How To Plan Your Perfect New York Holidays

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Harlem SpiritualsPhoto by Anthony Quintano

New York City’s unique holiday atmosphere, infinite lights and décor, and incomparable offer of exciting shows and seasonal activities make it the ideal holiday destination. Despite all the joy and wonder that Christmas in NYC exudes, your trip deserves proper planning… especially if you’ll be visiting the Big Apple for the first time! Here are some tips to help you plan your perfect holidays in New York:

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Here’s why you need to be in New York for Thanksgiving!

Every November, the US celebrates Thanksgiving Day, a national holiday when families come together to spend time, share food and enjoy parades. Celebrating Thanksgiving in New York City is a favorite occasion for many locals but it’s also a wonderful opportunity for tourists to learn more about American culture. It is actually one of the big six holidays of the year! What will you do that day? Here are some tips and activities suggestions for you to make the best of it! First, let’s start with some History.

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When is Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving falls on the last Thursday of November, this year: Thursday, November 23rd.

What you need to know about the celebration, in short

Most government offices, businesses and schools close on Thanksgiving Day with many closing on the Friday after, too, giving their employees a four days weekend.

The traditional Thanksgiving meal revolves around turkey, stuffing and vegetables. You’ll also hear Americans talking about eating yams. Yams are a starchy root vegetable widely grown in the Caribbean.

Traditionally, the meal is rounded off with pumpkin pie, delicious. You should try even if you are not planning to do the whole Thanksgiving dinner.

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What’s the history behind Thanksgiving?

It originated as a harvest festival. Thanksgiving has been celebrated nationally on and off since 1789, after Congress requested a proclamation by George Washington.

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It has been celebrated as a federal holiday every year since 1864, when, during the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of “Thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens,” to be celebrated on the last Thursday in November. Together with Christmas and New Years; Thanksgiving is a part of the broader holiday season.

What goes on Thanksgiving day in New York?

Since 1924, the Macy’s Parade… lasts for three long hours. With more than 3.5 million spectators and 10,000 participants, it is one of the largest parades in New York.

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At the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, you can expect dazzling musical performances, cool floats, costumes and awe-inspiring helium balloons in the shape of cartoon characters including Mickey Mouse, Pokemon, Felix the Cat and many more. Bring your camera because kids go crazy and it’s free.

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Another long held Thanksgiving tradition is watching American football. NFL, college, high school and amateur teams have played over the Thanksgiving weekend practically since the game’s invention, and it’s one of the biggest days in the football calendar.

Looking for something less crowded?

Thanksgiving falls in the middle of Autumn, it is to me the best time to enjoy the outdoors in New York City, trees are turning red and yellow, there’s a little wind in the air, a perfect time to wrap you up in a long scarf to explore the city. Our team of experts is here to help you to make the best of your trip:

– Williamsburg & Bushwick Private Walking Tour-

The tour (one to 6 people) starts at your hotel where your guide will pick you up for 4 hours of fun and amazement. You will take the subway and head to Brooklyn.

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Start with a visit through Williamsburg. Its once gritty industrial landscape has since transformed into a flourishing and vibrant artistic community. View cutting-edge graffiti murals from some of NYC’s most emerging artists.

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Take the opportunity to shop at some of Brooklyn’s trendiest stores. Then delve into the dynamic neighborhood of Bushwick through an exploration of its street art, part of the contemporary American culture.

If you want to book it, CLICK HERE!

-Soul Food and Jazz Tour-

See the site of the original Cotton Club, where Duke Ellington and Lena Horne spent hours wowing crowds from around the world. Drive past the site of the Savoy Ballroom where Benny Goodman and Chick Webb fought it out during their “Battle of the Bands,” and where the Charleston, “Lindy Hop” and the “Big Apple” dances were firmly cemented into American culture.

Visit the world-famous Apollo Theater, where Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald won the popular “Amateur Night.” Pass by Minton’s Playhouse, where bebop was born and where Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, and Thelonious Monk started the tradition of musical jam sessions.

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Discover one of Harlem’s hottest clubs, where jam sessions and musical collaborations go on into the wee hours of the morning. Dinner is at Sylvia’s legendary restaurant – “The Queen of Soul Food” (Family style dining).

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On Mondays, swing dance the night away to the beat of a terrific, twelve-piece band. Free dance lesson included! We pick up the tab for your first two drinks at the Jazz club.

On Thursdays, experience the essence of Harlem and enjoy the convivial atmosphere as you mingle freely with the locals, while enjoying the sounds of a jazz or rythm & blues band. We also pick up the tab for your first two drinks at the Jazz club.

What is “Soul Food?”

Soul Food is the traditional African American cuisine that originated in the South of the United States. It consists of spicy ribs, collard greens, freshly cooked corn bread, black eye peas, and not to mention the best crispy fried chicken!

To book this activity, CLICK HERE!

If you have any question, feel free to send me a message!

Salvatore

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October is the best excuse to drink beer in New York!

You never really need an excuse to drink more beer, but this year’s NYC Oktoberfest is giving you some anyway! Enjoy it!

