Well, we are officially in the holiday/Christmas season but let’s be honest I have been playing my Michael Bublè Christmas Radio Station since Halloween week…yes I am that girl and I have no shame about it. The holiday season is just so short and seems to always come up so fast and before you know it it passes so this year I promised myself not to let it get away from me.
There are many magical places in the world to celebrate Christmas time. I can say this with true experience since most of you know that I spent the last year in Europe. I got to see a lot of different cities during the holidays. I have to say my favorite place during this time was probably Budapest. A ton of cities have Christmas markets but their’s was my favorite. Check it out here! Poland’s old town in the winter was also just as adorable. If you scroll down to the bottom of this post you will see what it looks like with an ice skating rink and Christmas lights all set up. Ultimately I spent Christmas in Florence though and I have to say when it comes to Christmas lights they knock every city out of the park. They hang thousands of different strings of lights from each and every street…it was incredible.
A Guide to Christmas Time in NYC
Now, with this all said…there really is no place like New York City during Christmas time. There are literally thousands of things to do so here is my guide to break down some of the must-do’s. This is my third holiday season spent in NY now so this guide is mix of things. It is a mix of tips coming from a local of what to do, what can be passed up, some touristy spots and some spots that are really just a favorite of my friends and I.
I kicked off the Holiday season with my mom coming to visit (mentioned this in my last post). This was so fun because whenever I have a visitor with me in the city it really pushes me to become more of a tourist and I think to really get NY’s Christmas effects you have to become one amongst the tourists. We started her first night here with a trip to Macy’s on 34th Street.
Between their magnificent window displays, the holiday music playing through out the store, the buzz of people shopping for their loved one’s wish lists and the huge lit up ‘Believe’ sign posted on the outside of the building there is no way Macy’s won’t get you in the holiday spirit (unless you are the ultimate Grinch.)
It was also really fun for us to stop in here because we were going to the Macy’s Day Parade in the next couple of days so it got us pumped up for that. We ate dinner at Stella Trattoria, Macy’s restaurant on the 6th floor. Definitely on the pricier side but the food was delicious. My mom and I split Arancini and the Swordfish!
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
If you are ever in New York for Thanksgiving I 10/10 recommend going to the Macy’s Day Parade. I grew up watching this parade on TV and always dreamed of seeing it in person. However, when my mom actually suggested it I was a little hesitant at first because, well, usually parades in the city are just chaotic, cold, and all around a mess (the Halloween parade) but this parade is actually very organized. My mom and I really enjoyed ourselves. It was easy for us to get a spot and we were able to see everything clearly. It was also a very warm day out so we weren’t freezing our butts off, this probably helped. It was a perfect experience. We came home after and enjoyed a home cooked meal, because Thanksgiving just wouldn’t have been the same without it.
Top of The Rock
After the parade we walked down from Central Park to Rockefeller. Rockefeller is the ultimate destination for Christmas in the City. The Tree wasn’t lit up yet though, so I ended up coming back here when Deon came to visit the next week but I will share that later. After walking around Rockefeller for a bit, we decided to do Top of the Rock. This is something I wanted to do since my first year living here. A bunch of people told me that this is better than going to the top of the Empire State Building because the view is better and you get to actually see the top of the Empire State Building which is better than standing in it. I have to agree with all the people that told me this. The hype about Top of the Rock was legitimate. It cost $34 to go to the top but I think it was worth every penny for the breathtaking experience it provides.
Rockettes Christmas Spectacular
When we left Top of the Rock there was someone outside the building handing out a discount to the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular Show. Thank God my mom is as much of a Christmas fanatic as I am too (I actually think I got my Christmas spirit from her) because this made us go to the box office and inquire about tickets. We were able to get a steal of a price for tickets so naturally we had to go to the show. This show captures the true holiday essence of Manhattan all in an hour and half and it is pure perfection. I didn’t want it to end. For sure something I will be taking my children to one day.
Bryant Park Winter Village and Southwest Porch
Unfortunately for me, my momma had to leave that weekend but lucky enough for me Deon flew in the same day that she left. It was Deon’s birthday week so we had a blast all week celebrating. On the actual day of his birthday we had lunch at the South West Patio in Bryant Park. We had actually wanted to go iceskating here the night before but it was really cold and rainy out so we didn’t quite get to check that off our to-do list but this is somewhere that I have gone ice skating before. I definitely recommend skating here compared to the Rockefeller skating rink. It is cheaper, not as long of a line, and they allow you to skate for a lot longer of time period than other rinks. Even though we didn’t get to skate we did get to look around some of the Christmas pop-up shops they have which is another favorite part of the Winter Village of mine.
Later that night, once I got off work, we continued our celebrations with happy hour at New York’s best winter rooftop. 230 Fifth. I had been wanting to go here all summer and next thing you know it started to get cold out and I thought I missed my chance. Until…friends started to tag me in a post by Time Out New York saying that you can now have a drink at this awesome rooftop in an igloo. I saw it and I told Deon, “we must go!!” Haha. If this place isn’t totally my element I don’t know what is. I got so many questions about how this place is and my review…5 stars.
The happy hour prices were exactly our price range. Beer $6, Wine $7, Cocktails $8, which for New York is cheap- believe me! We also enjoyed what might be New York’s best spinach and artichoke dip. The igloos were awesome because we still felt like we were on a rooftop, we could enjoy the view, yet we were perfectly comfortable and warm. Literally, we took our jackets off. Also, if you don’t want to be stuck in the igloo but want to enjoy the rooftop they offer robes to walk around in.
The rooftop was amazing, and even though they have a pretty good menu Deon and I wanted more of a sit down style restaurant for his birthday dinner so we went to The Smith right next door. This was also really good. Deon got the house steak and since I was so full from the spinach and artichoke dip from before (oops) I just got a caeser salad. I definitely want to go back though because there was a ton more on the menu that I wanted to try.
Alright I mentioned this above but this is the ultimate Christmas destination when visiting New York City during the holidays. So although there are a ton of tourists around here, I am a sucker and fall into the the trap every year. But each year would not be the same without it. Every year the tree is just as magical, the Saks Fifth Ave light show is just as mesmerizing and the giant oversized bulbs and ornaments that decorate the center are just as phenomenal. Clearly Deon and I enjoyed it.
Well that’s a wrap for my Christmas Guide. Please share if you have any other Christmas traditions in the city, if you have always wanted to visit NY during Christmas time or maybe this just inspired you to do so. Can’t wait to share more with you all this Holiday season. Peach and Love <3