There is nowhere quite as magical as New York City during the holiday season. Whether you live here and are trying to make the most of it or are one of the thousands that plan trips to visit in the month of December – it can be overwhelming trying to navigate everything there is to see and do. Below, I’ve done the leg work and rounded up all of the can’t miss sights, sounds and sips you should add to your list. And if you want more recommendations feel free to drop me a line here or on twitter/instagram @thesteelemaiden
. See you in Central Park!
1. Look at the lights
– Famous for good reason, you can’t come to NYC during the holidays and miss the tree at Rockefeller. Go early in the morning before 5th avenue shopping or late at night after ice skating to miss the most major crowds. But don’t forget, Madison Square, Gramercy and Washington Square Parks all have their own big trees to see! Feeling even more adventurous? Head to Brooklyn’s Dyker Heights
to see an entire neighborhood out-do itself with Christmas lights.
2. Lace up your skates
– There are 4 major spots to ice skate in Manhattan (Rockefeller Center
, Bryant Park
, Wollman Rink
in Central Park and the Standard Hotel
). If you’re an out of towner – skip the lines (and prices) at Rockefeller and head to Wollman Rink for more room to spin and most picturesque experience. If you’re a local, try the Standard on a weeknight or weekend morning for even less crowds and a downtown take on this favorite winter tradition.
2. Window Shop
– Okay, you’ll probably be tempted to go into stores and do some real shopping too – but a walk along Fifth Avenue to see the impressive holiday window displays is a must. Director Baz Luhrmann is behind the magic in the Barneys
windows and Bergdorf Goodman
always puts on a show.
3. Warm up with a drink (or pop some bubbly)
– After all the walking and sightseeing, you’re going to need a drink. For those with a sweet tooth, go for an over the top concoction at Serendipity 3
(the frozen hot chocolate is worth the wait – hint, go put your name on the list, grab a quick dinner nearby and by the time you’re done you’ll have your dessert table). But if a smart cocktail is more your style – try a bar with a roaring fire and old New York vibes. My favorites are The Dove Parlour
in the West Village and Flatiron Room
just below midtown.
5. Find the Mistletoe
– Chelsea Market
is a year-round favorite, but at the holidays it really shines. Visit local food vendors (Doughnuttery
.. enough said), pick up a gift or too (Brooklyn’s Artists and Fleas
has joined the mix), and grab a sprig of fresh mistletoe from the florist inside. Afterwards, if it’s not too cold – walk the nearby High Line
. You might be lucky enough to catch a free Christmas choir performance singing carols!
6. Kick up your heels
– Make like a Rockette and kick up your heels at one of New York’s great shows. From the famous Radio City Christmas Spectacular
(hint: there’s lots of discounted tickets to be had on sites like Groupon) to an awe-inspiring trip to the NYC Ballet’s The Nutcracker
to a Broadway
play (Matlida and Jersey Boys are current crowd-pleasers), the live performances in this city are one of the most celebrated parts of the season.