Join our readers and get Glam Journeys exclusive travel tips, get priority access to new blog posts, and so much more!

Christmas in New York City

Jan 19, 2020 | New York | 0 comments

Updated: Jul 17, 2020

Get ready to be swept away by the magical wonders of the holiday season in the city that never sleeps! Christmas in New York City is an experience like no other, where the streets come alive with dazzling lights, festive decorations, and a contagious joy that fills the air. From ice skating beneath the towering Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center to sipping hot cocoa while strolling through the enchanting holiday markets, the Big Apple offers an abundance of unforgettable experiences that will make your Christmas memories sparkle. So, grab your scarf, bundle up, and let’s embark on a jolly adventure through the winter wonderland that is New York City during the most wonderful time of the year!

Woman posing on ledge of water feature with giant red Christmas ornaments in the background. | New York City
NYC Airports

My favorite airport is La Guardia Airport (LGA) because I like to fly via Southwest Airlines.

The main reasons why I love to fly Southwest Airlines is:

a) rapid reward points

b) companion passes

c) I have “A list status” so I can board early

(No, I am not getting paid to write this about Southwest.)

Another popular airport is the John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). I suggest shopping around and picking the airport where you can score the best flight deals.

Airport Transportation

La Guardia Airport is under construction. To take a taxi from the airport, you must first take a shuttle to the taxi service area. A taxi from La Guardia Airport to NYC should cost around $33.00. Do not get scammed by the people holding up Uber signs and asking if you want to skip the taxi shuttle line by using their Uber service. They will try to charge you $75 and they are not with Uber. Trust me we fell for it because we were tired and lazy.


I believe the best place to stay is in Time Square. That will put you in the heart of all the tourist attractions and the middle of everything. Seriously, you can even walk to the Broadway shows.

Man posing with superhero characters on the street. | New York City

What to do and where to eat.

Day 1 in NYC
Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

We took a taxi from Time Square to Battery Park in Lower Manhattan.

If you want to go up to the statue’s crown, then you need to purchase tickets at least 6 months to a year in advance. If you want tickets to the pedestal, I suggest 3 months in advance.

Be Prepared, all American historic sites in NYC have strict security procedures that are equal to the security procedures at the airport. Trust me I learned the hard way. I lost a good can of pepper spray that day to the trash.

Statue of Liberty view. | New York City

We bought our tickets online through Statue Cruises. I suggest picking the earliest time available because the later in the day the longer the lines will get. Statue Cruises will drop you off at the Statue of Liberty then Ellis Island. Make sure you are on the right-hand side of the cruise ship so you can capture some amazing memories. The cruise ship will circle the Statue of Liberty which is perfect for pictures.

The Miss New York cruise ship for Statue of Liberty cruises. | New York City

Once on the Statue of Liberty Island, you will see some incredible views of NYC and the Statue of Liberty. Do I think going inside the Statue of Liberty is necessary? No, it’s just a bunch of stairs. Be prepared, for a good workout.

Woman enjoying the view while riding the Miss New York cruise ship for Statue of Liberty cruises. | New York City

Also, the Statue of Liberty Museum is located on the island and it is free.

Outside the Statue of Liberty Museum. | New York City
Man posing with statue in the Statue of Liberty Museum. | New York City

Once completed, you can jump on the next ferry that runs every 20 minutes. It will take you to the next stop, Ellis Island, which is free with your Statue Cruise ticket.

Building on Ellis Island. | New York City

Check the information desk for movie time. Included with your ticket is a 30-minute movie about Ellis Island. They even offer free tours of Ellis Island.

Information desk with sign at Ellis Island. | New York City
Statue of a woman at Ellis Island. | New York City
Trinity Church Cemetery-Free

*Use the “Google Maps” app on your phone to find your way around NYC. Once you plug in the location then select walking directions*

After the Statue Cruise, we walked from Battery Park to the church. Trinity Church is gorgeous!

Outside the Trinity Church Cemetery. | New York City

This is where Alexander Hamilton is buried. This place is for all the people who love the Broadway show “Alexander Hamilton” or for the people who just love history.

Graves at the Trinity Church Cemetery. | New York City

Alexander musical:

“How does a bastard, orphan son of a whore
And a Scotsman dropped in the middle of a forgotten spot in the Caribbean
By providence, impoverished, in squalor, grow up to be a hero and a scholar?

