When I first created my Pinterest account, I added bucket list trips to my travel board. New York City at Christmas was included and this week, I got to check off skating at Rockefeller Center.
A couple of weeks ago on the Wednesday after Cyber Monday, I was sitting at the Sweet Olive warehouse chatting with Brit about upcoming travel plans. She mentioned wanting to go to New York City for the holidays and I told her I’d always wanted to do that. Being the spontaneous action takers that we are, we decided to go for it.
The first tip I have for you is to go during the week. The city is always crowded, but the lines are shorter for everything during the week.
The Top Things to Do in New York City at Christmas:
Skate at Rockefeller Center. This was hands down my all-time favorite thing we did. The wait time was maybe 45 minutes and the cost was around $40 which included skate rental. Once you’re on the ice, you skate for as long as you’d like. I think we spent over an hour going around the rink under the most beautiful tree in this iconic spot. Lester Holt was filming a story the day we were there so that was an added element of fun!
See the Rockettes. This has been a dream of mine since I was 10 and did a tap dance to “I Wanna Be a Rockette.” Their precision is flawless and their collective talent is out of this world. It’s quite a production at Radio City Music Hall and you honestly feel like part of the show.
Go to a Broadway Show. We didn’t do this on this trip, but I’ve seen a handful and can tell you it’s a must. I really haven’t seen a bad show and I don’t think you can go wrong so pick a show based on your taste and price point. My personal favorites include: Wicked, Les Miserables, and Kinky Boots. There are ways to get affordable tickets at TKTS and at the theatre itself. Some theatres do $40 rush tickets the morning of the show, but you’ll need to go stand in line to get them.
Visit Bryant Park. We walked by Bryant Park which is just a few blocks from Times Square, but it was closed by the time we got there at 10:30pm on our last night. It looks like Winter Wonderland though and also has a skating rink. Bryant Park was one of my favorite places when I lived in the city.
Walk through The Plaza. This infamous hotel is even more beautiful at Christmastime with its décor and massive tree. The Plaza also has a dining hall where you can find some of New York’s best treats like Black and White cookies.
Eat at Tavern on The Green in Central Park. This will forever be one of my favorite restaurants in the city. It’s located in Central Park and the food is phenomenal. Their gluten free options are on point and even include a dinner roll which wins automatic brownie points in my book. During the holidays, the restaurant is beautifully decorated both inside and out. It’s a bit more expensive, but it’s worth every penny.
Walk the Brooklyn Bridge. It doesn’t really matter when you go to NYC, walking the Brooklyn Bridge is a must and it’s pretty easy to do. I suggest taking the subway over to Brooklyn and walking back to Manhattan. The skyline is just breathtaking. This time when we went, we got to the bridge around 4:30 and the sun was setting. We watched it set and the city lights came to life. The view was something you just need to see for yourself.
Walk along 5th Avenue. The store windows, the streets, it’s all decorated. Saks Fifth Avenue has a light show that is just so cool and it’s near Rockefeller so you can also see the tree.
You’ll notice that Times Square is not on my list. After living in the city, I avoid it at all costs because I’ve seen it and there’s more to NYC than this crowded touristy area. However, if you’ve never been to the city, it is definitely something to see and I suggest going during the day and at night just to get the whole experience. The theatres are near Times Square so if you see a show, this is a good time to check it out.
If you have a warm coat, comfortable shoes, gloves, and a hat, you should spend some time just strolling through the city. Every neighborhood has decorations and festivities so you can’t go anywhere without holiday cheer following you. It truly is magical.
Cheers to making travel bucket list dreams happen,