Holidays in the City

Unless you find yourself amidst the holiday markets in Europe, there’s no better place to be during Christmas time than New York City.  From the countless trees decked with lights to the window displays along Fifth Avenue to the ice rinks found around the city.  Hey, most of the time we even have the crisp air that allows you to bundle nice and warm, because who isn’t about that boots and scarf look?

Having lived here now through four Christmas seasons, I do agree that the Big Apple does it best – it’s been a treat to wear jeans, sweaters, and scarfs on a regular basis but I also have been fortunate to go home for a sunny and 70F Christmas morning.  I have made it my goal to experience as much Christmas cheer as possible and have a list of things that you certainly should check out one or many years down the road.

So with one week to go before the decorations are stealthily stashed away until next year, let’s get this party started!

Christmas Markets

The Best Holiday Markets is quite a bold statement.  To be honest, you can find pretty much the same items in every location {Union Square ~ Bryant Park ~ Columbus Circle ~ Grand Central} but it’s about experiencing the ambiance of each market.  Or just going to say that you did.

Oh and the FOOD…there are cookies and cider and chocolate galore.  Not to mention this dream of a creation (above), which consists of rolled dough backed on a ceramic rod, covered in sugar and optionally stuffed with your choice of peanut butter, nutella, or whipped cream (or all of the above).

I have a tradition of purchasing an ornament in every place that I travel or live.  Funny enough, for the four Christmases that I have lived here, I have picked an ornament from the same vendor!  They are just that special.  This year’s selection was a view of the iconic iconic Verrazano Bridge, painted in turquoise, my favorite color.

Drinks & Eats

Rolf’s ~ This German bar is like Christmas on steroids and will be decorated in such a manner 6 months out of the year.  The line is insane (tip: go on a Monday at 5:30pm) and drinks are outrageous (in price and deliciousness).  Mulled wine may be overrated and I’m sure I could make the Christmas smoothie on my own but it was so worth it.

Miracle on 9th Street ~ Because over the top festive drinks are so worth it.  Plus it’s Instagram-worthy.

Chestnuts roasting on any street corner.  Or then again don’t…

La Birreria ~ Eataly’s Rooftop Bar & Restaurant that is decked out like an elegant ski-lodge.  Tables are hard to reserve online but if you 1) arrive at odd hours or 2) willing to wait, you may just be in luck.  We did both #1 and #2 and lucked out with a table for 4 on a Sunday afternoon!  We simply arrived at 3, put our name in, walked around Madison Square Park, and received a text around 3:30 that our table was ready!

Ice Skating

The most well-known places are Rockefeller Center and Bryant Park, but don’t forget good ‘ol Central Park at the Wollman Rink (apparently renamed Trump Rink but I refuse to call it that).  Most rinks offer rentals and half-hour increments, which for a novice such as myself is just the right amount. (For more locations, check out the list here)

Fifth Ave Glitz & Glamour

How they decorate the stores and space with so many gidgets and gadgets (or the cost of running all of it…) I will never fully understand.  But it’s brilliant and beautiful and I highly recommend strolling along 5th avenue to soak it all in.  My BIGGEST tip to see this view in peace is to go outside of prime tourist hours.  This means early morning (yes, it’s usually all lit up around 6:30am) or late late at night (quite possibly after midnight).  I haven’t tested the late night theory so just trust me on the morning.

The Stacked List: {Tiffany’s + Lord & Taylor + Harry Winston + Saks Fifth Avenue + Macy’s + Barney’s + Bloomingdales + Henri Bendel + Bergdorf Goodman}

Keeping It Merry & Bright

Radio City Rockettes & The Christmas Spectacular (sometimes GroupOn offers excellent deals)

Holiday Train Show @ The NY Botanical Garden, Bronx NY

Send a Letter to Santa @ Macy’s


“Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.” – Calvin Coolidge

How do you celebrate the Christmas season/holidays?

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