If you’ve never been to New York during the holidays, add it to your bucket list immediately! The only way to describe it is truly magical. I don’t care if that sounds cliche but I couldn’t think of another place I’d rather spend the month of December getting in the holiday spirit!
I last wrote about my favorite holiday traditions back in 2014 so I figured it was high time I update that list and share my favorite places to enjoy the city’s festive spirit now that I have two more years under my belt.
What to Do in New York During the Holidays:
Fifth Avenue Windows: I always start at Barneys over on Madison Avenue and then commence down Fifth Avenue to see the decorated windows at Bergdorf Goodman, Tiffany & Co., Saks Fifth Avenue and more. Don’t forget to look up at the decorations on some of the buildings like Harry Winston, Cartier; among others while you’re at it!
The Palace Christmas Tree: Take a detour from the Christmas windows along Fifth Avenue and pop over to The Palace Hotel’s courtyard to see their gorgeously adorned tree (where these photos were snapped.) The entrance to the courtyard is off of Madison Avenue.
Ice Skating in Central Park: There are several places to skate in New York this time of year, but last weekend I went to the Wollman rink for the first time and loved making my way around the ice with the towering city buildings above. A few things to note to make your visit better: 1. it is cash only; 2. no bags are allowed on the ice so plan accordingly and 3. it is pricy so you may want to plan to stay awhile! Bring a snack to have while you rest your feet.
Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree: This destination practically goes without saying! I always love getting a glimpse of the magnificent site of this tree every season. All lit up and something to truly marvel at. Put some Christmas music in your ears, drown out the crowds and look up in awe.
The Radio City Christmas Spectacular: I just went to this for the first time the other weekend and am glad to now know what it is all about! It’s pretty cheesy but the Rockettes are pretty amazing with their synchronization and it was fun to get all dressed up for something so famous in New York this time of year. I’d recommend doing it once to say you have! It’s also fun to hear the little ones’ commentary throughout 🙂
Where to Eat & Drink:
Rolf’s German Bar: This spot is famous thanks to Instagram and while it is wildly crowded nowadays, you have to make a stop here for a spiked eggnog or mulled wine. Go late at night or arrive before opening to get in line on a weekend and enjoy your drink under the best Christmas decorations any joint has ever offered. This place is like drinking inside of a Christmas tree!
The Standard East Village Winter Garden: The Standard opened up this winter garden last year and it’s a new favorite spot of mine! During the day they are selling Christmas trees but at night you can reserve a yurt and have a fondue party or just grab a table to sip on mulled wine or hot cider cocktails. All the lights and the blankets make this spot so cozy.
Bemelmans Bar: This place is like traveling back in time to old New York. Between the dark wood-covered walls, famed murals by Ludwig Bemelman and piano music drifting in the air, you can’t help but feel elated when you settle in and the Manhattan hits your hand. Take in the lights on Madison Avenue and the decorations in The Carlyle as you make your way to the bar.
The St. Regis: There’s a corner spot just outside The St. Regis’ bar that has two chairs nestled up against a fire place and if you can secure those two and order a drink, you’re in for a delightful time. Be sure to capture your photo with the giant nutcrackers standing guard outside this storied hotel this time of year.
The Boathouse: If you take up ice skating in the park, treat yourself to a drink at The Boathouse afterwards. This legendary Central Park spot has brunch and dinner but I love it for the bar with a fireplace and the beautiful decorations this time of year. You’ll even spot a Christmas tree with its very own form of transportation on the pond!
City Bakery: The richest hot chocolate awaits you here and be sure to get the homemade marshmallow to really wrap up this experience with a bow. Delish!
And of course no festive outing would be right without the proper outfit! The entire J.McLaughlin line right now has so many cute pieces but I instantly fell for this vegan leather skirt! I’ve worn it three times already and gotten so many compliments each time (a woman on the street even stopped me to ask where it was from saying she had to have it!) This wrap is also so cozy and would make a great gift for a girlfriend or your mom and comes in three additional colors, too! This outfit would be perfect for an office holiday party and I already can’t wait to wear it on Christmas Eve.
So now do tell, did I miss any spots around New York for the holidays!? And no matter wherever you are, I hope you take many moments to enjoy the magic of this season…xo!
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Thank you to J.McLaughlin for partnering on this post.