Alexander Hamilton

My name is Alexander Hamilton
And there’s a million things I haven’t done
But just you wait, just you wait”

Alexander Hamilton statue memorial. | New York City
Joe’s Pizza

Hungry? Well, you need to try the New York pizza while in New York.

Right down the street is the famous Joe’s Pizza. Is it good? Heck ya.

Large pizza on tray at Joe's Pizza. | New York City

Look at all the celebrities who love Joe’s Pizza. Their walls are covered with pictures of celebrities at Joe’s Pizza. You will understand why everyone stops at Joe’s when they are in New York! It’s Mmmm good!

Wall of pictures of celebrities at Joe's Pizza. | New York City

I remember this episode where Kim Kardashian stopped for a slice of pizza before she started her “fitness journey” aka diet. This would be one of my stops too, if I was about to start a diet.

Wall of pictures of celebrities at Joe's Pizza. | New York City
One World Trade Center- Free

Once you leave Joe’s, head on foot to the One World Trade Center.

It is the main building of the rebuilt World Trade Center. Just enjoy its beauty.

One World Trade Center view. | New York City
9/11 Memorial- Free

Keep walking until you come across the 9/11 Memorial. This place will bring tears to your eyes. I remember coming to this location after 9/11 and seeing a pile of rubble. It is sad to see the rubble gone because now it just makes it more of a memory and less of a reality for me. Never Forget, but I guess at some point you need to let go and rebuild.

911 Memorial fountain. | New York City
Westfield World Trade Center- Free

Next door, is the underground shopping area. We boarded the subway in the underground mall so we could go back to Time Square. If you want to shop, then here is your chance. Go shopping then board the subway!

People shopping in large underground mall. | New York City
Broadway Show

It was only a few blocks from our Time Square hotel, therefore we walked.

There is nothing better in this world than to hear them say on stage….

“You can be anywhere in the world right now and you are here with me in New York City.”

Watching a Broadway show on Broadway is a once in a lifetime experience for a traveler like me. I felt beyond blessed! If you can fit a Broadway show into your schedule then do it!

Large bright outdoor sign outside theater for Hamilton Broadway show, Richard Rodgers. | New York City

We saw Alexander Hamilton, which is an award-winning musical for a reason. This was the main reason why my college student wanted to come to New York. I now completely understand! I am now OBSESSED with the musical soundtrack. You can even hear my kids singing the songs around our house. I’m that obsessed with it. My four-year-old daughter was just singing the song a few minutes ago while she was playing.

Woman holding playbill inside theater for Hamilton Broadway show. | New York City

Broadway Dress Code:

Honestly, it seems like people in my hometown dress up more for the musicals than the people in New York City. I love to dress up, therefore, I was wearing a sequin top with black dress pants. I saw that most people were just wearing jeans and basic shirts.

Day 2
Ellen’s Stardust Diner

This diner is located at the end of Time Square, therefore it was a short walk to breakfast for us.

This is where a lot of the Broadway stars are discovered. Hello, it’s right down the street from Broadway. While eating your meal, their world-famous waitstaff performs live, right in front of you, as they deliver coffee to their tables. It’s insane! Talk about talent.

We had breakfast at Ellen’s Stardust because we wanted to beat the long lines. Seriously, the lines will wrap around the building all day long. The earlier you arrive the better. Although the lines are long, they go super-fast. Do not let the lines discourage you. It’s worth the wait. I promise.

The breakfast was surprisingly good.

Plate of breakfast food from Ellen's Stardust Diner. | New York City
Plate of breakfast food from Ellen's Stardust Diner. | New York City

Next time, I want to try one of their colorful bagels.

Colorful rainbow bagel from Ellen's Stardust Diner. | New York City

After breakfast, we headed on foot to the Rockefeller Center. We passed the Giant Christmas Ornaments at 1251 Sixth Avenue.

Couple posing in front of giant Christmas ornaments on the street. | New York City
Rockefeller Center

A popular spot to visit is the Top of the Rock Observation Deck. You can see a 360-degree view of the Manhattan skyline for $38. I suggest ordering your tickets online in advance. We skipped this tourist attraction and elected for a higher New York view experience, so waited for the Empire State Building.

