For many it’s a dream to visit New York at Christmas, Kevin McCallister being the exception of course, what with the Wet Bandits on his tail too, and for those lucky enough to be flying out throughout December, you’re in for a real treat.
Nowhere in the world does Christmas like the Big Apple; the skyscrapers are lit, department store window displays are transformed into winter wonderlands, and every square has a sparkling tree taking centre stage.
If we were talking theatre, NYC at Christmas is the Broadway of winter cities, and Broadway itself is just one of the fantastic locations you simply must visit. With Christmas just around the corner, at alpharooms we’ve come up with a fantastic guide to celebrate the festive season in style in perhaps the greatest city on earth.
Gaze Up At The Rockefeller Tree
Throughout the month of December, a huge Christmas tree stands outside the iconic Rockefeller Center with this year’s topping a huge 78ft.
A huge amount of effort goes into the tree and its one of the most impressive sights in the city with over 45,000 LED lights helping the tree twinkle into the night.
There are a number of trees throughout the city but none quite match the Rockefeller for sheer beauty alone. Located just off 5th Avenue, a trip to the tree can be combined with ice skating at the rink on Rockefeller Center Plaza, although it is fairly small and has incredible long queues.
Ice Skate Central Park
If you wish to take in some ice skating, you’re much better off heading towards Central Park where the Wollman Rink is open seven days a week and is much bigger than the one at the Rockefeller. Located towards the Central Park Zoo, there are a number of lessons you can enjoy as well as public skating, leaving you free to float around whilst the city’s stunning skyline looms over you.
The Wollman isn’t the only rink in Central Park however, with the Lasker Rink also popular at the other end of the park towards West 110th Street. You’ll notice this rink is much quieter than the Wollman, although it is considerably further from Midtown.
The Bronx Gets A Little Magical At Christmas
Many tourists will believe the Bronx is worth avoiding on a trip to New York City, but far from it. There’s the Yankee Stadium for the sports fans, whilst the zoo and Off-Off-Broadway productions are well worth checking out, particularly the latter for the culture vultures.
At Christmas the area is simply a must visit, up there with a trip to the top of the Empire State or taking a ferry to Liberty Island.
The Holiday Train Show is amazing and takes in over 150 New York landmarks in miniature form including the Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty, and the Rockefeller Center. If you’re with children you really do have to take them to the magical land, although it is well advised to book in advance.
Cross Over The River To Brooklyn
Like the Bronx, Brooklyn too has many great sites that people may not necessarily consider heading out of the city for. During the summer months Coney Island is a great place to head out to and avoid the hustle and bustle of Manhattan, and come winter, Dyker Heights turns into a theme park all of its own.
Back home you’ll no doubt be used to a few houses and estates with the odd wreath on the door and lights twinkling around the window. The people of Dyker Heights takes that to a completely new level. Now, it’s not an area which would particularly thrill tourists during the day, after all, it’s just a residential area, but by night the neighbourhood welcomes over 100,000 visitors per year.
You’ll find life-size Santas, reindeers, nutcrackers, and many other decorations with residents spending thousands of dollars on their homes. One road you must visit is 84th Street, but right across eight blocks every house is a thrill.
You would never think the Rockefeller Center could be put to shame. Nor would you ever think you’d see brighter lights than in Times Square. But then again, not many people have heard of Dyker Heights.
Taste The Holidays In The East Village
The East Village is one of the trendiest parts of New York, full of boutiques, quirky bars, and cuisine from around the globe. You’d look at the area and expect it’s a little too hipster to be celebrating Christmas. Too cool to be tipping their flat caps to the jolly old fellow.
But surprisingly East Village loves Christmas, and we love the East Village at Christmas. Just one bar celebrating style, and a great place to head out of an evening is The Boilermaker on the corner of 1st Avenue and 1st Street.
Celebrating with Sippin’ Santa’s Surf Shack, the bar is combining Lapland with tiki culture and creating a tropical Santa’s grotto, mixing cocktails to give them a festive feel. It’s a great place to toast a Christmas in the city that never sleeps, and after a few it’s likely you’ll be partying way into the night too.