No city does winter better than New York – especially at Christmas time. Whether you’re going to see the festive lights and famous Rockefeller tree, or you simply want to do your Christmas shopping in style, New York in December is a destination like no other. And, thanks to the cities endless coffee shops, bars and restaurants, there are plenty of places where you can stop to warm your toes.
But, where do you start? To get the most out of your winter break, we’ve put together a guide on the best things to do in New York in December, ranging from ice skating in Central Park to stuffing your face in festive food halls. Take a look.
Go ice skating in Central Park
The Lasker Ice rink and the Wollman Ice rink (a swimming pool and an amusement park in the summer) are fun for the whole family (it’s cheaper on week days – under $20 per adult). Otherwise go sledging down Pilgrim Hill (just off 72nd Street and 5th Avenue) or, if you’d rather, take a horse drawn carriage around one of the park’s lakes.
Visit New York’s Rockefeller Center
Visit the observation deck at ‘The Top of the Rock’ to get great views of Midtown and Central Park (it’s better than the touristy Empire State Building which you can see from The Rock’s deck). When you come back to terra firma, grab a tot of something hot and boozy and walk around the giant Christmas tree and decorations that are set up around the plaza.
See Broadway & Times Square
There is always a huge selection of famous Broadway shows in New York in December. But if you’re feeling more adventurous, why not try an off-Broadway production. During the Christmas period, some of Hollywood’s most famous actors leave the comfort of the LA back lots and perform at some of New York’s most intimate theatres.
Visit winter exhibitions
In the deep of winter, New York’s museums like the Guggenheim, MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) and the Whitney extend their open hours on Friday or Saturday or both. Either show up early or late to avoid the queues i.e. not mid morning or right when offices close and locals join the tourist hordes during the festive period. Our top pick is the Golden Kingdoms: Luxury and legacy in the Ancient Americas at the MoMA.
Eat at the food markets and City Bakery
The Big Apple has some of the cosiest and coolest places to eat on the planet. There’s the Pennsy Food Hall outside Penn Station which has a range of stalls. If you like cosy, Christmas cheer, try City Bakery on West 18th Street for its famous gourmet pretzels and hot chocolate. For something that’ll last further into the night, there’s NoMad Bar or The Raines Law Room. Think Midtown cocktail sophistication.