Every December my family and I put on our most comfortable walking shoes, our warmest coats and gloves and head into the midtown madness that is holiday season in New York City.

On any other day, the idea of venturing into a crowd of tourists would turn us away from the city. It is why on most summer weekends and holidays visitors might find they have the city to themselves.

But not on Christmas. This time of year is one where we happily join in on all the fun, and when we take on the annual Christmas window walk.

We book a hotel room at the Radisson Martinique on Broadway and after a hearty breakfast at The Harold, we set off to enjoy the beautiful holiday window displays.

The holiday windows in central Manhattan are so iconic and so beautiful that the crowds and lines that form alongside them are worthy of the hours it takes before you have seen them all.

Macy’s Herald Square

The adventure starts on Broadway in front of the world’s largest department store.

By far one of my favorite windows, Macy’s often brings a favorite childhood story to animatronic life. Each window is a new page in the story, encouraging spectators to follow along in order till the very end.

Macy's Holiday Window 2010

Macy’s Holiday 2010 window

Continue to walk down Broadway and onto Fifth Avenue. This is where it gets really crowded and fun.

Viewfinder Tip: Though the crowds are heaviest during the early evenings and on weekends, if you wait late enough at night you can get a better view.

Lord & Taylor

In 2015, Lord & Taylor captivating the hearts of us all with its “Favorite Things” themed windows. From candy shops to gingerbread kingdoms, we left in awe and craving some sweets. The artistry and detail they display every year is why they are on our must-see list.

Lord & Taylor 2013 window

Lord & Taylor 2013 window

Saks Fifth Avenue

Not only does Saks put on a holiday fashion extravaganza with its over-the-top glittery wear, they also showcase a beautiful light show on the building’s facade. Best visible at night and from across the street, the music and light show is a crowd stopper and never ceases to bring a smile to our faces. Enjoy the lights of the Rockefeller tree between intermissions.

Bergdorf Goodman

What I most love about Bergdorf Goodman’s displays is that they come in different sizes to fit their different size windows. It is easy to miss the smaller displays at a quick glance, so it is best to slow down and take it all in.

Before venturing off of Fifth Avenue and towards Barney and finally Bloomingdale’s, make a stop into the Food Hall at the Plaza for some hot chocolate or spirits to warm you up.

Bergdorf Goodman's 2010 window

Bergdorf Goodman’s 2010 window

The entire stroll is no more than 2.5 miles, but there is a lot to see and do along the way. It easily has taken us a few hours, if not almost an entire day with stops into shops, eateries, and holiday markets.

The best approach is to go with time, patience, and a festive mood. You will be surrounded by beautiful displays and people from all over the world. In my opinion, what makes these windows so wonderful are how they bring together the best of the city during the holidays. So, enjoy!

What are your favorite holiday traditions?