Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Our Travel Guide For 24 Hours In New York City During The Holidays

It’s been over a decade since I spent time in New York City during December so I decided to take a short trip to the Big Apple last week to take in all the sites and sounds of the holidays. 

I only had 24 hours to fit in as much holiday cheer as possible so that had to be efficient with time and location. The weather was perfect with sunshine and temperatures in the 50’s for my visit.

Pick The Perfect Hotel Location

Travel Guide For 24 Hours In New York City During The Holidays
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

I booked a hotel in Times Square at the newest Hilton brand Tempo by Hilton located in the heart of the city at Broadway and 47th Street. I arrived and checked into he hotel around 2 PM and started my Christmas tour around 4 PM.

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

I was joined in the Christmas adventure by my friend Liz who lives in Queens and became the best tour guide providing the most efficient walking routes to see the top sites. 

Monday and Tuesday afternoons a few weeks before Christmas turned out to be the perfect time to visit the city. There were crowds but nothing was crazy and you could still enjoy the sites. 

Visit The Winter Village At Bryant Park

We started by walking a few blocks to Bryant Park to enjoy the Christmas market. The Winter Village has over 180 shops in “jewel box” kiosks. 

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

A giant Christmas tree provides a beautiful backdrop to the stores and the ice skating rink that is in the center of all the action in the park. 

Travel Guide For 24 Hours In New York City During The Holidays
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

Checkout The Light Display At Saks Fifth Avenue

After shopping and enjoying the atmosphere at Bryant Park we walked a few blocks to the Dior display on the outside of the iconic Saks Fifth Avenue store. Saks partnered with Dior this year to created “Dior’s Carousel of Dreams” which is an extravagant light show and holiday display taking over all ten stories of the facade of the Fifth Avenue store. 

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

After dark, the light show synchronized to music takes place every ten minutes. Definitely, a sight not to miss this holiday!

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Travel Guide For 24 Hours In New York City During The Holidays
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

Decked out window displays are also a NYC holiday tradition. The Saks store windows are all dressed up for Christmas with Dior themed over the top designs. Intricate designs of New York cityscapes line the windows for everyone to see.

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

Visit The Christmas Tree At Rockefeller Center

As the Dior light show kicked off, Liz and I took the opportunity to cross the street and see the tree in Rockefeller Center all lit up. The large crowd was distracted and facing the light show so we were able to get front and center for great photos of the iconic tree decorated with 50,000 multi-colored lights and topped with a Swarovski crystal star along with the ice skaters below. 

Travel Guide For 24 Hours In New York City During The Holidays
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

Take A Walk Along Sixth Avenue

After spending an hour at Rockefeller Center we walk back to the hotel and saw giant Christmas Trees and Ornament art lining the streets of Sixth Avenue near Radio City Music Hall.

Travel Guide For 24 Hours In New York City During The Holidays
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

Pick A Quiet Restaurant To Take A Break From The Crowds

We stopped to grab a quick dinner and drinks at the HIGHBALL restaurant and bar located in the Tempo by Hilton. We had an ode to NYC with Nathan’s Mini Hot Dogs and Pretzels in a relaxed and cozy atmosphere away from the crowds.

Travel Guide For 24 Hours In New York City During The Holidays
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

Checkout All The Festive Store Window Displays

After dinner Liz and I headed out for a few more stops along the iconic 34th street to see the whimsical Christmas displays at the Macy’s flagship store at Herald Square. The festive window display tradition dates all the way back to 1874, according to Macy’s, the first retailer to start the trend. This year the Macy’s decorations did not disappoint.

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Travel Guide For 24 Hours In New York City During The Holidays
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Travel Guide For 24 Hours In New York City During The Holidays
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

We finished the evening around the corner in Koreatown at Grace Street where I get one of my favorite sweet treats in NYC, XOXO ice. I highly recommend a stop there and even if the lines are long it goes very quick and is worth the wait.

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

Catch The Christmas Spectacular At Radio City Music Hall

After a fantastic night of sleep, we set out for the second part of our Christmas sightseeing adventure to see the world famous Rockets at Radio City Music Hall for the Christmas Spectacular. This was my first time seeing this New York tradition and it was fantastic. It is perfect for friends and family of all ages.

Travel Guide For 24 Hours In New York City During The Holidays
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

For 90 minutes, the Rockettes, donned in their sparkly Christmas outfits, display their talents with intricate dance routines and incredibly high kicks. The how is interactive with a 3D portion as Santa flies through the air and even includes magical flying fairy drones that soar over the audience. There is no photography inside the live show so make sure to keep your cell phones put away.

We concluded our 24 hours with a walk through the Christmas market in Time Square and a stop for another sweet treat, a warm Krispy Kreme donut at their flagship store.

At 4 PM I picked up my luggage from the hotel and headed to the airport for the next holiday adventure concluding the short 24 hour visit.

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Amy Harris
Amy Harris is a writer and photographer who has been traveling for 20 years and flown over 2 million miles to visit over 80 countries on 6 continents. She is a freelance photographer for Invision by Associated Press, AP Images and Rex/Shutterstock. Her work can be seen in various publications and websites including: Rolling Stone, AP Images, National Geographic Books, Fodor’s Travel Guides, Forbes.com, Lonely Planet Travel Guides, JetStar magazine, and Delta Sky Magazine.

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