Holiday Blog Posts, Lifestyle, Travel

Christmas in NYC | New York City Christmas Guide

I got SO many questions while we were in Manhattan during Christmas asking if I could do a Christmas in NYC guide. While I wasn’t originally planning on it, I figured that I better get one up since so many people asked for it. (Especially while it was fresh on my mind.) I still had all of the spots that we mapped out saved in my notes section on my phone. So, instead of waiting until next holiday season to post it, I went ahead and got it up today and included some of the photos from our trip!

This was not a blog-related trip – spending Christmas in NYC has been something we have always wanted to do. And with baby on the way, this was probably one of our last opportunities! It was one of the BEST trips that me and Jordan have gone on together. I highly recommend trying to make it to New York City for Christmas at least once! So, I’m sharing a list of every single holiday activity we checked off our list in today’s post.

Keep Reading Christmas in NYC

What To Do For Christmas in New York

What To Pack:

Where We Stayed

Hotel 48LEX New York 

I mainly picked this hotel because of LOCATION. It was so close to all of the holiday sites, and we could literally walk everywhere we wanted to go. We only really ubered or took a cab at night after a long day of walking or to get out of the cold. I also liked that the hotel offered a free light breakfast every morning (go early or it will run out!) and the ability to grab a snack at the hotel Happy Hour every day from 5-6. The lounge also offers free coffee and tea all day long.

We grabbed a quick meal at the hotel restaurant Lexington Brass twice during our stay. The brunch/lunch menu was delicious (the avo toast was 100%) and the atmosphere was really nice!

Literally everything is within walking distance! Our normal morning walk consisted of these sites:

What To Do For Christmas in New York

The Lotte Palace Hotel Tree

If you’re a Gossip Girl fan, you will know exactly the spot I’m talking about! They have a spacious courtyard where they keep a beautiful Christmas tree perfect for IG photo opps. We popped inside the hotel Christmas morning because they have a coffee and breakfast shop that was open and serving up warm treats.

St. Patrick’s Cathedral

We woke up for 8 am Christmas morning mass in this beautiful church – get there about 30 minutes early to get a good seat. To attend their Christmas Eve mass you have to enter a lottery in February for tickets!

What To Do For Christmas in New York

Rockefeller Center

Tip: If you want to avoid the massive crowds and cramped sidewalks, it’s best to go very early in the morning or much later at night! There’s so much to do and see around Rockefeller Center. We grabbed a cup of coffee and hot chocolate at the Ralph’s coffee truck while we watched the ice skaters in front of the giant Rockefeller Christmas Tree.

What To Do For Christmas in New York

FAO Schwarz

And while you’re there, pop into FAO Schwarz’s new location. We hopped into the line which actually moved pretty swiftly. We stocked up in the candy department with bags of candy to snack on in the hotel room. (Those didn’t last long.) SO many toys inside. No matter how old you are, this store is always so magical at Christmas time!

Saks Light Show

You can’t miss the lights that begin every evening outside of Saks Fifth Avenue. From 4:35pm to 11:35pm and running every 10 minutes. Tip: This spot gets REALLY crowded and it’s impossible to really get through sidewalks or crosswalks. If you’re wanting to watch without the crowd or possibly snap a photo – wait as late as possible to go. Maybe even 11 pm.

The Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall

This ended up being Jordan’s favorite thing that we did on the entire trip! I’ll admit that I was a bit nervous that he would be bored to tears, but I think he enjoyed it even more than I did. We would 100% go back and do this next year. Such a good show!

5th Ave Shopping and Window Displays

Walking up 5th Avenue to see all of the beautifully decorated designer stores is a MUST. On your walk, you’ll see the Cartier store wrapped up in a bow, the Bergdorf Goodman store windows, Tiffany’s (of course), Harry Winston – you name it! If you walk past Bergdorf’s you’ll see The Plaza Hotel and the entrance to Central Park.

What To Do For Christmas in New York

Central Park Ice Skating Rink

We walked into Central Park to visit the ice skating rink and grabbed a pretzel at one of the many street vendors. There are so many pretty view points to see the city from, so we sat down and enjoyed our snack and sunshine overlooking the rink.

