The Best Things to Do in New York City Over the Holidays

T&C staffers offer their go-to activities for the holiday season.

1. Explore Festive Hotel Lobbies

"New York City hotels tend to go all out around the holidays, and each one has its own distinct 'decor personality.' My favorite tradition involves hopping from one hotel lobby bar to the next—it's the perfect way to feel 'festive' without having to brave the cold for more than a few blocks. I plan to post up for an hour or two with a stiff Manhattan at The St. Regis's King Cole Bar, followed by holiday tea at The Plaza's Palm Court. If I'm feeling particularly ambitious, I'll cap the evening off with a glass of prosecco at The Baccarat.—Lindsay Silberman, Senior Digital Editor


2. Holiday Windows

"I start my self-guided store window holiday tour at Sant Ambroeus Coffee Bar at Park and 61st, where I grab a cappuccino and pastry to-go—key for Holly Golightly photo ops where you stare longingly through the glass. Then I walk a block over to Madison and 62nd to see the Hermès windows. After that, it's one block south to Barneys, then three blocks down and an avenue over to Bergdorf Goodman. My tour ends with a stroll down Fifth Avenue where I peer in all of the sparkly jewelry windows—Harry WinstonCartier and, of course, Tiffany's." –Sarah Bray, Style Writer

What you need to know: The wildly illuminated windows shine brightest at night, but if you're there solely for the Instagram gold stroll by in the daytime for the best photo. Here's s complete list of the best.

3. Winter Village At Bryant Park


"During the holidays, these adorable outdoor shopping villages pop-up all over New York, and are some of the best places to find unique holiday gifts. The Winter Village at Bryant Park is one of the best spots—you can walk through the kiosks and check off everyone on your shopping list. Last year, I got an amazing soap from the Dead Sea next to a stall that sold gorgeous artisan bathrobes. There’s also an ice skating rink (with free admission!), and a Danny Meyer eatery that has a little bit of everything." —Maggie Maloney, Social Media Editor

What you need to know: The shops are open starting October 28 –until January 2 on Monday – Friday from 11am-8pm, and Saturday & Sunday from 10am-8pm. The rink is open daily starting October 28 until March 4 from 8am-10pm, weather permitting.

4. Rockefeller Christmas Tree Lighting

"Having grown up on Long Island, my mom, sisters, and I have a longstanding tradition of taking the LIRR into Manhattan and strolling up Fifth Avenue to the Rockefeller Center tree, admiring all the festive window displays along the way. My mother always insists on stopping to take a picture of my sisters and me in front of the tree (I recently discovered photos that pre-date the birth of my youngest sister!), despite the throngs of tourists doing the same. The four of us typically catch a bite to eat across the street at Café SFA on the eighth floor of Saks Fifth Avenue before continuing our journey northward to Central Park." –Meg Storm, Beauty Assistant


What you need to know: The tree will be lit Wednesday, November 29, with live performances from 7–9 p.m., at Rockefeller Plaza. The Tree will remain lit and can be viewed until 9 p.m. on January 7, 2018.

5. Ice Skating at the Standard Hotel

"We love the tiny ice skating rink in front of the Standard Hotel in the Meatpacking District. For beginners, they have very cute penguins you can hold on to while you skate, and there is an outdoor cafe where you can get hot chocolate after you come off of the ice. " —Jamie Rosen, Beauty Director

What you need to know: The adorable (yes that's code for tiny) The Standard Plaza rink opens on Wednesday, November 23. Its hours are Monday - Thursday, 12 p.m. to 12 a.m., Friday 12 p.m. to 1 a.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 a.m., and Sunday 9 a.m. to 12 a.m. The hotel's address is 848 Washington Street at 13th street.


6. Isaac Mizrahi's Peter and the Wolf at the Guggenheim

"Most people know Isaac Mizrahi as a fashion designer, but he’s so much more—he has made costumes for choreographer Mark Morris and is an avowed music lover, and like me (and my own children), he grew up listening to Leonard Bernstein’s Peter & the Wolf. In 2006, he staged his first reading of the classic piece at the Guggenheim Museum and his production has grown more elaborate every year since, adding a set and performers to the music and narration. His production plays for two weekends in December. My children will be delighted to hear the CD they love listening to in the car come alive and I will revel in this playful lesson in how music and movement can express our most fundamental emotions, from fear and love to the desire to make mischief." —Elizabeth Angell, Site Director

What You Need to Know: Performances will take place December 2, 3, 8, 9, 10 at 2:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. Tickets and info are available here:


7. Indulge in Baked Goods

"The most beautiful gingerbread houses are from William Poll on the Upper East Side. Aerin Lauder is known to be a fan of them. They make a great centerpiece and even light up with a battery operated light. For a holiday snack, head a little farther north to Two Little Red Hens bakery that has the best-mulled cider and their old-fashioned gingerbread." –William Kahn, Senior Market and Accessories Editor

What you need to know: The Upper East Side staples don't just serve gingerbread. William Pollis known for its sandwiches, while Two Little Red Hens has amazing cupcakes. William Poll is at 1051 Lexington Avenue, between 75th and 75th Streets, and Two Little Red Hens is at 1652 Second Avenue at 86th street.

