Charles Edward Hall has appeared in front of more than 26 million people since becoming the Radio City Santa in 1987. He was raised in Frankfort, Kentucky and currently divides his time between Kentucky and New York City. He is the author of Santa Claus Is For Real: A True Christmas Fable About The Magic Of Believing, out now from sister company Simon & Schuster and available wherever books are sold.
Christmas in an iconic season in New York, and the best place to experience this winter wonderland is Midtown Manhattan. At Rockefeller Center, the massive Christmas tree’s ornaments glisten in the morning sun and the air is fragrant with roasted chestnuts. Underneath the Radio City Music Hall’s glowing marquee, busloads of tourists line up to see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Charles Edward Hall has been donning Santa Clause’s red suit in this world famous production for the last 28 years, and here he presents his insider tips to the best that New York’s holiday season has to offer.
The Radio City Christmas Spectacular
1260 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020
The Rockettes, the Living Nativity, the Parade of the Wooden Soldiers, and the 3D ride in Santa’s sleigh are thrilling every time. There is no place better to enjoy the spirit of Christmas with friends, family and loved ones than Santa’s home away from home. Running daily from Nov 7th through December 31st.
Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree And Fifth Ave
45 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, NY 10111
When construction workers first erected a tree at Rockefeller Center’s Radio City Music Hall in 1931, they had no idea they were creating an enduring Christmas icon. Surrounded by Rockefeller Center’s skyscrapers and with the grand plaza below it for the crowds to stand in awe, this is a sight that is sure to inspire even hardened holiday Scrooges.
Ice Skating In Bryant Park
Avenue of the Americas and 42nd Street
New York, NY 10166
Skating in Central Park or Rockefeller Center is a Christmas classic, whether you’ve been going every year or on a first date. But it’s crowded. Thankfully, there’s a smaller rink in in Bryant Park. Located directly behind the New York Public Library gorgeous Stephen A. Schwarzman building on 42nd street, this is the perfect New York setting. After hitting the ice, you can warm up with a cup of hot chocolate from one of the park’s many kiosks
CathredralsThe grandeur of Mid-Manhattan’s cathedrals rival those of their more famous European counterparts.
Saint Mary The Virgin Church
145 W. 46th Street
New York, NY 10036
Saint Mary’s Cathedral, located between 46th and 47th street and modeled on Sainte-Chapelle in Paris, is always open to travelers. Lovingly known to New Yorkers as “smoking Mary’s,” because of the incense, it is home to freuqtent performances from the house organ player and international choirs. It’s the perfect place for a moment quiet and reflection in the midst of the Midtown’s crowds and choas.
Saint Patrick’s Cathedral
New York, NY 10022
Saint Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Ave continues to awe all of those who enter. You can try to go to a Christmas Mass here, but go early to beat the crowds. You will never forget it.
Midtown is bursting with Michelin starred restaurants, but here are two well-kept secrets. If you’re looking for a hearty meal, Emmett O’Lunney’s is a favorite of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular’s cast and crew. This fun, friendly, family-owned restaurant is located on 50th street and Broadway and they are always ready to move tables to accommodate a crowd. Alternatively, Schmackarys on 45th street is the ideal place to seek refuge from the December chill and stop for a hot chocolate and snack.