What To Do For Christmas in New York

Other Photo Spots Nearby:

Giant Red Ornaments: 6th Ave. between 49th & 50th Sts.

Christmas Lights6th Ave. & 48th St.

Christmas Deer 6th Ave. & 48th St.

Flatiron Activities

The Flatiron building and surrounding area is not that far of a trek from the hotel, but it’s also not the quickest walk. I’d definitely map it out before setting out on foot to see if you’d rather request an Uber or cab.

SERRA by Birreria at Eataly Flatiron

I finally made it to Eataly on Christmas Eve! Loved everything about their Christmas market and food kiosks. A tad cramped because of the crowd even when we went at 2 pm. We went with the intent to see if we could get into SERRA by Birreria, the rooftop restaurant that was decorated so beautifully for the holidays. Open Table was completely booked, but by going at an off hour (2 pm), we were able to walk right up and get a table in the bar that overlooks the rest of the restaurant! Afterwards, we stopped by the cannoli booth downstairs for dessert – YUM.

Tacombi Flatiron

Feliz Navidad – this was going to be our backup lunch plan if Eataly did not go in our favor. I read that this Mexican spot decorates specifically for Christmas Eve and is really delicious!

230 Fifth Rooftop Igloos

Rooftop igloos overlooking NYC with a full menu of spiked hot chocolate options – this was one of the things that we 100% wanted to do. Once the sun sets they have a light show with Christmas music and the whole place has a great view of the Empire State Building lit up in red and green. Doors open every day at 2 pm, but I’m pretty sure that we went around 4 pm with no trouble finding our spot inside an igloo. Plus we were able to see sunset and leave before it got too crowded.

What To Do For Christmas in New York

Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park

Not technically in the Flatiron area, but also not too far away from it, we walked to Winter Village at Bryant Park. I think this was my favorite thing that we did on the entire trip! So many vendor kiosks set up surrounding the ice skating rink with food and dessert booths. We popped into the indoor Lodge venue to find the cinnamon roll chimneys that you could fill with hot chocolate or s’mores fillings. Y’all. SO good. I could have stayed there ALL DAY and watched the ice skaters and eaten all the food.

Didn’t Get to Do But Will Next Time!

Rolf’s German Restaurant

Rolf’s is the restaurant that you see all over IG that is filled to the brim with Christmas ornaments! I think they actually keep them up long after Christmas, so if you go to NYC this month, you can still catch them.

Dyker Heights Lights in Brooklyn

We didn’t make it to Brooklyn in time to go see the Dyker Heights Christmas lights because we had some delays at the airport, BUT next time, this is on my must-do list!

What do you think? Did I miss anything? I’d love to know your favorite things to do in NYC during Christmastime!

What To Do For Christmas in New York

What To Do For Christmas in New York

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  • Reply Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    The Christmas and holiday atmosphere in NYC and in London has always amazed me so much! I wish I could spend this year’s holidays in either place. Thank you for the guide. Looks like a lot of fun! 🙂

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    January 4, 2019 at 12:17 am
  • Reply Linda Quinones

    I love this post! Bookmarking it for next year for sure. I’ve grown up in NYC my whole life so some of these I’ve done when I was younger and some I haven’t even been to because I’ve become so jaded! But, the holidays in New York really are magical and I’m definitely going to get into the spirit next year.

    January 7, 2019 at 1:18 pm
  • Reply Indian Wedding Invitation

    Such gorgeous photo-shot! Wish i could have celebrated my Christmas in NYC.

    January 8, 2019 at 4:02 am
  • Reply Indian Wedding Market

    Always Dreamed to get to NYC on Christmas but work. Anyways, Loved your Click (The Lotte Palace Hotel Tree) and that knot on the building.

    February 12, 2019 at 6:37 am
  • Reply Designer wedding cards

    All photos of Christmas celebration really amazing. Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

    March 11, 2019 at 6:59 am
  • Reply forever fiances

    ForeverFiances has been an Eco-Friendly Stationery Since 2008. Premium quality stationery on green wedding invitations. Our green business cards and stationery are 100% biodegradable. Our offices utilize eco-friendly supplies, such as post-consumer packaging materials and energy-efficient electronic devices and appliances. Each of our paper products is environmentally friendly.

    February 19, 2020 at 3:16 am
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