Imagine this: You’re strolling down the sidewalk, you’re dressed up in a warm hat and coat, snow is lightly falling, and in a few steps you find yourself in front of a display of some of the most breathtaking holiday lights imaginable. There are three different cafes on the same block where you can get a toasty cup of hot chocolate and one of the world’s best bagels.
Does that sound like a dream come true? No, it’s only winter in New York City! During the winter and holiday season, NYC comes alive with some of the best Christmas light displays, wintertime activities like skating and sledding, holiday shows and cultural events around. If you’re already dreaming of experiencing New York in the winter time, New York Habitat can help you find the perfect apartment to ensure you don’t miss a thing. Be sure to dig out your winter coat (it gets pretty chilly here in the winter!) and consult our guide for every way to plan your perfect NYC winter trip.
Indulge yourself in the eye candy of New York’s fabulous holiday window displays
New York is one of the best places in the world to get your holiday shopping done! From the one-of-a-kind boutiques of areas like Soho to the high-end designers of the Upper East Side to the massive chain stores of Times Square, you’re guaranteed to be able to check off everyone on your list without leaving the city. Besides the convenience, shopping in New York during the holidays is also a treat due to the incredible holiday window displays some of NYC’s famous stores create. Grab a coffee and make a day out of strolling along Fifth Avenue where most of the best window displays are located. Department stores like Bloomingdales and Saks Fifth Avenue as well as designer boutiques like Bergdorf Goodman, Tiffany & Co. and Louis Vuitton typically create some of the most dazzling displays (p.s.: keep an eye out for our holiday window display guide coming soon!).
If you think you’d enjoy a more quaint shopping experience, check out one of New York City’s holiday markets for handcrafted goods like ornaments, home décor, knitwear and holiday treats. Holiday markets can mainly be found in Bryant Park (through early January), Union Square (through Christmas Eve), Grand Central Station (through Christmas Eve), and Columbus Circle (through Christmas Eve), among others, but keep an eye out for other pop-up markets around the city!
If you love the stunning winter wonderland created by New York’s holiday markets and window displays, you’ll love this elegant Upper West Side studio apartment! The impeccably-designed rental is decorated in a tranquil ice blue color scheme and features a crystal chandelier and beautiful decorative mirrors. Pre-war crown molding will add to the feeling of being in a luxurious winter palace, but the cozy loft sleeping area and decorative brick fireplace will keep you warm on winter nights. Gather in the welcoming living space to watch a holiday movie on the flat-screen TV, and when you’re ready to get in the holiday spirit, this rental’s location on the Upper West Side means you can take a snowy walk through Central Park to get to Fifth Avenue’s designer stores.
Holiday shows to dazzle and delight
New York City is famous for its live theater, and the holidays are no exception. One of the most famous holiday shows you can see is the Radio City Christmas Spectacular starring the Radio City Rockettes. The 90-minute show features more than 140 performers singing and dancing to holiday musical numbers and performing classic holiday scenes. Another annual tradition is the performance of The Nutcracker by the New York City Ballet. The beautiful dances and lavish costumes and sets are sure to delight attendees of all ages! You can also always opt for a Broadway play or musical—if you go to the ticket kiosk in Times Square, you can occasionally find bargain tickets the day of the show. Finally, for something a bit less expected, you can attend The Apollo Theater’s Kwanzaa Celebration in Harlem on December 30. The show will feature music and traditional dance celebrating the African holiday.
Light up your night with the best holiday decorations in the city
One of the best ways to get in the holiday spirit for free is to wander around the city looking at holiday decorations and lights! To start, see the famous Rockefeller Center Christmas tree in person. The tree stands several stories tall, is decorated with thousands of twinkle lights, and overlooks the Rockefeller ice rink, making it extra picturesque (it’s also a great follow-up to the Christmas Spectacular!). For something a little less touristy, The Metropolitan Museum of Art also hosts its own Christmas tree and traditional crèche in the Medieval Art wing of the museum, and the American Museum of Natural History’s annual Christmas tree is decorated with hundreds of origami paper decorations.
Another beloved display is the annual Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx, while the New York Hall of Science in Queens hosts a delicious display called Gingerbread Lane. The display holds the Guinness World Record for largest gingerbread display and is an entire miniature village made of gingerbread, icing and candy! Lastly, during the celebration of Hanukkah, a massive holiday menorah (the world’s largest!) is installed in Grand Army Plaza in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, and the candles are lit nightly.
