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Must-see holiday sights in NYC

Rockefeller Center (Getty)

Rockefeller Center (Getty) Photo Credit: Rockefeller Center (Getty)

Some of the best things in Manhattan during the holiday season are free. Whether you're a tourist or a New Yorker who finally has a little time off from work, the next 10 days or so are your last chance to check out some of these splendid holiday sights.

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree
What: Catch a glimpse of the city's iconic Christmas tree - a 74-foot-tall Norway spruce, decked with more than 30,000 light bulbs and topped with a Swarovski Crystal star. It's been an annual staple since 1933.
Where: From Fifth to Seventh avenues between 47th and 50th streets
When: Through Jan. 6
Best time to go: Unless you like crowds, you're better off trying to stop by late. The 30,000 lights are on until 11 p.m., so take a peek on your way home.

Bryant Park Holiday Tree
What: If you'd like to see a killer tree but want to avoid Rockefeller Center, check out Bryant Park's 53-foot offering, which has 3,000 ornaments and tens of thousands of lights. Other cool tree alternatives include the one at the Museum of Natural History (covered in origami ornaments) and a 40-foot faux tree at the South Street Seaport.
Where: 40th Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues
When: Through Jan. 9

Winter Garden Holiday Lights
What: See the glass-enclosed winter garden lit up by 100,000 shining lights.
Where: World Financial Center, 220 Vesey St.
When: Through Jan. 7
Best time to go: Even though the garden is open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., you might be better off going after business hours to avoid the crowds and catch a glimpse of the lights after nightfall.

St. Patrick's Cathedral
What: Take a tour of the massive national landmark, the largest decorated Gothic-style Catholic cathedral in the country.
Where: Fifth Avenue between 50th and 51st streets
When: Open daily from 6:30 a.m. to 8:45 p.m.
Best time to go: Although the cathedral offers walk-in tours, you can also schedule a free tour during the week for groups of 10 or more.

The World's Largest Menorah
What: The 32-foot-tall, 4,000-pound menorah is officially the world's biggest. And if you think this one is something to see, check out the Jewish Museum's collection, picked by illustrator Maurice Sendak and on display through January.
Where: Grand Army Plaza, Fifth Avenue and 59th Street
When: Through Dec. 28
Best time to go: Daily lightings at 5:30 p.m.

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