Sometimes in the blur of city life, you need a reason to stop and be grateful for life, for health, for opportunities, and for those whom you love. Fortunately, New York City knows how to celebrate the holidays. Almost every corner serves as a reminder of the time of year, of family, of fun, and of light. And, let’s be honest, I think we all need a little more light than usual in 2020.
So, if you’re in NYC for the holidays, here are the top five places in the city that will continue to serve up light, merriment and cheer this season.
Where do you go to find holiday cheer? Send us a comment! We’d love to hear your suggestions!
5) Dyker Heights, Brooklyn
For the cost of a subway pass and a brisk walk, you can be in a new land of holiday lights and magic. The residents of Dyker Heights always make the best (and biggest) light displays in New York, and debatably the USA. Wear your mask and enjoy an outdoor and socially-distanced Christmas display! There are also TV specials on Dyker Heights – including one from PBS and this one from Samantha Brown!
4) Prospect Park, Brooklyn
Looking for a low-cost and low-key skate date? Try Prospect Park! For $11 (or less through the week), you can reserve a ticket on the ice. And, at the LeFrak Center at Lakeside, they are also hosting a Carribbean Holiday Pop-Up called CaribBeing on Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays!
3) Rockefeller Center and 5th Avenue
The Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center has been a New York tradition since 1933. And, since 1997 the tree lighting has been broadcast across the nation each year prior to the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall.
This year, the tree is a 75-foot Norwegian Spruce from upstate New York. Although it came into town with bed-head, and the paparazzi gave it a hard time, it’s now looking quite beautiful and showing it’s full holiday costume.
Of note, the tree this year was trucked with an owl hidden in its branches. The “2020 Miracle” owl (named Rockefeller, of course!) needed some TLC and rehab upon arrival to the city. Our local wildlife organizations quickly jumped to action, helping the owl revitalize its fluids and nutrients. They helped it along, and provided his release back into the wild last week.
Did you know??? When the tree is taken down in 2021, it will be used as timber for Habitat for Humanity to help build someone’s future home!
Passing by Rockefeller Center, you will be in the heart of the 5th Avenue window displays, including Saks 5th Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman’s, Cartier, and Tiffany & Co.
2) Central Park
Hot chocolate, carriage rides, snow, carolers, street artists, ice skating, and holiday lights – what more could you possibly want to warm you from the inside out at Christmas? Head over to Central Park to combat the winter blues!
1) Bryant Park Winter Village
Usually, New York City is home to at least three winter villages – Union Square, Bryant Park, and Columbus Circle. This year, due to COVID, Bryant Park is the only one. But, it’s still a wonderful way to spend a day. The ice skating rink is beautiful, the shops are unique and fun, and the Lodge Deck serves up wonderful winter warmers from Stout NYC. My favorite activities include the Cinnamon Apple Cider Donuts, No Chewing Allowed, The Puzzle Company, and New York Artisans!
Bonus: Macy’s and 6th Avenue
Macy’s Herald Square hosted the Thanksgiving Day Parade, and quickly pivoted to offer New Yorkers a display of gratitude for continued support through 2020. The window displays are heart warming and thoughtful. And, walking north on 6th Avenue, you will find multiple holiday installations from giant ornaments to lights to candy canes!
Other NYC Ideas…
Check out our previous posts for other NYC neighborhoods to check-out!
- Long Island City, Queens
- North Fork, Long Island
- Red Hook
- Rockaway Beach
- Murray Hill and Midtown East
- Central Park
- Discover the Best NYC Landmark and Lookout – Just For You!
- Spookiest Spots in NYC
- Sleepy Hollow
- New York Botanical Garden
- Tea Tasting in Soho and LES
More coming each week!
And…it’s 2020…So, here’s my weekly reminder.
Should I Come to New York in 2020?
If you are living outside the Northeast, the answer is still, sadly, no. For more on this, check out our other posts on 3 Months of New York City, Riding the Second Wave, Wandering and Wondering in NYC, and New York: Awakening from COVID-19 Slumber. Although the numbers are starting to climb again, New York still seems to be under control (at this point). The government is doing its best to make sure it stays below a certain percentage. With so many people living in such a close proximity, pandemics are especially lethal here.
***UPDATE*** Starting on November 4th, the mandatory 14-day quarantine has ended! New York is moving to a test-based travel restriction. You have to show a negative COVID-19 test result from the past 72 hours upon arrival, then, three days after arrival (and quarantine), you have to receive another test here. If it’s negative, you’re good to go. If it’s positive, you must continue to quarantine. So, this means shorter quarantines (yay!), but two tests… Stay home if you can…If you can’t, you’ve been warned!
Wait this one out…New York will still be here when the dust settles.
As always, don’t forget to Toast The Moon to all of your international travels by visiting our store, and make sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and the ‘gram to catch all of our latest posts and adventures!
Stay in your region this year, stay safe, stay distant, and be like the NYC statues – wear your masks! We’ll see you on the other side.
Noah and Majhon