The Holidays are a big deal here in New York City.
We have some of the most oldest traditions and the biggest and brightest decorations. If you find yourself getting some Christmas-time blues or just want to have a great outing with your family, NYC offers some amazing opportunities for a day trip. Whether you like to shop or skate or take tons of pictures you cannot go wrong with a visit to the city during the holiday season. Take a look at some of my favorite excursions NYC has to offer!
The Holiday Train Show
A tradition for New Yorkers and tourists alike is just a hop, skip, and jump away from Manhattan but is more than worth a trip on the subway or Metro North. Located in the Bronx, The New York Botanical Garden is an incredible attraction any time of year. But visitors come back year after year for the Holiday Train Show. Fantastic for families with children of all ages, you can see model trains roll through a miniature NYC made out of plants! There is over half a mile of track and more trains than ever this year. They also add additional landmarks. The scaled Statue of Liberty, One World Trade Center, and Yankee Stadium are classics, but this year they have introduced a sailing element with two replica vintage ferry boats joining the display for the first time. This event is perfect for train enthusiasts, architecture lovers, and gardeners alike. It is a can’t miss attraction this holiday season.
You can f
ind more information here: https://www.nybg.org/event/holiday-train-show/holiday-train-show/
Another NYC classic Winter activity is ice skating. There are many places in the city that offer skating. The most popular rink is Rockefeller Center; Holiday Central here in Manhattan. Be prepared to wait, but you cannot beat skating in front of the Prometheus Statue with the famous Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree soaring above you! If you were hoping to beat the crowds, the Wollman Rink in Central Park tends to be quieter due to the availability of other rinks during the holiday season. You can also check out the rest of the park with a cup of hot cocoa to finish up your day trip! Another fantastic holiday skating option is in the Winter Village at Bryant Park, nestled in the middle of its famous holiday market. No matter which rink you choose, you are sure to have a lot of active fun skating in the city!
Exploring Lower Manhattan
Go South to find many charming holiday installations alongside historical sites for a great day trip. You can visit Federal Hall, where George Washington was inaugurated and then walk a few steps down the road and see the stock exchange, complete with its own fabulous Christmas tree! South Street Seaport is close by as well; a historical shipping port with brick-lined streets and lots of shopping options, it is always decked out for the holidays. Zuccotti Park has a wide variety of trees complete with twinkling tea lights, it makes a great photo op! The 9/11 Memorial, Wall Street Bull, and Battery Park are also within the vicinity. You could spend a whole day exploring all this incredible neighborhood which has even more to offer during the holiday season.
Holiday Market Hopping
One of my favorite things about the city this time of year is the wide variety of holiday markets. Taking on a European tradition of Christmas markets, NYC offers several great destinations for gift shopping and tasty treats. The most popular market is the Bryant Park Winter Village which offers over 170 vendors selling everything from handm
ade jewelry to fancy grilled cheese! It also has that skating rink I mentioned and a charming Christmas tree. They have a new pop-up food hall this year right called ‘The Lodge’ next to the rink if you work up an appetite! If you are more interested in supporting local crafters, the NY Holiday Handmade Cavalry is for you. This festival hops between various locations throughout the season and offers the opportunity to purchase something one of a kind. If you are lucky, they occasionally offer free goody bags to lucky shoppers with coupons and swag. The Chelsea Market location even boasts some tasty holiday cocktails! If you feel up to a Brooklyn adventure, the WinterFest located outside the grounds of the Brooklyn Museum, it a 40,000 square foot extravaganza with countless options for shopping and food. They have amazing mulled wine and they have a Santaland with a Mr. and Mrs. Claus who pose for photos. Other holiday markets can be found in Union Square and Columbus Circle. You could spend an afternoon visiting one or two markets or go crazy and spend a long weekend so you can see them all!
Bryant Park Winter Village is open through January 2nd.
NY Holiday Handmade Cavalry will be at Chelsea Market December 3rd-9th and at the Brooklyn Historical Society December 15th and 16th. You can find more information here: https://www.newyorkled.com/event/2018-holiday-handmade-cavalcade-markets-in-nyc/
WinterFest is open through December 3rd.
Union Square Holiday Market is open through December 24th.
The Columbus Circle Holiday Market is open through December 24th.