New York City holds a special place in my heart all year around, but during the holidays, it’s simply magical. We absolutely love visiting the city this time of year and always have a list of must-see holiday sights. For those of you who are making the trip in the next couple of weeks, we hope this list gives you some festive ideas! Read on below for our New York City holiday favorites.

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

Every time we are in New York during the holiday season, visiting the massive tree at Rockefeller Center is a must! It’s so fun to see how magical it is from the boys’ point of view. If you love ice skating, strap on your skates at the Rockefeller Center Ice Skating Rink!  Trust us, the crowds are worth it!

5th Ave Window Displays & The Plaza

You can’t go to New York at Christmastime and not take a stroll down 5th Ave on the Upper East Side to see the incredible window displays at Bergdorf Goodman and all of the luxury stores. Be sure to stroll by The Plaza hotel to see their massive Christmas tree as well as the trees outside surrounding the fountain. Escape the cold for a minute with a hot chocolate or glass of wine in the Plaza’s food court. (Macy’s on 34th street is also a crowd favorite, but be prepared to brave all the tourist!)

Central Park

Central Park during the holidays is pure magic — especially after a fresh snow fall! Strap on your ice skates for a whirl around Wollman Rink and take in the city scape just beyond the tree line.  We also love taking the horse drawn carriage rides around the park to rest your legs and snuggle up under a blanket.  (That’s actually how Fred proposed!)

Radio City Christmas Spectacular

Two Christmases ago we took the boys to New York City in December and saw the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Andrew was only one and he absolutely loved it! Meanwhile, three-year-old Knox took a nap. 🙂 We can’t wait to continue this tradition over the years! Especially now that they are older and can appreciate it more.

All of the Hot Chocolate 

Exploring New York at Christmastime should include multiple stops for hot chocolate! City Bakery, Sarabeth’s, Serendipity, and Sant Ambroeus are a few favorites. 

New York Philharmonic 

For a special Christmas date night, plan an evening to see the New York Philharmonic at the Lincoln Center. For the holidays the symphony presents Christmas concerts including Handel’s Messiah.

John Derian Store

There are so many wonderful boutiques around New York, but if we had to highlight one for the holidays it would be the John Derian store in the East Village. It’s full to the brim of Christmas ornaments and beautiful collectible pieces that make wonderful gifts.

Holiday Markets

You could spend days just perusing the holiday markets set up all around New York. A few of the main ones include Union Square Holiday Market, Winter Village at Bryant Park, Grand Central Holiday Fair, and Columbus Circle Holiday Market.

Festive Restaurants & Bars

Of course one of our favorite New York activities any time of year is dining at as many amazing restaurants as we can pack into our trip. During the holidays, our favorite restaurants are even more amazing because of the beautiful holiday decor. You can see our full New York guide here, but during the holidays we especially love Balthazar’s, Sarabeth’s, Freemans, Rosemary’s, Rolf’s (for drinks), Maison Premiere,  The Spotted Pig, Birreria at Eataly (which has been transformed into a winter wonderland), Buvette, Cafe Cluny, Gemma, and Bemelmans at The Carlyle for a sophisticated martini and live jazz. 

The Seaglass Carousel

The Seaglass Carousel at Battery Park is always a huge hit with the boys. It has 30 huge fiberglass fish that change colors and make you feel like you’re under water — totally magical!

Do you have a favorite New York City holiday tradition? Please share it with us in the comments below! xo