This post is a little personal to me. At this time in my life I was still living in Toronto and was only a few months into a break up. As I was trying to figure out what to do next and bracing myself for my first Christmas entirely alone I got a message from my mum saying she needed to skype. She was flying to Toronto and had already bought us tickets to New York for Christmas. Words can’t express how much I needed this and what this trip meant to me. I hope this city is just as magical to you and gives you just as many amazing memories.
So without further ado… My top 10 for Christmas in New York!
1/ 5th Avenue -Window Shopping and Boxing Day Sales
Around christmas time there are so many amazing displays to see and statues of large christmas ornaments scattered around the city. These displays all look even better when they are lit up at night so do yourself a favour and go for an evening stroll up 5th Avenue. While the sales are amazing and attract people from all over the world, its easy to appreciate the beauty of the shops without spending all of your pretty pennies. Luckily I was nursing a hangover on boxing day so I didn’t make it out to spend all my money with the masses.
One you can do at any time of the year but it is an absolute must when you come to New York! There are so many shows on offer and while the theatre is always a little expensive the experience is 100% worth it. We went and saw Chicago which was so amazing… definitely recommend it.
After broadway why not grab a few cocktails and go for an adventure in Times Square and explore the Theatre District. With so much to do and see as well as shops, restaurants and bars galore this place feels completely out of this world and like you just walked onto a movie set. If you’re lucky you might find hope and love along the streets… And I’m talking about the iconic statues on 6th and 7th Avenue of course. I only found hope even though love was only a block away from my hotel *sigh*.
4/ Ice Skating
Before you lace up and jump on the ice there are three main rinks you can choose from – Bryant Park, Rockefeller Centre or Wollman Rink. Rockefeller Centre is a picturesque scene where you can skate under the Christmas tree. While it was beautiful to see it was absolutely chaotic and so full of people that I couldn’t deal with it (probably a good thing that I didn’t make it out for the mayhem of boxing day sales). My top pick would be Wollman Rink which is located in Central park… and what could possibly be more NY Christmas than ice skating in Central Park <3. Make sure you check before you go to see if you need to reserve a spot as that is usually the case at Rockefeller Centre.
5/ Statue of Liberty
Instead of paying for tours you should consider taking the free ferry to Staten Island. The ferry ride is about 25 minutes each way and you get a good view of the Statue without having to pay for it. As this is a commuter ferry though I would avoid taking it at peak hour when people are making their way to and from work.
6/ Central park
You can explore the massive park yourself or take a carriage ride tour where they will show you all the main sights. For all you Friends fans out there make sure you get your photo sitting on the friends fountain! I would love to come back to NY in the summer or fall just to see how different this park must look with the change of seasons.
7/ Participate in a flash mob at Grand Central Station
Okay jokes, that would be near impossible to plan but definitely check it out. It is absolutely stunning and you could completely lose yourself in the art and sculptures on the walls of the building.
8/ Explore the Different Neighbourhoods
This is a broad one I know but with so many neighbourhoods to explore like Soho, East Village, Greenwich and Harlem it’s hard to see them all. They are all so different and have their own unique character so try and immerse yourself in as many as you can. Definitely make sure you have a meal in Little Italy… Or a breakfast as was our case because who doesn’t want lasagna for breaky when you’re on vacation?
9/ The Empire State Building
The lines to get in were crazy but it was worth it! 102 floors high The Empire State Building held the title as the highest building in the world for almost 40 years following its completion in 1931. Make your way up to the 86th floor and go out on the observation deck. These will be the best views of the city you will find and you can learn all about the history of this incredible building once you’re up there.
I know I’m cheating here but there’s a lot more I need to add! You can do hop on/off busses or sightsee on your own but some of the other sights I recommend are the Brooklyn Bridge, Wall Street, 9/11 Memorial, Flatiron building and the Chrysler building. This is definitely not even close to everything though so depending on your own interests you can do a little research and figure out what else you feel like you just can’t miss.
I hate to brag but 11/ take a stretch limo. This happened to us completely by chance. Unfortunately the car company we had hired to drop us at the airport for our flights home had accidentally over booked so they didn’t have a car for us. That meant they had to give us their STRETCH LIMO! We decided to get a bottle of champaign for the ride to the airport and said goodbye to New York in style.
Until next time New York!
Amberlee Jane xx