’s been to a city near you. Karl is a member of The Association of Theatrical Press Agents and Managers, is a trained sommelier and was educated at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Karl Baudendistel
Karl Baudendistel View biography
A New York City resident for more than 25 years, Karl Baudendistel loves sharing his knowledge of the city with visitors from around the world. Having spent 20 years overseeing ‘the business of show business’ for numerous Broadway and touring productions, chances are he’s been to a city near you. Karl is a member of The Association of Theatrical Press Agents and Managers, is a trained sommelier and was educated at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Time & Again
by Jack Finney
Great Fortune: The Epic of Rockefeller Center
by Daniel Okrent
722 Miles: The Building of the Subways and How They Transformed New York
by Clifton Hood
A New York Christmas
by Sibyl McCormac Groff
The Island at the Center of the World
by Russell Shorto
Print All
Map details are not available for this location.
View Map
Expand All
5 days
4 nights
9 meals
4 B 2 L 3 D
DAY
1
Check-In, Registration/Orientation, Welcome Dinner
New York, NY
D
New Yorker Hotel

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration: 4:00-4:30 p.m. After you have your room assignment, take your bags to your room. At 4:00 p.m., come to the designated hotel meeting room (location will be posted) to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing the up-to-date schedule that reflects any changes, other important information. If you arrive after this evening's programming, please ask for your envelope when you check in. 4:30 p.m.: Orientation. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions.We will review COVID-19 protocols and will adhere to local COVID-19 guidelines and requirements throughout the program. Dinners are early in order to have plenty of time available for engaging in evening activities as a group and individually. We will be walking a lot and using the New York City subway system that involves going up and down flights of stairs, long corridors, and often crowded conditions. It’s what New Yorkers do every day! Periods in the daily schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: 6:00 p.m.: In the Tick Tock Diner just off the hotel lobby, we’ll have our first meal together and order from a select menu. This 24-hour diner features American cooking and “comfort food.” Dinner in the diner is included even if you arrive late.

Evening: Following dinner we will walk over to the Empire State Building and pass by the Christmas display windows at Macy’s. From the 86th floor observation deck, we’ll have a bird’s eye view of the Manhattan street grid and all five boroughs with New Jersey in the distance (weather permitting). It’s a great way to orient yourself to New York’s geography and get your first “big picture” look at the city. The Empire State Building is just three blocks away. Our Group Leader will escort you there and you may return on your own when you please, perhaps stopping to get a closer look at the Macy's Windows.

DAY
2
NYC Christmas History, Met Museum, “A Christmas Carol”
New York, NY
B,L,D
New Yorker Hotel

Activity note: Use of New York City subway; extensive stairs. Walking up to 5 miles; city streets.

Breakfast: In the Tick Tock Diner.

Morning: We’ll be joined by a local historian who will give us an illustrated lecture on the history of Christmas and holiday celebrations in New York City. You may be surprised to learn how many traditions originated here in NYC. Afterward, we’ll take the subway up the west side of Manhattan and stroll through Central Park to the Metropolitan Museum of Art where we'll see the beloved Christmas Tree and Neapolitan baroque crèche. This display is an annual NYC tradition and is a work of art in itself. The majestic tree is adorned with beautifully crafted antique angels and cherubs keeping watch over the Nativity, shepherds, the Magi, crowds of townspeople and peasants, scores of animals, and more.

Lunch: At the museum.

Afternoon: We'll continue to explore the museum on our own. The Met's collection is vast; one afternoon will only begin to scratch the surface. We suggest identifying one or two exhibits you'd particularly enjoy and explore them in some depth.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we’ll have a plated meal with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Performance. We’ll take the subway to the charming neighborhood of Greenwich Village and attend a performance of “A Christmas Carol” at the Merchant’s House Museum. Charles Dickens himself was in New York during December 1867 for performances of his beloved holiday classic. Amid authentic 19th-century period furnishings and holiday decorations, we’ll celebrate the season with a captivating performance created from Dickens’ own script.

DAY
3
Cathedral of St. John; The NY Public Library; Bryant Park
New York, NY
B,L
New Yorker Hotel

Activity note: Use of New York City subway; extensive stairs. Walking up to 5 miles; city streets; walking at museum.

Breakfast: In the Tick Tock Diner.

Morning: We’ll take the subway to the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine. It vies with Liverpool’s Anglican cathedral for the title of the largest Anglican cathedral and fourth-largest Christian church in the world. The cornerstone was laid in 1892... and it's not even finished! In addition to its purpose as a house of worship, St. John is an arts, cultural, and civic center and a renowned “feat of human engineering.” One of the Cathedral's educators will help us understand the history, features, and symbolism of this unique architectural treasure.

Lunch: In a local restaurant.

Afternoon: We'll head back downtown to explore the phenomenal 'Treasures' exhibit at The New York Public Library's main building on 5th Avenue. Featuring items owned by the library, this exhibit includes such diverse items as a Gutenberg Bible, the original Winnie The Pooh, the grid plan for the city of New York and Virginia Woolf's walking stick, among others.The landmarked library building itself is usually beautifully decorated for the holidays; most famously, the majestic lions Patience & Fortitude proudly sport large green wreaths. Right behind the library is Bryant Park featuring one of NYC's best holiday markets. We leave you to explore this on your own as the remainder of the afternoon is yours to use as you like.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Radio City Christmas Spectacular; 5th Ave Holiday Windows
New York, NY
B,D
New Yorker Hotel

Activity note: Use of New York City subway; extensive stairs. Walking up to 3 miles; city streets.

Breakfast: In the Tick Tock Diner.

Morning: Before we head out this morning, we’ll have a presentation by an architectural historian on the history of Rockefeller Center. John D. Rockefeller, Jr.’s “city within a city” went up during the worst days of the Great Depression, providing jobs for more than 40,000 people. Ever since, it has been an iconic site representing what is most distinctive about New York. The numerous artistic symbols signify the spirit and aspirations of human development. Next, we’ll go on a walking field trip to see and learn more with a local expert.

Lunch: On your own. You might like to grab a seat near the skating rink or eat in any of the many local eateries.

Afternoon: Performance. We don’t have far to go! Radio City Music Hall is part of Rockefeller Center, so we’ll stroll over there and attend the Radio City Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes. Originating in St. Louis in 1925, the Rockettes have been performing in Radio City Music Hall since 1933 and have become part of the fabric of New York City’s entertainment tapestry. This amazing stage show showcases the legendary, high-kicking Rockettes with their precision dancing, more than 100 performers, lively music, vibrant holiday scenes, original choreography, multiple costume changes, cutting edge lighting technology, and even Santa Clause himself! After the performance, we’ll have some “down time” before dinner — an opportunity to check off those last few items on your NYC to-do list.

Dinner: One of New York's unique holiday traditions is having Chinese food on Christmas Day. We'll move up the day and enjoy our Chinese family-style feast at a restaurant near the hotel. Tea and water are included, other beverages available for purchase

Evening: Nothing says New York at Christmas more than Fifth Avenue. We'll spend our last night together strolling the famous thoroughfare. Department store window displays, a marvelous animated video show projected onto a building, and festive lights including an enormous Baccarat crystal snowflake — also known as the UNICEF Snowflake — will be a feast for the senses. Returning to the hotel, prepare for check-out and departure following our final session in the morning.

DAY
5
Wrap-up Session, Program Concludes
New York, NY
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out 12:00 Noon.

Breakfast: In the meeting room.

Morning: We’ll wrap up our festive celebration with an expert led discussion of how writers have interpreted New York at Christmas. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for all your journeys in the new year!






Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.