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 I Packed:
Where We Stayed
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:
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Other Photo Spots Nearby:
Giant Red Ornaments: 6th Ave. between 49th & 50th Sts.
Christmas Lights: 6th Ave. & 48th St.
Christmas Deer: 6th Ave. & 48th St.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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 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!