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Christmas in New York: Our Favorite Festive Manhattan Must-Sees


The other day I was walking to get coffee when I overheard a kid talking to his mom about how they always go to Rosemary Beach for Christmas… I say this with absolutely zero judgement in my heart towards tropical climates, beach cabanas, swim-up bars, snorkeling tours, those little cup holders that stick in the sand, or even luau-themed seafood restaurants, but an oceanfront Christmas is my actual nightmare.

Christmas in New York City on the other hand, is absolute magic (hot take, I know), and for those who are using this year to venture back out for some yuletide joy in the big city, we wanted to share some of our must-see spots while you’re doing your best Kevin McCallister impression around Manhattan. Whether you’re in the back of a limo with a cheese pizza, or don’t have access to Mr. McCallister’s money bag (seriously, what did that man do for a living?), we hope you’ll enjoy some of the festivities that make this our favorite time of year!

Stroll the West Village to see Christmas Decor in Shops and Stoops
*Start at “Extra Virgin” and weave through the surrounding streets.

Union Square Market
*Over 150 vendors are on deck for this years market!

Rolf’s German Restaurant
*A not-so-hidden New York Christmas institution.

Holiday Themed Yacht Cruise with Classic Harbor Line
*Use code “ANNA5” for a discount on your cruise!

Hudson Yards Lights and Shopping
*Part sight-seeing experience, and part shopping mall, Hudson Yards has decked every hall this year.

*Go Inside and See the real Santa

Bryant Park Christmas Village
*”Christmas in New York” booth for hot apple cider or hot chocolate, and enjoy NYC’s only free ice skating rink — a quintessential NYC Christmas experience!

Radio City
*If you get a chance, go see the Rockettes! Across 6th Ave you’ll see the giant Christmas ornaments.

Rockefeller Christmas Tree
*As iconic as it gets.

Saks 5th Avenue Light Show
*Goes from 5pm-11pm, running every 10 minutes.

5th Avenue Store Window Displays from Saks to the Plaza
*The Cartier Store is in this stretch, among many others.

Hotel Lobbies with Elaborate Christmas Displays:
Lotte New York Palace
The Peninsula
The Plaza

Ice Skating at Wollman Rink in Central Park
*Bryant Park and Rockefeller get a lot of love, but this is our favorite rink in the city.

The Grand Holiday Bazaar
*Open Sundays 10am-5pm. While some may opt for the Columbus Circle market on 59th, this market on 77th and Columbus is our favorite.

Ralph Lauren at 888 Madison Ave
*Come for the coffee, stay for the immersive holiday shopping experience.

Upper East Side Christmas Stoops
*There are fairly spread out, but if you stroll between 5th and Madison from 60th to 80th, you’ll see so many buildings extravagantly decorated.

While we aren’t experts yet, our list of favorite Christmas experiences continues to grow with every year we live here, and we hope these sightseeing ideas will help you get the most out of your Manhattan Christmas vacation. Share your favorite NYC holiday experiences in the comments!



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  1. I’m a native New Yorker, and some of my favorite traditions that aren’t really known are:
    The midnight Mass at St. Pat’s
    The Brick Church tree lighting (such a lovely neighborhood tradition!)
    Christmas decorations at my favorite restaurants, especially JG Melon 🙂
    Twelfth Night at the Lotos Club
    The National Arts Club Family Christmas party
    The tree lighting at Gramercy Park, the only time during the year the park is open to the public!

    Enjoy!! Happy holidays!

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