However, we did visit the famous Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree and skating ring. The tree is HUGE. My best friend would love it!

Woman posing in front of Rockefeller Center Christmas tree on the street. | New York City

FAO Schwarz Toy Store and the Lego Store are only a few steps from the Rockefeller Center.

Man posing with toy soldier characters in front of FAO Schwartz Toy Store on the street. | New York City

Of course, my college student had to go into the toy store.

Girl holding items inside the FAO Schwartz Toy Store. | New York City
Time Square

After exploring the Rockefeller area, we headed back on foot to explore Time Square.

Just like in Hollywood, you will find people dressed up as characters. Make sure you negotiate prices. If they ask for $10 offer $5. My son is obsessed with Thanos so we had to send him this picture.

Man posing with superhero characters on the street. | New York City

I suggest exploring on your own. My favorite stores are the M&M, Hershey’s, & Disney Store.

Frozen character statues inside the Disney Store. | New York City

Hershey’s store has some delicious snacks!

Girl drinking milkshake from Hershey's store. | New York City
Central Park- Free

We walked from Time Square to Central Park.

There are several ways you can get around Central Park:

A) Walk or Walking Tour– Central Park is huge so be prepared to walk.

B) Rent a Bike– This was my first option. However, without a tour guide, you can easily miss out on entire sections of Central Park

C) Horse Carriage Ride– I did this once and I loved it. It was crazy expensive! Sadly, they never stop, so you never get to explore Central Park. If you want a relaxing view of Central Park then this is the way to go.

D) Pedicab Tour– This was perfect for us. You have a tour guide who will take you to all the major Central Park spots. You are allowed 15 minutes at each spot to explore.

Pedicab Tour through Central Park- $120

Make sure you negotiate on price.

Here is our tour guide’s contact information:

Onur 646-912-0578

He was chill, laid back, and amazing!

Man posing in front of Bike Carriage Ride. | New York City
My favorite spots in Central Park:
Bethesda Fountain
View of people walking around Bethesda Fountain. | New York City

This is where Chuck and Blair got married on the popular series Gossip Girl.

“New York, I love you. XOXO”

Woman walking around Bethesda Fountain. | New York City

“Three words, eight letters”- Chuck Bass

Couple kissing reenacting Chuck and Blair Wedding from Gossip Girl at Bethesda Fountain. | New York City

You will pass by The Plaza from the movie “Home Alone.”

View of movie location for Home Alone movie. | New York City

Also, the spot where the snow fight went down in the movie “Elf”. We were there in late December, but no snow like in the movies.

View of movie location for Elf movie. | New York City
Bridges and Arches of Central Park

This is a great spot for family photos.

Couple posing at the Bridges and Arches of Central Park. | New York City

This is where you will find the “Friends” fountain.

Girl posing in front of Friends fountain at  Central Park. | New York City
Strawberry Fields in Central Park

John Lennon Memorial in Central Park

John Lennon and Yoko Ono lived on the top floor. He was killed right outside this building by one of his fans. His wife still lives on the top floor and she can see his memorial that she designed from her window. Talk about a sad, true story.

John Lennon Memorial in Central Park. | New York City
John Lennon Memorial in Central Park. | New York City

Seriously, you could spend an entire day in Central Park. There is so much to see and do.

Grand Central Station- Free

We walked to the Grand Central Station. This place is massive.

Gossip Girl Fans

“Hey, Upper East Siders. Gossip Girl here. And I have the biggest news ever. One of my many sources, Melanie91, sends us this: “Spotted at Grand Central, bags in hand: Serena van der Woodsen.” Was it only a year ago our It Girl mysteriously disappeared for “boarding school”? And just…”

People walking around the Grand Central Station. | New York City

FYI- If you are hungry then you can find a mall-like food court underground.

New York Public Library- Free.

We walked from Central Station to the New York Public Library.

Is it worth a visit? Yes, it is breathtaking!

Outside at night at the New York Public Library. | New York City
People walking around inside the New York Public Library. | New York City
If there’s something strange
In your neighborhood
Who are you gonna call?

Do you remember this spot in the first movie?

