HOW TO SPEND THE HOLIDAYS IN NEW YORK CITY – A SPECTACULAR OUT-OF -A -MOVIE EXPERIENCE!
I love New York all year round, but there’s something about the holiday season that makes the Big Apple even more magical. All the lights and the fuzz turn the city into what feels like a gigantic seasonal movie set! The Christmas spirit is in the (cold) air!
I was always curious of what it would be to experience the holidays in New York, and I would dare to say that it all started when I was a kid and first watched Home Alone, but as a young adult, it was the movie Elf what reinforced the desire to tick this off of my bucket list!
I had an incredible time so naturally came here to share with you all my tips so you can have a wonderful time yourself!
Let’s begin with my number one activity, the highlight of my trip:
THE ROCKETTES – RADIO CITY
When the festive precision dance show finished I was there clapping in the dark with tears running down my face. Yep, it was that magical!
“The Rockettes Christmas Spectacular” has been running since the 30’s! That’s how amazing it is. So for starts I recommend you book tickets to see this remarkable show in Radio City Musical Hall. You can find some videos on YouTube to get an idea of what it is like, but of course, don’t expect that to make it real justice! Believe me, nothing will get you into the Christmas spirit as much as this amazing show.
Pro Tip: All the surrounding area outside is absolutely beautiful and you’ll find many “Insta-worthy” locations. My favourite being the enormous Ornaments (Christmas balls), diagonal to Radio City and right outside Chase Bank.
HOLIDAY WINDOW DISPLAYS
Brands and designers use the window displays in November and December to completely knock it out the park. To finish the year with a huge boom! I’m pretty sure they work all year on these epic pieces. If you love fashion like I do, or simply appreciate creativity, you will be blown away by the extravagant decorations that cover the stores all around the city, especially around the 5th and 6th Avenue area. Everything shines! It’s brilliant! Make sure you have some spare time to stroll around and of course, shop along!
Pro tip: There will be many brand activations. This means brands create events to get you to see their new special products and also to experience their launches. I found out Chanel Beauty had one and I managed to go and have a great time there (and also got some goodies). So keep an eye on social media for your favorite brands in case they announce events like that.
I’d dare to say that the Rockefeller Plaza is the epicenter of New York when it comes to Christmas. The seasonal displays in the Channel Gardens are stunning and for that same reason you will find a lot of people trying to capture their best selfie there, but with a little bit of patience you can get a nice photo!
SAK’S FIFTH AVENUE
I was walking around at night and suddenly bumped into a huge crowd of people staring at this magnificent building in a corner (Sak’s department store) the facade is covered on probably millions of lights it plays a stunning light show on repeat. Definitely make a stop there, and go in if you fancy doing some shopping!
CHRISTMAS TREE AND ICE SKATING
There are several ice skating rinks in the city but the most iconic is the one is the Rockefeller Plaza. The decorations are so so beautiful, the rink has a good size and you’ll have the also iconic gigantic Christmas tree, and fountain in the background! It’s usually very crowded and there’s significant waiting lines (unless you get VIP passes), but if you go early in the morning you won’t have to wait too long. After having some fun skating, you can find many options around to sit down and have hot chocolate and any holiday treat! (Look up “Lady M” they have the most delicious desserts, I promise you’ll love it!)
VISIT TOY STORE FAO SCHWARZ
To be honest I ended up there because it was raining and we needed a place to shelter but it ended up being the most fun place to be stuck at! I definitely recommend giving a quick visit to this unique store. What is it? It is basically a high-end toy store. The brand is known by it life-sized stuffed animals, interactive experiences, brand integrations, and games. And although I guess it’s all meant for kids… you, young adult can also have fun!
CHRISTMAS MARKETS IN NEW YORK CITY
There’s plenty of options:
-Grand Central Terminal Holiday Fair
-Columbus Circle Holiday Market
-Union Square Holiday Market
-Oculus Holiday Market
-The Winter Village at Bryant Park
I went to all of them! You can find the perfect Christmas gifts in these lovely markets. They have everything you can think of, including beautiful crafts, jewelry, clothing, beauty products from small businesses, etc.
GRAND CENTRAL STATION
Any time of the year is good to visit this special train station (I do it every time I’m in NYC!) there’s some Christmas decorations, nothing crazy but still lovely to see and take some pictures.
DYKER HEIGHTS (11th to 13th Avenues, from 83rd to 86th st)
Dyker Heights is a residential neighborhood in the southwest of Brooklyn. Famous for the the stunning Christmas displays is an “attraction” you can’t miss during this time of the year. The residents of this area take Christmas decorations very seriously, resulting in an over-the-top display you will for sure enjoy if what you want is to embrace the holiday spirit!
new york city night life during the holiday season
New York City’s nightlife during the holiday season is fantastic! From festive-themed bars and nightclubs to special holiday parties, the city comes alive after dark. You can dance the night away in trendy clubs, enjoy cozy cocktails in themed speakeasies, or simply stroll through neighborhoods adorned with sparkling lights. The atmosphere is contagious, with revelers and locals alike spreading holiday cheer. Whether you’re looking for a vibrant night out with friends or a romantic evening under the city’s twinkling lights, New York City’s holiday nightlife scene has something for everyone, making it a memorable way to celebrate the season.
As the city lights up with holiday cheer and the air fills with the sounds of carolers, spending Christmas and the holidays in New York City is something truly special. From ice skating in Central Park to checking out the amazing decorations on Fifth Avenue and indulging in delicious holiday treats from local markets, this guide has given you a taste of the holiday magic in the Big Apple. So, whether you’re a local or just visiting, may your time in New York City this holiday season be filled with wonderful memories and lots of festive fun. Wishing you a happy and unforgettable holiday season!