The Upper East Side: One of my favorite things to do over the weekends in December was to walk around the Upper East Side and admire all of the beautiful houses decked out in over the top Christmas decorations. You might have seen on my snapchat that there was even one house that was wrapped up in a huge bow and another one with moving polar bears on the front steps! The dream!The Mark Hotel also has a really cute little La Duree hot chocolate stand outside incase you need a sweet treat! Dyker Heights in Brooklyn and The West Village are two other great spots for finding nicely decorated houses.
The buildup to Christmas in New York started as soon as the Thanksgiving Day Parade ended. Since then, the city has been sparkling even more than usual. As this was my first festive season in the city, I went into full on tourist mode trying to take in as much as possible and wanted to share with you all the best things to do in NYC during Christmas!
Ice Skating: Ice Skating rinks start popping up around the city in early November and there’s plenty to choose from. The most famous being the Rockefeller Centre and Bryant Park, which I always find to be a little crowded. My favourite is the Wollman Rink in Central Park which is very spacious and doesn’t ever appear to have large queues. I’m so beyond terrible at skating but its something I really want to get better at!
5th Ave: If you ever want to feel like you’re in a scene out of a movie, all you have to do is take a stroll down Fifth Ave some evening over Christmas. The crowds, the carolers on the street and the beautiful lights make for a wonderfully festive atmosphere. Theres a really cute cafe upstairs in the Ralph Lauren store called Ralph’s where you can sit down and take a break from the shopping.
Bergdorf Windows: Ever since I saw the documentary Scatter My Ashes At Bergdorf’s, its been a dream of mine to see their Christmas windows in real life and honestly they didn’t disappoint. So much intricate detail is put into creating beautiful works of art based on fashion. I literally spent a half an hour staring at the sparkle!
The Tree at Rockefeller Center: I really think seeing the Christmas tree at the Rockefeller Center is the best festive experience I’ll ever have! It really is everything you see in the movies and in the pictures except even better in real life. It’s so huge and colorful and the atmosphere is unlike no other! The best part is watching the lights show on the Saks Fifth Ave building which happens every 10 minutes and fills the streets with sounds of beautiful Christmas music. That said the crowds are insane so you will have to weave your way through the masses of tourists with selfie sticks!
Christmas Markets: There’s numerous Christmas Markets around the city where you can pick up some beautiful handmade presents and indulge in delicious treats like macaroons and crepes. My favourite is the one at Bryant Park where you can shop and eat with a great view of the empire state building.
Hot Chocolate at the Plaza: The Plaza Hotel anytime of the year is a treat but at Christmas its extra special. Have a peak at the beautiful tree in the lobby before heading downstairs to the Food Hall for a Hot Chocolate to warm up! If you’re a Home Alone fan then you’ll really enjoy seeing this place and trying to remember the different scenes that were filmed here!
The Rockettes: This was on my Christmas to do list but unfortunately I didn’t quite make it! The Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall is supposedly one of the best Christmas experiences you could have. The dancing, the music and the glittery costumes would make for a great show whether your a musical fan or not!
I honestly feel so lucky that I got to spend the weeks up to Christmas in New York, but even more grateful that I’m flying home to Ireland tonight! I remember when I moved here in May, knowing that the next time I would see my family again would be at Christmas made it seem like a lifetime away. And now its right here and to be honest I feel proud as punch that I survived the first part of my journey in New York!
Have a great weekend guys!!