Christmas time can be pretty magical. The lights, the trees, the snow, the baking, the presents...I get really excited at the start of each December. One of the first trips that Slade and I went on together was to New York in December 2013. I like to reminisce about that trip each year, because if there's one place that knows how to go all out for Christmas, it's New York City!
Below is a list of 10 things we would recommend doing while visiting the Big Apple at Christmas.
1. Go to the Christmas markets
There's no better place to go to find a unique gift or sample some fun winter treats than a Christmas market, and New York City has lots of awesome ones to check out. Our favorites were the ones at Bryant Park and Union Square.
2. See a Broadway play
This one is up there on the list of quintessential things to do in New York City at any time of year, but seeing a Broadway play at Christmas makes the experience that much more exciting. Find one you'd be interested in, get all dressed up and enjoy the show!
3. Go department store shopping
Among many other things, New York City is famous for their department store Christmas displays. Don't miss the ones at Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy's, Bloomingdale's, and Barney's!
4. Check out the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree
A national tradition since 1933, the Rockefeller tree is a must see on your Christmas trip to New York. If you're lucky, you might even be able to catch the tree lighting ceremony, held annually in late November or early December.
5. See the view from the Empire State Building at night
The Empire State Building is one of the best places to get a view of the whole city. It's worth it to go see the view from up there during the daytime too, but going at night lets you see all the Christmas lights!
6. Check out hotel lobby Christmas displays
Go to all the fancy hotels and see how they've dressed their lobbies up for Christmas. The trees are all pretty impressive! The New York Palace, Waldorf Astoria, Ritz Carlton, and the Plaza hotel are just some to get your list started.
7. Go to Central Park
Grab some hot chocolate or apple cider to keep you warm as you stroll through Central Park in the winter time. Enjoy the snowy scenes as you make your way through the famous trails on foot (or by horse-drawn carriage).
8. Go ice skating
Show off your skating skills at any of the free skating rinks in the city. There are a lot of options including the ones at Bryant Park, Rockefeller Center and Central Park. Skate rentals are available at each one.
9. Visit the Stock Exchange
As you're exploring the financial district, don't miss the Christmas tree at the Stock Exchange. A tradition since 1923, they have their tree lighting ceremony around the same time as the Rockefeller Center.
10. Explore the rest of the city!
Don't lose sight of the fact that you're in one of the coolest cities in the world as you hunt for Christmas activities. Save time for everything else!
Check out a comedy show at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, go see the Statue of Liberty, experience the chaos of Times Square, visit the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, go to one of the many world-class museums (the Met is one of our all-time favorites), have breakfast at Levain Bakery, have lunch at Katz's Deli, have dinner at Grimaldi's Pizza...we could keep going but this list has to end somewhere!
What are your favorite things to do in New York at Christmas? Let us know in the comments below.
Happy travels (and Happy Holidays!),