Christmas in NYC is like no other. It’s the most magical time of the year anyway, let alone spending it in New York City. My friend works for Aer Lingus & she had some time off and asked me to come along. HELLO??? Of course I wasn’t going to turn down such an offer. I’ll do a list of things below that I think you need to do and I think are worth seeing etc. I had my hair styled for the trip by Heavenly Hair in Drogheda so I was all set 🙂
In the photo above, I am wearing a clip in Heavenly hairpiece.
We had initially said we wouldn’t go shopping but that didn’t happen 😉 you just can’t resist when you are there. Lots of places had sales so it was definitely a good time of year to go. There was 50% off selected items in Victoria’s Secret & 50% off jeans in Hollister, don’t even get me started on the Christmas specials they had in the outlets. This was my second time to New York so I had a good idea of the city & what it was like. It was Shereen’s first time so I was really excited for her to see the city of lights.
Getting to/From the Airport
We decided to book a shuttle to/from the airport as it worked out at just $20 each way. A taxi will set you back about $60-$70 with taxes so a shuttle is cheaper. We booked with this company HERE and they dropped us directly to our hotel just like a taxi.
Hotels & Getting Around
On my first trip to NYC I booked a stunning 5star hotel and we paid an absolute fortune for it. DO NOT DO THIS!!!!!! You are crazy to spend money on a hotel in NYC. Stay somewhere cheap and cheerful as you will literally only sleep there. In NYC, you wake up really early and are generally gone all day only returning to go to bed. This time we knew not to spend money on a hotel. So do your research and find a nice cheap hotel. Don’t worry about being slightly out of the city, like our hotel was on 94th street but the subway was so handy for getting around. I wouldn’t recommend staying out in Jersey or Queens, it’s a bit too far to travel everyday into the city. The subway is a lifesaver in NYC. We paid $20 for a metro card and used this for the 5days. We did get a couple of taxi’s late at night but other than that we got the subway everywhere. I would also recommend getting a hotel near a subway so that makes it even easier for you.
One thing that was on the top of our TO DO LIST was ice skating in Central Park. We decided to do this at night as it would be beautiful with all the lights and WOW we were so right. It was incredible. I definitely had a pinch me moment. It was so pretty looking at the view. The Plaza Hotel lit up in front of us. I went ice skating at Rockefeller on my last trip and found it way over priced. The rink is way smaller and so over crowded. The one in Central Park is much bigger and cheaper too. You don’t have to book in advance just so up and pay at the desk. Another thing I recommend to do at night is Times Square. I’ve been both to Times Square day/night and assure you that at night it’s magical, busy and exactly how I thought it would be. It’s just the feeling you get when you stand on the red steps in the middle of Times Square. It’s a must!
We shopped on Fifth Avenue & went to Sephora. We couldn’t leave without making a trip there. It’s a beauty lovers dream and has every makeup/skincare brand ever!!!!! St. Patrick’s Cathedral is also a must see on 5th Ave. It is one of the most beautiful buildings and inside is even more spectacular. It’s so weird to walk into such a quiet place on such a busy street. A must see I reckon 😉 Last time I went to NYC I went to Macy’s, Bloomingdales & Saks. They are all worth seeing if your a first timer to NYC. Bloomingdales being my personal favourite. If you go to the information desk in Macy’s with your passport, they give you a 10% voucher for the store. The windows in Saks & Bergdorf Goodman are worth seeing at Christmas. I recently watched Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s so I loved just even seeing what Bergdorf’s was like. It is EXACTLY like the documentary. The women are dolled up & look so glamourous.
There are two outlets near New York which are a must, Woodbury Common and Jersey Gardens. You normally do one or the other on your trip depending how long your holiday is however for you hardcore shoppers maybe you might want to do both. You can get buses from the city or like we did, you can get a private shuttle from your hotel that picks you up and drops you right back to your hotel. You can book the shuttle I did HERE. Personally I thought this was way better than waiting around for your bus after a long day shopping. When you go to the outlets, definitely bring an empty suitcase as you can pop all your shopping inside rather than have lots of shopping bags to carry around. Be prepared to queue at the tills. There is really long queues at the outlets. We spent nearly 35mins queuing in Nike. I went to Jersey Gardens last time and Woodbury Common this time. I don’t think one is better than the other, they are both worth going to as you get great bargains. Make sure to go to the reception at the outlets and get your extra discount book were you get even more money off the outlet price 😉
Sightseeing & Eating Out
I would also recommend doing Top of the Rock rather than the Empire State Building. Top of the Rock is at Rockefeller so if your tight for time you get to see the Rockefeller tree & ice rink (if it’s Christmas) plus you get to actually see the view of the Empire State Building too. I wanted to do it during the day as you can actually see Central Park more clearly. We got some cool photos up there as it was day time aswell. We probably wouldn’t have saw as much if it was night time. Radio City is a must see and Central Park of course. Central Park is so beautiful. We wanted to rent bikes and cycle through Central Park but didn’t have time. One thing you will notice, time goes even quicker in New York. It really does feel like the day is over in seconds. I highly recommend to plan your days and have a rough ‘itinerary’. It doesn’t have to be exact but have a list of things you want to do and work out the distance etc.
