Waverly Winchester, NYC Patch Kids’ Mayor, Patch Contributor

Bargains, Santa visits, Tree Lighting and More…

Get ready to enjoy the holiday shopping season in New York City’s newest winter wonderland: Empire Outlets in Staten Island, the city’s first and only outlet destination, where dozens of high-end retailers will offer bargains that would make Santa blink amid glittering attractions for the entire family.

With its breathtaking views of the New York City harbor and access to some of the best deals anywhere, Empire Outlets is just a quick (and free) ferry ride from Manhattan and will be fully dressed up for the holidays. Empire Outlets will be adorned in 70,000 LED lights and wrapped in 1,096 feet of garland (that’s as tall as the Chrysler building), while local merchants will sell hot chocolate and other treats, gifts for shoppers and even “rejuvenation massages” on Black Friday for those who shop early and want to go back for more.

Various holiday events and activations this season include:

Pop-Up Holiday Market, November 20 to December 31– Located on the third floor of Empire Outlets, a pop-up holiday market will open starting November 20th with seasonal local merchants from Staten Island and beyond who will sell some of the best gift items, warm beverages, baked goods and more.

Snug Harbor’s Lantern Festival Exhibit at Empire Outlets, November 21 to January 13
– The popular NYC Winter Lantern Festival, hosted by Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden, will return to Staten Island on November 20. As a supporter of the borough’s festival, Empire Outlets will display the Lantern Festival’s flower sculptures on the third floor throughout the holiday season.

Black Friday, November 29
– On Black Friday, Empire Outlets will open starting at midnight to 9 pm, giving visitors an opportunity to take full advantage of some of the best shopping deals early, along with entertainment, on-site giveaways and more. For those who will opt to have some R&R in between shopping, a “Rejuvenation Station” will be available from 6 am to 12 pm for free massages by showing your EO shop receipt.

Tree Lighting Ceremony on #GivingTuesday, December 3
– While Empire Outlets will already be fully dressed for the holiday starting on November 29, the first official tree lighting ceremony will take place on Tuesday, December 3 at 6 pm with a 40-foot crystal tree for an evening of live music and caroling, hot chocolate, seasonal bites, in-store shopping deals and holiday revelry for the whole family. The date also aligns with #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. In the spirit of the charitable season, Empire Outlets will partner with Toys For Tots and will ask guests to bring much-needed toys for kids in need during the holiday season.

Photos with Santa, December 3 to December 24
– The youngest shoppers will be able to personally request their wish list requests to St. Nick throughout the month of December with photo ops and even a seasonal keepsake to take home. Empire Outlets will also officially collect letters to Santa starting on December 3 until Christmas Eve, so tiny tots (along with their parents) can drop off their list anytime during operating hours.

Beginning on 11/23, ExperienceFirst will introduce a new walking and guided experience of Empire Outlets, starting each day at 4:45 pm starting on November 23 to January 5 and will begin in front of the Whitehall Terminal in downtown Manhattan. Guests will take a 5 pm SI ferry, where the tour guides will draw attention to NYC landmarks from the Ferry along the way. The experience will also include a walking tour of Staten Island’s North Shore, concluding at Empire Outlets where participants will be treated to a $25 VIP coupon book. The cost of the tour is $9 when purchased online or free for ExperienceFirst customers.

Launching on Black Friday (11/29), a new luxury shuttle service from the Westin Times Square (at 270 W. 43rd Street) to Whitehall Terminal for the free Staten Island Ferry will be available
, thanks to an arrangement by TripAdvisor and Luxury Van & Shuttle Bus, making it easier and more convenient for holiday shopping (and avoid lugging those bags!) Carrying up to 24 passengers, there will be 3 roundtrip shuttles each day and the trip will cost $25 per person, including in-vehicle Wi-Fi, charging ports, water and more. Shoppers can purchase tickets directly from TripAdvisor via its website.

Original Story: https://patch.com/new-york/upper-east-side-nyc/calendar/event/20191120/689878/empire-outlets-to-celebrate-its-first-holiday-season