Updated: Dec 31, 2022
Choosing from the best of Christmas in New York City is like choosing from a fist full of diamonds, but these are a few of my favorites. For years my advertising agency had a rep in NYC, so many times I traveled to the city for my birthday which is at the holiday season. Oh, how I love this amazing city! Below are some of my favorites places if you plan to go this year or dream of a Christmas trip in the future. Nothing can beat walking the streets and marveling at the lights and gigantic wreathes and trees not to mention the stores of 5th Avenue.
1- Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree
If America has a center of Holiday cheer the Rockefeller Center Tree can't be beat. Not only is the tree amazing but so is the setting with metallic flags, lights, trees, music and angels. The lit castle display on the front of Sax Fifth Avenue is also terrific and is syncronized to Christmas carols.
2- The Windows of Bergdorf & The Lunch Counter
The windows of Bergdorfs never disappoint and are creative all year long but especially at Christmas. The store, although pricey, is equally beautiful inside. Head upstairs to the restaurant for a fantastic lunch and views over Central Park. An entire building is dedicated to men's wear across the street.
3- The Snowflake Star at 5th and 57th
Look above you at the corner of 5th Avenue and 57th right across from Louis Vuitton. A huge crystal snowflake is a delight for the senses. It has been a fixture since 1984 and now is associated with UNICEF. You are at the epicenter for luxury shopping in America under the star now made of Bacarat Crystal.
4- Ice Skaters at Bryant Park
The Ice Skaters at Rockefeller might be more famous but the skyline around Bryant Park and its larger rink never disappoint. The park is actually built on the roof of the Public Library's storage. Years ago this was called "Needle Park" because of all the drugs, but now it is a jewel of mid-town. Wolman Rink in Central Park is also a good place to go skating.
5- The Tree at the New York Public Library
On Fifth Avenue and in front of Bryant Park is the New York Public Library. Don't miss the beautiful tree in the lobby, the ceiling of the reading room and wreaths around its famous Lion sculptures out front. I also love the tree in front of the Palace Hotel (at the back of St. Patrick's) which is great for pictures. Maybe the bellman will even snap one for you.
6- The Magic Flute at The Met Opera
Can you do anything more New York than go to the Metropolitan Opera? Spend the money to eat at the Grand Tier Restarant and take the kids to see Mozart's comedy The Magic Flute which is preformed in English every Christmas. The largest Opera House in the world will not disappoint even a country music or rock and roll fan with its stage and sets. I always ask for my dessert at intermission and go back to my seat in the restaurant to my pre-set dessert. It's an experience not to be missed!
7- The Angle Tree at The Metropolitan Museum
Wow, another tree! Yes, this is always my mom's favorite! This huge two story tree is filled with a collection of Eighteenth-Century Italian angles from Naples surrounded by a huge creche and manger scene. Each year the Met Museum commissions an angel ornament inspired by the tree that you can take home. You can spend a full day viewing the treasures here and not see it all! I like to have a "Met Day" the Met Museum in the day and the Met Opera at night.
8- The Nutcracker at Lincoln Center
You may have seen ballet and you may have seen the Nutcracker before, but none is like George Ballenchine's Nutcracker at Lincoln Center's Ballet! Where else does it snow on stage and the sleigh fly away into the night sky? Trust me it will please everyone, even the person who hates ballet.
9- The Rockettes Christmas Spectacular
We've grown up watching them on TV but in person the sycronization of the Rockettes must be seen to be believed. What would a trip to NYC be if you've never seen this tradition at the Art Deco Jewel Radio City? Afterwards go to the Top of the Rock for a cocktail at the Rainbow Room.
10- Lighting a Candle at St. Patrick's Cathedral
Each time I'm in New York I try to visit St. Patrick's at night. The building and poinsettias are amazing as is the walk down Fifth Avenue. I might be Baptist but I always light a candle as thanks to God for another trip to my favorite holiday spot with a prayer for a return.