Christmas in New York

christmas in new york bryant park

Christmas in New York

For many, especially self-proclaimed “Christmas fanatics”, Christmastime in New York City is an unbeatable experience. That’s why we chose to highlight in this week’s Wanderlust Wednesday!


Read on for all there is to see and do for Christmas in New York.


christmas in new york windows 2

Take in the Holiday Cheer by Window Shopping & Exploring the Fabulously-Festive Hotel Lobbies Around the City

The best part about being in New York City during Christmastime is that once you get there, there are an abundance of free activities to put you in the holiday spirit. For starters, grab a hot cocoa or apple cider and head to Madison Avenue. Here you’ll want to take in the Barneys and Hermès window displays. Fifth Avenue is also a good place to see the window displays, especially the Plaza Hotel display and Bergdorf’s. Continue down Fifth Avenue to see the windows at Tiffany’s, Cartier, and Harry Winston. Then you’ll hit Saks Fifth Avenue at 49th Street (pictured above). Once you’re here you are nearby Rockafeller Center with its famed tree and festive figure skaters. It’s important to note that the best time to see the illuminated windows is at night, but if you’re more interested in the Instagram clout, peruse in the daytime.

Window displays aren’t the only things that businesses like to spruce up for the holidays. NYC hotels are equally as impressive during Christmas in New York. It’s the perfect way to enjoy the festivities without freezing your face off. The best hotel decors can be found at The St. Regis, The Plaza (don’t skip the holiday tea at Palm Court), and The Baccarat Hotel.


christmas in new york bryant park

Ice Skating & Outdoor Christmas Shopping Pop-Ups

The Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park is a staple for Christmas in New York. Starting at the end of October, the park becomes an outdoor shopping village. You can find just about anything on your Christmas list here, from luxury bathrobes to one-of-a-kind hand-painted ornaments. In addition, the popular ice skating rink here offers free admission. The shops close on January 2 but the rinks remains open through March 4, weather permitting.

If the Winter Village becomes too crowded, which does happen around the holidays, head to the Standard Hotel to do your ice skating. This hotel is locating in the Meatpacking District and is much smaller than the rink at Bryant Park. It is a great place for young children or beginners as they have cute penguin helpers you can hold on to for support while skating. Plus, there is an outdoor cafe which serves hot chocolate. The Standard Plaza rink opened November 23rd this year and will stay open through the holidays.

If you really want to bring home a unique ornament to commemorate your Christmas in New York, head to John Derian. They are known to have a huge assortment of unique ornaments – both vintage and new. This lower east side shop is open Tuesday through Sunday and you can order online if you just can’t make up your mind in-store!

And of course you can’t miss


christmas in new york trains

Unique Experiences for the Whole Family

For a truly unique Christmas experience, take the vintage subway train that runs every weekend during the holidays on the F line. You’ll truly feel like you landed in a different era with vintage advertisements inside and an unbeatable cheeriness aboard. You can check for running dates which began in late November, but the train is always on display at the Transmit Museum if you miss it.

If you have a child who is obsessed with trains, you’re going to want to experience this one as well! The New York Botanical Gardens sets up a miniature holiday train and New York landmark exhibit each year for viewing. This isn’t just for kids, however. Many locals visit the exhibit every single year, which runs from mid-November 17 to mid-January.


christmas in new york lincoln center

Catch a Show or Ballet

If I were visiting New York City during the holidays, I would never pass up the chance to see the Nutcracker at Lincoln Center. As I’m sure many others can relate, the Nutcracker brings out a special Christmas nostalgia whenever I see it. Plus, seeing all of the ecstatic children in the audience is a great way to set a cheerful tone for the season. The ballet runs through December 31 this year.

If you get a chance to score tickets, head to the Guggenheim Museum. For two weekends in December, Isaac Mizrahi’s production of Peter & the Wolf. This musical will delight adults and children alike and has become a holiday staple in New York each year around the holidays. Tickets and info are available at

And if you happen to still be in New York for New Year’s Eve, don’t miss the New York Philharmonic’s annual New Year’s Eve concert. You can purchase tickets at


christmas in new york bar

Experience the Best Holiday Cocktails

New York City has a plethora of cozy bars to hunker down in for a warm beverage. If you are an eggnog fag, head to Bar ’21’ at the ’21’ Club. There are also many holiday pop-up bars including Snow Globe in the Sky at Ophelia, which transforms into a glittering snow globe full of snowflakes and twinkly lights. Plus, their 360-degree view of Manhattan is amazing year-round. Another great holiday pop-up is Après Arlo at the Arlo SoHo hotel. Here, they transform their outdoor courtyard into a cozy Christmastime hideaway with heated cedar cabins and a full menu of hot toddies.


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