Man have I missed you. It’s been some time since I’ve posted in this space…in fact..way longer than I could have anticipated, but I am feeling refreshed, refocused an ready with about 20 new blog posts ideas haha. Today, I am bringing you back to a bit of the holidays by summarizing…Christmas in New York (picture the Kira Kira app all over those words making them sparkle…ya).
To be honest, growing up I never in my wildest dreams thought I would gain the opportunity to spend Christmas in New York. Truth be told, I never really thought I would get to ever go to New York. It just seemed like something only super glamorous people did, which I know sounds crazy because now I definitely realize that is not the case…well…this has now been my third trip and it was probably by far my favorite.
Now, I am no expert on New York, but I thought it would be fun to share some details about our trip, just in case you decide this is the year you decide to spend Christmas in New York!
So, let’s break it down nice and simple.
Where We Stayed:
Now, we have almost always stayed at the Bryant Park Hotel in Bryant Park. It is centrally located in Midtown, making it easy to get to food and shopping. It also has a great asian/sushi inspired restaurant and super fun bar called Célon (which was featured in Real Housewives of New York City – Sonja Morgan had her birthday there). Not to mention almost every room I have stayed in has had a killer view of Bryant Park. This is ideally a great option for Christmas time because then you can see all of the wonderful activities going on in the park.
For this trip, in addition to staying at the Bryant Park hotel, we also did one night at the St. Regis Hotel. This hotel is located on 55th and 5th making it ideal for all of your sightseeing needs. Central Park is just a few blocks away, you have some of the highest end shopping imaginable, and Rockefeller Center is right up the road. The hotel was also magical inside. I felt like I was walking into a fairytale, just living my best life.
Where We Ate:
We all know New York is known for it’s food, so it’s no secret that restaurant recommendations are a dime-a-dozen. Below are some of my faves that I have tried.
- Roberts in Columbus Circle – Located at the top of an art museum, this restaurant is a total gem. We always go at lunch time because the view is to die for and they have a fixed menu that includes your appetizer, entree and dessert for only $39. The food is phenomenal though, so this could also be a great dinner option too. I recommend calling ahead and requesting a table next to the window.
- Benjamins – Just a few blocks from the Bryant Park Hotel, Benjamin’s is an iconic steak house within the city. This year we went for lunch which was amazing, but years previously we have enjoyed dinner here, as well. Just a hint…when it says steak for 2, you can most likely feed four!
- Jeannie’s – located in the seven story Women’s Nordstrom (yes you read that correctly…seven stories full of amazing-ness), this restaurant was a hidden gem. The menu consists of mostly light Italian food and to be honest, we ended up here on a whim. Luckily, it was better than imagined. I ordered the chicken campanile and guys…I wanted to lick my plate. The service wasn’t great, but it is the perfect spot to take a break, do some shopping and avoid the New York weather elements for a bit.
- Food within the Christmas markets – Think food trucks of pure goodness. The Bryant Park has it’s own Christmas market that provided multiple food options from Mexican food to Wonton’s, to most everything in between. A few things I even went back for a second time because they were just that good!
- Bryant Park Restaurant – I have not eaten here myself, but it was the absolute cutest with all of it’s Christmas decor. Reservations are a must, but I have heard the food is perfect.
What to Do During Christmas Time:
So I am not one for sightseeing and I by no means feel like I did everything that needs to be done, but I will list below a few of my favorite Christmas things we did and some recommendations I have for them.
- Tree at Rockefeller Center – Its gorgeous and beautiful and something I think you should at least walk by to experience. This area of town is extremely busy during the week, so just know ahead of time that you will be surrounded by people. I also recommend being there around 4:30pm. It gets dark pretty early and this time was perfect to still enjoy the lights without needing to come at night time and risk freezing.
- Ice skating in Bryant Park – Super fun and totally worth it. Book in the morning and know ahead of time that they don’t like you to take pictures on the rink. We planned ours perfectly to where the rink attendants were scolding someone else for phone use while we quickly staged ours. Worked like a charm!
- Window shopping – Saks Fifth Avenue, Macys, Bergdorfs…they all have beautiful window displays for Christmas and were so fun to look at. The stores are also set up almost to encourage you to walk around and enjoy looking at all of the beautiful pieces. This also gets very busy during the weekend, however, so if possible, a weekday would be ideal.
- Saks Fifth Avenue musical display – Speaking of Saks, they also have a light show that is so beautiful and magical. They are very close to Rockefeller Plaza, so I would recommend to go to the tree first, then to the light show. Make sure you know when the first one starts though because it is not on all the time.
- Hot Chocolate – I didn’t get this myself because we kept saying we would and then would get distracted by something else, but near to ice skating rink at Bryant Park there is a red building you can go in and get warm. In it they have hot chocolate that will put you back a good $15, but it is the absolute cutest and makes for the perfect photo. Not wanting to do a $15 hot chocolate? I understand. There is a wonton station that serves Hawaiin hot chocolate on the other side that is SO GOOD. This one only costs $5.51, but is a lot less instagrammable given its served in a simple paper cup haha.
Personally, I feel like there is a lot of other stuff you could do, but due to the amount of bodies, just doesn’t seem worth it, but that is just me! I am not a huge sightseer and I don’t love lines for touristy things. Instead, I would rather do normal things New Yorkers do and experience that life. Comment below if you have other recommendations I may have missed so that when I go next year, I have some new things to try!
Lastly, a few closing remarks….
If you stay at the St. Regis, they have tea time. Definitely recommend tea time. We didn’t get to do it, but you know it’s at the top of my list. Also, at the St. Regis is the King Cole bar which is known for developing the Bloody Mary. I ordered the Signature, obvi, but also tried the Fifth Avenue (not a bloody mary) which was beyond. There may be a line, so just be prepared, but I definitely recommend a seat at the bar. Don’t forget to ask for Bill – he is one of the bartenders and is as iconic as the bar – classic, professional, and part of the experience. While you sip your cocktail, see if you can decipher the mystery behind the mural on the bar…John and I cheated in the end, but it was pretty fun.
All in all, it is magical.
I can see why so many travel to NYC during this time. The entire city seems and feels different, so much so that John and I would love to make it a new holiday tradition.
If you have any questions, please feel free to leave them below and Happy Holidays my sweet friends!