- One must be a fox in order to recognize traps, and a lion to frighten off wolves. Machiavelli Niccolo
Visit the Rockefeller Center
Take a twirl on the most famous ice rink in the city
This is an essential NYC holiday experience. Go early in the season and early in the day to avoid the lines. Or wait until the tree is down in early January and take a quick lunchtime skate at a bargain price. Visit the website for skating rates and reservations.
Get an up-close view of the giant Swarovski crystal star that graces the top of the Christmas tree
There's a duplicate on the north side of the plaza. The real star weighs almost 600 pounds and sports 25,000 crystals but you can get a miniature ornament-sized one for your own tree at the nearby Swarovski shop.
Strike a pose
Hire a photographer or tag a passerby and have them snap a shot of you and yours in front of the tree. Looking for something slightly more unique? The office buildings on Sixth Avenue abound with festive outdoor holiday displays.
Learn about fire safety at the FDNY Fire Zone
General admission is free to this fire-safety learning center, where kids play with interactive exhibits, climb aboard a fire truck and meet a real fireman. For $6, you can view a multimedia fire simulation presentation. During the week, school groups get priority in the morning, so call before heading out.
Head to the Top of the Rock observation deck
Experience breathtaking views of the NYC skyline. Don't forget your camera.
Take a tour for an inside look at Rock Center's art, architecture and history
Prefer to do it yourself? See how many of these pieces of art you can spot along the way.
Visit The LEGO Store
Visit it for a little playtime and be sure to check out the mini version of Rockefeller Center made entirely from LEGO bricks. Pop outside and drop your change in the Salvation Army bucket, where bell ringers entertain the crowds with festive song and dance.
Go behind the scenes of your favorite TV shows on an NBC Studio Tour
Guests get access to shows like The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Saturday Night Live and more. If you prefer theater, take a Stage Door Tour at Radio City Music Hall. Tours run daily, even during the holidays.
Channel your inner gamer in a visit to Nintendo NYC
There on-display gaming systems allow fans young and old to play for free.
Visit Rock Center via the subway
I bring my son through the massive underground labyrinth of the Concourse. It's fun to surprise him as we walk through the buildings and exit into the plaza to see the tree. At the Concourse, watch the skaters from one of two fancy restaurants or grab a bite at one of the faster, food court places and eat at the windowed seating area. There is also an ATM, post office and clean bathrooms on the Concourse level, along with perhaps two of the city's most crowded Starbucks.