Christmas in NYC

It's day three (for me) of the A-Z blog challenge! This month I'll be sharing all about my Christmas/New Year travels in NYC and Europe – providing insight into the places I went to, reviewing the hotels I stayed at, and sharing my story. Today's letter is D for Don't Miss Out On… (Or things I recommend you do if you are ever in NYC around Christmas.) Feel free to follow along as I make my way through the alphabet this month! :)



After our crazy Christmas day, being delayed by Delta, and missing out on a Christmas night ticketed performance of The Rockettes Christmas Spectacular, we slept hard knowing our next challenge would be a 6:30AM wake up call. Our goal –

1. Try a Cronut.

signs in the bakery

While listening to NPR, Justin had heard about the delicious new trendy breakfast item from the Dominique Ansel Bakery. Loving croissants and donuts, we decided to give it a try. Plus, the lovely cronut can be bought in only one location in the entire world – in NYC. The plan was to get up and in line for the delicious cronut at 7AM since internet sources suggested that any later for the 8AM bakery opening would mean missing out on cronut-trying.

As the internet indicated, the line was already down the street and to the corner of Spring St. and Thompson St. when Justin and I arrived shortly after 7AM. The bakery was kind of hidden and not very noticeable aside from the crazy-long line already forming.

Around 7:30Am, an employee came out offering small cups of hot apple cider for the taking – just the perfect amount to keep us waiters warm and excited about our future cronut-trying experience. Then, fifteen minutes later, staff returned with hot, straight-out-of-the-oven Madeleines. It was my first experience trying the French cookie, and I fell in love. (Though I must admit I've never had a Madeleine in France. This must go on my bucketlist!)

Finally, at 8AM, the doors were opened and groups of 10 at a time were allowed in every 5-10 minutes. Impatiently we waited behind two French girls, whom we decided were a good indication that what we were going in to try would be good. (Why would the French wait for anything less?)

Our turn came around 8:30AM. We ordered 2 cronuts per person (the max allowed), a milk (for me), and a coffee (for Justin). The total cost was expensive, but this was a new experience for us; sometimes it's worth paying for experiences! 

There was a sweet cream (icing) inside the donut too!

In this particular case, it was not. First, they only gave us two out of four of our paid-for cronuts, so Justin had to return to the cashier and retrieve our remaining two. Then, the whole cronut experience was far sweeter than any I could have imagined. Now, think: donut + cake icing. Sound delicious? In my opinion, no. It sounds sweet – as in mind numbing, heart racing, teeth hurting sweet. Most people seemed happy with their cronuts, so maybe I'm just weird. I ate about half (or less) of my one cronut and consumed all of my milk in a 30 minute period of time. We saved the other cronuts for later (which we never got up the gumption to eat and ended up trashing ).

Next up –

2. seeing The Rockettes Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall.

We had missed the opportunity to use our pre-purchased tickets on Christmas night, so we approached the ticket desk to see what they could do for us. As it turns out – nothing. If we had been available to come to a performance on a weekday they said they could fit us in. With our tight schedule, however, that wasn't possible. Nevertheless, we chalked the Christmas performance we missed up to a learning experience (we had a lot of those!) and decided to see the 11AM performance. Would we ever be in NYC at Christmastime again? It's hard to say. Would I regret not going? Yes. 

(not my video)

And as it turns out, these were good decisions on my part.

Even though our seats were toward the back, the view of the stage was still pretty good. We were mesmerized for the full hour and a half as light, sound, performance, and dance took over Radio City Music Hall. The show doesn't follow a particular story, but provides many different scenes that somehow all work together. It is quite obvious that a lot of time and effort goes into the show production, and I could easily see how the show could become a tradition for NYC families.

After the show, we returned to my ultimate goal in NYC sightseeing –

3. Christmas Tree Looking.

We started at the Rockefeller Center seeing the majestic tree over the ice skating rink.

Then we moved on the financial center where we got a glimpse of a gorgeous tree hanging out in front of the New York City Stock Exchange.

And I had heard that the Bryant Park Christmas tree was worth a looksie as well…

Finally, we took some time to see the lovely South Street Seaport tree.

There was no real favorite; we just had fun getting into the Christmas spirit and seeing the highlights of what makes Christmas in NYC so spectacular!

