With New Year's Eve just around the corner, New York offers plenty to do and is gearing up for what is probably the most important time of the year for most New Yorkers. Holiday markets and colorful lights invade the city, creating a perfect climate for all that shopping.
And even though the temperatures are low, it never hurts to grab a hot coffee to go while strolling through the streets lined with ice rinks. Despite being a very touristy time of year, if you are a Christmas lover this is the best time of the year to travel to the Big Apple. Here we go!
1. Dazzle yourself with the illuminated houses of the Dyker Heights neighborhood.
If you want to experience Christmas in true American style, Dyker Heights is the neighborhood you can't miss. This is famous for its extravagant Christmas lights and at this time all the neighbors fill their houses with light, with all kinds of Christmas figures like reindeer, Santa Claus or elves, who move and sing Christmas carols.
If you want to approach this Brooklyn neighborhood you can do it on your own by subway, or if you are near the financial district, the bus can be a very good option. Otherwise, join one of the many tours of New York City to see the Christmas lights.
2. Take a tour of the most spectacular storefronts and take advantage of the opportunity to go shopping
It is always a good option to go shopping in New York, but December is undoubtedly one of the most amazing times to visit the stores. In this month the stores make the most spectacular window displays of the year (and probably the world).
No doubt it leaves no one indifferent, and in addition, at the end of this month they make the After Holiday Sales, a few days in which they take the opportunity to make sales and we can get many products at incredible prices. If you are looking for the best prices, do not hesitate to visit Woodbury Commons, the best outlet in New York.
Also, you can take the opportunity to buy Christmas gifts or the most original souvenirs. Here is a guide to the best things to buy in New York.
3. Watch the NBA Christmas Special
The NBA is considered one of the most special sporting events in the world. Undoubtedly, watching a game is a plan you can't miss if you go to the United States. The fanaticism of the public and the rivalry between franchises will make you enjoy the stars of the parquet, which offer an extraordinary experience.
Can you imagine watching a game at a time as special as Christmas? They take care of every detail to the point of dressing up in special outfits for the occasion! It is undoubtedly one of the best plans to do in December, either visiting the famous Madison Square Garden or attending an NBA game (here I tell you how to buy NBA tickets at the best price).
4. Have a hot chocolate at Serendipity III
As you can imagine, cold weather abounds in New York this time of year. That's why it's common to see people bundled up with a glass of coffee to help warm their hands. We suggest something a little sweeter! Go and have a hot chocolate at Serenipity III, an extraordinary place and without a doubt, its extravagant decoration will not leave you indifferent. For the more indecisive, it is always a good idea to order their specialty, the Frozen Hot Chocolate.
And if in general you are one of those who enjoy gastronomy when traveling, I leave you with this list of the best places to eat in New York.
5. Visit the impressive tree at Rockefeller Center
Just a week after Thanksgiving, December 1 is the official opening day of Christmas. And it's tradition to attend the Rockefeller Center tree lighting ceremony, which is attended by music stars who sing Christmas carols and spread the Christmas spirit to the public in the plaza.
You'll need a good angle lens on your camera to get the whole thing in your picture! You can visit it during the whole month and until the beginning of January. It is usually lit from dusk to midnight, except for December 25th when we can enjoy its illumination all day long. While you're here, you can't miss going up to the Top of the Rock or going up to the Top of the Rock at night. Do not miss the best Christmas trees in New York either.
6. Enjoy one of the most famous shows in New York: The Rockettes.
If you visit New York in December, there's one show you can't miss: the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall: Christmas Spectacular. It is the quintessential New York Christmas show, since it began in 1933. The show is set in the North Pole and is performed by more than 130 artists with impressive choreographies in which we can enjoy ice skating and more than 1300 costumes, including Santa Claus!
This is another activity to enjoy without fail. If you are traveling with children, you can not miss the visit to Santa Claus who will be waiting at the end of the show to take pictures.
And if you would like to spend a movie night you can also check out the best Broadway musicals.
7. Skate at one of the skating rinks throughout the city
When the winter season arrives, New Yorkers are in luck because one of their favorite activities is ice skating, and the city fills up with rinks! The most famous, the first to be set up every year and the most emblematic is the one at Rockefeller Center at Christmas.
That's why, besides a good scarf and warm gloves, you will have to be prepared for a long queue. Of course, skating between skyscrapers is quite an experience. Another very typical and less crowded one is the ice rink in Central Park where you can glide through a dreamy winter landscape.
8. Get lost at the New York Public Library
Every year the New York Public Library takes on an endearing atmosphere. In addition to setting up one of the most visited trees in the city, the entire space is decorated with candles, lights and garlands. In addition, there are activities such as face painting workshops, crafts, magic shows, Christmas storytelling and many more.
Highly recommended especially if you are visiting New York with children!
9. Discover the little train at the Botanical Garden
One of the most popular traditions in New York is the Holiday Train Show*. It's a little train that runs through a miniature model of the city. It is a good way to see all the tourist attractions from another point of view. A curiosity is that this model is created with sustainable materials, and most of them come from the Botanical Garden itself.
Seeing the little train surrounded by moss, branches, bark and many more natural elements is a tradition that you can only enjoy when December arrives and has become a New York tradition.
It is certainly a highly recommended experience, especially if you are traveling with children.
10. Celebrate New Year's Eve in Times Square
Celebrating New Year's Eve in New York is something you have to do once in a lifetime, whether in Times Square, the Empire State Building or Central Park. Since 1907, there is the tradition of celebrating New Year's Eve in Times Square with its famous ball drop, where a huge crystal ball descends to usher in the new year, and where up to a million people gather! Concerts are held with artists of the caliber of Lady Gaga or Justin Bieber.
Another of the most famous parties that you can not miss is the one you will witness if you climb to the top of the Empire State Building, in which the building is illuminated and fireworks shows of the most spectacular.
Other interesting places to enjoy on New Year's Eve
If you want to get away from the crowds and welcome the year with something a little quieter, you can always watch the fireworks in Central Park or on the Brooklyn Bridge.
The weather in New York in December
It is not uncommon to see images of New York City in winter covered with snow, because on December 21 winter officially begins and therefore you must be prepared to combat the low temperatures.
You can not miss in your suitcase warm clothes and raincoat to protect you from the cold, as temperatures range from 7 ° C maximum to 0 ° C minimum and we have an average of 8 days of rain per month.
It gets dark quite early, around 4:30 p.m., when the streets start to light up and the Christmas atmosphere can be discovered. You may like the cold more or less, but if you go prepared, it will be the perfect friend to help you experience New York in the most magical way possible.
New York City's December tourist arrivals
December is probably the month in which the Big Apple receives the most visitors. Tourism at Christmas time is very striking and that's why I recommend you to book your accommodation and activities in advance, besides assuming that, being high season, prices will be quite high, both in accommodation, flights and even restaurant menus.
Even so, that should not stop you from visiting this wonderful city because at Christmas, you will see the city like at no other time of the year and you can keep in your memory a totally unforgettable experience.