Walking around in the cold can really give you a chill, so come home to this 1-bedroom furnished apartment in Chelsea to warm up. The space has a warm, homey atmosphere thanks to its classic wooden furniture and exposed-brick fireplace. The apartment’s cozy vintage feel and location on a residential street, plus a second fireplace in the queen-sized bedroom, will ensure you get plenty of sleep on long winter nights! Finally, the neighborhood of Chelsea is convenient to plenty of transportation options that allow you to traverse the city and see all the holiday décor with ease.
Winter cheer after the holidays
Winter fun doesn’t have to end when the holidays do! One of the best ways to enjoy winter in NYC is to embrace winter sports and play in the snow. Any of New York City’s parks are great for a snowy walk, but Central Park, Prospect Park and Fort Tryon Park in particular have plenty of hills that make way for some serious sledding!
After enjoying the snow, you can warm up with a cup of hot chocolate at some of the city’s best spots—the kids will love the ones in this guide. In the mood for something stronger? NYC has plenty of holiday and winter-themed pop-up bars that appear just for the winter season. The Lodge at Gallow Green and The Peak at PHD Terrace are two ski resort-themed winter pop-ups you can look for this season!
Ice skating is another great way to enjoy winter outdoors—the rink at Bryant Park, Wolman Rink at Central Park and The Sky Rink at Chelsea Piers are some of our favorites! Catch beautiful views of the New York skyline while you skate, and then warm up with some shopping at Bryant Park’s Winter Village or the Chelsea Market.
Speaking of beautiful views, the dazzling holiday of New Year’s Eve was practically made to be celebrated in New York. You can watch the New Year’s Eve ball descend in Times Square or watch the fireworks displays around the city. Check back on our blog in a few weeks for the complete guide to New Year’s in the Big Apple!
A 1-bedroom furnished apartment in Chelsea like this one is the perfect place to rest your sore skater’s feet and chase away the chill! You’ll really appreciate the beauty of a furnished apartment (that provides all your linens!) when you come home to the numerous blankets and pillows to sink into and snuggle up in this apartment. Dig your toes into the fun area rugs while you read a book or watch some TV. When the night winds down, this apartment’s bedroom will have you truly impressed! The queen-sized bed and exposed brick make this room cozy, and the glass door that leads to the patio is great for watching a late-night snowfall from the comfort of your bed.
The city’s best late-season celebrations
When the new year rolls in, January and February have some exciting events to attend! If you’re feeling brave, you can sign up to participate in the Coney Island Polar Bear Plunge on New Year’s Day. The event on Coney Island’s beach involves a frigid run and dunk into the ocean water, wearing only a swimsuit! We won’t blame you if you only want to watch; spectators are also welcome. Also in January, Winter Jazz Fest in the West Village gathers jazz musicians from all over the world for a week-long festival of live performances and concerts.
In February, join the celebration of the Lunar (Chinese) New Year on February 5 in Chinatown or Flushing, Queens! The celebration will feature a colorful parade with the famous dragon dance puppets and traditional costumes, as well as delicious Chinese cuisine from street food to sit-down restaurants. Finally, Super Bowl Sunday is February 3, 2019. Head to any sports bar in the city (the East Village, Murray Hill and Hell’s Kitchen are great places to start) to watch the game on the big screen and order some buffalo wings (a New York state specialty), or watch from the comfort of your apartment rental!
This vibrant and airy 2-bedroom apartment rental in Williamsburg, Brooklyn will transition wonderfully from the holiday season to midwinter. The space features all the heralds of a cozy winter apartment: exposed brick walls, deep armchairs to relax, and an open kitchen for preparing a hot meal. The effortless bohemian-chic styling of this apartment makes it an inviting place to lounge around or host some friends when you start to get cabin fever! As a bonus, you’ll be in the extremely well-connected neighborhood of Williamsburg, which puts countless bars, restaurants, cafés and shops right outside your door (keeping you out of the cold and away from an unnecessarily long walk).
Winter in New York City is anything but bleak! As the temperatures drop, New Yorkers anticipate the start of the holiday and winter season with its gorgeous lights, wonderful shopping, and magical atmosphere. When you make the move to the city and start living like a local with New York Habitat, you can live in the center of it all and feel the magic for yourself. Contact us to find your perfect winter listing and start planning your trip to NYC’s winter wonderland!