Log in
Sign up
Open SidebarMENU
Log in
Sign up

Check These Iconic Sights Off Your New York Holiday Bucket List

November 6, 2019 by Suzy Evans
Facebook icon
Twitter icon
Email icon

There’s no city quite like New York during the holidays. From skating rinks to shop windows to markets to big trees, the Big Apple really knows how to do November and December right. After all, there’s a reason there are so many classic holiday films set here. (Are we all ready for an “Elf” screening?)

So while you’re getting ready to see all of the iconic holiday shows here (Rockettes, The Nutcracker, A Christmas Carol, and more!), make sure you check out some of the institutions and spots that make the metropolis really sparkle. Whether you’re just visiting or you’ve lived here your whole life, the magic of New York City during the holidays is unlike anything you’ll experience elsewhere.

Go see the the shop windows on 5th Avenue
They say the best things in life are free, and that couldn’t be more true than during the holiday season in NYC. All of the shops 5th avenue deck out their windows with lavish, intricate themed displays. Start with the light show at Sak’s Fifth Avenue, wander up to Bergdorf Goodman, and make sure you trek down to Macy’s at 34th Street to see the iconic installations. Shops throughout the city also jump on the decorating bandwagon, so no mater where you roam, you’re certain to find some festive storefronts. It gives a whole new meaning to window shopping!

Go ice skating
Whether you’re an aspiring Kristi Yamaguchi or you’re nervous to even set foot on the rink, ice skating (or watching ice skating) is a must-do during the winter. Gather around the rink at Rockefeller Center to watch the skaters (or get in line for your turn) while admiring the tree, take a trip to central park for some skating among gorgeous city views, or venture down to Bryant Park, where the line is usually shorter and there’s a charming holiday mart nearby.

Go shopping at holiday markets
There are countless places to knock out your holiday shopping in New York City, but there is some especially charming about the markets that pop up in parks around the city during the holidays. Explore local artisans and one-of-a-kind goods at markets in Bryant Park, Union Square, Columbus Circle, and Grand Central. Who knows? You might even find something to cherish for yourself.

Go see the Rockefeller Center tree (and don’t forget to take a picture)
The tree is not just for tourists. Anyone can stand in awe and appreciate the pure spectacle of this iconic evergreen. Almost 500,000 people visit a day, but don’t worry there is plenty of room for everyone to admire the tree from all around. If you’re not as into crowds, there’s also a gorgeous tree down on Wall Street in front of the New York Stock Exchange. The tree arrives at Rockefeller Center on Nov. 9 and will be lit on Dec. 4!

Go see the lights in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn
Driving around and seeing houses decked out in lights is not just for the suburbs, and a jaunt to Brooklyn is definitely worth it for these spectacular decorations. It’s become an unspoken competition between homeowners (some who spend up to $20,000 on displays!), so jump on the subway, call a taxi, or book a tour of these epic homes. You’ll certainly be glad you did.

Go visit a pop-up holiday bar
As if there already weren’t enough bars and restaurants to choose from in New York City, several holiday-themed bars pop up around the city during the season. Miracle pops up in the East Village on 9th Street and 12th Street, featuring kitschy holiday decor, or walk on over to Boilermaker, which becomes Sippin’ Santa, a tiki-themed holiday bar. Rolf’s in Gramercy Park is decked out in holiday tinsel year-round, and don’t think rooftops are out of the question: Bierra at Eataly becomes Serra Alpina, a quaint winter escape. Pass another glass of eggnog!