PHOTO c/o SOHO HOUSE
Happy December! New York City is simply the best place to spend the holidays! The city is never prettier than when twinkling lights adorn the skyscrapers and the streets smell like pine trees from the sidewalk trees vendors. There are so many unique holiday events to take part in and I wanted to share some of my favorites on the blog today. I have a handful of guests this month; so whether you’re visiting NYC, or need some ideas on how to entertain your guests, here are 10 festive events to check out. Let’s take a look! xo
Bryant Park Winter Village
PHOTO c/o TIME OUT NEW YORK
Nestled in the busy business world of Midtown is the sweet oasis of Bryant Park where their annual Europeans style Winter Village is bustling with things to do. During the winter, Bryant Park transforms into a holiday market and ice skating rink that is the perfect mix of holiday activities. Their holiday market is the best place to find unique and home crafted gifts like jewelry, beauty products, leather goods, art, home goods, and apparel. There you can snack on Belgian Waffles, Bao, Empanadas, Doughnuts, Pickles, and gourmet Hot Chocolate. They also have the Bank of America ice skating rink which is more affordable and cozy than the Rockefeller Ice Rink. It is a small space but that adds to the charm because it feels tucked away from the city. It reminded me of my local artisan fairs back home but with more interesting and unique finds. This is the perfect place to stop by and catch up on any last minute shopping while also experiencing the diversity of New York City. The Winter Village runs now until January 2nd from 11am-8pm on weekdays and 10am-8pm on weekends.
5th Avenue Window Tour
PHOTO c/o MR MAGAZINE
Tiffany’s Co., Saks 5th Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, Lord & Taylor, and Cartier all have their big flagship stores along the main stretch of 5th Ave and they are known across the country for their holiday window displays. This is a classic New York holiday staple that is enjoyed by tourists and native New Yorkers alike. The best time to go for photographs is in the evening when it is dark because the lights pop without reflection. Most of the window displays are already up now! Also, make a detour into the stores as well because they are beautifully decorated and festive inside. I recommend starting on 35th Street and 5th Avenue or lower and walk all the way to Central Park at 61st Street. This is the best stretch of all the main designer stores like Dior, Louis Vuitton, Barney’s, Tom Ford, and Gucci as well as popular chain stores like Victoria’s Secret and Urban Outfitters.
Christmas Tree Hunt
PHOTO c/o NY DAILY NEWS
Okay I know that everyone and their second cousin wants to see the Rockefeller tree and while it is spectacular, there are so many other beautiful Christmas tree displays all over the city. My top 10 to see are The New York Botanical Garden Trees, The Bryant Park Tree, the old fashioned New York Public Library Tree, the origami American Museum of Natural History Tree (bonus this is the musuem that the movie Night at the Museum is based on) ,The Metropolitan Museum of Art Nativity Tree, The Lincoln Square Tree, The path of Christmas trees on Park Ave, The South Street Seaport Caroling Tree, the Plaza Hotel Tree, and The Washington Square Park Christmas Tree. This is the perfect way to see the different boroughs of the city in a short amount of time. The tree lighting ceremonies are popular events, but from an experienced local, they involve standing around in the cold street for a half minute presentation. This Christmas tree hunt allows you to visit each tree at your own pace and gives plenty of opportunity to grab a cup of festive hot chocolate or homemade goodies at the local vendors around the trees.
Outdoor Holiday Markets
PHOTO c/o METRO.US
Who doesn’t love a good Christmas market? The two best outdoor markets in the city, besides the one in Bryant Park, are the Union Square and Columbus Circle holiday markets! The Union Square Holiday Market has a plant market, farmers market, food vendors, and gift vendors! This is your one stop shop for everything you need for decorating and making Christmas dinner. The Columbus Circle Holiday Market is the classic Christmas market with classic holiday treats, homemade gifts, and home accessories. Union Square is right by some of the trendiest bars and restaurants so make a day out of it and try the world famous BauHaus for steamed buns or Barcade for craft beer and arcade games. Columbus Circle has some of the best high scale dining and drinks at places like The Smith, which is the best for late night snacks, and Sapphire would is known for their lunch buffet! Get your shop and then your eat on!
