the 24 hour guide to Christmas in NYC

There are a billion Christmas filled activities you can experience in the big apple! It’s pure magic in the city at this time. The hard part is, finding the time to do it all. Sometimes you just have to have a plan of action and tackle as much as you can.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Go have $5 pizza (and drinks) at Osteria Cotta on the UWS (5 pm)


Okay, okay I know this doesn’t really sound like the holidays – but who doesn’t love warm pizza for cheap?! Make sure to sit on the bottom floor and NOT upstairs between 4 and 7 pm. It can be hard to find a seat but it’s so worth it. I borrowed the below image from


  • Next you should venture down to Rockefeller Center to see the tree of all trees! (7:30 pm)

Only 3 stops or so on the subway from the previous restaurant. If you’d like to stop at Insomnia Cookies on the way, it wouldn’t be the worst idea 😉


Here you can watch the ice skaters, marvel at the light show and take photos in front of the tree. There are hot chocolate spots nearby (I actually wouldn’t recommend Magnolia for hot drinks) to keep warm. The windows on 5th ave are pretty spectacular, and as long as you’re dressed warm, I’d say you can stay awhile.



  • Don’t miss all of the life size decor along 6th avenue near the Plaza (9:30 pm)

There’s massive christmas lights, ornaments, nutcrackers and the cutest little (big) train.


After a fun-filled night, I suggest you rest up for a jam packed day!

  • To start your morning you’ll want to find yourself at Sarabeth’s for brunch  (9 am)

It is literally the best! Their waffles are divine and lucky for you there is one pretty near the above mentioned Italian spot.


Shopping is a must! Starting at 11 am.

Whether you head to the Christmas Market or Macy’s Herald Square, it is totally up to you. Macy’s has the best window displays for the holidays!


My favorite place to stroll is the Winter Village at Bryant Park! Gosh it makes me so happy.


I literally walk around this market all by myself just smiling. Not to mention my two favorite stores are nearby (Zara / & Other Stories).


Whatever you do you HAVE to visit Breezy Hill Orchard in the food section. They have the BEST apple cider donuts and gingersnaps on the planet. I’m not kidding. The cookies are the size of my head and they are SO soft. Okay so maybe I have a bit of an obsession with treats but I am highly recommending this. If you want hot chocolate go to the Crepe Cafe nearby or No Chewing Allowed, if you’re into a thick kind of chocolatey goodness. Just sample it and you’ll be good to go.

Want to hear more about Breezy Hill Orchard & Cider Mill?? Visit their site here. Their ingredients come from a local NY Green Market Farm. It is the perfect taste of European holiday markets. I know because I experienced it in Germany!


If you would like to see a show, you can definitely fit it in. Trim down your shopping time and make it to a matinee at 2 pm. The Christmas Spectacular at Radio City (tickets here) is legendary and if you have children with you the Rudolph Live Tour at Madison Square Garden is super cute.


  • Don’t forget to stop by the East Village to see the emblem of NYC with a touch of glimmer (4 pm).

In fact you’ll probably find me there since Washington Square Park is the grounds for NYU. The shopping / strolling can basically last all day but you’re bound to work up an appetite with all of that walking.


In order to do this you must call at least two months in advance (i’m not kidding). Visiting in December? Yea make sure to call in October. Good news is they keep the decorations up until April. It is possible to get a spot in the bar area without a reservation however. There will always be a line and on average the wait is about 45 mins. So again, bring your hot chocolate and get ready for some magic.


Oh yea, did I mention it is packed?? But it is just SO awesome! You have to see it, even if it’s just for a few minutes. And boy that Schnitzel looks good.

Basically, you can’t go wrong at Christmastime in NYC. There’s SO much to do. If you’re only there for a day or two, you can definitely make it happen. Even just walking around the city can be magical.


If you have any thoughts, questions or suggestions feel free to comment or message me!

Happy holidays!


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