How to Enjoy Christmas in New York With Your Kids | Travel

Sure, most cities deck out and fill with lights when Christmas comes — but New York is without a doubt on a whole other level. Not even the Grinch could escape the clutches of the holiday spirit that hits you when you visit the city at this time of year.

Considering a visit to the Big Apple this season? We can think of hundreds of things to do in New York this Christmas, but time is limited and you want to make the most of your trip. To help you, here is our list of tips, suggestions and must-see places to enjoy with your family.

things to see and do

Ice skating. It’s really fun and a perfect way to warm up when it’s cold. The most famous ice rinks (perhaps because they appear frequently in movies and TV shows) are those in Rockefeller Center, Bryant Park, and Central Park. However, they also tend to be packed; For some it is even advisable to book in advance. Luckily, there are many more ice rinks in New York, like the one at Brookfield Place or even the one at Governors Island which opened on November 17th.

Bryant Park Ice Rink, one of the most famous in New York.
Bryant Park Ice Rink, one of the most famous in New York.Adrian Rodriguez

Christmas Market. Just like in Europe, New York has its own Christmas markets. There you will find products with an artisanal touch, clothing, accessories, chocolate, Christmas cookies and more. Cinnamon rolls and hot apple cider are some of our favorite treats. The most popular markets are in Union Square, Bryant Park, the southwest corner of Central Park, and Grand Central Station.

Christmas trees. Christmas trees overwhelm the streets of New York when their lights are on. The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is topped with a Swarovski crystal star, and the spinning of the lights is quite a sight – it’s even televised. In addition to the tree at Rockefeller Center, there are other high-profile trees in Bryant Park and the New York Stock Exchange. There are also some impressive ones at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the New York Public Library and the Plaza Hotel.

The large Christmas tree, a gift from Norway, placed in the Rockefeller Center in New York.
The large Christmas tree, a gift from Norway, placed in the Rockefeller Center in New York.Adrian Rodriguez

Dyker Heights. Do you want to fill your Instagram account with the colors of the season? Then head to Brooklyn and let yourself be carried away by the Christmas cheer of the Dyker Heights neighborhood, where intense competition for the title of best (or most) decorated house is taking place. Get your camera ready, put on a warm jacket, and take a stroll as you enjoy a free show full of holiday cheer.

The Rockets. Any Broadway musical show is a treat, but if you’re going during the holiday season and with kids, the Rockettes’ Christmas Spectacular is a must. These dancers put on an impressive show that’s just missing (or maybe not) the snow. The nearly hundred-year-old show has adapted with the times and even introduced elements of virtual reality.

The Christmas Spectacular show featuring The Rockettes, a New York Christmas classic.
The Christmas Spectacular show featuring The Rockettes, a New York Christmas classic.Adrian Rodriguez

window shopping. Aside from the shopping itself, the shops are great sources of entertainment during the Christmas period thanks to their window displays and shows. There are two you can’t miss: Macy’s, which decorates its windows with funny Christmas stories, and Saks Fifth Avenue, which has a projection on its 5th Avenue building that draws crowds about every 10 minutes after sunset. Of course, these aren’t the only shop windows: nearby Bergdorf Goodman doesn’t lag behind, perhaps even with an added touch of class, and even the most exclusive shops in the area are dressing up for the occasion.

Street lighting. In addition to the shop windows, you will find special lighting for this time of year in various places. The inside of the Brookfield Place mall is usually an interesting sight, as is the Hudson Yards neighborhood. And as if that wasn’t enough, various themed light shows have been built up in recent years; You’ll find some indoor enclosures like the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, while others, like LuminoCity or the Winter Lantern Festival, host entire shows on a larger scale.

Christmas lights and decorations on one of the streets of New York.
Christmas lights and decorations on one of the streets of New York.Adrian Rodriguez

Another attraction not to be missed are the model trains that run through a scale model of all of New York’s emblematic landmarks, made from the remains collected throughout the year at the New York Botanical Garden.

christmas restaurants Although all types of restaurants can be found in the city, there are some that take their Christmas decorations to untold extremes, such as: B. Rolf’s, which is full of onlookers taking photos. The restaurant is a bit pricey for what you get, but hey, it’s Christmas!

Tips for visiting New York at Christmas with kids

• First of all: patience. Breathe and relieve yourself. This way you will have a happier journey.

• Bring warm clothes. It gets very cold in New York in the winter, so wear good shoes that will protect your feet from rain or snow and a good coat or thermal clothing so nothing will stop you. If your kids are sensitive to cold, you can try hand warmers, a really great invention.

• Date and Time. It is important that you are fully aware of the schedules for the attractions, the markets, the lighting of the trees and houses and anything else you plan to do. Some routes are long and it will be frustrating to get there only to realize you’ve missed them (especially with kids in tow).

• New Year’s Eve in New York. As Hollywood-like spending New Year’s Eve in Times Square may seem, it may not be a very pleasant experience. Waiting on your feet for hours in a cold, enclosed area can be overwhelming; especially if you are traveling with children. We don’t recommend it. Also keep in mind that Manhattan is one of the most expensive places in the world to spend New Year’s Eve, both to sleep and to eat.

• In New York, consumption comes first. The stores will make it very difficult for you to stay on budget; Be careful with your money from day one.

The man in the red suit

Depending on the age of your children, you must be aware that Santa Claus can be found in certain places, e.g. B. in shopping centers. One of the most popular Santas is the one in Santaland, at Macy’s. You can visit him in his village and give him your letter. And if malls aren’t your thing, you can also brunch on a cruise ship with Santa guest-starring. There are options for every taste.

So there you have it. If you’re looking for an unforgettable trip that you’ll remember for years to come, visiting New York with your kids during the holiday season is a memorable experience you won’t regret.

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