NYC Winter #1 – The Christmas Cluster

It’s December and Christmas is only a few weeks away! To celebrate I’m doing two posts on Winter/Festive things to do in NYC! This will be my fourth winter in the city and I love it more and more each time. Everyone goes all out with their window displays, lights on trees, carol singers etc. It’s just a happy place to be with no humbugs in sight.

For this week I’m focusing on what I’m going to call ‘the main Christmas Cluster’. This is the area of Rockefeller Center to Bryant Park. If you’re visiting then this area is full of holiday joy, shopping, trees, lights aka the whole shabang. Next week I’ll focus on different areas round the city that you should check out too!

Ok well let’s start with Rockefeller Center which is most famous for the iconic Christmas Tree that got lit up a few days ago. This year the tree is from Bloomsburg, PA and almost ten feet taller. There’s nothing like seeing the lights twinkle and all these people that have travelled from all across the world gathering underneath it. Also at Rockefeller is the famous ice rink. The queue is normally pretty long so try and come late at night or during the week. I would say that there are three main rinks in the city – this one, Central Park and Bryant Park. Rockefeller is one of the most expensive (and smaller ones) but that’s because you’re literally skating under the best tree around. They decorate the place immensely with nutcracker men, silver and gold flags, wired angles and tons of glitter and lights! Just to the right of the tree is also a replica of the star on top that is encrusted with diamonds – so fancy. If you come make sure you go during the day and also at night to experience all the magic.

Next go do some shopping and walk down Fifth Avenue. It has all your favourite high street brands and some more deluxe ones. They all have crazy window displays and decorate their buildings to extremes. I tried to capture the magic but photographing glass is clearly not my forte haha. The first photos below are of Saks (which is actually right opposite the tree) and they’re one of the more famous window displays in the city. The other photos are of various shops I walked past. I didn’t photograph them all as it just wouldn’t do them justice but definitely check it out if you’re here.

Just one street over is Sixth Avenue and they have some staple decorations that go up near Radio City – the baubles and the lights. These I think are more beautiful at night so I went to take some snaps for you. If you get the chance to go to Radio City Musical Hall, definitely go and see The Rockettes. It’s a Christmas classic and really gets you in the spirit. I saw it last year and ended up singing along and dancing to the whole thing.

The last place to mention on this Christmas Cluster post is Bryant Park. On the other side of the New York Library is the park which for the winter seasons becomes a wonderland. There are market stalls all around that sell food, drinks and also gifts and decorations – perfect place to shop for presents. They have their own tree which is huge and heavily decorated, as well as the ice rink. I like it here as it never feels horribly busy or claustrophobic. This would be one of my must see stops as you can shop, eat and skate here. I would recommend this ice rink the most as it’s large and also has stunning views of the surrounding skyscrapers (it’s also one of the cheapest).

Within this area you can also check out Times Square. There are often people dressed in costumes in Times Square so I’m sure some festive looking Mickey Mouses and The Grinch are wandering about. Next week I’ll tell you about more places round the city and also some activities and experiences you could do. The countdown to Christmas has officially started!


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