The Holiday Season is here! It is my favorite time of the year and there is no better way to kick off the holidays than by visiting New York City! If you haven’t visited NYC during December I highly recommend adding this trip to your list. The city is magical during this time of year and turns into a true winter wonderland. Today’s post will cover ten of our favorite, festive things to do in NYC during the Holidays!
1. Take in the beauty of the Christmas Tree in Rockefeller Center!
The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is an iconic worldwide symbol that the holiday season has begun in NYC. The tree, which has been put up every year since 1933, is typically between 70-100 feet tall and decorated with more than 30,000 multi-colored lights. This year’s tree will be lit on November 30th between 7pm-9pm and stay up until January 7, 2017. Don’t worry if you can’t get to NYC to see it in person, you can watch the tree lighting on NBC at 8pm EST the same night!
(Location: In the plaza center, at 50th Street and Fifth Avenue)
2. Go Ice Skating In Central Park!
One of my favorite things to do in NYC during the winter is to go ice skating in Central Park! The rink here is larger than the one at Rockefeller Center and usually a little less crowded. From Monday-Thursday it cost $12 to skate plus a $9 skate rental for adults. From Friday-Sunday it costs $19 to skate and $9 for a skate rental for adults. Not exactly cheap if you don’t own ice skates but it is definitely worth it!
(Location: 830 5th Ave, New York, New York 10065)
3. Admire the Window Displays on 5th Avenue!
If you want to feel like you’re, “walking in a winter wonderland,” make sure you checkout the window displays on 5th Avenue! My personal favorite windows are located at Tiffany & Co., Bergdorf Goodman, Lord & Taylor and Saks but the whole street is decked out in lights and it is absolutely gorgeous! You can always pop into the Plaza for tea if you get too cold!
*One word of warning, Trump Tower is covered in security. Be prepared for the NYPD to check your bags as you stroll down 5th Avenue!*
(Location: Fifth Avenue between 39th and 60th Streets)
4. Shop at the Holiday Markets!
For a festive shopping experience you have to check out one of NYC’s Holiday Markets! There are many boutiques in each market where you can buy ornaments, gifts, and holiday decorations! There are also stands that sell hot coco and yummy holiday snacks! My favorite Christmas Market is the one in Union Square but there are quite a few across town. All of them are worth visiting if you have time!
Holiday Shops at Bryant Park- 42nd & Avenue of the Americas
Union Square Holiday Market- Union Square, Southern Side
Columbus Circle Holiday Market- Central Park at 59th Street and Broadway
Grand Central Holiday Market- 89 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017
5. Dine at Tavern on the Green
You probably won’t see this holiday idea on many other blogs but dining at Tavern on the Green is a holiday tradition for my husband and I! Tavern on the Green is a famous restaurant located in Central Park. You may recognize it from the movie “Ghostbusters,” when Louis is trying to escape from that terrifying dog, The Keymaster.
We love Tavern on the Green because it is decorated so beautifully, the food is great and it’s a romantic place to kick off the holiday season with your loved one. At least go by for a drink, you won’t be disappointed!
(Location: Central Park West & 67th Street)
6. Go to Radio City Music Hall to see “Christmas Spectacular!” starring the Rockettes!
Nothing says Christmas like the Rockettes doing high kicks and performing their famous wooden soldiers dance. “A Christmas Spectacular,” has been a fixture in NY since 1933 and it’s a must to attend the musical holiday show! The show is currently running through January 2, 2017.
(Location: Radio City Music Hall- Sixth Avenue and 50th Street)
7. Drink Holiday Cocktails on festive rooftops!
December is the perfect time to stay warm with a winter cocktail and 230 Fifth has quite a variety of hot drinks to choose from! This 22,000 square foot rooftop has an outdoor space and indoor penthouse space where you can enjoy breathtaking views of the Empire State Building and other Manhattan skyscrapers.
Inside the Igloo at 230 5th! So fun!
230th Fifth is partially heated during the winter but don’t worry about being cold because the bar also provides snuggies to keep you warm! When you go make sure to sit inside one of the igloos with the faux fireplace. It is too much fun to miss!
(Location: 230 5th Ave, New York, NY 10001)
Arlo Hudson Square
New York is famous for pop up holiday bars and the one at Arlo Hudson Square cannot be missed this year! This pop up isn’t only decorated for Christmas but has an entire menu of holiday drinks. My personal favorite is the hot chocolate martini- YUM! The Arlo pop-up is open now through New Year’s Day, and will be open seven days a week.
(Location: 231 Hudson St, New York, NY 10013)
Ok, Ok, Rolf’s ISN’T a rooftop but it IS a December must visit while in NYC during December! If you want to hang out in a bar that literally looks like Christmas threw up in it, Rolf’s is a must! Expect to be enamored with the twinkling lights, tons of ornaments and garland that decorate the German Restaurant while you sip a stein of German beer. Rolf’s is said to spend $60,000/year on their holiday decorations that include 15,000 ornaments, 8,000 dolls, and 100,000 lights. It takes 6 men working overnight for 6 weeks to hang the elaborate decor! The decorations are typically up from September-April. Expect a line to get in, especially in December!
(Location: 281 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10010)
8. Take a snowy walk through Central Park
If you are lucky enough to be in NYC on a snowy day you must take a walk through Central Park! The park looks absolutely beautiful covered in snow and is so peaceful. If you are feeling adventurous check out Pilgrim Hill, the steepest slope in Central Park, where you can go sledding! The snow needs to be at least 6 inches high to sled but it is SO much fun!
(Pilgrim Hill Location: East Side between 72nd and 73rd Streets)
9. Admire the decorations on 6th Avenue!
5th Avenue may be more well known for its Christmas decorations but 6th Avenue is now giving that famous street a run for its money!
The larger than life ornaments, lights, and Christmas tree on 6th Avenue are a must visit on your trip to NYC at Christmas time! You’ll feel just like a kid waiting for Santa all over again!
(Location: 1251 Sixth Avenue for the large ornaments)
10. Have your own “Miracle on 34th Street” Moment
When in NYC at Christmas one has to watch “Miracle on 34th Street,” and then go visit the most famous man of the holiday, Santa Claus. The Macy’s in Herald Square is the store where the movie was set and everyone knows that’s where the real Santa hangs out! In fact, Macy’s launched the idea of having Santa in a store setting back in 1862. They also were the first company to create holiday themed windows in 1870, and started the beloved, “Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!”
So, while you’re in “America’s Largest Department Store,” checkout the world’s first modern escalators. (They’re the wooden ones.) Also, look for the memorial plaque on the main floor for Isidor and Ida Straus, co-owners of Macy’s, who died tragically on the Titanic. Enjoy your time in New York City!
Have a Happy Holiday Season!!!
Lindsay & Christopher