Credits: pixabay
Credits: pixabay

Oktoberfest is the world’s largest Volksfest (beer festival and travelling funfair). Held annually in Munich, Bavaria, Germany, it is a 16- to 18-day folk festival running from mid or late September to the first weekend in October, with more than 6 million people from around the world attending the event every year. The celebration is one of the best NYC events in September, featuring some of the best beers in NYC as well as traditional favorites and delicious food.

Take in the beautiful fall foliage while guzzling brews at some of the best beer gardens and beer halls in New York, not to mention more celebrations with our fantastic « Beer Cruises ! »

Why is Oktoberfest in September?

Credits: pexels.com
Credits: pexels.com

The first Oktoberfest was held on October 12–17 in 1810 to honor the Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig’s marriage to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. Supposedly, the celebration date was changed to the third week in September in the U.S. due to cold-weather concerns.

Where is Oktoberfest?

Credits: pexels.com
Credits: pexels.com

Oktoberfest celebrations take place in all five boroughs in New York at various public spaces and beer gardens. The largest events include Oktoberfest in Central Park (Sept 16), Munich on the East River (Sept 29–Oct 8) and Watermark’s Oktoberfest (Sept 15–17, Sept 22–24, Sept 29–Oct 2).

What activities should I do ?

Drink and eat at bars but not only ! There are so many different options especially with the beautiful weather. What I would suggest you is to go on a cruise !

Credits: pexels.com
Credits: pexels.com

How about enjoying a leisurely cruise as you explore the beautiful fall foliage and the historic splendor along the Hudson River. Harlem Spirituals offers you the most memorable experience of your trip in New York !

Credits: Harlem Spirituals
Credits: Harlem Spirituals

Indeed, embark with us on a full-day cruise on the Hudson, from New York City to Bear Mountain. Admire the breathtaking scenery along the way and enjoy German food, beer, and entertainment during ! If you want to book this cruise, CLICK HERE!

Looking for a shorter escape? 

If so, I would recommand our second option : The Clipper City Craft Beer Tasting Sail ! Indeed, set sail on New York’s largest sailing vessel, featuring craft beer, cheese and charcuterie while enjoying sailing by the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge. It’s a wonderful activity, perfect time to spend with friends !

Credits: Harlem Spirituals
Credits: Harlem Spirituals

Craft beer experts will help you appreciate the wonderful world of Craft Beer while enjoying breathtaking views of the city. With over 1,500 brewers now making delicious brews all over the country, choosing and appreciating beer has become an art form to rival its cousin wine.

Credits: Harlem Spirituals
Credits: Harlem Spirituals

Taste several outstanding ales and lagers paired with cheese and charcuterie while you drink in the magnificent views of the NYC skyline. Last thing, don’t forget your camera, you will be able to take amazing shots ! If you want to book this wine tasting activity, CLICK HERE !

If you have any question about this article, feel free to send a message on Facebook !

Salvatore

Visit Queens while enjoying the US Open!

The United States Open Tennis Championships is a hard court tennis tournament. It is the modern version of one of the oldest tennis championships in the world, the U.S. National Championship, for which men’s singles was first contested in 1881. Since 1987, the US Open has been chronologically the fourth and final tennis major comprising the Grand Slam each year; the other three, in chronological order, are the Australian Open, the French Open and Wimbledon.

The 2017 United States Open has just begun!

Credits: pexels.com
Credits: pexels.com

The US Open is held annually, starting on the last Monday in August, and lasting for two weeks into September, with the middle weekend coinciding with the Labor Day holiday. The main tournament consists of five event championships: men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles, and mixed doubles, with additional tournaments for senior, junior, and wheelchair players. You can follow the results HERE!

The tournament, which serves up the world’s best tennis players in our backyard, is celebrating its 20th year at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Queens. The venue, named for the tennis champion Arthur Ashe, has evolved a great deal since opening in 1997.

2 options to visit Queens while you’re enjoying the tennis tournament!

Credits: wikimedia
Credits: wikimedia

The Queens is the easternmost and largest in area of the five boroughs of New York City. It is geographically adjacent to the borough of Brooklyn at the southwestern end of Long Island, and to Nassau County further east on Long Island; in addition, Queens shares water borders with the boroughs of Manhattan and the Bronx.

The Triboro tour from Hip Hop to hipsters with Lunch

Your New York City adventure begins! Visit the three largest boroughs of New York City including Queens! Grab a seat on our climate-controlled coach to The Bronx, often referred to as the “Boogie-Down Bronx” and the only borough of New York City that is attached to mainland USA. Explore the South Bronx known for its influence on Latin music and greatly recognized for its impact on global pop culture with the emergence of Hip-Hop, Breakdance and Urban Graffiti.

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Credits: pxhere

See the new Yankee Stadium and The Grand Concourse; known for its many iconic Art Deco buildings. Head on over to Queens; New York’s 2nd largest and most ethnically diverse borough. See Astoria with its exciting local art corridor of murals and stop at Socrates Sculpture Park; the only NYC metropolitan area dedicated to large scale sculpture and art installations in an outdoor environment. See Long Island City’s expanding waterfront community with one of the highest concentration of art galleries, art institutions, and studio space in New York City.

