Planning a trip to NYC or other metropolitan city? Think of getting a city pass!
It will save you big time on sight seeing! Definitely worth the investment ahead of time.
I’m sure you’ve heard the stories about the crowds in NYC during the holiday season and trust me, it’s all true. The crowds that swarm NYC during the holiday season are no joke, but I’m going to tell you why that trip is worth it anyway!
Crowds or not, NYC during the holiday season can be truly magical and an unforgettable experience. Here is your list of ten reasons to visit NYC during the holiday season and how to make it a memorable and magical trip full of Christmas cheer!
1. Rockefeller Center
The star of Christmas in NYC is, of course, the Rockefeller Christmas Tree. Located in Rockefeller Center between West 49th St and and West 50th between 5th and 6th, this is a must see if you are in town during the Christmas season.
You will also see lighted displays of the trumpeting Herald Angels, glittering snowflakes, and of course the light show put on by Saks 5th Avenue on the store front.
2. The Rockettes Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall
I’ve gone to the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular a few times and it is, truly, spectacular. From the Christmas music to the classic Rockette kick lines and glittering costumes, this show is sure to put you in the holiday mood! After the show, stop by Magnolias Bakery for a cupcake or their famous banana pudding.
I get all of my tickets from the TodayTix app. Christmas time or not, I highly suggest using this app. You can buy all of your tickets (Broadway shows included) from a few hours to 30 days before the show of your choice. Your tickets are delivered to you by the entrance to your show by a very nice man or woman in a red jacket!
One year I decided to go to the show just a few hours beforehand, purchased the tickets through TodayTix, and showed up minutes before the show began only to pick up the tickets and walk in! Great for a last minute show!
3. Bryant Park Winter Village
Located in the shadow of the New York Public Library on 6th between West 42nd and West 40th St, the Bryant Park Winter Village is complete with a skating rink, food stands, lots of shopping, and Christmas Tree. It is one of my favorite stops during Christmas time.
I love browsing through the shopping stands, watching the ice skaters, and picking up a hot chocolate from Max Brenner’s stand (some of the best hot chocolate ever!).
My favorite stand is Melsey’s Illustrations. Stop by and check out her trendy sketches and watercolors!
For more about the Winter Village at Bryant Park, follow the link!
4. Union Square Holiday Market
The Union Square Holiday Market is an outdoor market set up in Union Square Park where you can browse the wares of local craftsmen and artists. The winding aisles bring a unique gift selection from old fashioned wooden toys to flavored balsamic vinegar to herbal heating packs.
As all good Christmas events, there is, of course, food! Hot apple cider, hot chocolate, and warm mini donuts are just some of the food options.
If you are in the mood for a more sit down type meal, there are lots of restaurants in the area! A few of our favorites within walking distance are Max Brenner’s, Spice, Trece, Thai Villa, Rosa Mexicano, and Campeon. You won’t go wrong with any of them!
5. 5th Avenue Window Displays
On 5th Ave between 59th and 34th, you will find, along with beautiful lights overhanging the streets of sparkling snowflakes, some pretty festive window displays. Trees, garland, Santa, carolers, and more along with lots of glitter and sparkle!
Some of the stores featuring Christmas window displays include Barneys, Bloomingdale’s, Lord and Taylor,Tiffany & Co., Bergdorf Goodman, Henri Bendel, and, of course, Saks 5th Avenue.
6. Wollman Rink, Central Park
Avoid the extreme crowds of the Rockefeller ice skating rink by heading up to Central Park. Located in the southern part of Central park, it is just a quick walk from some other sights you might be visiting including the Bryant Park Winter Village and Rockefeller Center.
This rink is a little bigger than the one in Rockefeller Center and, while also busy (sorry, unavoidable!), gives you a little more space to skate!
7. Macy’s and Herald Square
Famous for the Macy’s day Thanksgiving Parade, Macy’s in Herald Square will not let you down for getting your Christmas fix!
The window displays are a sight to see, but my favorite is heading to the top floor to the Christmas Department (just past the furniture dept.). Visit Santa and do some shopping because this section is full of Christmas trees galore! Each section is a different theme with corresponding ornaments and decor from the beach to travel to NYC. Any type of ornament you can imagine is here! Just don’t forget your coupons!
8. Park Slope, Brooklyn
Manhattan’s 5th Avenue is actually not the only 5th Ave that you should visit! A short train ride from Manhattan, you will find Brooklyn’s very own 5th Ave in Park Slope. Trendy stores, hip restaurants and bars, and of course Christmas decor make Park Slope a great stop during your NYC holiday vaca. Just take any of the following trains to Atlantic Avenue Barclay’s Center: B, Q, 2, 3, 4, 5, D, N, or R.
Don’t forget to grab something to eat while here! While there are too many restaurants to name them all, few great spots include Bogota (Columbian), Peppinos (Italian), Naruto Ramen (delicious pork buns!), and also, your absolute must-go-to spot, The Chocolate Room!
The Chocolate room is, in my (and I’m sure many other Brooklynite’s opinions), the best chocolate in New York City. From the thick, creamy hot chocolates to the buttery, sweet hot fudge, it’s worth the trip just to go here! And you can get a jar of fudge to bring home with you, too!
9. St. Patrick’s Cathedral
On 5th Avenue between 51st and 50th Street just steps from Rockefeller Center, you will find St. Patrick’s Cathedral. If you are Catholic, like myself, you might want to spend some time attending a mass here during the Christmas season.
If you are not Catholic, it is still a beautiful sight to see during the holiday season from the red poinsettias to the Christmas trees to the religious displays, this stop is worth your time.
10. Dyker Heights, Brooklyn Light Displays
If you are feeling adventurous, hop on the train and head to Dyker Heights, Brooklyn for some of the most unbelievable Christmas light displays you will ever see!
House after house of families who go above and beyond the usual outdoor twinkle lights and a reindeer or two. The pictures don’t even do it justice. It’s truly a sight to see in person!
You can find the best lights on 11th – 13th Avenues between 83rd and 86th Streets. Just take the D or M train to 18th Avenue and it’ll only take you about an hour from midtown Manhattan.
I hope these tips help because there’s nothing more magical than NYC during Christmas time. Crowds or not, it’s worth the trip!
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Thanks for reading!
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