Christmas in New York is one of my favorite times of the year. Everyone is nicer, the decor is so festive and the joy of the season just works its way into everything in the best way possible. The one downfall, however, are the huge crowds that some of the city’s best attracts draw during this busy time of the year. Instead of hitting up the big draws that have the big crowds, try these off-the-beaten-path attractions that will still get you in the Christmas spirit without all of the hassle. Without further ado, here is the Naturalized New Yorker’s Christmas guide to New York.
The Union Square Christmas Market is on my hit-list every year. Though it can be crowded on weekends, take a trip on a weeknight and you’ll get to see all of the vendors without as much of the stress. This market is one of my favorites for a few reasons: they’ve got amazing, one-of-a-kind gifts from local vendors for a range of prices. You can find cute little trinkets next to expensive artwork next to mini donuts. They’ve got something for everyone and the festive atmosphere reminds me a lot of European Christmas markets, right in the heart of NYC.
There’s a reason the Rockefeller tree is such an attraction – it’s beautiful and nothing says Christmas quite like a million-foot tree in the middle of the city. But, the major crowds within the few blocks around the tree make it hard to have an enjoyable experience. Instead, hit the Palace Hotel. This dazzling tree (of Gossip Girl fame) is beautiful and makes for a perfect photo opp without the same overwhelming crowd. Though there will probably still be some onlookers, it’s nothing like what you’ve got at 30 Rock.
After you’ve seen all the sights, head to City Bakery in Flatiron for their world-famous hot chocolate. The homemade marshmallows and the thick, rich hot chocolate is the perfect way to warm up and take a break from the cold before heading out once again.
Finish up the night with a cozy cocktail at the Campbell Apartment or Lobby Bar at the Bowery Hotel. Both spots are usually a bit crowded, but it’s worth the wait for the ambiance and killer craft cocktails. What better way to end the day than by sipping a great drink next to a crackling fireplace? Answer: there isn’t one.