No matter where you spend the holidays, it’ll always be a special time of year. NYC is a particularly magical place to spend the holidays as the entire city buzzes with festive energy. Maybe that’s why so many holiday movies are set there – with all of the sparkling lights and beautiful sights, it’s no wonder it’s the backdrop for so many seasonal flicks. Perhaps you can even have one of these classics playing in the background as you pack your luggage for your upcoming trip while imagining yourself in this city.
Simply strolling down the street in NYC can get you in a festive mood. But by lining up some holiday activities to do while you’re there, you can really take advantage of all that the city has to offer. Read on for some of the top things to do and see on your holiday trip to NYC this year.
Central Park is a must-see on any trip to NYC, and it’s a great holiday experience because you don’t have to worry about buying tickets or picking the perfect time to go. After shopping or a nice lunch, simply pop over to Central Park for a magical stroll with a to-go cup of hot cocoa or hot apple cider in hand.
For any outdoor activities planned over the holidays in NYC, be prepared with the right winter accessories like a knit beanie, a pair of warm gloves, and a stylish yet warm scarf. And for walking through the city – and through Central Park in particular – be sure you wear a comfy and warm pair of women's boots with the arch support you’ll need for all-day wear!
Seeing the holiday window displays at the 34th Street Macy’s is one of the easiest ways to get into the holiday spirit and a must-see stop on your NYC adventure. You can see these whimsical window displays, complete with festive lights, winter wonderland scenes, and sometimes even adorable puppies and kittens, through January 1st.
Each year has its own theme, so even if you’ve seen the displays before, it’s worth going back. Plus, this is a great pitstop on your way to Central Park because it’s only around a 30-minute walk, a quick cab ride, or a few stops on the train away.
Bryant Park, located in Midtown Manhattan, truly comes alive during the holiday season. Food stalls with tasty treats and seasonal drinks and shopping stalls for any last-minute holiday gifts or souvenirs to take home pop up all around the park. The main attraction, though, is Bryant Park’s holiday ice-skating rink.
For strolling through the holiday markets and swirling and twirling (or doing your best to stay upright—we can relate) on the ice skating rink, you’ll want to bring your warm pair of winter gloves, hat, and scarf. Your entire NYC trip will require an insulated and cozy coat, and for an experience like Bryant Park, you might want to opt for a packable down coat in case you want to shed any layers while you skate or find the perfect gift inside of one of the heated stalls.
While you’ll see festive lights and holiday cheer all over the city, the huge Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center takes it all to the next level. It’s also a great place to take some memorable photos, but keep in mind that you might have to wait a bit for the perfect shot – this seasonal spectacle draws large crowds!
If you haven’t had your ice skating fix at Bryant Park, you can also ice skate here. The Rockefeller Center is also a great stop on your way to see the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall.
The Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall featuring the Rockettes is an iconic holiday tradition in NYC and a must-see on your trip. This is an event that you’ll definitely want to buy tickets for in advance. If you want to grab a nice dinner after the show, be sure to make this reservation in advance, as well as restaurants in this area, get fairly busy during the holidays.
You’ll want to dress up for this event, especially if you have dinner reservations after the show. With this in mind, be sure to pack a dressy outfit that works for cold weather, like a sweater dress that you can wear with fleece-lined tights, or a pair of dress pants you can rock with a cashmere sweater.
These are just some festive activities you can see and do while you live out your daydreams of the holidays in NYC! Don’t forget to pack the right gear, look into tickets and reservations in advance, and charge your phone before you leave the hotel so you can take advantage of all of the photo ops.