Favorite Holiday Destinations in New York City

Mary Dell writes: New York City  is the metro area where Lisa and I have lived and worked for many years. It is always a wonderful place to visit and, during the holidays, the stars there shine even brighter. We offer these suggestions for some of our favorite spots to visit.

Christmas Wreath

 1. Appreciate

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is the largest art museum in the United states and is grand on every level. As you climb the steps to enter through the doors of the Beaux-Arts facade, rest assured that whatever your art interests may be, you will find plenty of examples here. The Museum’s Christmas tree is an annual favorite and you could do all of your shopping at the wonderful museum store.

Metropolitan Museum of Art

The moment you step foot into The American Museum of Natural History, you may time-travel back to when your kids were dinosaur-obsessed, but we promise there are no purple ones in site.  Visit darkened dioramas, the gigantic reassembled T-Rex, and statue of Teddy Roosevelt, whose father was one of the museum co-founders. Should you desire your own Night at the Museum experience, take the tour by the same name.

Other favorites are the Frick Museum, the Guggenheim, the Morgan, the Modern Museum of Art; only time holds you back from exploring amazing museums throughout the city.

2. Shop

Bergdorf Goodman, with two stores on 5th Avenue, between 57th and 58th Streets, across from the Plaza Hotel is a perfect starting place to begin an eight-block shopping stroll. Though now a member of the Neiman Marcus chain, the original building opened in 1928 in what was a Cornelius Vanderbilt II mansion. (The one across the street houses the men’s department.) The Christmas window displays of the main store are the most inventive in town, giving a sneak peek to the high style found inside. Take the elevator to the 7th floor to see the Home Collection and feast on the Central Park views which are among the prettiest you will see. To begin to understand the singular fashion presence BG occupies in the city, take a look at of the 2013 documentary, Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf Goodman.

Tiffany’s flagship store sits on the corner of 57th street and 5th Avenue where it has held court since 1940. As you stand outside the stately granite building, it may be impossible to resist thinking of Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly staring into the windows of her favorite spot in town. Enter the revolving door to the ground floor and gaze at some of the most gorgeous pieces of wearable art that makes Tiffany’s much more than a mere “jewelry store,” and those blue boxes much more than just “gifts.”

Tiffany, tiffany gift box

Saks Fifth Avenue, on 50th street, reminds us of what departments stores used to be like, and how their numbers have dwindled. The Shoe Salon has it’s own zip code, 10022-SHOE, so don’t fail to visit the 8th floor to see the incredible array of footwear for yourself.

3. Gaze

Rockefeller Center, across Fifth Avenue from Saks, is a complex of 19 buildings covering 22 acres. After the crash in 1929, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. was the sole financier of the development that would span the next decade. The skating rink is the iconic focal point, but my favorite part of the center is the Channel Gardens  so-named as they separate the British Empire from La Maison Francaise Buildings. Every year the tree at Rock center attracts tourists and locals alike.  There is nothing quite like it anywhere else!

Holiday.RockefellerCtr.IMG_6244

When night falls and you catch a glimpse of the Chrysler Building’s terraced crown illumination, prepare to be awed, regardless of how long you have lived in NYC or how many times you have visited. An elegant example of Art Deco architecture, the building’s gargoyles are modeled after Chrysler automobile products like the hood ornaments of the Plymouth.

Chrysler Building

4. Applaud

The Theater District houses 40 theaters offering an astonishing concentration of live productions. Pick up a copy of The New Yorker for a complete listing of shows and reviews as a starting point. Be forewarned, the crowds during the holidays can be brutal, and Times Square will be filled to capacity.

5. Eat

There are memorable meals to be had in neighborhoods all over the city, and extraordinary dining is often within walking distance regardless of where you are staying. Here are Zagat’s 2014 top restaurant picks for the year. On the other end of the spectrum are the food trucks offering way more than hot dogs and pretzels. For other meals on the fly, the Open Table app is my favorite for nabbing a table and trying to avoid long waits.

