Christmas already?!!! I know, I know. But for those of you planning a trip in December to experience Christmas in New York (and I know at least a couple of you are) it’s the perfect time to start your planning.
BEFORE YOU GO
If you’re looking for inspiration before you go, there are several great movies to watch to get you in the spirit and even more excited for your trip. Here are a few of my favorites: Elf, Miracle on 34th Street, When Harry Met Sally, Home Alone – Lost in New York, Serendipity, Scrooged, and You’ve Got Mail.
Most restaurants, bars, and bakeries in NYC get festive over the holidays, but some are better than others. Here are a few of my favorites to scope out:
- Hot chocolate and homemade marshmallows at The City Bakery are THE BEST! Put this on your must stop at list. The second runner up is Jacques Torres for their wicked hot chocolate and peppermint bark.
- Head into Rolf’s for a pre-dinner drink and if you love the décor stay for dinner (keep in mind they’re not known for their food) This German restaurant is so festive it would even make Clark Griswold proud. Here are a few photos if you’re interested.
- Have a cozy dinner at the Spotted Pig (Jay-Z is part owner) or pop into Freeman’s for a meal with a New England cabin feel
- Drinks at Shoolbred’s for the cozy fireplace, neighborhood feel, and holiday décor
- Grab a few holiday themed macarons at Dana’s Bakery
- Serendipity for the frozen hot chocolate
- Swing through L.A. Burdick and sample a chocolate penguin or snowman
- Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center (the tree lighting ceremony is in early December). If Christmas trees are your thing you can also check out the Met Museum Angel tree, Madison Square Park, the tree inside the Plaza Hotel, the tree in the courtyard of the Palace Hotel (one of my favs!), and the origami tree at the American Museum of Natural History
- Macy’s windows and Santaland (the crowds will be insane, consider yourself warned!!)
- Walk along 5th Avenue from Rockefeller Center to Central Park
- See the tree and the ice skaters at Rockefeller Center
- Enjoy the window displays (Saks, Bergdorfs (usually my personal favorite), Tiffanys, Barneys, and Bloomingdales). Macy’s and Lord & Taylor also have window displays, but check them out when you are in Midtown.
- Giant snowflake (5th Ave. & 57th)
- The courtyard of the Palace Hotel
- The Lobby of the Plaza Hotel (channel your inner Kevin McCallister)
- The world’s largest Hanukkah menorah (Grand Army Plaza 5th Ave and W 59th Street – across from the Plaza Hotel)
- Check out the over-sized Christmas lights on 6th Avenue.
- Radio City Music Hall for The Radio City Christmas Spectacular which stars the Rockettes
- NYC Ballet for a performance of The Nutcracker
- Peruse the holiday markets (Union Square, Bryant Park, and Columbus Circle)
- Ice Skating – If you’d like to skate in the middle of a city block check out Bryant Park (you can reserve ahead of time to avoid the line) if that’s not your thing then rent skates in Central Park. I wouldn’t recommend Rockefeller Center as the rink is pretty small and it’s a bit pricey
- Visit Santa at Macy’s – If you really hate lines there is apparently a Santa at ABC Carpet & Home
- Holiday displays at the Botanical Gardens and Grand Central Station
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