It’s no secret that New York City is by far my favourite place in the entire world and when you combine that with my fave holiday – Christmas – you’ve got a recipe for delighted happiness. Even though I’ve never actually been to NYC over Christmas, I have been in November when the festivities were beginning to get underway and there were plenty of activities that I enjoyed doing.
The first time I went to New York was in 2014 with my mum and I know that I’ll remember that trip forever. It was beyond magical and I came home with so many happy memories that I still think about on a daily basis. There’s plenty of things to do in New York at Christmas time and today’s post is all about my favourite things to do while you’re in the Big Apple during the festive period.
Take in the view from the Top of the Rock
This is hands down my absolute favourite thing to do in New York, and possibly even in the world. I’ve been to the Top of the Rock three times now and still each time I go, my eyes fill with tears of happiness. It’s the most breathtaking view you’ll ever see and to watch the twinkling lights of the city below is really one of the most magical experiences of my life. While a lot of people would argue that the Empire State Building is the place to be, I’d definitely disagree and say that the Rockefeller Center is where the magic is at. My favourite thing about it is that you can see for miles all over the city and you can even see as far as the Brooklyn Bridge and beyond. The Top of the Rock is definitely a place to visit at Christmas time as the city just looks so breathtakingly beautiful; not to mention the fact that the Rockefeller tree will be all lit up (depending on what date you go) and that’s a truly iconic thing to witness.
Ice skating at the Rockefeller Center
I told you I was obsessed with the Rockefeller Center! I’ve only been ice skating here once but omfg it was one of the best experiences of my life. I literally adore ice skating anyway but to do it in front of my favourite place in the world with my mum really was something else. Just as we were coming off the ice, a man proposed to his girlfriend right on the ice rink and my heart nearly burst with happiness! This is absolutely something you should put on your bucket list as it’s guaranteed to be something that you’ll never, ever forget!
Admire the views of The Plaza from Central Park
The Plaza is my second favourite place in the city as it’s a pretty iconic setting from a lot of my favourite films. The area around The Plaza is always teeming with people and even though that’s part of the experience, I do really enjoy the view of the beautiful hotel from Central Park as it tends to be quieter so you can enjoy it much more. The Plaza really is one of the most beautiful sights and watching all the glamorous people enter the hotel and gazing in wonderment at the magical horse and carriages parked outside really is a delightful way to spend a few hours in New York.
Enjoy a hot chocolate in Central Park
Hot chocolate is the pinnacle drink of the festive season so to enjoy a hot chocolate in Central Park when there’s snow on the ground and festive decorations surrounding the park; life really doesn’t get much better. Obviously Central Park is very famous for its own ice skating rink but it can get pretty busy so when we were there we decided against it and instead just admired the skaters while enjoying a delicious hot chocolate.
Visit the giant Toys R Us store in Times Square
Please excuse the extremely embarrassing picture of me above but it was the only decent one that I could find! The Toys R Us store in Times Square is bloody massive so naturally it’s like heaven on earth when it comes to Christmas time. Whether you’re a kid or not, you’re guaranteed to enjoy the delights that the giant toy store has to offer. From a whole collection of Barbie dolls, to Lego statues to a huge selection of sweets, it’s a place that you could spend hours getting lost in and enjoying!
*UPDATE* The Toys R Us store is actually no longer open in Times Square 🙁
Take a look around the department stores
There’s nothing like festive shop displays in New York City to get you excited for Christmas and lucky NYC has a plethora of stores that you can wander round and enjoy. Barneys, Macy’s and Saks are just some of my favourites as they really take their festive displays to a whole new level. It’s not just the exterior of the shops that are decorated for the season either; the whole interior of the shops are usually teeming with festive garlands, sparkling fairy lights and beautiful Christmas ornaments.
Browse the Christmas markets in Bryant Park
Bryant Park is yet another location in the city that’s ideal for doing some ice skating but my favourite thing about it is the amazing Christmas markets that are dotted around the park. There’s some incredible things to be picked up from these market stalls; from festive baubles, to adorable NYC souvenirs to some yummy festive delicacies that you can enjoy while wandering around the park.
Have you ever been to New York? What would be the number one thing you’d like to do in the city? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @imjustagirl_16.