I’m not going to lie, Christmas in New York is second to none! It’s my fourth one here this year but it honestly never gets old and I get just as excited every year. It’s definitely something everyone should experience at least once. I feel that as you get older, the Christmas hype dies down a little…but the next few weeks here make me feel like a child all over again! I’m going home to Ireland on the 16th (My Mom would never forgive me if I didn’t, ha!) so I’m lucky that I get best of both worlds. Christmas is quite a big thing in my house, so I’m really looking forward to being at home with family too. But in the meantime….I’m going to make the most of every single second here in New York. There is LOTS to do! Here is a look at some of my favourites places to see/go:
1. Rockerfeller Centre
Visiting the Rockerfeller Centre is probably the most touristy thing you can do here during Christmas, but there’s something so special about the atmosphere that surrounds it. I love going there in the evenings and watching the ice-skaters and of course, the famous Rockerfeller Tree makes the perfect backdrop. Be prepared though, it can be VERY busy but it’s definitely worth it!
2. Fifth Avenue/ Saks Light Show
Shopping on Fifth Avenue during the Christmas period honestly feels like being right bang in the middle of a Christmas movie. The big department stores are just magical at this time of year. I’ve never seen such extravagant window displays. My favourites are at Saks & Bergdorf Goodman’s – definitely worth a look. Speaking of Saks, they do a light show every year and it is spectacular. Kaelin & I were lucky enough to go to the unveiling this year and it blew us away – so so good! Oh and also be sure to check out Tiffany’s & Cartier on Fifth Ave. Their decoation’s are a must see!
New Yorker’s are spoilt for choice when it comes to outdoor Ice-skating rinks at this time of year. The most popular ones are definitely at Bryant Park (perfect view of the Empire State Building), Central Park and of course, at the Rockerfeller Centre. My advice is to go at off-peak times because it gets VERY busy and my favorite has to be Central Park. The setting is just perfect and it’s the biggest rink so very safe if you aren’t too good at skating like myself haha!
4. Bryant Park Holiday Market
This is one of my favourite places to go in the evenings during the Christmas lead up. As well as the beautiful ice-skating rink, there is also about 100 different booths selling everything from macaroons to jewellery to dog-clothes. It’s so cute there! If you go, I definitely recommend getting a crepe & a hot apple cider under the big heaters. Perfection!
5. The Palace Christmas Tree
Another Christmas tradition I have come to love here is going to see the Christmas tree at The Palace Hotel. A lot of you might know it from Gossip Girl (when Serena lived there – casual haha!). It’s so beautiful and definitely worth a look. Also a great spot for a photo ;)
6. The Rockettes In Radio City
Going to see the Rockettes in Rdio City is another very popular thing to do here during Christmas. Beleive it or not, I only went for the first time last year with Kaelin but we both loved it! I’m definitely not a big show person and don’t go that often but I can definitely see why there is so much hype around this particular one. The tickets can be a little pricey depending on where you want to sit but I would definitely say it’s worth it if you have time.
7. Union Square Christmas Market
Another Christmas Market that I love and recommend visiting is the one in Union Square. Like the Bryant Park one, it has lots of booths selling delicious food and Christmas gifts. The hot Choclate is a must try here too – so good! I can’t wait to go back this year!
..And last but not least, Rolfs! Rolf’s is a German restaurant & bar that I actually visited for the first time last year. It is known for it’s extravagant Christmas decorations every year. It’s the perfect after work Christmas activity and I definitely want to go back this year. Beware though that most times you go there you will have to queue as it’s not the biggest space. I would also look into booking a reservation if you would like to eat.
As I mentioned it’s my fourth year here for the lead up to Christmas so I have definitely done quite a few ‘Christmassy’ things but theses are the ones that stand out to me. It’s definitely the one time of year I give my myself full permission to be a proper tourist for a few weeks here haha! So, whether you live here or are visiting, I hope you find this list helpful & enjoy this time here – it really is magical!
It looks so awesome to be able to skate in an open area right in front of a large and gorgeous Christmas tree! Christmas in New York does look very exciting indeed!
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You’re so lucky to spend Christmas in NYC, I’ve only been in the summer, but would love to see the city all lit up at Christmas, or Central Park in the autumn.
Great guide, thank you very much for sharing this
I wanted to ask if you know when does all these Christmasy things begin?
They usually begin in the middle of November :)
You are so lucky to be spending Christmas in NYC and Ireland. I miss all the excitement and energy of the city.
Ireland is so beautiful too. Enjoy the holidays with your family and friends. Merry Christmas to you all.