Whether you’re a local looking for your seasonal fix or an out-of-towner visiting for the holidays, here are seven festive outings that are actually worth doing in NYC this time of year. (And by that we mean the spots that are both full of cheer and room to move).

mariah carey

Seeing Mariah Carey at the Beacon Theatre

The spot we hold in our heart for ’90s Mariah is bursting at the seams. You can currently buy tickets online for her “All I Want for Christmas Is You” concert series at the Beacon Theatre (December 5 to 17) and listen to her belt out her very own classics, including songs from her 1994 album Merry Christmas. (Yes, that was made in 1994. Moving on now.)

ice skating

Ice Skating in Prospect Park

Sure, Rockefeller Center is an iconic skating spot. But the dreadful crowds and pricey rentals have us cringing. Rather than wait in an hours-long line for a limited spot on the ice, head to the lesser trafficked LeFrak Center rink at Prospect Park to get your skate on in a more enjoyable manner (read: way cheaper and less riddled with pushy tourists). The rink is already welcoming visitors.

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Shopping in Fidi

Ask any New York native and they’ll tell you holiday shopping in the city is an all-out adventure (in both good and bad ways). Here’s how to do it right: Skip the uptown crowds and take your shopping down to the brand-new Oculus at One World Trade Center. While you’re there, pop into Roberto Coin to peek at their unique Italian jewelry. Just picture borrowing these stunners from your mother all next year. 

the lodge

Sipping Mulled Wine at The Lodge

Gallow Green, the rooftop bar at the McKittrick Hotel in Chelsea, has beentransformed from a garden oasis into a mountain chalet called The Lodge. Plan to hole up there for the rest of the season, enjoying evenings of specialty drinks like the Sleep No More (a mulled wine that takes its name from the hotel’s immersive theater production) in cozy rooms filled with everything from lanterns and wooden bunks to evergreens, flannels and fur.

cretzel

Eating a Creztel from Breads Bakery

The latest custom baked good New Yorkers are obsessing over? This croissant and pretzel hybrid from Breads Bakery. Swing by the Winter Village at Bryant Park to pick one up for yourself while you meander through the holiday pop-up shops. (Disclaimer: You may have to wait in line for this one, but just like the cronut, we promise it’s worth it.)

origami tree

Learning Paper Folding at the Origami Holiday Tree

In case you didn’t know, the beautiful 13-foot tree in the American Museum of Natural History is decorated with over 800 hand-folded pieces of origami. It’s a decades-old annual tradition that features a different theme every year, and for 2016, it’s dinosaurs. The museum even has volunteers on hand to teach paper folding, so you can make little prehistoric origami ornaments of your own. You have from now until January 8 to check it out.

dyker heights

Enjoying the Dyker Heights Christmas Lights

Like Mariah Carey-loving moths to a balsam fir candle flame, people flock to the Dyker Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn every December to see the extravagantly decorated houses. For the greatest amount of twinkling lights, your best bet is to head to the area between 83rd to 86th streets and 11th to 13th avenues. Get ready for displays of everything from Santa to Star Wars.

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