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New York over Christmas/NY

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We are trying to plan a trip to New York (from Australia) over the Christmas/New Year period.

There will be my husband, myself and our daughter (nearly 6 by then). We're looking at approximately 12 nights.

My current thinking is to stay in a central hotel for 4-5 nights, then move to an apartment (VBRO type of thing) or larger but cheaper hotel room with cooking facilities in a slightly quieter area for the last 7-8 nights so we have a bit more room, cook our own meals etc.

I have so many questions, but let's start with the basics:

1. Hotel suggestions? Must be clean, classy, good value. Nothing shabby. Have looked at the Marriotts, Staybridge, New Yorker...but open to suggestions.

2. Apartment locations? Safe, close to places we might want to go, restaurants, shops. We'd like to experience the not so touristy side of NY, but still be convenient to theatres etc. Bars and nightlife obviously not a priority!

3. Christmas Day! What can we do? Here in Brisbane all the larger hotels have a Christmas Lunch buffet type thing, with Santa, gifts etc. Given we won't have any family, we'd like to do something special with our daughter.

4. Suggestions of other things we can do, in the middle of winter, at Christmas time would be great. Particularly Christmasy or cultural type things.

5. What's the best way to get Theatre tickets?

Thank you!

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