It has to be said, New York at Christmas Time is pretty special. We’d had it on our list to visit for a long time, so finally made it happen last year as a way of finishing our 12 in 12 adventures nicely. To make sure we experienced New York at Christmas fully I did a heck of a lot of research to ensure we came back feeling more Christmassy than Santa. I’d say we pretty much managed it so here are my top ten things to do if you’re visiting New York at Christmas this year. If you’re looking for more all-year-round things to do, then check out my post on top 5 views to see in New York Here.
Christmas Themed Walking Tour -Pay as You Feel
I came across a free walking tour, that was themed around Christmas Movie’s and their locations. The majority was set in Central Park and around Home Alone, Lost in New York and Elf. Mainly because both movies were filmed on location, unlike some of the others. We got to learn about how they filmed Elf, How the first Miracle on 51st Street was filmed and more. It was really interesting and informative and we got to see some great sights like Gapstow Bridge in Central Park, but with a different lens on them. It was a free NYC Christmas Movie walking tour, whereby you pay the tour guide what you feel it was worth. So if it’s rubbish it’s free! Nothing to lose really, except your precious time. Our guide was fab and of course, we paid accordingly.
Skate at an Ice Rink
We saw the ice rink at Bryant Park and the ones in Central Park but we chose to skate at the Rockefeller Rink. Well, I say skate. What I mean is cling on for dear life! I used to be okay at ice skating in my youth but clearly, that skill had been forgotten so I skillfully re-created Bambi on Ice whilst Luke skated around like a pro. Luckily for me, the prettiness of the tree made up for the fact we’d spent money for me to sit down for the most part.
We booked a breakfast skate which meant we were the first ones on for the day and hot cocoa rinkside. Followed by breakfast in their ringside restaurant. We had a window seat so could watch the next group of skaters take to the ice. It was really nice to do and would recommend going for this option as it makes it that bit more special.
Visit Dyker Heights Christmas Lights
If you want to see Christmas Lights on acid then go to Dyker Heights. It’s a residential district in Brooklyn where one resident (aptly called Lucy) decided one year to go all out and decorate their home. It escalated from there with some rivalries, some people getting annoyed and now is where residents pay companies to decorate the outsides of their homes to keep up. That said, it’s a costly business but some ask for charitable donations which makes all the wasted electricity worth it a little. You can get various subways and then a cab to get there but we booked a coach tour for ease. We had a guide take us around all the streets and tell us the history of the area and the sights of going over the Manhattan Bridge at night was such a sight too.
Go on a Festive Boat Tour
We wanted to take a boat trip to the Statue of Liberty as it had been recommended to us. When we researched some of them we came across the Cocoa and Carols Holiday Cruise by Classic Harbor Line (About £140 for 2 people). It did what it said on the tin! The boat was decorated festively. We sat on a table with a couple of other couples and then a few tables around us. In the middle, there were two musicians and a singer. We all had carol sheets for later and included was one cocoa or ‘spiced’ cocoa which was cocoa and rum. We ate cookies (more biscuits tbh) before we all got to join in shaking some jingle bells and singing! It was such a foggy night but luckily it lifted enough for us to see Libby in all her glory! It was pretty awesome I have to say. I felt quite emotional, and it was very much worth the price and was something different to do.
Bryant Park Market
We spent a rainy Sunday mooching around Bryant Park Festive Market and Ice Rink. There was the usual stuff there but I also chanced upon Jet Set Candy Jewellery. They specialise in luggage tag, passport stamp and beautiful pendants and charms based on popular cities. The Empire State charm was amazing and so intricate. However, I fell in love with their flat pendant necklaces. I really liked how you can’t see what they are until you know. For example, the Paris themed one has the Eiffel Tower around it, with hidden poodles, croissants and more in the design! That’s me trying it on above. I decided upon the New York Version because, when in New York! I also got a cute little plane charm too which is cute.
I’m sad they are in the US as shipping is crazy. I would own a few more pieces by now, but I’ve also seen they’ve just opened their first store in Grand Central Station complex so it’s an excuse to go back isn’t it? As well as the shops there’s a covered food hall with various street style vendors. We went for mulled cider but didn’t manage to grab any food as we’d recently had brekkie.
Visit Ladder 8
One for the Ghostbusters Fans! The building they worked in on the first movie is still a working fire station (or ladder as they say in the States). You can find it directly opposite a tube station. So we added a quick stop to our itinerary. We were so glad we did! They were just finishing decorating the building and the ladders and truck were out and all decorated up too! It was a fab little pit stop.
Go Bauble Shopping in Macy’s
Other retailers are available, however, Macy’s do make an effort with their decor so it’s a good place to go see. We ended up in their bauble section and spent so so long there! Everything was on sale which didn’t help! I also picked up a Michael Kors bag on the way out for a really good price too. It was the main bit of shopping we did aside from….
Stock Up on Bath and Body’s Works Christmas Scents
So it had to happen. I went mad for shower gels as usual and some bubble bath and candles. As it hadn’t been that long since our Las Vegas spree we managed to not go too mad. But enough that our house and bodies smelled of New York at Christmas for the rest of December and January!
Watch the Saks Light Show
Opposite the Rockefeller Tree is Saks 5th Avenue. At night it has a light show which is every 10 minutes and lasts about five mins. Theatre of Dreams was last years theme, It’s really fab to watch and helps get in the Christmas mood.
Go see the Rockefeller Tree
It was the first thing we went to go see in for our New York at Christmas trip and it didn’t disappoint. They were filming on the day the NBC Annual Holiday Sing-Along which was perfect timing. What’s more Christmassy than this scene below? It’s safe to say I could carry on much more but this finishes my top ten off nicely! So tell me have you ever been to New York at Christmas it is it on your list too?