“IF WE WERE MEANT TO STAY IN ONE PLACE, WE’D HAVE ROOTS INSTEAD OF FEET HE SAID” – RACHEL WOLCHIN
It’s getting to that time of year again!! I don’t know about you guys, but this year has absolutely FLOWN for me. Only a few weeks left of work and then it’s Christmas break! YEEHAA!
This time of year always reminds me of the magical Christmas I spent in New York City a few years ago. It was such an incredible experience! Australian’s are in the middle of their summertime when Christmas arrives, so spending Christmas in the freezing cold was unlike anything I’d ever witnessed.
For those looking to experience the magical wonder of Christmas in New York, I’ve put together a list of 10 exclusive experiences you MUST have whilst you’re there!
Ice Skating in Bryant Park
Every year, Bryant Park is turned into a Christmas wonderland. They set up a gorgeous outdoor ice rink plus a cute holiday market with beautiful boutique and homemade Christmas ornaments and gifts. There are Ice Skating rinks in Central Park and the Rockefeller Center, but you can be waiting hours in line and your time on the ice is limited. I felt like Bryant Park was the best choice in terms of price and time on the ice. I went on Christmas Eve and had the most amazing time!
A Holiday Show!
It’s fairly common practice to see a show on Broadway when visiting New York, so why not take advantage of the Christmas spirit and see a holiday show? You can usually drum up cheap tickets the morning of the show at the many ticket outlets scattered around the streets of Broadway, otherwise you can purchase tickets from the theatre directly. The Radio City Christmas Spectacular and the Nutcracker are among the two most popular Christmas shows in NYC, so be sure to get in early to secure a ticket!
Christmas Tree at the Rockefeller Center
Although I don’t recommend ice skating at the Rockefeller Center, I definitely vouch for checking out the absolutely stunning Christmas Tree there and also heading up to ‘The Top of the Rock’ and taking in the magnificent New York City skyline. Again, the lines are a lot shorter than that of the Empire State Building and I like to SEE the Empire State Building in the skyline – if you’re standing on the Empire State Building, you can’t see it!
Union Square Holiday Market
The Union Square Holiday Market is a world renowned Christmas market located in Union Park. For those looking for something personal to commemorate their time in New York over Christmas, or to pick up something special for loved ones back home, this is the place to go! The perfect destination for unique gifts and ornaments created by local artists and craftsman exclusive to this Holiday Market. Even if you’re not there to shop up a storm, you can have a delightful time winding through the aisles and taking in the atmosphere of this exclusive NYC holiday experience.
5th Avenue Holiday Window Displays
You’ve probably heard people talk about the 5th Avenue Holiday Window Displays – they are indeed a sight to behold! Macey’s is particularly famous for its incredible Window Displays. Expect lines when visiting, but don’t worry, the line moves very quickly. Be sure to also check out, Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdale’s, Henri Bendel, Lord & Taylor, Saks and of course Tiffany & Co.
In all fairness, no trip to New York at any time of year is complete without a trip to Central Park. I found myself wandering through here on Christmas Day as many stores and restaurants were closed for the public holiday. Although the gardens aren’t as exquisite in the winter time compared to that of Spring or Autumn, it was lovely exploring this world famous site. As previously mentioned, there is an outdoor ice rink in Central Park plus many other landmarks worth checking out whilst you’re there.
Fao Schwarz – Giant Piano and Toy Store
So this may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but when I heard there was a Giant Piano inside a Toy Store, my mind was made up! If you’re traveling with children, it’s a bit of fun. There’s usually a short line to get on the Piano, but it moves fairly quickly. I wouldn’t recommend visiting in the few days before Christmas, mainly because it is located inside a giant toy store and we all know how busy stores get around Christmas time. Might be best to go first thing in the morning as the store opens!
Grand Central Terminal
Even Grand Central Terminal gets into the Christmas Spirit! This year they will be holding their 15th annual Holiday Train Show and Holiday Fair. Specifically, the popular model railroad exhibition features Metro-North, New York Central, and subway trains departing from a miniature Grand Central Terminal. This display operates from mid-November until February. The Grand Central Holiday Fair is another exclusive holiday market in NYC and known as one of the most beautiful architectural settings in the world. If you’re not down for wandering the markets outside in the cold, the Holiday Fair is an indoor option.
If you’re fortunate enough to be in NYC when the snow starts to really fall, be sure to hit these sledding hills! Central Park, Pilgrim Hill and/or Cedar Hill – both popular in the snow seasons but great for beginners; just be prepared to dodge a few human obstacles! For families, check out East River Park – parents can enjoy beautiful river views whilst the kids tucker themselves out on the hills. Inwood Hill Park is a great spot in the summertime for hiking and biking but come winter, the terrain can also be great for sledding. Owls Head Park offers some of the steepest slopes but can get tiresome quite quickly as the trek back up the hill is a tough one!
Empire State Building
Now I know I said to avoid the Empire State Building like the plague around this time of year, but seeing as it’s an icon exclusive to New York, it is worth having a wander around even if you don’t want to wait hours to go to the top. I particularly love seeing the Tower at night as it lights up red and green around Christmas time – if you’re there and it’s a different colour, you can jump online to HERE and see what the different colours represent. How cool is that!?
How many of you have experienced the magic that is Christmas in New York? What did you enjoy doing the most? You’ll have to excuse my poor photo quality, I wasn’t as well equipped in the camera department as I am today! Definitely something you need to experience first hand and something I would love to do again another year.
Be sure to follow my adventures on my Instagram!!