Christmas in New York is one of the most picturesque times of the year
As you can imagine, to be able to live in New York City during the Christmas season, is a dream of many people around the world. Every once in a while, you are lucky enough to live in the Big Apple and become part of the chaos of being in a city with more than 5 million extra people visiting at Christmas. I think the chaos is part of the charm of spending Christmas in New York. In this spirit, we have listed the most unforgettable places and Christmas activities to enjoy in New York City.
Ice skating at Rockefeller Center – The Rink
There is nothing more typical of Christmas in New York, than ice skating at Rocefeller Center. Each Christmas thousands of tourists and even some New Yorkers, go to ‘The Rink’ to skate – some even are brave even to propose marriage on the ice!
Maybe because I walk near Bryant Park every day, or maybe because of its charm, or maybe because it is a quiet place amidst the giant skyscrapers, for whatever reason, Bryant Park has become one of my favorite places in New York – even more so during Christmas. Bryant Park has everything that Christmas in New York should offer: markets, an ice skating rink and gorgeous lights.
From the beginning of the last century, The Rockettes have become one of the most important spectacles on Broadway during the Christmas season. It is the main show at Radio City Music Hall during Christmas, having five performances each day of the week. They are not just part of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, but also perform at the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting.
Macy’s and the Miracle on 34th Street
Even if you are not going shopping, Macy’s is a must during the Christmas season. At the start of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, TV cameras film groups performing in front of the store and it is broadcast all over the United States. The store is a symbol of the city and is worth a visit if just to see the Christmas windows, the hustle & bustle inside the store, or to sit on Santa’s lap – just like in the movie ‘Miracle on 34th Street’.
Having a candy cane with hot chocolate
If you are hungry after walking around NYC, having hot chocolate with a peppermint candy cane is possibly one of the most typical moments, not only of Christmas in New York, but of Christmas around the United States.
The windows at Bergdorf Goodman and Bloomingdales
Another classic place to see the Christmas windows is at Bergdorf Goodman and Bloomingdales. Every year they are visited by thousands of people. Clothes, models, dolls, and all kinds of decorations are displayed in the windows of these famous stores. Definitely a ‘must’ if you are visiting NYC!
Lights at Fifth Avenue and Midtown Manhattan
It is obligatory to walk around Midtown Manhattan if you want to enjoy the lights and window decorations in New York. If you like feeling this special atmosphere during the holidays, you will be amazed by each store, each street and each illuminated plaza – each decorated in a unique and original way.
Gift and Toy Stores
Going into the stores during Christmas is not only a brave adventure, but also a way to experience and feel the Christmas spirit in New York. Apart from the consumerism in the stores, you will be able to see the lights and special decorations, trying to attract shoppers. Toy stores stand out even more (if that is possible)! Plan a visit to Dylan’s Candy Bar and FAO Schwarz Toys.
This restaurant surprised us, not only with amazing ice cream, but also with the Christmas decorations. They are wonderful and it is worth a visit there…if you are able to make a reservation. If you DO get a reservation, you just might see some famous people sitting down next to you!
Christmas Markets in New York
Is there anything more typical than Christmas markets? I think this is true not only of Christmas in New York, but all around the world. Bryant Park, Union Square, the Brooklyn Flea Market, Grand Central and Columbus Circle are only a few. They are definitely worth a visit!
Little Italy is a neighborhood in New York we enjoy walking around in. Although many New Yorkers will tell you that this area is not authentic, I don’t see it that way. It is a place where I can travel in time and feel the atmosphere of years ago. There is even a Christmas store open 365 days a year.
Chelsea is another place which is worth visiting during Christmas. Although it does not have as many decorations and lights as Manhattan, you will find beautiful decorations thanks to the efforts of the shop-keepers. Apart from being a charming place, it offers a different look during Christmas.
How can we forget our own neighborhood! Harlem also celebrates the Holidays and gives us beautiful decorations and lights with the warm and familiar atmosphere of the place. 125th Street is the heart of the neighborhood and we recommend a long walk to see the illuminations during the night. We also invite you to try Cedric French Bistro & Bar.
Apart from offering us one of the most known entries into Central Park, this famous plaza is an amazing street exhibition during Christmas in New York. The light surrounds the area and if you want to complete the visit, you may enter the Time Warner Center where music and lights dance together. Also, and although it sounds ‘touristy’, take a horse and carriage ride during Christmas night – it is one of the most romantic experiences we have ever had!
Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and Long Island
And if we talk about Christmas in New York, we can’t just focus on Manhattan. El Boqueron Viajero insist you escape Manhattan and visit the closest boroughs. I think they are even more authentic! Dyker Heights stands out in Brooklyn, with its curious illuminations; in the Bronx you will have to visit the Garabedian Family’s Christmas House in Pelham Parkway North; in Long Island, The Lindy Christmas House and in Queens you must go to the intersection between 23rd Avenue and 166th Street, where there are several lighted houses (Kevin Lynch’s house is probably the best one)!