5 days in New York over Christmas

Here’s a guest article brought to you by Charlotte from a new travel site Simonseeks.com. You can read more fo her stuff and other people’s stuff (but they haven’t invited me to write a guest article for them yet…) over there.

5 days in New York – a Christmas season travel plan

New York at Christmas is one of the most magical places in the world, the city transforms itself with lights and colour and iconic sights appear all the more enchanting. With only 5 days being the optimum length of stay for visitors to the Big Apple, plan your days carefully to make sure you get the most out of your visit.

Day One

On arrival it’s likely your feeling the cold, New York in December can hit temperatures as low as freezing regularly. So to warm up and refuel after your journey, drop your bags at your hotel (click here for Simonseeks.com’s New York hotels) and head to one of Manhattans world famous delis, Katz delicatessen has been in the business of feeding New Yorkers since 1888 and they pride themselves on being the best. The deli on East Houston Street in the Lower East Side is the ultimate in authentic American experiences, many a President, Mayor and Hollywood royalty have enjoyed a Matzo ball soup here not to mention the overstuffed sandwiches, corned beef and pastrami on rye a favourite. Eating here will also give you your own claim to fame as Kats was the setting for the “Faking it” scene in When Harry met Sally starring Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal, a sign stating “I’ll have what she’s having ” still hangs proudly from the ceiling.

Day Two

Waking up for the first time in the city that never sleeps gives you a full day to explore and what better way to get you into the Christmas spirit than to head to the Rockefeller Centre for your first truly iconic, festive experience in the city. There stands the world famous Christmas tree, if visiting anytime between 30th November 2010 and 2nd January 2010, the 84 foot Norway Spruce, painstakingly chosen from thousands, will be illuminated by 30,000 lights and topped with a magnificent Swarovski crystal star from 5:30am to 11:30pm daily. After marvelling at the famous tree which appears in favourite Christmas films, Home Alone and Elf and taking more than a couple of photographs, head to the ice rink for a spot of festive fun. The rink has been open since 1936 and since become quintessential with New York and Christmas for generations. Once you have worked up an appetite continue your second day with a bite to eat in one of the centres fantastic restaurants, the Rock Centre Cafe where you can enjoy award winning food whilst watching the skaters outside.

Day Three

Your legs may be aching from the ice skating the day before but day three is just as active! Today hit the streets of Manhattan to experience some of the world famous window displays, the large department stores decorate their windows to such a high standard they are certainly worth a look. Each year Macy’s bases its window display on Miracle on 34th Street, the well loved children’s Christmas movie set in the store, perfect if visiting with children or even just the big kids at heart! Barneys tend to base their window displays on all things chic, ideal for those with a passion for fashion! If you are worried about missing any of the window displays there are walking tours running daily covering all of the main displays, they usually last 2 hours and there are several running throughout the city, best to ask your concierge for their tips on which is best as they change annually. This of course is the perfect opportunity to enjoy some Christmas retail therapy and pick up any last minute gifts for friends and family.

Day 4

To ensure you get the absolute most out of your stay and don’t miss any of the sights jump on one of the cities many open top bus tours, don’t worry in winter the top is covered up with a transparent cover so you stay warm but still see everything. The tour, priced at around $49 per adult, allows you to hop on and off the buses at any of the designated stops around the city for a 48 hour period. Of course it is up to you which stops you choose to get off at, however sights such as The Empire State Building and Grand Central Station are not to be missed. If stopping at Grand Central Station, lunch at the Pershing Square cafe situated just opposite the station and underneath the Park Avenue viaduct is a must. The cafe specialises in traditional American cuisine and its friendly atmosphere and cheaper prices than the restaurants in Grand Central itself make for a fantastic place to stop for lunch. And why not finish your day and spend your last evening in the city enjoying a show on Broadway. There are of course many fantastic productions running on Broadway currently but for that extra bit of Christmas magic go and see Elf, based upon the Christmas movie of the same name this hilarious Christmas tale is showing at the Al Hirschfeld theatre from 14th November 2010 to 2nd January 2011 and enjoyable for adults and children alike.

Day 5

If your last day is over the weekend be up early to enjoy a fantastic brunch at BB Kings Blues Club, on West 42nd street. The club provides the best in soul food and will fill even the emptiest of stomachs before the long journey home with its all you can eat menu. The culinary delights include South Carolina Grits, Cinnamon French toast and baked Macaroni and Cheese. Once you have eaten the live gospel and blues performances are sure to get you up and dancing, if you haven’t eaten too much of course! To round off your trip take a walk through Central Park before your journey home, if you lucky enough to have a bit of snow fall the park turns into your very own winter wonderland and will leave you with some fantastic memories of your festive visit to New York City (click here for Simonseeks.com’s New York City page.

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  1. Caren says:

    I just read the article “5 days in New York over Christmas, written by Charlotte from Simonseeks.com and was completely shocked at the lack of ideas. I travel to New York City often and just returned from a 9 day stay over Thanksgiving. How sad it would be if anyone followed these suggestions and that is all they saw of this wonderful City…If you need an article of what to do in New York City please let me know, I will be happy to suggest away…

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