New York is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world, with most people aiming to pay a visit to the Big Apple at least once in their lifetime.
And who can blame them? Full of fantastic food, shed loads of culture, and even the chance to do a bit of celeb spotting on Fifth Avenue, NYC has it all.
But, no one can deny that New York really comes into its own during the holiday season, transforming into a winter wonderland of spectacular sites, festive activities, and Christmas cheer. The crispness of the air and the warm fuzzy feeling of being bundled up in layers makes it a wonderful Yuletide destination.
Here, we’ve found fives reasons for you to take a trip to the City That Never Sleeps this Christmas.
We’ve all seen the Christmas feel-good classics depicting New York under a blanket of snow: Elf’s snowball fight in Central Park, Harry and Sally carrying a Christmas tree down a snow-covered street, and who could forget the snowy scenes of Home Alone: Lost In New York?
Whilst it’s not guaranteed you’ll have a white Christmas in NYC, you have a much better chance of living a wintry fairy tale than you do in the UK, with average temperatures in New York rarely reaching higher than 9℃.
Aside from the weather, New York is renowned for the retail therapy on offer to visitors. Between Macy’s, Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdales, and Madison Avenue, it’s the perfect place to shop till you drop this Christmas.
Black Friday deals start from Thanksgiving and run up to the big day in most major retailers and lots of Christmas markets dotted throughout the city give you the perfect opportunity to buy some local artisan gifts for loved ones (or to keep for yourself!). We recommend the Winter Village Christmas market in Bryant Park for beautiful crafts.
For your ultimate guide to shopping in New York, NYC Go have created this handy page.
Festive things to do
New York is jam-packed full of things to see and do all year round and the Christmas period is no different.
If you’re after traditional festive things to do, ice skating in Central Park is a must, or try to catch a showing of The Nutcracker by the New York City Ballet. Alternatively, the Radio City Christmas Show has been a New York tradition since 1933.
For those wanting to take in the scenery, have a wander around the districts to marvel at the breathtaking light displays throughout the city. The Rockefeller Christmas tree, Dyker Heights lights and the Empire State Building’s Christmas light show are some of the best.
Obviously, it goes without saying that the city is one of the culture capitals of the world, so make sure you check out one of the many museums on offer. The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim Museum both have extended opening hours on some days.
Frommers and Confused.com both have some more great suggestions.
The food and drink
With an estimated 45,000 places to eat and drink in the city and 77 Michelin starred restaurants, it’s no surprise that New York offers one of the best culinary experiences in the world.
Whether you want to experience some fine dining with an afternoon tea at the Plaza or have a real taste of New York from one of the many street food vendors, there’s something for everyone in the city.
Time Out has a great guide to the best places to eat and drink in New York.
Finally, one of the main reasons to visit New York this Christmas is because of the cheap prices.
Once a holiday confined to the extremely rich, you can now get some great deals with comparison websites like Globehunters, meaning you can get your dream trip away without it costing you an arm and a leg!
So go on then, what are you waiting for?