Another thing we done was go visit Ground Zero. Last time I went to visit, it was all boarded up so to return 5 years later and see a beautiful garden was just amazing. I had a very sad feeling just standing there thinking back to what happened. As we walked to one of the pools, there was a single rose placed in the name of one of the deceased. It was so beautiful I had to take a photo. The water flowed and we just stood there in silence. Some people may disagree but I think it’s a beautiful place for family to go and remember their loved ones. Also take a trip to Grand Central Station. It’s packed full of little cafes and well worth a visit.
I had dreamt of going to the Plaza Hotel my whole life so we popped in for a nosey one of the mornings. It’s exactly what I thought, over the top and GRAND. It has a massive red carpet, chandeliers and luxurious decor which was just how I pictured it. I can only imagine the views from the rooms as the hotel looks onto Central Park. The Plaza Hotel for those of you that aren’t familiar is in Sex & The City, Home Alone and Bride Wars to just name a few big movies. Next time I think I want to treat myself & stay for one night, maybe for our anniversary or a special occasion. I also want to have Afternoon Tea which I heard is a real treat. It’s about $90 per person so if you plan to go, book in advance as I heard it’s hard especially at weekends. It looks divine 🙂
We also walked around Soho and Tribeca which is definitely worth seeing. We had a look on the famous Bleaker Street which has every shop you can think of. We also popped into Ladurée in Soho and went to see Carrie’s house in Sex & the City which is on Perry Street. Just walking around we loved everything about it. Shereen said this was her favourite day and would go back in a heart beat. We had a delicious breakfast in The Cupping Room in Soho. This was a cosy little place and we actually found it on TripAdvisor.
We didn’t go visit the Statue of Liberty this time but it was something I had done on my previous visit. It’s not something I would rush to go see. I know it’s a famous iconic landmark but really she’s not that great (so to any Americans reading this). You can see her from Brooklyn Bridge so maybe that would be worth doing rather than spending half a day getting to an from the statue. You need to get a ferry over to Miss Liberty so make sure to plan this into your trip as it can take a lot longer than you think.
Something I done at night time when I was in New York last was The View restaurant in Times Square. It’s New York’s only revolving restaurant and has views on the entire city. It’s so beautiful at night. I actually went here to celebrate my 21st birthday. It’s a real treat when in NYC and would definitely recommend it. The restaurant is quite expensive though, we spent a lot on a meal for two and drinks but you can go to the lounge for cocktails and desserts which is much cheaper. Shereen and I had planned to go here on this trip but never managed to get there in the end. If I went back next time I would do this rather than the restaurant.
We were recommended to go to Ellen’s Stardust Diner which is a diner where singers waiting to get on Broadway sing during your meal. This was about $25 each and was well worth it. We went for breakfast and it was so cool. I recommend to go as early as possible as there is queues if you leave it too late.
Another place we had food was in Eataly. The food was DELICIOUS. I actually wish I could just eat there again it was that nice. It’s an Italian supermarket/bar/restaurant. It’s got a rooftop bar and is a must see for anyone who loves Italian food. It worked out about $40 each for a meal and prosecco.
Another place that I had wanted to go for ages was Sarabeth’s. It’s one of the restaurants in Sex & the City. We went for brunch and treated ourselves. I knew it would be a little more than your usually brunch. We paid $100 for the two of us but it was worth every penny. We sat on a crisp cold morning outside looking at Central Park. It was a lovely treat to end our trip for sure. You will spend a fortune on food so make sure to factor that into your spending money. Also tips are expected in New York so that’s another thing to bare in mind.
So there you have it. I feel like I could have missed some things but I have a list below of extras to note for your trip.
– Don’t forget to do ESTA before you go. You can apply for the visa HERE.
– Make sure to tell the bank you are going to America so they don’t block your card like me.
– It’s cheaper to use your card rather than take cash out when your in New York.
– Make sure to have some dollars on you when you land just incase of an emergency etc.
– Everything has tax in New York so you don’t always pay the price you see on the tag. Bare that in mind.
– Get the subway rather than a taxi just because a taxi is easier. You will spend a fortune on taxis otherwise.
– If you plan on doing lots of shopping, try pack as little as possible. It’s a lot more casual over in New York so just bare that in mind.
– It’s cold at Christmas so pack a good warm coat, gloves and hat. I wore a hat everyday I was there. It’s so casual so dressing for the weather is essential.
– Bring your passport with you every day. They sometimes ask you to produce this when you are paying with a credit card.
– I made sure to bring my portable charger everywhere with me so I didn’t miss anything & was able to take loads of photos.
If you have any questions at all, snapchat me aoibhedev89, tweet me @aoibhedevlin or email me firstname.lastname@example.org and I will answer any questions you have at all 🙂
I want to wish each and every one of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I hope all your dreams come true and 2016 is all that you hope it to be.
Love Aoibhe xxx