Winter is one of the most magical times of year to visit New York City. Storefront displays dressed up for the holidays, ice skating, hot chocolate, and lights everywhere—NYC winters may be chilly, but a visit to New York City this season will definitely warm your heart.
Here are my top recommendations for how to experience the magic of NYC during the winter season! Whether you live in New York or are visiting the city for the holidays, I’m sharing the most festive and Instagrammable spots to check off your New York City winter bucket list this year. Keep reading for where to eat in NYC this winter, where to find the best Christmas lights and decorations, the best winter-themed bars, and the most fun winter activities!
NYC Winter Essentials:
Where to Stay in NYC:
- 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge
- Arlo Nomad
- The Ludlow
- Archer Hotel
- The Williamsburg Hotel
- The Lexington Hotel
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1. Rooftop Igloos at 230 Fifth
Who says rooftop season can’t be all year round? With 230 Fifth Rooftop Bar‘s heated igloos, you can admire this incredible view of the Empire State Building even in the winter! Although some igloos were reserved when I visited, we were still able to grab seats in one of the available igloos. I recommend visiting during happy hour (4-7pm) for $10 drink deals and sunset views.
2. Bryant Park Winter Village
The Winter Village at Bryant Park is one of the most festive holiday spots to visit in New York City. There is so much to do here, from ice skating, to shopping for gifts from artisans and small businesses, to trying the fun food stalls all around the Winter Village and in The Lodge. We went for the chimney cakes from The Stackery inside the Lodge. To be honest they looked better than they tasted, but I definitely plan to check out the other food stalls I missed on my next visit to Bryant Park.
3. Holiday Storefront Decorations Along Fifth Avenue
New York City is famous for its incredible holiday store displays and decorations. The best-known holiday storefronts are located along Fifth Avenue, with highlights such as Cartier, Tiffany & Co., and Saks Fifth Avenue. Located right across from the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, Saks puts on a fantastic light show on the front of its building (pictured below). This is a great free way to get into the holiday spirit!
4. Ice Skating at Wollman Rink in Central Park
One of the most fun things about winter in New York City is all the outdoor ice skating rinks that open up for the season around the city. One of the biggest and best is Wollman Rink, located in Central Park.
5. Upper East Side Townhouse Decorations
The Upper East Side is home to some of the most beautifully decorated townhomes in the city. Some of the best ones are located between East 71st and 79th between Fifth Ave and Third Ave—take a stroll around this area and I guarantee you’ll find some photo-worthy Christmas decorations!
6. Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree & Ice Skating Rink
No holiday trip to New York City during the holidays is complete without a visit to the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree and ice skating rink. This year, the tree will be lit on December 4th, 2019.
7. Rolf’s German Restaurant
Rolf’s German Restaurant in Gramercy boasts some of the most impressive Christmas decorations of any restaurant in New York City. I will admit that Rolf’s is a bit of a tourist trap, so I recommend stopping by for a drink rather than a meal. Rolf’s can get super busy around the holidays with lineups down the block, so I suggest visiting early in the season (i.e. November), or on a weekday during the day.
I hope this guide to visiting New York City during the holiday season will inspire you to visit NYC during one of the most magical times of year! Whether you’re looking for Christmas cheer or winter fun, New York City during the holidays really has it all.
Thanks for reading,
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