I personally don’t celebrate christmas, but I have heard a lot that New York is one of the best place to experience it which I had to agree. The city was full of mind-blowing christmas decoration both inside and outside the buildings, the holiday vibes were so obvious since tons of people flooding the street, parks, shopping centre, or just hanging under the giant christmas tree. And what actually made my day was to see everyone greets everyone by saying ‘Merry Christmas!’ or ‘Have a wonderful christmas!’ with a huge smile on their face. Although the weather was far from friendly but I could feel the joys and happiness bursted all over the city.
Getting inspired by many christmas theme movies, I made myself some list on what to do to get the movie-like christmas season.. 😀
1. Hit the iconic ICE SKATING RINK of New York
Tell me about it – don’t you feel your heart jingled every time you see those skating scenes in some New-York base movies. Wondering how joyful life was if you could gliding with the flow or just standing in the middle and let the people spinning around you. Akkk… Got a butterfly in my stomach every time I think about it!
There are many of skating rink in New York. The most popular ones are the one in Central Park, Rockefeller Centre, and Bryant Park. But I finally chose to skate Bryant Park due to it’s free admission. Though we still need to pay for the shoes rental for $20. Clearly more reasonable compared to Wollman rink in Central Park that cost about $33 only for the entrance. So does in Rockefeller Centre. Tips : Save $10 by bringing your own padlock to keep your stuff in the locker while you are skating.
Oh, another tips here. The line would be very crazy, it would be better to buy the ticket through New York Explorer Pass, they have some attraction options where it can includes getting the VIP line to get into the rink.
I was far from a pro, to be honest that was my second time to do ice skating in my life. No doubt, I was a total sucker. Could not risk my hands off the rail, except when I wanted to take pictures – LoL. Nevertheless, I still became one of the happiest person in the world as you can see it from my face 😀
2. CHRISTMAS TREE hunting
For sure, there are plenty of christmas tree in New York. But the most popular one is the one in the Rockefeller Centre (pic on the left). The tree was huge, believe it or not this particular tree has recorded to drawn million of visitors from all over the world who likes to enjoy its dazzling lights live performance during christmas season. Thus, this place always packed of people – literally packed you need to walk like a penguin side by side with thousand of people perhaps.
But funny thing was, I did not find it very special. I was more drawn to this low-key christmas tree on the right that I accidentally passed on the way back to my hotel. It lied in the entrance yard of Lotte Palace New York. Only few people was around made the ambience more ‘romantic’ and exclusive just like a hidden gem.
Also, I liked the one in Bryant Park Winter Village. The tree was stunningly standing just at the side of the ice skating rink. I meant, look at this! Ain’t it pretty?!
3. Going to the massively decorated CHRISTMAS BAR
At first, they keyword I googled was “where to have christmas dinner in New York” The result popped out are list of fancy restaurants with high price but nothing convinced me enough to put them on my list. Until I stumbled upon the most – decorative bar in christmas, ROLF was on the very top. I whispered to my self ” WOW!” this is perfect, this is the place I want to go!
So yeah, it was Christmas Eve when we went there, it got a very long line before we could get in. There were 2 lines – for the restaurant and for the bar. The bar’s line was shorter so we decided to go to the bar instead of the restaurant. It was super packed inside but a glass of Margarita on christmas eve with such decoration was hell worth it.
4. Nothing could beat this CHRISTMAS NEIGHBORHOOD in Brooklyn
There is this neighborhood in southwest of Brooklyn, named Dyker Heights where almost all of the houses got an extravagant lights decoration during christmas time. The residents were willing to pay $1000 until $20,000 to decorating designers to bring the magic to their homes.
I had found many houses being sweetly decorated during my explore in many corners of New York City, but nothing beats the houses in Dyker Heights. Many of them were mind-blowing with dazzling light displays, some looked so cute with santa and snow-ball man on the lawn, some other were just insanely extra-ordinary and magical. There was this one house made a fake snow-fall on their yard! Like how on earth they could be so creative! It did not stop there – I found a house that got dancing lights following the tunes of some christmas songs. It was just … WOW. WOW. WOW. Somebody please hold me tight otherwise I would have break into their house. LoL.
Well, the more I explored the neighborhood, the more awed I got. Seriously – this place was so dope you could not miss it! The festivities were so real, it could bring unlimited joy to your mind – I guaranteed! I really wish I could get invited by a random family to have a christmas dinner inside one of the house, so that my christmas excursion would be completed!
Despite the extreme temperature at night, the neighbourhood still succeed to attract so many people that wanted to enjoy those beyond usual christmas displays. I only finished few blocks that lies on 11th – 13th Avenue where most of the best houses are located. I swear I wanted to explore more but the wind was so evil my hands and face got numb – so I decided to go back to the hotel.
5. Hanging out at CHRISTMAS MARKET
You know how much I fancy pop up market. So, visiting all the christmas market was definitely on my list. Union Square – Bryant Park Winter Village – Columbus Circle are the places where the biggest christmas market happened. Therefore, to satisfy my itchy feet I went to all of them.
What got me disappointed was apparently all of the market offer the same thing – same concept. Except Bryant Park Winter Village that has a bit different style. But obviously the tenants were similar. I meant, I was expecting more from New York as the christmas capital. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they have – at least different concept – right? Something different or iconic in each market to make people want to visit. Later I knew those market above were managed by the same organiser. Well, No surprise. But it was still fun to visit though.
6. Last but not least, the CHRISTMAS SALE – everywhere in New York
As all of you know, I am not a shopping person at all. But since it was approaching end of year where all of US brands had a mega discount up to 50% – 90%. Wasn’t it crazy?! I could not hold myself not to splurge a little for myself. Hey! it’s just once in a while and I think I deserved it. 😉
On top of that, what made the shopping more exciting, many stores especially in the 5th Avenue had a fascinating window displays on christmas season. My feet automatically stopped walking as soon as my eyes caught a mind-blowing displays like this.
But, my favourite place to shop was SoHo. The area was more edgy and comfortable to walk around rather than in 5th avenue. Other than famous brands store, SoHo also have countless indie brand stores. I think that what made it more live and interesting.
I believed there were still many activities we can do in related to christmas, but I think those I mentioned above are something that you can not missed while in New York.
I WISH YOU ALL A JOYFUL CHRISTMAS LIKE MINE!!