Ready for the Jingle Bell Walk?

Holiday season in New York City is all about walking the sidewalks. The chill in the air, chestnut vendors on the street corners, steam swirling from sidewalk subway grates…and, of course, those amazing store window displays. But where to go? What’s not to be missed?

Dilemma solved: Triumph Hotels, a collection of historic hotels across Manhattan, is offering its guests a “jingle bell walk” highlighting the best store windows, as well as other perennial New York Christmas favorites such as the tree at Rockefeller Center and Bryant Park’s holiday market. The tour is part of the hotel group’s complimentary walking tour program, which varies by property (itineraries include “the hidden gems” of Times Square, a stroll to Central Park’s Strawberry Fields and the Union Square Greenmarket).

Macy’s is credited with inventing window displays in the 1870s. Lord & Taylor, the oldest luxury department store in the United States, debuted its first Christmas-themed windows in 1938, and Fifth Avenue stores have competed ever since to have the most spectacular holiday displays. Each window has its own style and theme, changing from year to year. Andy Warhol is one of several artists who have designed holiday windows.

Highlights from tours of years past include visiting the antiques collection at Bergdorf Goodman and a children’s book theme at Saks Fifth Avenue. The tour is conducted in partnership with Streetwise New York, a company that specializes in unique walking tours.

Another option is conducted by Free Tours by Boot, a group of fun-loving guides who work for tips. Its two-hour, pay-what-you-like walking tour includes store displays, Rockefeller Center and St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

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