Who does not love winter holidays and Christmas in New York City? New York is a popular destination from mid-November to New Year: the whole city is filled with flashy lights and holiday decorations, shops filled with eager buyers, and the cultural calendar packed.
Christmas in New York
Of course, this also means that Manhattan is “packed” even during the holidays! Visitors have to fight for limited hotel rooms, theater tickets … even for a limited space on the crawling sidewalks. And the enormous crowds mean rising prices and always long lines.
But no fear. We have the tips you need to navigate the chaotic season and enjoy the best of Christmas in New York!
Christmas in New York – Rockefeller Center
Plan your accommodation as early as possible
New York City lacks hotel rooms, so accommodations are scarce and prices rise during vacations. As we mentioned in our review of Manhattan hotels, budget rooms are low and need to be booked much earlier. It is always advisable to secure hotels as early as possible, especially in this tourist season.
A Christmas fairy tale in New York
If you can not find a room at the right price and location, expand your search to western Brooklyn and Queens, where several hotels have sprung up. These neighborhoods are safe, so your only concern will be in the case of how far your hotel is from a subway station, because driving to and in Manhattan is not recommended ! Use an online map to check the distance from the hotel to the nearest subway stop, and check the MTA website’s timetable (unfortunately, not all subway lines are the same ).
Alternatives to hotels are services such as Airbnb, Wimdu, House Trip and Flip Key, so rented by the residents rooms and apartments.
Christmas in New York – Travel Guide
If you find an accommodation, carefully check on the map their location and transportation convenience. (Simply enter the address on Google Maps to see a “street view” of the location). Prices are usually much lower than in hotels, especially for longer stays and you can read the previous reviews about the apartment and the host.
Who knows … maybe you will not find a hotel room, but a real home for the holidays!
If you’re looking for discount tickets for a show, the TKTS Stalls offer day-of-performance discount tickets (typically with 50% off) for numerous Broadway and Off-Broadway shows. These cards are “as long as stocks last”, so the selection and quantity are limited during this season. However, ticket lines on South Street Seaport and Brooklyn “stalls are much shorter.”
Important: Make sure you check the show schedule (and your tickets) carefully, as most productions often change their performance plans during the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year weeks.
Christmas market in New York
Avoid the crowd
New York’s most popular attractions (such as the Empire State Building, the Ferry to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, the Rockefeller Center and the animated holiday windows) are often flooded with visitors from late morning to early evening. To avoid the crowds (and waiting!), Visit these sights during off-peak hours, such as early morning or later in the evening.
Christmas in New York is a very special experience
When attending popular holiday events such as Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree lighting or New Year’s Eve in Time Square, huge crowds are expected. Bags can be searched near roads and sidewalks to control access. Accordingly, plan to be on the spot as early as possible and bring as little as possible to avoid safety issues.
Skating in front of the Rockefeller Center
Of course, on days of inclement weather, most people stay home or go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, MoMa, or to the city’s famous department stores. To avoid all the chaos, see our contribution for rainy day fun for grandiose “off-the-beaten path” museums and attractions.