While it can be said about all seasons in New York, the holidays are particularly special here in the city.
The cold is still new at that point — settling in almost — a welcome reprieve and change of wardrobe for most New Yorkers. The display windows uptown make you feel like a kid in a candy store. And the magic of the first snowfall? It’s indescribable — like walking through your very own NYC snow globe.
In case any of you are heading to New York for the holidays, I wanted to round up a few must-see spots, events and activities that really bring the holiday season to life here. Would love to hear your favorites as well — let me know in the comments!
- The New York City Ballet production of The Nutcracker: This is my personal favorite each season — a mini tradition if you will — buy tickets early if you can, and make sure to check the matinee showings!
- Bemelman’s Bar: After the ballet, hop further uptown to Bemelman’s at The Carlyle Hotel for quintessential New York glamour at its finest. The people watching here is great, plus you can hop right across the way to Cafe Carlyle for a little late night jazz.
- Bergdorf Goodman window displays: I adore walking along 5th Avenue to check out all the window displays, but there’s something about Bergdorf Goodman’s windows that seem to set the bar higher and higher each year. True fashion fantasy!
- The Radio City Rockettes: Admittedly, this isn’t something I see every year, but I do highly recommend going at least once. Those high kicks are likely trademarked at this point!
- Union Square Christmas market: Lots of unique vendors to choose from, plus, you just get into the spirit just by walking around this quaint set up.
- Rolf’s: I had my first Rolf’s experience last holiday season and I’m already excited to go back this year! A snug German restaurant, Rolf’s goes the extra mile when it comes to Christmas decorations — it truly needs to be seen to be believed. Book reservations early!
- The Apollo: Definitely booking tickets for their holiday gospel performance. Check out the rest of their listings here.
- The tree trifecta: Sure, the tree at Rockefeller gets all the attention (and for good reason, it’s always a stunner!) but I highly recommend checking out the tree at the Lotte New York Palace and the blue spruce inside The Met in their Medieval wing.
- New York Philharmonic: I always love the programming at the New York Philharmonic during the holiday season. Last year, my guy and I got tickets for their Film Concert series — where the orchestra accompanies a live screening of a movie — with Home Alone being the feature film. This year, I’m SO excited to see Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
- St. Patricks Cathedral: I usually make a point, despite the go-go-go nature of the season, to pop in at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, if only for a few moments to sit, reflect and be alone with my thoughts. I also just peeked at their concert series and The City Singing at Christmas performance sounds marvelous!
- Tea at the Plaza: Do as Eloise would do and get yourself a cup of tea at the ever so classy, Plaza Hotel. Or better yet, make it champagne!
- Winter Village at Bryant Park: This is another bustling Christmas/Holiday market — and definitely a great one for the family! It’s personally a bit too crowded for my liking, but there is a small ice skating rink, if that’s of interest.
- Ice Skating in Central Park: But while we’re on the subject of ice skating, my absolute favorite is Wollman Rink in Central Park, mainly because it always makes me think of this scene from Serendipity.
- The New York Botanical Garden Train Show: Another great one if you have children — classic train sets weave their way through a dream-like New York City scape set right in the heart of the NYBG.
- Dyker Heights: Known for their commitment to the holiday spirit, this neighborhood puts on one hell of a Christmas light show. Head out for the evening and walk around this neighborhood or rent a car to drive around with hot chocolate. Don’t forget to blast festive music!
OUTFIT DETAILS: Emilia Wickstead dress (borrowed from Armarium) // Sergio Rossi heels // Strathberry bag (gifted) // Alighieri earrings (gifted)
Photos by Allie Provost