Having been to New York in the winter twice now, I would highly recommend going in December. New York is one of the most fun cities in the world during the festive season so it’s a great month to go. The Christmas lights are up, it is very wintry, and it is a fabulous time to get your Christmas shopping done. It really is as magical as you would hope it to be!
December is classed as the ‘high season’ to travel to New York as it is the peak time for Christmas shopping which means it can be slightly more expensive than the other winter months of November, January and February. However, in the other winter months, for me personally, you do not get the same experience as there is nothing better than seeing Times Square filled with Christmas lights.
Make sure you pack your hat, scarf, gloves and thick winter coat for December as New York is freezing and can sometimes have snow – for me this is all part of the winter New York experience if you are prepared.
What is there to do in New York in December?
New York is full of fun things to do throughout the year however, in December particularly – you can experience a whole host of seasonal things.
- Ice Skating in Central Park or under the Rockefeller Centre Christmas Tree – which is by far the best Christmas Tree in New York and a must see!
- A fantastic show on Broadway – there are so many to choose from. In December 2019, I was lucky enough to see The Book of Mormon, which was amazing and extremely funny, I would highly recommend!
- A basketball game at the famous Madison Square Gardens.
- Take a trip into Macy’s where you can see the well-known Christmas Shop and meet the ‘jolly old fella’ himself – it’s Christmas heaven!
- Take a walk along the famous 5th Avenue where all the retail stores showcase their majestic festive window displays that literally tell a story. (And whilst you are there you may as well do a little Christmas shopping!).
- Museums, these historic institutions are plentiful and fulfil every interest, whether it’s in art, history, science or quirkier subjects. One of our favourites has to be The Metropolitan Museum of Art, you will come away feeling as if you have travelled in time.
- The New York Public Library – a quirky little fact we happen to stumble across is that the New York Public Library is home to the original Winnie-the-Pooh and friends. Settled in the Children’s Center, you can get up close and see these well loved characters we’ve all become quite fond of.
- A shopping trip to Woodbury Common which is a great outlet shopping centre, 1 hour from central New York on the bus which you can get from Central Station. They have many brands on offer, including designer brands for a fraction of the price.
- And so much more…
The list of things to do and see is never ending and far too many to detail all at once. No matter how many times you visit New York, there will always be something new for you to experience. We love planning our trips to New York and seeking out all the hidden and not so hidden gems this city has to offer. If you would like us to help you plan an itinerary tailored to your ‘wants’, we are a dab hand and will make sure you make the most of the time you have there.
Where should I stay in December in New York?
There are great hotels all over New York depending on what standard of accommodation you’re looking at and what you’re looking to do. I have always based myself around the Times Square area due to it being extremely convenient to get to all the main tourist attractions, shops and restaurants. Staying in central New York is always slightly more expensive than staying further out in Downtown, China Town or Brooklyn but its much more expensive using public transport to get around the city which outweighs the cost.
Here are a few hotel recommendations which I have either visited or stayed in.
- Kimpton Ink48 Hotel 4* (Modern, spacious rooms, great Rooftop Bar with spectacular views and 10-15-minute walk to Times Square)
- Sheraton New York Times Square 4* (Great location in Times Square, easy access to everything, great gym for anyone wanting fitness).
- 1 Central Park 5* (Located at the entrance of Central Park, beautiful views, luxury and inviting).
- New York Marriott Marquis 4* (Fabulous central location in Times Square, Modern in style, rooms with views of Broadway).
In New York there is a hotel for everyone’s budget, it is important to be in a good location and be comfortable after a long day sightseeing and walking. In December with it being cold, it’s lovely to go back to a hotel with an indoor pool for a swim or an inviting roof terrace with heaters and great food. New York is renowned for hotels with small rooms where they are built up in high rise buildings, they don’t have a massive amount of space however, if you wanted more space, the hotels in the list above have different room options whether that be a standard room or a suite.
Are four nights enough to visit New York?
For me personally, four nights is enough time in New York in one trip. Both times I have been I have stayed for four nights each. If it’s your first time visiting and you go for four nights, I’m sure you will come away and think “That was fab, but I would love to revisit one day”. There is so much to do in New York and it’s such a busy city, it can be tiring if you are on the go all day every day. After my first visit I left and wanted to return straight away as I loved it so much. There are too many iconic sights to see in four days but there is always time to return as its such an inviting city.
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