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Where to Catch the Holiday Spirit in New York City
I’ve lived in NYC for over twenty years and there’s just no place like it in the world for the holidays. It really should be on everyone’s bucket list.
Here are some of my favorite places that instantly get me in the holiday spirit.
Ice Skating in Bryant Park
This is by far one of the most romantic parks in NYC and it just gets better in the winter. I used to waitress at the restaurant here when it was simply a park surrounded by tall sycamore trees. Now it’s a hub-bub of festive activity with a carousel, holiday shops and restaurants.
General admission is free, however renting ice skates is $14.
Holiday Fair at Grand Central Terminal
Anything you do at Grand Central Terminal has an air of elegance to it. Now imagine holiday shopping under all that beauty. Every holiday the iconic train terminal features 76 artisans making everything from hand blown glass to hand knit gloves. There’s pottery, handbags, ties, baby stuff. All which say “I didn’t buy this at the mall.” NYC is host to many holiday markets, but this is the only one held indoors. It’s good to be warm
Holiday Extra: Don’t miss the holiday light show that is projected on Grand Central’s famed ceiling every half hour.
Jacques Torres on Hudson Street
A trip to his flagship store and chocolate factory is a must when you come to the city. Here is where you see Mr. Torres’s magic when it comes to handcrafted, made-from-scratch chocolates. The highlight is the chocolate bar where you can order a velvety hot chocolate or if you’re feeling more naughty than nice, a wicked hot chocolate which has cinnamon, all-spice and ancho chili powder. Mr. Torres recently opened an outpost in the concourse of Rockefeller Center.
The Holiday Train Show at New York Botanical Garden
The word enchanting doesn’t begin to describe the Holiday Train Show which features 140 of the Big Apple’s most iconic buildings not only in fanciful miniature form but all completely made of plants using seeds, pine-cones, twigs, leaves and bark. Part of the fun is trying to guess what organic material was used to create things like the tiny fans in the original Yankee Stadium or the windows of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. My favorite: the naked bum of a statue made from the shells of two pistachio nuts.
A family friendly music parade and moving art piece, UnSilent Night has been going on for twenty years! If you want to participate just go to their website to download one of four tracks of music to be played on whatever you have that amplifies music. Kudos to you if you actually travel with a boombox, but of course your phone will do as well. Walking through a specially chosen route through the evening streets, it’s a wonderful way to actually be apart of the holiday energy of New York City. This year the event will be held on December 18th at 6pm.
What’s your favorite holiday attraction in the Big Apple?
3 Great Places for Holiday Lights
My Holiday Travel Survival Guide
Rockefeller Center photo by Andrew Dallos
This Post Has 5 Comments
Great story. We just returned from a great weekend in NY. I would add walking down Park Avenue. We loved the smells of the fresh evergreens they cut up and place in the little “green areas” on the sidewalks, medians, etc. To be able to smell evergreens while seeing all the great displays was really cool to experience.
We spent our first Christmas Eve in New York last night. We will remember this night forever. A concert at Carnegie Hall followed by a beautiful mass service at a church on Fifth Ave; the full moon over St. Paul’s cathedral, lights and music everywhere; skate rinks at Rockefeller Center and at Bryan Park: a festive atmosphere that filled our hearts.
My favorite place to catch the holiday spirit in New York City is Radio City Music Hall!
I’m a native New Yorker who grew up in NYC and lived there for part of my adult life. My favorite place in NYC at Christmastime in addition to Rockefeller Center and the Christmas tree is the Met Cloisters Museum in Fort Tryon Park in upper Manhattan. I love the way the museum is decorated in the Medieval tradition of garland with fruit and the Renaissance music that plays. The view of the Hudson River and the NJ Palisades from the outdoor terrace is also spectacular! I love the Cloisters! It’s also great in the summer when they have a Renaissance Festival. Go there. You won’t be disappointed. Happy Holidays!
Just got here yesterday bringing our kids for the first time. Looking for new things to get them excited about the city!