Written By: Travel Advisor, Kristin Smith
Is there anything more magical than Christmas in New York?
Ever since I was eighteen, my mom and I have made the trip annually to experience all the feels that are Christmas in the City. Here is my list of must-sees and dos while you’re there!
Where to stay: For a real treat, book the landmark St. Regis hotel…home of the famous King Cole Bar. Did you know it’s said the Bloody Mary was created there? Every room comes with your own butler and the service is second to none. Book a room with breakfast and feast like royalty in your robes before heading out to shop and explore!
What to do!
Rockefeller Tree Lighting: The most famous Christmas Tree in America is lit every year on the Wednesday after Thanksgiving. This is a very popular sight to see so the earlier in the season you go the better! I’ve taken this trip many times, and I’ve found this first week of December to be the absolute best time to come get the “Christmas in New York” experience without the city being so crowded you can’t enjoy yourself. The city will be decked out for the holidays, but with locals still working and going about their business, you have can still get the experience without being absolutely overrun with visitors and locals alike. I once went the week between Christmas and New Year and just be prepared for CROWDS galore!
Ice Skating: Although crowded, Ice Skating just below the Rockafellar tree makes for quite the experience. Another great option for Ice Skating with more space and fewer crowds is the famous Wollman Rink in Central Park! And when in Central Park, you might as well hop on a carriage ride for a beautiful ride through the Park…don’t worry they have blankets to keep you toasty warm!
Holiday Markets: I absolutely love NYC Holiday Markets! They are sprinkled throughout the city and are just magical with their European vibes! They feature countless local vendors, artisans, and fabulous food options…and mulled wine just sayin’! Some of my favorites are the Union Square Holiday Market, Bryant Park (This park also has free ice skating!), and Grand Central to name a few!
Strolling 5th Avenue and experiencing the Christmas window displays is a must. Time your shopping so you pass Saks 5th evening after dusk to enjoy the light show!
See a Broadway show or if you’re feeling extra festive see the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall not far from Rockafellar Plaza!
What to eat!
A few of my stops every trip, no matter that the season!
Lombardi’s Pizza on Spring Street is always my first stop off the plane. Nestled in the heart of Little Italy and boasts being “America’s first Pizzeria” We always get their white pizza with delicious fresh garlic and ricotta in addition to one of the marina-based options (They also let you go half and half- always a score!) Another great thing about Lombardi’s is its location to spots for dessert afterward. DO NOT miss grabbing a Cronut (flavor changes monthly) from Dominique Ansel Bakery which is just a few steps away. Two other nearby favorites are the famous Levain Bakery Cookies and the Cereal Ice Cream from Milkbar. Really, I could just spend the whole day eating in this area of the city!
Grand Central Station: So much fun here! During Christmas, it boasts a beautiful Holiday market I always end up getting such great gifts from! After shopping, grab a cocktail at “The Campbell” a secret bar above the Terminal then head over the iconic Grand Central Oyster Bar for Oysters Rockefeller, raw bar, and champagne!
Tavern on the Green in Central Park is a classic New York experience. The setting is absolutely gorgeous and will make for a night to remember!
Russ & Daughters for morning bagels & lox!
Have you been to NYC before? Drop a comment below with your favs!