This time of year my inbox and DMs always become full of questions regarding the best things to do in New York City during the holidays. Since it had been several years since I last did a post on things not to miss during this festive season, I wanted to put together an updated comprehensive guide with all my favorites. In partnership with Eileen Fisher today I’m sharing all my must-do items and a look perfectly festive for many of them!
What to Do in New York During the Holidays:
Fifth Avenue Windows: Start at Bergdorf Goodman and then head down Fifth Avenue to Tiffany & Co., Saks Fifth Avenue and more. Don’t forget to look up at the decorations on some of the buildings like Harry Winston, Cartier; among others while you’re at it!
Saks Fifth Avenue Light Show: I absolutely love the Saks light show that happens outside the store every ten minutes. The music, display and lights is a little slice of magic across the street from the Rock Center Christmas tree.
The Palace Christmas Tree: Take a detour from the Christmas windows along Fifth Avenue and pop over to The Palace Hotel’s courtyard to see their gorgeously adorned tree (where these photos were snapped.) The entrance to the courtyard is off of Madison Avenue.
The New York City Ballet ‘s The Nutcracker: A personal favorite holiday tradition of mine! It is so special to get dressed up and see this beautiful ballet. The first time I saw it I was awe-struck. Do not miss buying tickets to this beautiful performance.
Ice Skating in Central Park: There are several places to skate in New York this time of year, but I love the Wollman rink in particular since you get to take in the park and the towering buildings above. A few things to note to make your visit better: 1. it is cash only; 2. no bags are allowed on the ice so plan accordingly and 3. it is pricey so you may want to plan to stay awhile! Bring a snack to have while you rest your feet.
Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree: This destination practically goes without saying! I always love getting a glimpse of the magnificent site of this tree every season. All lit up and something to truly marvel at. Put some Christmas music in your ears, drown out the crowds and look up in awe. More adventurous? Join the skaters on the Rock Center skating rink!
The Radio City Christmas Spectacular: Cheesy but a true delight and of course an iconic New York City Christmas tradition. I’d recommend doing it once to say you have! It’s also fun to hear the little ones’ commentary throughout ?
Union Square Christmas Market: New York City boasts several Christmas markets but the Union Square one is my personal favorite. I love shopping at the local businesses showcasing their goods and having some mulled wine while doing so.
New York Philharmonic: They always have some amazing holiday programming I like to attend and this weekend I can’t wait to see their Holiday Brass concert on Sunday!
Rolf’s German Bar: This spot is famous thanks to Instagram and while it is wildly crowded nowadays, you have to make a stop here for a spiked eggnog or mulled wine. Go late at night or arrive before opening to get in line on a weekend and enjoy your drink under the best Christmas decorations any joint has ever offered. This place is like drinking inside of a Christmas tree!
Winter Village at Bryant Park: I love how Bryant Park transforms this time of year with the additions of a skating rink (seen here) and their Winter Village of shops curated with treats and fare from small businesses.
Dyker Heights: A sure-fire way to get in the holiday spirit, this Brooklyn neighborhood goes all-out when it comes to home decor. The lights, music and displays are amazing. I recommend bringing some hot cocoa in tow in a reusable cup. Come bundled as you’ll be walking through the neighborhood for some time to see all the lights.
New York Hotel Lobbies: I love popping into iconic New York Hotels to see how the decorate this time of year. Here are some unique displays this year in particular and I also recommend the lobbies of The Carlyle, The Plaza, The St. Regis and The Peninsula. Get your girlfriends or family together, some hot drinks in hand and do a hotel lobby crawl!
The Standard East Village Winter Garden: The Standard opened up this winter garden a few years back and it’s a new favorite spot of mine! During the day they are selling Christmas trees but at night you can reserve a yurt and have a fondue party or just grab a table to sip on mulled wine or hot cider cocktails. All the lights and the blankets make this spot so cozy.
Bemelmans Bar: This place is like traveling back in time to old New York. Between the dark wood-covered walls, famed murals by Ludwig Bemelman and piano music drifting in the air, you can’t help but feel elated when you settle in and the Manhattan hits your hand. Take in the lights on Madison Avenue and the decorations in at The Carlyle as you make your way to the bar.
The St. Regis King Cole Bar: My favorite special occasion bar in Midtown. Be sure to capture your photo with the giant nutcrackers standing guard outside this storied hotel this time of year.
The Boathouse: If you take up ice skating in Central Park, treat yourself to a drink at The Boathouse afterwards. This legendary Central Park spot has brunch and dinner but I love it for the bar with a fireplace and the beautiful decorations this time of year. You’ll even spot a Christmas tree with its very own form of transportation on the pond!
And of course when you’re seeing the Christmas sites, it is only fitting to have the perfect festive ensemble. Today’s look is by Eileen Fisher which is a brand all about fabrics that feel good so you’re instantly stylish and comfortable. This metallic sweater is so subtly celebratory and the satin pants wear so beautifully and feature an elastic waistband and pockets making them practical for any and all holiday indulgences and outings. I also love that they make my legs look so long! Better yet? Both garments are Responsible by Design meaning they meets Eileen Fisher’s highest standard for environmental or social impact. The wool the sweater is made from supports Argentinian ranchers who regenerate depleted grasslands through holistic farming methods and the satin pants are recycled polyester made from plastic bottles. I absolutely love Eileen Fisher’s commitment to sustainability and personally plan to make sustainable fashion more of a priority in 2020. The brand just also awarded $200,000 to seven women-led organizations looking out for the health of our planet. I love what this brand is doing and the standards they’re setting for the industry.
I put this look together to go from the office to holiday drinks with your girlfriends this season. These two key pieces can also be worn a myriad of ways. Other ways I plan to wear them? I’ll pair a chunky, oversized knit with the pants and this sweater would also look so good with a pair of black jeans and a sleek blazer.
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Eileen Fisher Merino Sparkle Crew Neck (Size Small) // Eileen Fisher Recycled Polyester Satin Straight Pant (Size X Small)
p.s. the most Instagrammable spots in NYC during the holidays and my holiday bucket list this year.
[Carter Fish Photography]
This post is in collaboration with Eileen Fisher. Thank you so much for supporting the brands I love to work with!