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How to treat New York City like a tourist

New York City during the holidays is a dreamland for your kids, even if you live here.

Spend the weekend focused toward your tots and soaking up the many kid-friendly activities the city offers, from ice skating at Bryant Park to checking out a secret train car inside Bloomingdale's.

Live like a tourist

Teach your kids how to lace up skates at Bryant Park's Citi Pond ice-skating rink. During the summer, this area is filled with lush grass, but it transforms into a winter wonderland for the holidays, complete with a pop-up rink rimmed by twinkling buildings.

Make sure to add a stop at the Rockefeller Tree - the whole area becomes madly crowded around this time of the year, but if you thread through 48th Street you can avoid the worst of the crowds, snap a picture (for your still-procrastinated holiday cards?) in front of the fir and then be on your merry way.

The American Girl Store is right on the way to Rockefeller from Bryant Park, so stop in at the pink-splattered store to scope out the dolls, along with their newest outfits and activities. The company even has a doll hair salon to touch up the littlest ladies.

Fun for children as well as adults, the Paley Center for Media, on nearby 52nd Street, is presenting "Christmas Carols: A Scrooge Mash-up" this month, which has clips of different versions starring Mr. Magoo, Patrick Stewart and The Flintstones. Performances are Thursdays at 6 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m., and tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for kids.

Grab lunch at Le Train Bleu, embedded in a train car and fun to discover inside Bloomingdale's.

Don't go home! It's time to stay and skate

After the hustle and bustle of Midtown, you will want a place to relax that feels like your living room - or a little bit nicer version. At the Hotel Chandler, which recently underwent a $10 million renovation, the main interior designer usually designs homes, and it shows. The suites are restful, quiet (even above the din of 31st Street), and the lobby has a library tucked in a back-corner room. Until February, the Hotel Chandler has a "Holidays on Ice" package that includes skating in Bryant Park, plus a room. A minimum two-night stay is required for the deal, which starts at $209; some suites have an extra room, which boast a couch that folds into a bed for the kiddos. Those start at $420 per night.

 
 
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