New York City was made for Christmas. Enormous plazas and parks, begging for decorations. Snow flurries twisting around glittering sky-high buildings. Endless shops and markets to wander as you search for a gift that’s just right. Once November hits, you can feel the entire city of New York get into the collective holiday spirit – which isn’t difficult, given the fantastic holiday celebrations happening throughout the city. Here are the Top 5 the festivities I want to catch this year:
1. Opening Day of the Bryant Park Winter Village
It might be cheating for my first event to be one I’ve already checked off the list, but catching opening day of my favorite holiday market was hands-down the best way to get into the holiday spirit this year. I won’t go into too much detail, because the fabulous shops and food stalls of the Bryant Park Winter Village deserve their own post, but nothing feels more quintessentially ‘Christmas in New York’ to me than an evening wandering its stalls.
2. Exploring the Holiday Windows at Macy’s Herald Square and Saks Fifth Avenue
Even though I’m less ‘Department Store’ and more ‘Amazon’ when it comes to doing my Christmas shopping, there’s nothing better than walking down 5th Avenue or 34th Street and taking in the extravagant window displays. You could easily fill a full day admiring the glitz and creativity, from Bergdorf Goodman to Barneys, but the deliciously excessive light show at Saks and the classic Macy’s window displays will always be top of my list.
3. Hot Cocoa and Browsing at the Union Square Holiday Market
Like Bryant Park, it just wouldn’t be Christmas without the Union Square Holiday Market. While the food offerings are not at the level of some of the city’s other markets, Union Square is always my pick for artisan-made gifts for everyone on my list. Plus, there’s always a stall or two selling homemade hot chocolate and spiced apple cider – what could be better?
4. (Finally) Seeing the Radio City Rockettes
This will be my 5th holiday season in New York and I still haven’t seen the Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes. I’m not 100% certain what to expect, or what I’ll think (the DVD recording was in my family’s Christmas movie rotation growing up and it was never a crowd favorite), but I refuse to let another Christmas pass by without at least giving this holiday institution a try.
5. Nutcracker Rogue
Unlike the Rockettes, I’m pretty sure I’m going to love Company XIV’s Nutcracker Rouge, a reimagining of the classic tale “told with erotic, sensual and opulent flair.” Nutcracker Rouge has been on my list forever, but I wanted to wait until I turned 21 so I could get the full experience. The season slipped away from me last year, but not this year! Thankfully, it doesn’t close until mid-January – so I’ve got time.