The holiday season starts with Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November in New York. Macy's festive parade draws masses of spectators year after year.
Right on the heels of Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday is known as the best shopping day of the year. Some enthusiastic shoppers start queueing early in the night in order to be among the first to grab the unbelievable offers as the shops open.
Always shop when in America
Local designer clothes are inexpensive, and you can make great finds on the clearance racks of outlet malls. You can bring goods for 430 Euros tax-free from the US.
At times it may be difficult to compare prices, because the price tags don't show state-specific sales taxes that will have to be added at the cash register. Petrol – or gasoline – prices are the only ones that already include the tax.
Christmas feels even closer when Rockefeller Center lights up its 30-metre Christmas tree on December 2nd. The center's skating rink is a classic choice for winter fun, but the more hardy could try out the rink at Central Park, with the famous Manhattan skyline in the background.
NYC is located at the same altitude as Madrid, but can still get very cold in the winter!
The Times Square Church gospel choir, some 300 singers strong, attracts large crowds at every service. The locals reserve a seat well in advance by leaving their coats on the chairs and then go grab a cup of coffee.
Above the roofs of Manhattan
Highline Park is a 2-km-long park built on old train rails above the street level in the popular Meatpacking District. Its specialty is a section featuring plants native to the island of Manhattan.
You can reach even more elevated heights by visiting the Rooftop Garden (230 Fifth Avenue), the city's largest roof terrace. Parts of the terrace are heated on cold winter days, and the weekend brunch is always popular.
If you have enough time, the holiday paradise of the locals, the Hamptons on Long Island, is always worth a visit. The name refers to the small towns of the area, full of grand, seafront mansions, wineries, and all sorts of charming things to see, owned by moneyed New Yorkers.
At the furthest tip of Long Island, Montauk is an attractive surf town. You should compare the accommodation prices on Long Island carefully, as they can grow quite high the closer you get to the beach. Hotel price comparison sites don't always have accurate information, as some prices include taxes while others don't.
For those with more time on their hands, we recommend a drive and ferry to Delaware, via Atlantic City, and then on to the beautiful scenic Assateague Island.
The island is renowned for wild horses, sandy beaches, and, of course, lighthouses. Most of the 60-km-long island is a natural park.
The ABCs of tipping
A large part of waiters’ salaries, for instance, is formed by tips, and this is why you should usually add some 15% to 20% to the bill. Bear this in mind also when dealing with doormen and cleaners in hotels and taxi drivers. When you order a drink at a bar, it's usual to leave a dollar extra to the barman.
A useful rule of thumb is that you should tip everywhere except in fast-food restaurants.