Afterward, we went perusing …

4. Times Square.

What do you think of that awesome stretch limo?
Or the odd-looking people found in NYC?

Justin had never seen it despite our numerous (this being #3) trips to NYC. Plus I was in desperate need of a few items from a pharmacy, all of which I knew I would be able to find near here. 

Meanwhile my husband found himself tempted by free offers to see shows. Unfortunately, we had to turn down all of the offers since we already had plans for the one night we would be spending in NYC. (Don't worry. – I'll get to that in another post.)

signage everywhere!

When it came time for lunch, there was only one place I thought that was worth considering…

5. the Meatpacking district

where we got a house-made taco and some appetizing guacamole.

If you are ever in this area, I highly, highly recommend going to the Meatpacking District for food. You can find almost anything you are looking for! There are so many options: from Mexican (like what we had), to homemade yogurt, crepes made right in front of you, sandwiches, Italian, pizza, etc, etc… The food is to die for and the prices are incredibly cheap! If I lived in NYC, this is where I would spend all of my money and time! :)

Afterward, we moved on to the

6. Chelsea Market.

My favorite store in the area is Anthropologie, but there are also lots of smaller local stores there plus delightful little Italian delis, seafood restaurants, and cute bakeries.

Walking through at Christmastime, we got to see a wooden Christmas tree, green water spewing forth next to it, paper garland, and, oddly enough, presents hanging upside down from the ceiling! I know – what?!?! :)

Even though Chelsea Market is my personal favorite for shopping, Justin and I decided to take some time to visit…

7. Sak's Fifth Avenue

(not my video)

where they had a crazy intricate Christmas light display. Seriously. – Fifth Avenue had to be blocked off, because there were so many people milling about watching the display as it repeated itself over and over and over again.

Right next to Sak's, we found…

8. St. Patrick's Cathedral

which is where we ended our day with mass. We happened to time it just perfectly without having to go out of our way to attend or anything. My husband was especially happy since he had missed Christmas eve and day mass.

For dinner, we kept our meal simple and found…

9. Pizza.

I'd tell you the name of the restaurant we went to, but honestly there are so many good pizza places (for cheap) in NYC that it doesn't even matter. You just turn a corner and there is a pizza place, probably as good as the next one. (I'm not from NYC, so I can say that.)

Oh – and NYC pizza? It is like the best in the world! (And I've had pizza in Italy!) I never get tired of pizza when I'm in NYC. I could eat it every day. And it's none of those American chain pizzas either. – No Pizza Hut or Papa Johns … or even Marco's, which is a pizza chain that has been growing on me in the past few months. No, pizza in NYC is just amazing and unique and simple. It is the way pizza was meant to be.

If you've ever been to NYC at Christmastime, did you do some of the things I've mentioned in my list? Were there any must-dos that I've missed? … If you haven't been to NYC at Christmastime, would you ever consider going?

* The events from this blog post took place over 2 days, but I have condensed it into one blog post for the sake of fitting into the A-Z schedule. Please don't assume that you can necessarily complete all of these activities in one day. NYC is a big place and (sometimes) hard to get around.


  1. I get what you're saying about the cronut. There are things that everyone seems to love that I just don't get. And too sweet and too much is a thing. Maybe not for everyone.

  2. We lived in NYC from 1984-1988 (I'm showing my age here...) and while I love the city anytime of year, Christmas is my favorite time of all.

    I agree with all the places you listed - and I would add Macy's on Herald Square. The official start to the holiday season for me still... is when Santa makes his appearance at the Thanksgiving Parade.

  3. What an awesome time of year to end up in NYC! I've only been in the spring and summer months, but I don't think I would go during the winter...this Californian is too much of a wimp! I mean, the only reason I've now been to German Christmas markets is because I live IN Germany. :) But you're spot-on that it's a wonderful Christmas destination, and I love all the photos you took of the different huge trees! Thanks for linking up with us on Travel Tuesday!

  4. I didn't know you were also doing the A to Z challenge, will definitely be following along more than just your tuesday posts ;) ...and I now have a couple of items to add to my "things to do in NYC" list for July!

  5. The Rockefeller Christmas Tree is sooooo on my bucket list!
    I once wrote a post about it. Sort of:

    1. It is a beautiful tree, and definitely worthy of being on your bucket list!

      Thanks for sharing your post! I'll be sure to check it out! :)


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