Ahh, Christmas time. There is nothing quite like it, is there? Well, imagine the most Christmas-tastic thing you can, and then double it. That’s Christmas in New York City. I shared the same dream as many in that I had always wanted to visit NYC during the holiday season.
Believe it or not, I had actually never been to New York City before this past December, but it had been high on my list for years. My mum and I had talked about it for probably about a decade, and once I moved back from Indonesia we decided that now was the time. We made our plan to visit for six days (which was a great amount of time, btw), booked an Airbnb, and I put together a boss itinerary. Since it was both our first time to NY, we had a lot on our list, and since it was Christmas time, we had even more to add. I’ve compiled a list of the five best things we found to do in New York during Christmas time. Yeah, they may be a bit cliche, but they legitimately are awesome!
Yes, this is arguably the most famous Christmas display in the world, so you can’t come all the way to New York and not go! Avoid the weekends because it is literally wall to wall people. We got caught in a human traffic jam where people were close to passing out. Not cool. Check out the Saks 5th Ave. light projection show and head up to the Top of the Rock while you’re at it. I would avoid ice skating here as it is like $40 to skate in a tiny and incredibly crowded rink. Just gaze at the tree and drink in all the Home Alone vibes you can.
We loved the Christmas markets! There is a market in Union Square, Columbus Circle, Gand Central Station and a few others scattered throughout the city. By far our favorite was the market at Bryant Park, however. In general, all the same shops are at each market and each has things to eat. Grab a hot chocolate and get to wandering the aisles looking for great Christmas gifts. The markets are packed with stalls of unique merchandise like jewelry, body products, clothing, and houseware.
Ice Skate Central Park
There are a number of places to ice skate during the Christmas season with the three most popular being: Rockefeller Center, Bryant Park, and Central Park. Well, after extensive research, we decided on Central Park or Wollman Park and after seeing all three, we definitely made the right choice. Rockefeller’s rink is tiny and around $40, I kid you not. Bryant Park is comparable pricing to Central Park, but the atmosphere and scenery cannot be compared to Central Park. Central Park’s is also the largest. Just make sure to check the hours before you go, they were a bit all over the place.
We probably would have skipped this if it weren’t for a number of people recommending it to us, and we are so glad we went. Broadway was #1 on our list, so this show didn’t seem like it would compare to that, but it was its own kind of magic. No, the acting or spectacle isn’t the grandest in the world but nothing will put you in the Christmas mood like this show. Also, the theatre itself was stunning and worth it in itself. We got nosebleed tickets and still had a great view. The main draw is obviously the Rockettes themselves, and you get a great view of their super sharp choreography from there.
The Macy’s and Sak’s 5th Ave. window displays are legendary. In 2017, Sak’s windows were inspired by Snow White’s 80th Anniversary which was spectacular for a clinically insane Disney fanatic like myself. Macy’s windows showed the story of Miracle on 34th Street and their windows were especially gorgeous, my favorite of the bunch. I suggest going during the day as the night time was so crowded you could barely move. Once in the city, pick a famous avenue and just walk down, the fancy displays go far beyond those two iconic stores.
What do you recommend for Christmas time visitors to NYC?