New York City at Christmas time – could there be anything more magical? Since I haven’t been to Disneyland in over 20 years, I’m going to go ahead and say no. The store windows, the Rockefeller tree and all of of the decor everywhere is just gorgeous, but with so many people coming to experience the magic for themselves, the city can be kind of mayhem at that time of the year. If you are planning your itinerary for Christmas in New York City right now, I’ve got a few tips for you!
Be prepared for the crowds and embrace them
No matter how many busy cities you’ve been to, you probably aren’t prepared for the crowds near Rockefeller Plaza during the holidays. You aren’t the only person who thought of coming to see the Christmas lights in NYC, and the sooner you embrace that the better experience you will have. Let the crowds be a part of the experience instead of spending all your time grumbling about the hoards of people. If you are taking your kids, consider how well they do with crowds before booking your tickets.
Location, location, location
If the main purpose of your trip is to enjoy the Christmas lights and experience, the location you stay is key. Since there is so much traffic at this time of the year, and everything is moving slow, being in walking distance from the hub is the way to go. I loved our location when we went – New York Marriott East Side.
If photos matter to you, plan to stay out very late
Getting a picture of the Christmas lights without a crowd is near impossible, unless you are out in the middle of the night. While some of the strobing lights and music do switch off around 11pm, most shops remain lit up at night. Hang around Saks 5th Avenue until about 2am and you’ll get your shot. If you don’t want to stay out that late, bring a selfie-stick to get a little height.
Don’t forget the interior displays!
Bloomingdales was like a winter wonderland inside, the Tiffany’s store had so many gorgeous trees, and even Grand Central Station was dressed up. Take the time to pop into different stores and enjoy their displays.
Go further down 5th Avenue to beat the crowds
Most people crowd around the Rockefeller Plaza area, but if you keep moving down the street towards Central Park you’ll see some pretty displays that aren’t nearly as crowded!
Walk around the Financial District
I saw so many beautiful trees and decorations in the area and there was no rush at all. No one was hanging around on Wall Street looking for lights! Sometimes you have to get a little creative but it can be well worth it.