Many years ago I started going to New York City during Christmas for shopping and snow viewing. It has now morphed into my husband’s birthday celebration place. If you are thinking of going to New York during the Christmas season there are a few things to keep in mind.
We had a great trip this year, even with the weather being crazy. We arrived on Thursday night and it was hot, then Friday morning it was freezing. It stayed cold until Monday as we were leaving it was hot again. Hot being 70 degrees, but that is warm for NYC in December.
A few years back we experienced a blizzard!
Bottom line – be prepared for any type of weather.
There will be LOTS of people. More than normal. And most of these people are panicking because they have a Christmas list of things to buy and time is running out. The hubs and I quit doing presents a long time ago and therefore are not freaked out. But you must be on notice that people are really really stressed out.
While the streets are (usually) freezing, the insides of buildings are usually ridiculously hot. Prepare for this. Do not wear heavy sweaters under a heavy coat and then wrap your bag over your shoulder. Wear layers. And put your bag under your coat. Then when you enter the building you can take your coat off without it being an Olympic event. The locals have this down to an art; you are not a local so don’t even try. Just put that purse under your coat or be ready to melt.
If you do not own a scarf, buy one immediately when you get to NYC. I’m from the south so we don’t really need/wear scarves. I have found over the years though that they are quite handy and wear them often now. Google a video on the many ways to wear them. The cold wind in NYC somehow knows how to hit your lips (while chapping them well), and then rush down your neck and into your clothes. Wear a scarf.
You can also use them to breathe through went on the subway and not so great odors appear.
The Christmas windows are just as pretty in the day as they are at night when people think that is the only time they are up. They are also up at 9am before the stores even open. Do not stand in long lines to see the same thing you can see in the morning. They are beautiful. Evening and morning they are the same.
Other Christmas Activities
If you stand on the church steps at St. Patrick’s on 55 and 5th, you can hear (and kind of see, but not well) the Saks Christmas lights on the building. Or you can cross the street and stand in the crowd. This, unfortunately does need to be done at night. It is pretty and should be done. But please don’t fight the crowd…stand on the steps and lean over a little. You’ll get the point.
There is nothing more peaceful that watching people ice skate in Central Park. Forget Rockefeller ice.. it is loud, and touristy. Bryant Park can be nice too sometimes.
I avoid Time Square at all cost. If you have never been, go around 9am. Things start opening up and it is not as crazy as the middle of the afternoon. There is nothing “christmasy” in TS, so look and then leave.
Nespresso has a shop up by the park, east side. Forget the Starbucks. This has a restaurant and the coffees are fabulous. The store in the back has great servers that will let you sample your heart out too. And they have clean bathrooms.
Lincoln Center has opera and ballets that are wonderful to watch during this time. Check out their schedules. It is less hectic and usually much cheaper than a broadway show.
Last but not least, remember to enjoy your self. And stay away from people with look of panic in their eyes. 🙂