So the hubby and I had the pleasure of heading out to New York on Boxing Day (26th December) for a few days. We were going mainly for a martial arts training camp with some friends, but made sure we had a couple of days for general sight seeing as we’ve never been at this time of year, and it’s always been on my bucket list.
I’m just gonna go through what we did day by day so I don’t forget anything, and can share some pictures and ideas of what I would definitely do again and encourage other people to do if they come over the Christmas period. Alright, here goes…
Day 1 / 26th Dec
Once we arrived, we headed down to the first day of the martial arts camp to see some friends and catch up with everyone, we wasn’t actually training this day. Checked into our hotel, and then thought we would head into the city. We got the train into the iconic Grand Central – which is even more amazing at Christmas with beautiful wreaths and garland everywhere. I love this building so much. I’ve seen it a fair amount of times and it still makes me smile every time we get there.
One of my favourite places in the world is Times Square – especially at night. It just never gets old, no matter how many times we visit. However, this was by far the busiest we have ever experienced NYC. There were people everywhere. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not too bad with crowds (we enjoy Walt Disney World for Christmas lol) but it was difficult to get into any shops or just stand and take photos with the intensity of people. I still love it, but you can come at another time of year with less crowds to enjoy Time Square more, plus there weren’t really any differences in that area for Christmas.
From here we made our way to the Rockefeller Centre to see the famous Christmas tree, passing Bryant Park which looked very pretty with its tree, Christmas markets and ice rink (definitely on my list to see properly next time). The Rockefeller Tree, now this was amazing. Much better in person than any photo I’ve seen. It was beautiful. If you’re a fan of Christmas lights and Christmas trees then you’ll love it. Crowds are crazy but you can always get to the tree and get a good spot for a photo. It really is worth braving the crowds for.
Day 2 / 27th Dec
We were at our training camp the entire daytime, but we had a bus tour arranged as part of the camp to visit Dyker Heights in Brooklyn for the evening. This was the Christmas thing I was most looking forward to on our trip. Dyker Heights is a residential area where a few blocks and streets all decorate their houses with Christmas lights. Some were simple but pretty, others were crazy with thousands of lights and inflatables in their gardens. It was AMAZING. We had so much fun just walking around the streets taking photos and checking out all the beautiful decorations. I would recommend this 100% to anyone who is visiting New York over the Christmas period, it is definitely a must do and something I would always make sure we do again. Definitely my dream place to live over the Christmas period!
Check out my Instagram highlights to see some videos of one of the best houses we saw.
Days 3&4 – 28th&29th Dec
These days honestly were just taken up with training and spending time with some of our martial arts friends and family. But if you haven’t seen Aquaman yet, then go see it! In my opinions it’s definitely one of the best DC films so far and was much better than I expected it to be. Also, Coney Island is definitely somewhere I want to make time for next time we are here during the summer months.
Day 5 – 30th Dec
The training camp was over so we had a free day to go and venture back into the city. I had a few things I wanted to do before it was time to head home.
We had tickets booked for Mickey: The True Original Exhibition. As soon as I saw this was going to be in NYC while we were there, I worked out a time we could go and booked our tickets – there was absolutely no way we were missing it. I’d seen so many pictures and videos on people’s instagrams, I was so excited. It was awesome, so cute and interesting. Definitely worth a visit if you’re a Disney fan and heading to NYC before February 10th. But make sure you book your tickets in advanced. Everyday is selling out. I’ll be doing a separate post about this, ur here’s one picture for ya!
We then walked down 5th Avenue taking in the shop windows and Christmas decorations. Some of my favourites were Cartier, Tiffany’s and of course Saks Fifth Avenue. Saks go all out with a light show on the front of the store, so we decided to head back there when it was a little darker outside. We did make our way to the Plaza Hotel, just to visit the lobby – if you’ve seen Home Alone 2 then you’ll understand why – but unfortunately they don’t allow non hotel guests into the lobby until after 7pm. So that’s on my list for next time we visit at Christmas!
Now back to Saks. I loved it! The show is short and sweet, but I believe it plays every 10 minutes from 5-11pm. I think maybe I’m just a little obsessed with christmas lights but I thought it was really cool and I would definitely recommend watching it.
I’m normally the type of person who likes to get everything I wanna do done in one trip… however that wasn’t the case with this trip and I’m ok with that because I know I will definitely be visiting again over the Christmas period, and then I can get some of the other things ticked off my list. The following things are ideas I had given to me by various people of things to do over the Christmas period in NYC that we didn’t get time for on this trip:
- Ice skating at either Rockefeller Centre, Bryant Park or Central Park
- Looking around the Christmas markets at Bryant Park and Columbus Circle
- Visiting the Plaza Hotel
- Getting tickets to see The Nutcracker and The
Just a couple of other tips…
- we didn’t have snow this year but it was cold! And even if it doesn’t feel too bad during the day, the temperatures drop fast in the evening. Make sure you have layers, hate, gloves, scarf and good socks/shoes
- Consider staying outside the city. Their train lines are good and it’s easy to get a train into the city if you’re staying slightly outside. If you want a little cheaper price for accommodation, or don’t fancy being in the madness the entire time, then this is a good option. We stayed at the Radisson in New Rochelle, mainly because it was the hotel for the martial arts event we were attending, but I would consider staying here again. Lots of food options local to the hotel, a good bar in the hotel, quick walk to the train station and a few activities close to the hotel too
- If you’re going to do want to do some of the other tourist attractions such as Top of The Rock, Empire State Building, 9/11 Memorial, then think about planning your days slightly and booking your tickets in advanced. We always book ahead and it saves a lot of hassle when you get here
- Lastly, if you’re staying for New Years Eve (we aren’t, we are flying home tonight), except to have to sit in Times Square all day if you wanna see that ball drop, or purchase tickets for another restaurant or bar event. Times Square is predicted to have 2 million people there tonight, it’s going to be crazy!
All in all, we’ve had a great trip. I love visiting this city, and I love it at Christmas as much as I do in the Summer. Please feel free to ask any questions you may have, or leave any comments if you have ideas for things to do over the Christmas period in NYC that I missed out!
Happy New Year to you all, here’s to a great 2019.