New York City Holiday Decorations

6. Cheer

Seeing a play is not the only spectator sport. Madison Square Garden hosts basketball, hockey and concerts, and, of course, Radio City welcomes the annual Christmas Shop with the famous Rockettes.  The show may be old fashioned but is definitely worth seeing once.

New York City Christmas Decorations

7. Walk

Walking the streets of Manhattan never disappoints. The store windows decked out for the holidays, the people, the energy are unlike anywhere else we have ever lived or traveled. Our tip? Bring two pair of very comfortable shoes to rotate so blisters have a chance to heal. Better yet, make the stop at Saks shoe zip code first on your list.

New York City

Picking favorites in New York can only cover a tiny fraction and walking the city’s neighborhoods will lead you to your own discoveries.  If you’re on the Upper West Side, stop in at Zabars or Fairway. Take a stroll on the High Line, or pop in and out of the fabulous boutiques in SoHo.  We could go on but what have we left off that love about New York?

Comments

  1. says

    Oh, New York. I haven’t been in a few years and need to go back. I used to take my kids there every spring break when they were small and we’d stay with my brother’s family up in the Washington Heights area, and most days were spent in a playroom across the hall. One afternoon I took all of them out to see things, and by the time we got to Times Square they were worn out and wanted to go back to the apartment, so they looked at me and said, “Can we go back to New York now?” New York is whatever you make it.

    • says

      So funny, I can see how NY can tired small children out with the logistics of coming in and out. Agreed, NY is what you make of it.

  2. Emily says

    This post makes me miss hanging out in the city…I’m definitely spending too much time here in the ‘burbs! My personal favorite on your list is Rock Center, because we were married in the Rainbow Room.:)

    • says

      Awww, the Rainbow Room was really lovely. I have a soft spot in my heart for Rock Center too, worked at 30 Rock for 10 years. Many happy, nostalgic-filled memories of those days.

  3. Sarah Hughes says

    Hi Lisa & Mary – perfect post for our visit this October – thank you!

    • says

      Sarah, we hoped it would help people coming for the game or for any reason – Oct is the perfect month for a visit.

  4. Carpool Goddess says

    One of my favorite cities! Thanks for the highlights that always delight.

  5. says

    You’re making me homesick :) Great roundup of NY attractions. Now let’s just hope it doesn’t snow on February 2!

    • says

      There seems to be a feeling of can-do/football meant to be played in the elements sort of think growing with so many outdoor events planned around the SB. REally, a toboggan run in Times Square???? Hockey in Yankee Stadium?? A Super Bowl in NY seems almost reasonable.

  6. Helene Cohen Bludman says

    All wonderful suggestions. I love my proximity to this wonderful city and visit as much as possible. I love New York! ❤️

  7. says

    Marvelous post that is reminiscent of looking at a Woody Allen movie; it’s beautiful photographed, lovely to look at, and reminds me how blessed I am to be an active part of such a fascinating city with a pulse.

    When I worked in Manhattan I took advantage of so much more than as a suburbanite. But now as an empty nester, I’m b-a-c-k!

    Lovely post.

    • says

      Cathy, the wonderful thing is that NYC will always be there for us with soooo much to see and do. Thanks for the kind words!

  8. says

    Several years ago I rediscovered a high school friend Randy – seems he had been in New York all along – and quite successful! He was the wrong friend to lose track of!!! I have been to New York to visit several times since then. Wow do I love it – did before. Do now. Your map is fantastic and I am going to pin it and use it! I always get confused about the neighborhoods. Guess you can take the girl out of Arkansas… Thanks for such an informative and fun post!

  9. John Edwards says

    I am so psyched to be in NYC. Super Bowl Boulevard is awesome…34th to 47th on Broadway and it’s FREE. For bar specials, restaurant deals & to save money, use 365 Guide Book NYC http://www.365guidenyc.com And…it’s freezing. I hope it snows.

    • says

      John, glad you’re so excited about coming to NYC. The city is always hopping but especially with this first ever, Super Bowl week. Thanks for the addition to our list. Specials and free stuff are aways fun.

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