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Making the Most Out of Winter at Rockefeller Center

If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere. At least that's what Frank said about the bustling metropolis of New York City. One of the most spectacular sights available in New York City in the winter is the sparkling illumination of the Christmas Tree in Rockefeller center at twilight. The golden building and holiday lights reverberate off of the golden statues and tan buildings, creating a warm visual hum against the dark gray-blue sky. The bustling crowds hurry by as the smell of the holidays wafts out of restaurant kitchens, and the cool air refreshes the faces of eager visitors. The tree in Rockefeller Center has been an attraction for over seventy-five years. It is situated in front of the building at 30 Rockefeller Center, affectionately known as 30 Rock. The official lighting attracts seas of visitors and locals alike. Many celebrities can be spotted as well. The lighting is the best time to go if you crave the excitement of a gigantic anticipatory throng of humanity. If a quiet, leisurely viewing is more your style, it is best to view the tree later in the season, but not too close to the holidays. It is open for viewing from 5:30 in the morning to 11:30 in the evening daily. The 5:30 time slot is guaranteed to be the least crowded.

The tree is not the only must see when visiting the Rock Center. The Rock observation deck offers 360 degree views from 70 floors up. You can see Central Park, probably blanketed in white, as well as the one-and-only New York City skyline. The most amazing thing about the observation deck is that you can use the timed ticketing system to bring you to the top exactly when you want. This is perfect for a proposal overlooking the night skyline. The observation deck is open from 8 to midnight daily and also offers an audio podcast. Admission is $22 for adults, $15 for children (6-12), and $20 for seniors. Sunrise and sunset tickets are $32 for adults.

For another great view of the tree, try the Rockefeller ice skating rink. This rink is popular with visitors and local alike and the atmosphere cannot be matched. Because only 150 skaters are allowed on the rink at a time, it creates an idyllic picture of smooth serenity amid the bustle of city crowds and lights. If your skating is not so smooth, there are private lessons available. The rink is also open all day every day, and more information can be found at .

Other close attractions are the Rockefeller Center Tour that promises architecture, history, the building and gardens for only $15. And yes, the gardens are open in the winter as well, with both greenery and paintings. Near Rock Center is also the MoMa, the foremost museum of modern art in the world, St. Patrick's, the largest Gothic-style cathedral in the U.S., Saks Fifth Avenue, Radio City Music Hall and NBC Studios (in the Rock) just to name a few.

Be sure to bundle up, because the concrete, stone and metal of the city can retain a lot of cold. Wear your most comfortable walking shoes, unless you choose to forfeit comfort for fashion. Make sure you don't underestimate the walking distance in the city, if you plan to walk. The distance can seem doubly long in winter. Be sure to carry light or no bags and not a lot of cash. If you do carry cash, make sure to wear a cash pouch under your winter layers. Keep in mind that the walking pace in a city can be brisk, especially in winter, and there are a lot of people. Try to stay with your group and not get swept up by the crowd. Most of all, enjoy the experience, because New York in winter is one-of-a-kind!