People studying inside the New York Public Library. | New York City
Bryant Park

Right next to the New York Public Library.

This park has a Christmas Tree and Skating ring just like the Rockefeller Center.

Christmas tree lit up at night at Bryant Park.| New York City

Also, this park has year-round shopping and food.

People shopping at night at Bryant Park.| New York City

I even found a store named after me. Do you get it?

Woman standing in front of Miss Tea store at Bryant Park. | New York City
Dinner in NYC

While in New York, you need to try a street hot dog for $5. OMG so good!

Street hotdog with cheese in New York. | New York City

Also, you need to try a New York Cheesecake. I think we prefer our Southern Cheesecake over the New York Cheesecake. However, at least we gave it a chance. Which do you like better?

New York cheesecake in New York. | New York City
Day 3
Empire State Building

We took the subway from Time Square to the Empire State Building.

*Use your “Google Maps” on your phone to find the subway stations.*

After 3 days of walking we were exhausted so we slept till noon. Once we woke up we were ready to head out to the Empire State Building.

FYI- The lines are long and the security is intense. I would say it’s equal to airport security.

Woman posing while looking at the view from the Empire State Building. | New York City

We selected the cheapest option which is the “Main Deck & 2nd Floor Museum” ticket for $42 a person. We had access to a 360-degree view of NYC from the 86th Floor Observatory. You can pay a little more and go to the 102nd floor, aka Top Deck. I’m not sure if that’s necessary considering you can see all over NYC from the 86th floor. If you have sensitive ears, I suggest bringing gum. My ears were popping in the elevator. Look at this view. It was worth the $42.

View from the Empire State Building Observatory. | New York City
Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge- Free

We took the subway from the Empire State Building to the Brooklyn side of the Brooklyn Bridge.

I suggest doing this at night. Start on the Brooklyn side and walk across to the New York side. The view is stunning at night! I wish my pictures gave it justice. We went right around 5:00 pm when the sun was going down. `When you are walking across, you can even see the Statue of Liberty light up. It is a spectacular view.

People walking across the Brooklyn Bridge at night. | New York City
Man posing with a view of the Brooklyn Bridge at night. | New York City
Dinner in NYC
Carmine’s Italian Restaurant

Two blocks from Time Square.

You must have Italian food while in NYC. Please! I beg you to do it.

This restaurant is famous for a reason it is DELICIOUS. Reservations are not required. We didn’t have reservations and waited 2 ½ hours for a table. I suggest making that reservation online.

It’s family-sized servings. One meal can feed an army!

Man posing with a plate of pasta from Carmines in New York. | New York City

We even made a mistake and ordered an appetizer that could feed an entire army. We knew when the appetizer came out that there was no way we would have room for the main meal.

Plate of hot appetizer food from Carmines in New York. | New York City

The free bread is to die for.

Basket of bread from Carmines in New York. | New York City

I hope I have you excited about your NYC trip. New York City is my favorite city in the United States. I understand that New York isn’t for everyone. If you hate crowds and people then this is not the city for you. If you love the fast pace, neon lights, and the hustle lifestyle, then you will love NYC. Honestly, if I could afford to live in NYC, I would pack my bags right now. NYC is a big city for people with big dreams, and those dreams are what makes this world turn.

Looking for a NYC hotel click here.

Click here to learn more about Glam Escapes.

Read more: Christmas in New York City


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Hi, I’m Misty! Welcome to Glam Journey, where you’ll find travel-related content, itineraries and booking services for the adventurous mom who is living her version of a glamorous life.

Recent Blog Posts

Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

If you've ever been fascinated by the story of the Titanic, then the Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge, Tennesse, is a must-visit destination. This immersive experience provides an incredible opportunity to step back in time and relive the grandeur and tragedy of the...

A Day at the Creation Museum

Are you looking for a fun and educational family Field trip? The Creation Museum is a perfect destination for families and homeschool groups to explore and learn together. Discover the Wonders of Creation The Creation Museum offers an immersive experience that brings...

What to Know About the Ark Encounter in Kentucky

Are you looking for a unique travel destination that combines fun, learning, and faith? Look no further than the Ark Encounter in Kentucky. Whether you're a Christian family seeking a meaningful travel experience or a travel enthusiast curious about one of the most...