New York City is a great place to be at any time of the year, but at Christmastime it is even more special. Every year without fail, the cityscape is transformed into a winter wonderland with Christmas trees, lights and wonderfully-decorated shop window displays brilliantly brought together to create the stuff only dreams are made of.
A true winter wonderland
While everybody is wrapped up warm to combat the cold winter conditions, New Yorkers and visitors alike mingle together on the streets of Manhattan as they go about their Christmas shopping and enjoy the spectacular sights only this city can offer. Even when the city is white with snow, there is a sense that this is what the festive season is all about, with more than a nod to the Christmases of days gone by.
If you are hoping to create your own Christmas fairytale in New York – one that has nothing to do with the excellent but harsh Christmas hit by the Pogues, ‘Fairytale of New York’ – there is plenty to captivate your imagination and ensure your trip here is money well-spent.
The lead up to Christmas in the city always generates excitement and as the ultimate shopping destination, it is no wonder that flight prices and hotel rates do go up as we get into December. However, you should still check around for cheap flights to New York from the UK and across Europe as you may still be able to find flights to the East Coast of the United States for between £300-400.
Where to stay
When it comes to finding a place to stay, there are accommodation options to suit every budget. Check out some of the best hotels for spending Christmas in New York City, or for larger groups it might be more cost-effective to rent an apartment instead.
Now you’ve arrived, how are you going to decide on what to do? We’ve already mentioned how good New York is for shopping at Christmas, but did you know that it is also the best place for bargains, with gifts up to 73 per cent cheaper than London?
Be sure to peruse the exquisite festive displays along Fifth Avenue, not forgetting Macy’s, which can be found on the corner of Broadway and West 34th Street.
For those who prefer the European-style Christmas markets, even when away from home, there are various holiday markets to be found across the city.
Christmas trees and ice skating
The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is a world-famous symbol of the holiday season in the city. The tree lighting ceremony takes place on Wednesday, December 3 with live performances put on to entertain the crowds. This is also the home of The Rink. Ice skating is a longstanding tradition here, so if you want to be one of the 150 skaters on the ice at any one time, head on down to this remarkable complex, which can be found between 49th and 51st Streets and between Fifth and Sixth Avenues.
For another ice skating option in the city, you might want to try the Wollman Rink in Central Park (close to the zoo). There’s nothing more romantic than gliding across the ice with the city skyline as the backdrop.
Finally, it wouldn’t be Christmas in New York without the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, which is now celebrating its 87th year of high kicks and precision dancing – plus quite a number of Santas!