The vibe you get in New York at Christmas and on New Year’s Eve is unique in the world. Music, lights, decorations, markets, parades… In this time of the year the Big Apple wants you to focus on only one thing: celebrating your Christmas holidays! Everything will be gigantic in your eyes and each corner of the city will make you think you’ve been thrown into a movie set: Home alone 2: Lost in New York? Miracle on 34th Street? The choice is yours 🙂
Right here in NYC I celebrated New Year’s Eve in 2014, plunged in its festive and a bit crazy whirlwind, which is exactly the thing you’ll miss the most once you are back again to normality. What you won’t miss is the cold, but that’s another story…
These are my 5+1 places to see and things to do in New York at Christmas and on New Year’s Eve 2016/2017.
#1 ROCKEFELLER CENTER
Ok, I must confess it: after my arrival, the very first place I went to in New York was the Rockefeller Center. Would you blame me? There are no words to describe the thrill of standing in front of the most famous Christmas tree in the world: around 100 feet tall, decorated with 45,000 lights and topped by a huge Swarovski star!
But, that’s not all! I came back to the Rockefeller Center on 1st January to do a little “crazy thing”: celebrating the new year ice-skating on its (tiny) well-known rink. It’s been a unique experience, even though a bit expensive… No worries, I’ll list you soon in a new post all the best options, suitable for all budgets!
Are you planning a trip to New York?
For Christmas 2016 the Christmas tree at the Rockefeller Center will be lit from 30th November to 7th January, every day from 5:30 am to 12 pm, and 24 hours non-stop on Christmas day.
#2 THE 5TH AVENUE
At Christmas time New York’s most famous shopping street couldn’t shine brighter! Its decorated windows and its lights are a sight for sore eyes… and a wallet drain! But having a simple look is free, isn’t it? It goes without saying that the 5th Avenue is always super crowded and there’s no specific time to have a quiet walk. Anyway, maybe in the morning is better.
#3 BRYANT PARK
Bryant Park is one of the most festive places you will find in New York at Christmas. Surrounded by skyscrapers, this park will welcome you with a giant Christmas tree, an ice-skating rink and a Christmas market. Here you will also find food stands with delicatessen from all over the world. I still remember my exquisite chicken empanadas!
Holiday Shops at Bryant Park
30.10.2015 – 03.01.2016
From Monday to Friday from 11am to 8pm
Saturday from 10am to 9pm
Sunday from 10am to 6pm
#4 RADIO CITY MUSIC ALL and/or THEATRE ON BROADWAY
You have time until 2nd January to see an unforgettable Rockettes show. The Rockettes is a dance company, founded in 1925, that has been performing at the Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan since 1932. The performance consists in a high-precision synchronized dance, which is always different and challenging year after year. It’s one of the most-watched shows in the US, so I suggest you to book your tickets asap at this link:
Another excellent choice is a classic of New York: a musical in one of Broadway’s theatres! The programme is always full of shows and, in this case too, it’s better to book in advance.
The bad news is that for both of them you’ll have to fork out quite a lot of dollars but, trust me, these are must-dos in New York! Chose the performance that inspires you the most and you won’t be disappointed.
#5 CENTRAL PARK
I wish you to be as lucky as I was when I visited Central Park: deep blue sky, immaculate snow and almost nobody. It’s definitely one of my best memories of New York. The snowstorm of the previous night had transformed Central Park in a boundless winter wonderland. Across the park I only met a few people: some kids with their bobsleds and a middle-aged couple doing cross-country ski. Forget the chaos of the metropolis for a couple of hours and enjoy the quiet side of New York.
#6 HOTEL PLAZA
Ok guys, so we’re at n. 6.
Close your eyes and imagine this scene: you are near Central Park, it’s Christmas and you are right in front of Hotel Plaza’s facade .
It’s just a moment.
A jingling noise in your ears, movie cuts in your mind, a blond boy, an hotel suite… you cannot stop them!
You try and you try… But there’s only a word ringing in your head:
And if, by the way, you are asking yourself if I did it, the answer is yes: I pretended to be a guest of the Hotel Plaza and I went in greeting the doorman with a smile (the most aristocratic I had!). Well, actually, it’s not forbidden, but let me tell you that it’s a bit intimidating. I had a tour of the main hall, I saw the Christmas tree and I peeked inside the restaurant. That was enough to say:
“Ok, that’s done. And this is another tick to my bucket-list.”