8. Get Cozy with Your Holiday Drinking


"There may be no better time of the year to go out for a drink in New York City than the holidays. On a cold day, what's better than a warm drink, sipped in front of a fire? At Bar '21' at the '21' Club one of the bartenders makes the eggnog from her personal recipe. The holiday pop-up bars Miracle on 9th Street and Sippin' Santa make some of the best seasonal drinks on the planet (try the Santa-quila, made with cacao nib-infused reposado tequila, Pedro Ximenez sherry, maple syrup, black walnut bitters). Other T&C staff favorites include One if by Land, Two if by Sea; the Waverly Inn; Tiny's in Tribeca; and the Marlton and Ludlow Hotels (which luckily both have fireplaces in their lobbies)." —Sam Dangremond, Digital Articles Editor

What you need to know: Miracle on 9th Street, the original location of Miracle (there are more than 50 of them worldwide) is open from November 23 through December 24 at 649 East 9th Street. Sippin' Santa opens November 27 and runs through December 24 at 13 First Avenue. The '21' Club is at 21 West 52nd Street; One if by Land, Two if by Sea, long considered New York's most romantic restaurant, is at 17 Barrow Street in the West Village; the Waverly Inn is at 16 Bank Street; Tiny's is at 135 West Broadway; the Marlton is at 5 West 8th Street; and the Ludlow is at 180 Ludlow Street.

9. Take a Ride on a Vintage Subway


"I'm obsessed with the vintage subway train that runs on weekends on the F line! It's complete with archival advertisements and jaunty people." –Karina Dearwood, Deputy Photo Editor

What you need to know: The Vintage Fleet will announce their exhibition dates in late November, so stayed tuned. If you can't make those dates, the train is on display at the Transit Museum all year!

10. Find a Great Restaurant for an Un-Christmas Dinner

"Jews need an option for Xmas, and Chinese is a bit cliché at this point. Shalom Japan is run by husband and wife chefs (he's Jewish; she's Japanese) and their food plays on traditions from both cultures."—Whitney Robinson, Editor-in-Chief, Elle Decor (former T&C Style Director)

What you need to know: The Williamsburg eatery takes reservations for seven or more and boasts inventive dishes like "matzoh ball ramen."


11. See Miniature New York Landmarks at the Botanical Gardens

"I never miss the train exhibit at the NY Botanical Gardens. Started going a few years ago on account of my train-obsessed young kids, but it's really so amazing and impressive and wonderful that now I get as excited for it as they do."—Danielle Stein Chizzik, Deputy Editor

What you need to know: The exhibition runs Wednesday, November 22, 2017, through Monday, January 15, 2018, and includes a tribute to Coney Island's amusement parks and architecture.

12. Make Your Tree a Little More Special


"I love to go ornament shopping at John Derian. They have the most gorgeous assortment of quirky ornaments vintage and new. I especially love all the handpainted glass mushroom ornaments for a woodland wonderland theme." –William Kahn, Senior Market and Accessories Editor

What you need to know: The lower east side shop is open every day except Mondays and you can order online.

13. See Some Modern Dance

"I've been going to Alvin Ailey with my grandmother every December for the past decade or so. It's become a tradition for us during this time of year. I love that it's a bit more progressive and modern than the usual holiday performance." —Flora Collins, Editorial Assistant

What you need to know: The company has performances throughout December at New York City Center.

14. Watch all the Oscar Bait Films


"New York now has some truly great theaters for catching up on all the movies you didn't see in fall. There's the Metrograph on the Lower East Side, and Brooklyn's Alamo Drafthouse." –Adam Rathe, Senior Editor

What you need to know: Watch a Q&A with your favorite moviemakers at Metrograph or catch a classic film and grab a cocktail at the Alamo Drafthouse. Check out the Oscar-rumored Call me By Your Name, starring dashing Armie Hammer and the rising Timothée Chalamet.

15. Get Nostalgic for Your Childhood

"My favorite holiday tradition is getting dressed up and going to see the Nutcracker at Lincoln Center. The music sets the cheerful tone for the season and watching all the excited children in the audience brings me back to the magical feeling of Christmas as a child." –MaryKate Boylan, Market Editor

What you need to know: The ballet runs until December 31.


16. End Your Year on the Right Note

"The New York Philharmonic's annual New Year's Eve concert is always an elegant way to cap off the end of another great year."—Leena Kim, Assistant Editor

What you need to know: Get tickets at for this year's big concert, Pictures at an Exhibition and Bronfman.

This story originally appeared on
* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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