There isn’t quite a place like New York City for the holidays. Every corner is donned with lights, there’s a hint of snow in the air, and always plenty to do once Thanksgiving hits to get you into the holiday spirit. While the Rockefeller Christmas Tree and The Christmas Spectacular Starring the Rockettes are fan favorites in the city, if you’re looking to graduate past those attractions and dodge the crowds, there’s plenty of other places to see, grab a drink, or shows to watch that will still get you in the spirit.
Where to Eat and Drink
Snowday in Brooklyn transforms its already warm interiors from a booming brunch spot in South Williamsburg into a festive hang, including an apt name change. In the main bar room, decorations are delightfully over-the-top, including a lit fireplace (literally), cozy blankets for sharing, and plenty of holiday concoctions to make your season bright!
(Open through February 28 at 348 Wythe Ave at Sunday in Brooklyn )
The Ho Ho Holiday Lounge is part of The Springs’ seasonal rotation in Greenpoint. This bar-meets-winter wonderland oozes holiday spirit, accompanied with the fresh scent of pine. Decor ranges from decked-out trees, Santa’s sleigh, and plenty of reindeer to go around.
(Open through January 1 at 224 Franklin Street in The Springs)
Snow Globe in the Sky at Ophelia takes this already popular rooftop bar to the next level, making it a winter spectacle. Transformed into a glittery paradise, the interior is illuminated with dangling lights, donned with sparkling snowflakes to jazz up the bar and its accompanying terrace. The Snow Globe Lounge brings sophistication to the holiday, adding just enough of a winter feel to get you into the festive spirit.
(Open through February 28 at 3 Mitchell Place, Floor 26 in Beekman Tower)
Where to Shop
Grand Holiday Bazaar on Upper West Side has your back if you want to skip the crowds at the Holiday Shops at Bryant Park or the Union Square Holiday Market and head further uptown for some shopping. With rotating merchants, there’s always a chance to find something new and unique for that special person in your life all while supporting small businesses.
Fifth Avenue shops are the place to be if you want to enjoy holiday decorations, all while indulging in a shopping spree–or even just having a browse. Window shopping at Bergdorf’s, Cartier, and Saks is an annual holiday must!
Where to Visit
The Met Medieval Sculpture Hall is prepared to bring you both a nice day at the museum and daily tree lightings for an extra dose of holiday spirit. If you want to see arguably one of the most elegant holiday displays, check out the 20-foot-tall tree in the Medieval Sculpture Hall in the Metropolitan Museum of Art amongst other 18th-century displays that have been bringing festivity to the Met for over four decades.
LuminoCity Festival brings the festival of lights to the big city. The immersive art experience spans 16 acres, including three unique parks: Winter Fantasy, Wild Adventure, and Sweet Dream. Huge light displays are scattered across the festival grounds, illuminating Randall’s Island in all of its festive glory.
Lotte New York Palace Hotel hosts another one of the most iconic trees in Manhattan. What it lacks in size compared to the Rockefeller Center tree it makes up for in glitz and glamor. Adorned with red bows and plenty of white lights, this tree is the perfect backdrop for your holiday photos or even for a solo snap.
What to See
Nutcracker Rouge brings the holiday classic off-Broadway and gives the adaptation a burlesque twist. Chock full of ballet, dance, circus, opera, and plenty of drama, this theatrical reimagining will certainly add an edge to your holiday!
(Runs from November 14, 2019, through January 26, 2020, at 383 Troutman Street in Company XIV)
A Christmas Carol in Harlem modernizes the classic story of Ebenezer Scrooge, adding an uptown flair. Set in present-day Harlem, Scrooge is greeted by three unexpected visitors and taken on a journey to see the value in his family and community.
(Runs from December 4 through December 21 at 129 Convent Avenue in Aaron Davis Hall)