A year in New York

• Join in or watch the Village Halloween Parade, where more than 50,000 costumed revelers stroll, dance or play music while traipsing through the streets of downtown Manhattan (free).

• Peek into city sites usually closed to visitors through guided architectural tours at the weekend-long Open House New York (free).

NovemberThe department store windows are decked out, holiday lights shimmer on the buildings and New York really lives large this month.

• The world's largest running event, the ING New York City Marathon, sees more than 35,000 runners traversing all five New York City boroughs as millions of supporters cheer them on (and then toast their stamina at the local bars).

• The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade covers 2 ½ miles and attracts 2.5 million spectators (with 44 million watching around the world) (free).

• NYC's largest Christmas tree lights up Manhattan following the Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting Ceremony (free).

DecemberJust as temperatures typically plunge, New Yorkers take comfort in time-honored traditions.

• The New York City Ballet's The Nutcracker kicks off its month-long run, while the Rockettes kick up their legs in the annual Radio City Christmas Spectacular.

• And those with a taste for adventure brave the crowds to celebrate the ball drop in Times Square on New Year's Eve (though, truth be told, very few locals are among the spectators!) (free).

Liz Humphreys is the author of USATODAY.com's New York City Guide.

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