I recently booked a trip to New York City for my birthday in December. I love to visit the city when it comes alive with the Christmas spirit. Since we have made this trip many times before I am often asked what we do while we are there. Actually, I am content to simply stroll and enjoy the atmosphere. While it costs a little more, we always stay in midtown for the convenience of being close enough to walk most places. We do use the subway whenever we get tired or if the weather is uncooperative.
We enjoy browsing and shopping at the various Christmas markets. We often start our day at the market at Columbus Circle (see the map below) where we purchase the best Belgian waffles ever from Wafels and Dinges. Trust me. This is not your typical Belgian waffle. It is the real thing and it is delicious!! Wafels and Dinges also has a stall at the market at Union Square and we have been know to hit both in one day!
While we are in the area, I always enjoy browsing at the MacKenzie Childs store located at 20 West 57th Street. This store is almost visual overload and I love it.
Next we make our way to the wonderful FAO Schwarz toy store at the corner of 5th Ave and 58th Street. It’s a fun store to visit for big kids as well as little ones.
One of our favorite restaurants is Serendipity 3 on 60th Street between 2nd and 3rd Ave. We always share a frozen hot chocolate for dessert. It is delicious!!
Our next stop is usually Bloomingdale’s- 3rd Ave at 59th Street. We shop there and enjoy seeing the Christmas window displays.
Next we check out the windows at Barney’s – Madison Avenue at 61st Street. From there we make our way down 5th Avenue to check out the Christmas windows.
Some of our favorite window displays along 5th Avenue are
Bergdorf Goodman 5th Ave at 58th Street
Henri Bendel 5th Ave at 56th Street
Sak’s Fifth Avenue 5th Ave at 49th Street
Lord and Taylor Fifth Ave between 38 and 39th Streets
We also enjoy the Christmas Market in Grand Central Station.
We usually take a family photo at Rockefeller Center and watch the ice skaters for a bit.
The trip would not be complete without a visit to Macy’s at Herald Square where the windows are always wonderful! When our children were small we always made time for a visit to Santa at Macy’s.
We always take in the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City. Several times we have been able to purchase discount tickets on the day of the show at the TKTS booth at Times Square. We also take in another Broadway show and our selection is usually made from the list of available shows at the TKTS booth.
Another favorite spot is ToysRUs at Time Square. We have even ridden the ferris wheel a time or two.
Let me remind you of a family policy that we have. Every time we pass a Salvation Army bell ringer between Thanksgiving and Christmas, we drop something in the kettle. As we are strolling, every member of our family drops something in each kettle we pass. For some crazy reason seeing someone else give seems to prompt others to give too. For the last few years, the bell ringers have started dancing. Often, we watch the dance for a minute or two then make our move to drop something in the kettle. We enjoy watching a little longer to see if others follow suit. Usually they do. Click on this link to see a video of a couple of dancing bell ringers!
At some time during our visit we also go to the Christmas market at Bryant Park. Depending on who is traveling with us, we may also visit the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State building, the 911 Memorial or take a bus tour. Regardless of what we do, I always enjoy the trip and am looking forward to another one in a few weeks and I will have a purse full of small bills to drop in the kettles!
I’m linking to Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch.