New York City is the best place to visit during the holiday season! The entire city is decked out in lights, ornaments, trees, menorahs, bows, and festive colors. It is truly magical experiencing Christmas in New York, and it should definitely be on everyone’s bucket list. While I am from outside the city, I love being a tourist this time of year and taking the train in to see some of the famous sights and sounds! New York City is easy to reach throughout all of New England, NJ, Pennsylvania, and Washington DC by train, so it makes for a perfect day or overnight trip, and it totally worth it! Here are some of my favorite things to do in New York City during the most magical time of year!
Rockefeller Center needs to be at the top of everyone’s to do list when they come to NYC, especially around the holidays! This is the world’s largest Christmas tree that they light each year in a televised special complete with famous musicians and bands. It is truly a sight to see with all its colors and blinking lights and ice skating on the Rockefeller Center rink in the shadow of the tree, complete with Christmas music, is so quintissential New York City! Rockefeller Center is also filled with fun stores including J.Crew, Anthropologie, Nine West, Banana Republic, H&M, Magnolia Bakery and Dean and Deluca to finish that holiday shopping or grab a fun treat. This is by far my favorite section of the city, especially during this time of year!
Enjoy a Holiday Show
NYC is of course famous for its Broadway shows! This year, they have a multitude of holiday themed Broadway and Off-Broadway productions to offer! Two years ago, I saw Elf on Broadway and it was just as funny, if not more, than its movie counterpart! Plus, its always such a blast to get dressed up and attend a Broadway show, especially at this festive time of year. The Theater at Madison Square Garden is also showcasing How The Grinch Stole Christmas, and seeing the Radio City Christmas Spectacular with the Rockettes is a holiday tradition!
Take in a (free) Late Night Show!
Just yesterday, I had the privilege of attending a taping of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon! This was always a dream of mine, since I think Jimmy Fallon is the funniest man in the world, and what made it all the more better was a favorite band of mine, Florida Georgia Line, was the musical guest! Getting the tickets was extremely easy: I simply entered my name online and a day later, was contacted by the show saying I had 2 tickets to the date I requested! Most late night and/or talk shows filmed in NYC have this same process, including Saturday Night Live, which was also such a fun thing to attend. So why not give it a shot! You will definitely be in for a ton of laughs and an eye-opening experience in the television world!
The Christmas Shopping and Windows!
Famous department stores such as Macys, Bloomingdales, Lord and Taylor, Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue and Barneys are renowned for their Christmas windows! Definitely take the time to walk Fifth Avenue and explore the deparment stores and their windows to see what this is really all about. Each one tells a story and since the stores are so big, the windows are tremendous and go on for an entire block or two. They usually have a different theme every year so they are always individual and unique. Macy’s Herald Square, the largest department store in the world, is a spectacle in itself around the holidays! Its 8 stories are filled with tourists and locals alike, speaking in a buzz of thousands of different languages, each trying to find Santa Claus or the perfect gift or simply to experience NYC at Christmas time!
Hannukah in NYC!
Central Park, near the Plaza Hotel, features the world’s largest Menorah! They light it each and every night of Hannukah and begin the 8 nights with a huge ceremony! NYC is home to a very large Jewish population so this occasion is taken very seriously and is celebrated widely! Each night, this area of Manhattan is a buzz with activity as it is right in the center of all the Holiday shopping and activities, so check it out if you are around!
Ice Skating in Bryant Park
While there is ice skating at Rockefeller Center and Central Park, the huge and beautiful ice rink at Bryant Park behind the NY Public Library is FREE! All you have to do is pay a cheap skate rental and you are set to go! Here, they play Christmas music as you skate around in the shadow of the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building. The skyline around the park is magnificent and beautiful. There is also a beautifully lit Christmas tree here, as well as so many holiday pop up shops which offer gifts to give for the holidays from handbags to ornaments to pet clothes to chocolate! Also, definitely check out the terrace restaurant here, where you can enjoy a hot cocoa or a full blown meal while overlooking the skaters and the skyline!
NYC is definitely the place to be around the holidays and everyone should experience it once! Check it out if you can! I am so happy I get to call this place home!