5 Better Choices for Your Out-of-Town Friends' Holiday Tourist Trap Requests in NYC

The holidays in New York City are a magical time of year. 

It's no small surprise that you will have plenty of out-of-town visitors knocking at your door to show them around this season. 

But, since you're in-the-know, you'll know not to let your friends see the typical holiday tourist traps. 

Because nothing is more of a holiday downer than dealing with the hordes of crowds that surround every typical holiday tourist trap. 

If your out-of-town friends are hell bent on seeing these spots, we feel for you. 

But if they can be persuaded, you'll have plenty of other (less touristy, less crowded) spots to show them. 

Here are some common holiday tourist attractions and where to bring your friends instead. 

1. Request: Rockefeller Center Ice Skating (600 5th Avenue)

heloisamaia1 And so this is Christmas....

Your friends really wants to skate beneath the tree. Of course, it's a beautiful tree. It's the most beautiful Christmas tree in NYC. You should definitely take your friends to see the tree, and admire it yourself. 


But, for goodness sake, don't make the mistake of paying out $32 for your peak season ticket and an additional $12 to rent skates in order to use that $32 ticket. 

Remind your out-of-town friends that this is NYC, and you're broke AF. Hard pass. 

Solution: Wollman Rink in Central Park (830 5th Avenue)

beehubbs It's the most wonderful time of the year

Instead of dishing out an insane amount of money just to ice skate beneath the tree at Rockefeller Center, convince your friends to skate in the middle of tons of trees, rather than just one. 

Wollman Rink in Central Park is one of the most beautiful places to skate in NYC. Plus, you'll be knocking off two tourist attractions in one go: ice skating and Central Park. 

Skating here will be a lot lighter on your wallet as it costs $11.25 for admission and $8 to rent skates. But remember, it's cash only. 

2. Request: Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular (1260 Avenue of the Americas)

edgyny Christmas Spectacular!! Opening night #rockettes #toysoldiers #radiocity #perfection

Are your friends between the ages of 2-13? If you answered yes, then disregard this message, buy your tickets to the Christmas Spectacular, and wish you could be as talented as the Rockettes. 

If you answered no, then you really have no reason to dish out $40-$300 a seat for the show that's pretty much exactly the same every year (since they took out the house of elves that pop out of the windows which, in our opinion, was a huge bummer and they should totally bring it back). 

Solution: Nutcracker Rouge (18 Minetta Lane)

companyxiv Ladies and gentlemen, the cast of #NutcrackerRouge! Playing through January 17 at the #MinettaLaneTheatre Photo by @markshelbyperry

You're still going to be paying $40 and up for a ticket, but at least you'll have an age-appropriate show on a night you'll certainly never forget. 

Nutcracker Rouge is a show involving a compilation based on The Nutcracker with a baroque, burlesque twist. 

And by that we mean there are scantily clad men and women who vaguely follow the traditional plot line while performing acrobatics and sexy dancing. 

It's most certainly the best way for your friends to see Christmas in NYC.

3. Request: Horse Drawn Carriage Rides in Central Park (various locations)

aleksoz #nychorses #savethehorses #horsedrawncarriage #centralpark #centralparkhorse #horse #nyc #ny #newyorkcity #newyork #nowyjork #dorozka #konik #park #instamood #tesknie

Your friends are dying to go for a horse drawn carriage ride through Central Park to take in the beauty of the park in luxury.


They don't really understand that it's pretty much $150 for an approximately 45 minute ride through the park which is just as wonderful (if not more) walking it. Especially when you make a beeline for Wollman Rink to skate. 

Solution: New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show (2000 Southern Blvd - the Bronx)

pmanson6 30 Rock as seen from the holiday train show at the New York Botanical Garden. It even includes Prometheus! I expect a pinecone version of me to be added on the 3rd floor next year. Our train enthusiast was way more impressed with the bridges, tracks and trains than the buildings. #nyc #samiam #30rock

This is something that most out of towners probably won't think of when they're planning their trip to NYC, but it's definitely something you should show them. Toy trains run through various landmarks created with natural materials such as bark and leaves. 

Better yet, hit it up on December 18th, 19th, or January 2nd, 8th, 9th, 15th, or 16th from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. for their "Bar Car Night" where you can experience the Holiday Train Show with a complimentary cocktail, beer, or glass of wine. 

There's also live music, fire performances, and ice sculpting. Basically, holiday fun for adults.


4. Request: Times Square

willegan16 Times Square #Pitbull #NYC

Ugh. Do literally anything else. Sure, checking out the lights and shops can be fun... once. Trying to maneuver your way through the crowds of people? Not so much fun. Ever. 


We'd highly recommend giving your out-of-town friends a brief glance of the neon wasteland before rushing them away. 

Solution: Winter Village at Bryant Park (41 West 40th Street)

tomcafiero Strolling through my favorite park #bryantpark #nyc #wintervillage

Sure, it's not as flashy as Times Square, and tourists may have heard of it, but it's definitely the better place to take in some holiday sights and sounds. 

Peruse the more than 125 holiday shops before grabbing a drink at Celsius while overlooking the ice skating rink. Or skate on it, it's free admission. 

5. Request: Window Shopping on Fifth Avenue

kiki__m 'Beauty is worth the pain.'

The window displays on Fifth Avenue are definitely beautiful and festive... if you can actually see them through the hordes of crowds attempting to catch a peak or the last minute shoppers looking to blow more than we make in one month. 


Yes, they're beautiful, but they really, truly aren't worth the hassle. 

Solution: Miracle on Ninth Street (649 East 9th Street)

be_merry_everyday This is a real place! A Christmas bar! #miracleon9th #mypersonalheaven #whitegirl #merrychristmas

Since your friends are probably looking for something kitschy (since that's what the window displays typically are), hit up this East Village pop up bar that looks like Santa threw up festive cheer. 

Seriously, every aspect of this bar is filled with holiday decorations. Even the drinks follow the holiday theme. Make sure you get there early because this spot can develop quite a line. 

Check out 7 More Authentic Alternatives to Overrated Activities in NYC

[Feature Image Courtesy ModernDayMarco.com] 

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