New York is magical year round, but there is something special about visiting the Big Apple during the holidays. While I’ve never made it to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, (it’s on my bucket list) I have visited the city during Christmas timing and it was an unforgettable trip. I think everyone needs to have NYC during the holidays on their travel bucket list. There’s a whole different buzz emanating from the city as Christmas nears and the city is booming with holiday spirit.
Of course any trip to New York during the holidays needs to start with the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, the ultimate symbol of the holidays not only in New York, but all over the world. The tree goes up mid November and stays up through early January. If you’re not lucky enough to witness the official lighting ceremony in person, you can be one of millions who watch it live from around the globe. Make sure to swing by in the evening, so you can see it lit in all its glory.
From there, here are my 3 “Must See” and “Must Eat” while spending the holidays in NYC:
Holiday Window Displays: Take in the meticulously decorated store fronts at some of the biggest department stores in the city, including Macy’s, Barneys and Saks Fifth Avenue. Check out this Christmas Windows Walking Tour Map here. By the time you’re finished, you’ll likely have completed your holiday shopping too.
Carriage ride through Central Park: A carriage ride through Central Park is as close to a one horse open sleigh as you’re going to get! Take in the sights of Central Park while zooming past pedestrians in your personal horse and carriage.
The Rockettes: See America’s most iconic dance company in action at their Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Known for their precision dance and high kick in perfect unison, the Rockette’s holiday themed show is one of their most popular. During the Christmas season, they have several shows daily at the Radio City Music Hall. You can also catch them at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Hudson Lodge: If you want to enjoy the winter with the “Brr”, stop into this ski resort-themed bar located in Midtown West. Indulge in their unique Hot Chocolate Bar featuring toppings like crushed candy cane, burnt marshmallow, cookie dough and pretzel dust. Enjoy gooey fondue or try their S’more Grilled Cheese as you listen to Christmas music and watch the faux snow fall.
Rolfs: It’s impossible not to get into the holiday spirit when you stop into Rolf’s during the holidays. Perhaps they were inspired by Clark’s over the top decorations in Christmas Vacation or maybe they take the Christmas carol “Deck the Halls” very seriously, but regardless of their inspiration, this charming German restaurant is a must. Here you’ll find Christmas decorations adorning their restaurant from top to bottom...and I mean literally top to bottom; the ceiling is covered in wreaths and Christmas lights and the walls covered in garland, poinsettias and even more Christmas lights. If you can’t make it in, check out their website for an entire gallery featuring all of their holiday decorations. It’s very impressive.
Tavern on the Green: Escape from the chilly NYC temperatures at this cozy Central Park icon. Built in 1870 as a shelter for sheep grazing the adjacent land, it was remodeled in 1934 to feature a restaurant. The venue is very accommodating to casual tourists, but still has a feel of authentic NYC. Indulge in their smooth and creamy 5 cheese mac and celebrate Jesus’s birthday with their signature birthday cake. The soft layers of white cake and whipped ricotta are delectable.
If NYC during the holidays isn't already on your travel bucket list, hopefully it is now! If you're feeling extra ambitious, consider staying through NYE and watching the ball drop from Times Square.
What's your favorite place to travel during the holidays? Comment below!