Credits: Wikimedia
Credits: Wikimedia

Finally: Brooklyn! Synonymous with all things trendy and artisanal, Brooklyn abounds with energy and diverse cultures. Stop in Williamsburg, the “hipster capital of the world” and a great place to “People Watch”. Spend some time exploring its cool and laid back atmosphere with unique cafés and local shops.

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Credits: pxhere

Indulge in an authentic down-home BBQ lunch in Downtown Brooklyn then see DUMBO a unique neighborhood nestled between the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges. If you want to book this tour with us, CLICK HERE !

Our 2 hours Champagne & Limo Private Tour

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Credits: pxhere

It’s a chic way to visit Queens ! Experience the City’s lights in VIP style! Sit back, enjoy a complimentary glass of champagne and enjoy the sights. Your tour begins when we pick up your party at your hotel location in your very own private stretch limousine.

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Credits: pxhere

Our deluxe private vehicles with tour guide will pick up guests from their lobby and treat them to customized itineraries including tours of Manhattan, Harlem, the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens. Travelers can select the neighborhood and theme of the tour. Private tours are available in English, French, Spanish, Italian, German and Portuguese. If you want to book this tour with us, CLICK HERE !

If you have any question, don’t hesitate to send me a message on Facebook !

Salvatore

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Things to do for Labor Day in New York !

Labor Day in the United States is a public holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws and well-being of the country. Sadly, it is also considered the unofficial end of summer in the United States. A lot of New Yorkers are going to enjoy their last recreation before going back to work ! So if you are in New York during this time, here are some activities you could do !

Credits: pexels.com
Credits: pexels.com

Watch a Broadway show for half price !

Broadway Week 2017 is coming and if you ever wanted to see a Broadway show but didn’t want to pay full price, now is your chance to get two for one tickets for some of the best shows playing on Broadway in September. The deal is offered by Broadway producers and NYC & Company which lets you buy two-for-one tickets to certain shows for a limited time.

When is Broadway Week?

Broadway Week in NYC runs from September 4th, 2017 through September 17th, 2017.

What should I see ?

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Credits: pexels.com

This year, there are 23 Broadway shows to choose from. Some of the Broadway shows included in the two-for-one deal include: “1984,” “Groundhog Day,” “Hello, Dolly!,” “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Aladdin,” “Anastasia” and “Kinky Boots.” So there are plenty to choose from if you’re looking for a date idea or family-friendly outing.

It’s a perfect activity to do with family or even if you are traveling by yourself ! A deal is a deal ! The variety of shows currently on Broadway proves that there’s something for everyone and this is the perfect time to experience it.

How can I book my ticket(s) ?

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Credits: pexels.com

Very easy, we can help you to get the tickets you want. Harlem Spirituals has built partnerships with the best Broadway companies and boutiques. We always have the best prices and seats available in the market.

Send us an email at : tours@harlemspirituals.com

We will get back to you the same day !

Enjoy a cultural Jazz tour and taste the local Soul Food with us !

Credits: Harlem Spirituals
Credits: Harlem Spirituals

Come and relive the high-stepping, fun-loving nights of the 1920s! Join us for a great night out in Immortal Harlem. Tour the neighborhood with one of our professional city guides and learn about Harlem’s role in the history of Jazz in addition to the roles of its most noted jazz musicians who gave New York its musical edge.

What is it and what will I see?

See the site of the original Cotton Club, where Duke Ellington and Lena Horne spent hours wowing crowds from around the world. Drive past the site of the Savoy Ballroom where Benny Goodman and Chick Webb fought it out during their “Battle of the Bands,” and where the Charleston, “Lindy Hop” and the “Big Apple” dances were firmly cemented into American culture.

Credits: Harlem Spirituals
Credits: Harlem Spirituals

Visit the world-famous Apollo Theater, where Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald won the popular “Amateur Night.” Pass by Minton’s Playhouse, where bebop was born and where Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, and Thelonious Monk started the tradition of musical jam sessions.

Discover one of Harlem’s hottest clubs, where jam sessions and musical collaborations go on into the wee hours of the morning. Dinner is at Sylvia’s legendary restaurant – “The Queen of Soul Food” (Family style dining).

When is it ?

On Mondays, swing dance the night away to the beat of a terrific, twelve-piece band. Free dance lesson included! We pick up the tab for your first two drinks at the Jazz club.

Credits: Harlem Spirituals
Credits: Harlem Spirituals

On Thursdays, experience the essence of Harlem and enjoy the convivial atmosphere as you mingle freely with the locals, while enjoying the sounds of a jazz or rythm & blues band. We also pick up the tab for your first two drinks at the Jazz club.

What is “Soul Food?”

Credits: Harlem Spirituals
Credits: Harlem Spirituals

Soul Food is the traditional African American cuisine that originated in the South of the United States. It consists of spicy ribs, collard greens, freshly cooked corn bread, black eye peas, and not to mention the best crispy fried chicken!

If you want to book this tour with us, CLICK HERE !

If you have any question or request, you can send me a message on Facebook.

Also, it’s good to know we are located near Times Square so if you want to meet us, that will be our pleasure  !

Salvatore

 

 

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