The Big Apple is a magical place every day of the year — which is why a record 54 million tourists visited us in 2013 — but there’s no place like home for the holidays. From the giant Rockefeller Center Tree to the shops of 5th Avenue to the epic Ball Drop in Times Square, the city simply sizzles with energy, in spite of the often bitter cold.

So whether you’re lucky enough to live here or are simply visiting for the holidays, we thought we’d offer some helpful tips and information for navigating this winter wonderland between now and Jan. 1:

  • Shop ’til You Drop: Black Friday’s come and gone, and we’ve logged out of Cyber Monday. Now it’s time to enjoy New York’s beautiful holiday window displays — especially the ones at Tiffany & Co., Barneys, Bloomingdale’s and Saks Fifth Avenue — as well as the deep discounts available on just about every block. Make sure you also check out five special holiday-themed marketplaces, as listed by CBS-New York: 1) The Holiday Shops at Bryant Park, 2) Union Square Holiday Market 3) Columbus Circle Holiday Market 4) Brooklyn Winter Flea Market and 5) Grand Central Holiday Fair.

Bloomingdale’s Holiday Windows

  • Drop it Like It’s Hot: Oh yeah, and then there are the million or so people who are going to gather in Times Square to watch the Ball Drop and ring in 2014. Though not for the faint of heart — or bladder — attending this annual ritual, which is watched by more than a billion around the world, is compulsory at least once in a lifetime. The Times Square NYC website has a terrific FAQ section, answering such questions as which streets will be closed off and when should one arrive. Read it before you venture out to Times Square on Dec. 31; you’ll be glad you did.

Spider-Man will help ring in 2014.

We wish everyone a Happy Hanukkah,  a Merry Christmas, a joyous Kwanzaa and the best new year of your life!