Holidays in NYC

New York City comes alive, even more than usual, during the holidays. Throngs of shoppers flow like a river down 5th Avenue. Revelry is in the air and tourists are on the ice (rinks, that is). Our family always enjoys going in during the holidays, so I thought I’d share some of our favorite things, for your next holiday trip to Gotham!
While there are many areas of NYC that are hip, for the holidays, I love the traditions you’ll find in Midtown and the Upper East Side.
The perfect place to visit with children, after you’ve braved the crowds at F.A.O. Schwarz, is Bemelman’s Bar at The Carlyle. The enchanting murals by Madeline author, Ludwig Bemelman, will charm adults and children alike.
I always find the UNICEF Snowflake, hung above the intersection of 57th St. and 5th Avenue simply magical. Not to be missed.
Earlier in the day, I would make a trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where you can see current exhibits and the annual Neapolitan Creche, which dates back to the early 18th century. The creche will be in place by Nov 26th.
After you’ve gotten a little culture, stroll down 5th Avenue, along Central Park and check out the holiday windows at the famed Bergdorf Goodman. Even if you feel their merchandise is a little pricey for you, the inspiration is free and that is why I believe in “window shopping”! No one, and I mean no one, does it better than Bergies! The windows will be unveiled on Nov 19th.
While you’re there, it is worth your time to take the elevator up to the 7th floor, which is full of holiday decor. BG, the restaurant on this floor is also worth a stop for lunch. Make a reservation and ask if you can be seated in the Kelly Wearstler chairs by the window.
When I lived and worked in the city (before I had children), my husband and I loved having drinks at the King Cole Bar  at the St. Regis Hotel. The bar is a total throwback and recently refurbished.  The perfect place to sip champagne after an afternoon of shopping.
We always have to walk down to see the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree….it is enormous and a beacon of joy to all who see it. 
The ice rink is tiny….but it’s really fun to skate under this iconic Christmas tree. We also love Wollman Rink in Central Park. The ice rink at Bryant Park is free and if you have dinner at The Standard (another amazing spot), you can take a spin on their private ice rink. Cocoa anyone?
I think everyone should experience NYC during the holidays, if just once. Pack your patience as well as your hat, gloves and comfortable shoes and you’ll be set for a memorable trip!
It’s the most wonderful time of the year!


  1. You picked some of my most favorite things…..and love the 7th floor, so much beauty (except when its super busy and I get claustrophobic:) The city really does come alive over the holidays and despite the crazy gridlock, and huge crowds everywhere…it is all so incredibly beautiful and magical!

  2. I keep thinking we will make it there for Christmas shopping, but always get busy! Thank you for sharing, Elizabeth. We count on all of you that are nearby to keep us posted on the windows!!

  3. What a fun virtual tour of NYC – I haven't been during the holidays in years. It's magical. Thanks for taking me there, Elizabeth! XO

  4. What a fabulous post, Elizabeth! I read this early this morning and thought "how perfect for my link party" and then later saw that you linked it. Thank you SO much for joining in AND sharing your NYC holiday favorites!

    Have a wonderful day!! xoxo

  5. I agree that everyone should visit NYC during the holidays at least once. It's on my list!! Thanks for sharing!

  6. The Carlisle is my must stop for a cocktail this time of year.. love the Madeline Mural etc! GTreat images to get me in the mood for a NY christmas!!
    Great blog,Karolyn

  7. What a great informative post! I am pinning it to my travel board. I love NYC at Christmas. My birthday is in December so we often make the trip for my birthday present. We also enjoy having a frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity III when we can get in and lately we have enjoyed browsing the outdoor Christmas markets.

  8. Visiting NYC during Christmas-time is on my bucket list! Thanks for sharing all the great pictures and info!

  9. There really is nothing like the city all decorated for Christmas. We used to go every year for Christmas shopping but now that we live in California it's a bit more of an undertaking. Maybe next year!

  10. Your travel posts have helped me (and friends) in London and Paris, so I am thrilled that you have put out a NYC Christmas guide! I grew up in CT, so have been to the city during the holidays, but we have never taken the kids during December. I don't think it will happen this year, but maybe next…

    Hope you have a great week!


  11. I love the giant snowflake! I'm from Australia and have been lucky enough to have two Christmas seasons in New York – it's truly a magical place to be during the holidays.