Ice Skating Tour
PHOTO c/o FLICKR
Even if you aren’t a NYC native, everyone knows about the ice skating rinks in Central Park and Rockefeller Center. Here is a list of some tucked away, less crowded skating rinks around the city! Chelsea Piers, on 12th Ave between 21st and 22nd St, has an indoor skating rink that will protect you from the cold New York wind. The Standard Ice rink is tucked away on Washington St. and W 13th St. and it is right next to the Standard Plaza hotel with its famous rooftop decks! Get your skate on and then grab a nice holiday drink with a view of the city! As mentioned earlier in the post, the Bank of America skating rink at Bryant Park which is the perfect hidden spot for family fun!
PHOTO c/o FOOD & WINTE
We all know the holidays are the best for delicious food. New York City does it like no other with hundreds of restaurants spread over the small island. The best place to get frozen hot chocolate is Serendipity on 60th St. between 2nd and 3rd Ave. Make sure to get there early because the waiting line is no joke. I highly recommend getting a classic New York reuben sandwich at Katz Delicatessen on E Houston St. and Ludlow St.. Now you can literally get breakfast at Tiffany’s—Tiffany & Co. just open their new Blue Box cafe, on 49th St and 5th Ave, which is the perfect place for tea and pastries or breakfast! Rolf’s is known for their elaborate Christmas decoration and classic German cuisine and they are located on E 22nd St and 3rd Ave. Rock Center Cafe is the most Christmas of restaurants and it is open Christmas Eve and Day. It is located right next to the Rockefeller Ice Skating rink! So pack your comfy pants and get some of the best holiday food New York has to offer!
The Dyker Heights Christmas Lights
PHOTO c/o REALTOR
Are you ready for a 10,000 lights and numerous inflatable Christmas characters to dazzle the streets of Brooklyn? The Dyker Heights Christmas Lights take up multiple streets and avenues that you can walk around and listen the carols being blasted from the houses! This is the perfect place for families and they hold guided tours of the area as well. The lights are on from dusk to 9pm daily. Come see a different kind of New York as people spread their Christmas cheer!
Grand Central Holiday Train Show and Gulliver’s Gate
PHOTO c/o NYC GO & 5W PR
Grand Central is the New York landmark for trains and every year they hold a holiday train show in a small model New York City! This show is great for kids or lovers of miniature things. The show is held from 8am-8pm on weekdays and 10am-6pm on weekends. Come catch the show and then explore all the unique vendors in Grand Central for some last minute shopping! Another great show for miniature lovers is Gulliver’s Gate on Broadway Ave and 44th St. It is a full city block wide of scaled down displays of New York City and surprise holiday displays. It is seriously so adorable and a short walk from Grand Central!
Fascination Street Holiday Market
PHOTO c/o MOLLY MONROE APPAREL
This is for you Millennials! Brooklyn Bazar is hosting the Fascination Street Holiday Market on Friday, December 15 which is perfect for finding alternative, vegan, and original gifts for the edgy hipster in your life. Some of the vendors include Brooklyn Queens Wear, Tarot For Dandelions, Witchy Washy Bath Co., The Butcher’s Bride, Un-Re Designs, and Rock My Lips. This is the best place to experience the unique local flair of Brooklyn and the best part is the Holiday Market is at night from 7pm-12am! This event is perfect for meeting with friends and shopping and then enjoying the Brooklyn Nightlife at Sunshine Laundromat or Ramona’s. Did I also mention that Brooklyn Bazar has a Karaoke and Ping Pong Arcade Room?! This is the perfect local hang out spot and a great way to catch up with friends before the holidays!
PHOTO c/o ON THE BOARDS
This is probably one of the most unique Christmas events on this list! Unsilent Night is modern day caroling with mixed tracks instead of vocals. Participants download one of the four tracks on either a CD, cassette, or Mp3 and use boom boxes to play the tracks. All the tracks are played at once to create a unique sound and creating a unsilent experience! This event starts at Washington Square Park and walks throughout the East Village. This is a very special event that takes place in only a few cities in the United States and around the world. This one takes place on December 17, 2017 at 5:45 pm at the Washington Square Park Arc! Get ready to have a completely different caroling experience!