14 Spots To Make You Feel Excited About The Holidays

As with any holiday in New York, the city puts on quite the show around this time of the year. In the lead up to Christmas, the city glimmers with even more lights than usual, restaurants pull out all the stops with their festive decorations, and walking passed the department stores is almost like viewing a theatre production. Not to mention the fifteen ice rinks that open for the public during the holiday season – New York shows all the other cities in the world just how it’s done. Now let’s find out where to feel the most cozy and Christmassy!



Rockefeller Rink

Rockefeller Christmas tree + Ice rink:

Out of all the ice rinks in New York, the Rink at Rockefeller center is the most iconic one. With millions of tourists visiting the ice rink each year, it’s also the most crowded place to go ice skating. But there’s something about skating below the famous Christmas tree that feels so very magical, and can’t be experienced elsewhere. If you’re not in the mood for the long line, simply watching others enjoying Christmas in the city will do the trick.



This Italian restaurant has a warm ambiance all year round, but thanks to the festive decorations it feels extra homely during the holiday season. Right in the heart of Greenwich Village, the large rustic space is adorned with wreaths, garlands and red stockings, while still remaining as classy as always. The menu stays true to its Italian roots, serving small appetizers to share, delicate pastas and fantastic focaccia’s, all while using fresh produce from their rooftop farm.

Winter Village at Bryant Park:

The best holiday market in New York is by far the Winter Village at Bryant Park, mostly because of all the food vendors. With truffle cheesesteaks, fried chicken in cones, chunky home fries to cookie dough scoops, Jars by Dani and Doughnuttery’s tiny donuts for dessert, we’re literally spoiled for choice. And with the free-admission ice rink in the center, adding a little winter-wonderland magic, it’s easy to burn off all the eats. Though it might be hard to jump a double axel with all that food weighing you down.

Refinery Rooftop

Refinery rooftop:

Who says rooftops are only for Summer? It might not be the first place that comes to mind on a cold day, but Refinery Rooftop offers beautiful views and cocktails whatever the season. String lights hang from the retractable glass roof, giving you a glimpse of the city’s skyscrapers, which also includes a close view of the Empire State Building.


Rolf’s German Restaurant:

During the December month, less isn’t more at Rolf’s German Restaurant. The restaurant takes Christmas decorations to a whole different level, covering every inch of the walls and ceilings with ornaments, lights and garlands. Less attention is paid to the food, so it’s best to come here for the ambiance and drinks.

Gramercy Tavern

Gramercy Tavern:

Dazzling decorations are obviously not the main attraction at a Danny Meyer restaurant. You come here for a memorable meal, one that highlights American cuisine with scrumptious seasonal dishes. After all, it’s the season for celebrating and filling up our tummies, even if that means spending a little more than other months.

City Bakery by @hangrymarz

City Bakery:

No Winter is complete without hot chocolate, and there’s no better place to enjoy a comforting cup of heaven than at City Bakery. But the bakery’s specialty is definitely not for the fainthearted; incredibly thick and rich, while topped with a giant marshmallow to finish it off. Or, to finish you off, maybe. Only time will tell.

The Plaza Hotel

The Plaza Hotel:

Immerse yourself in the luxury of The Plaza Hotel, where the afternoon tea is enlivened with special holiday offerings at The Palm Court. From house made turkey with cranberry aioli to egg nog cream eclairs and gingerbread red velvet cake, these festive bites in their elegant surroundings kick off the Christmas feeling in style.

Fifth avenue window displays:

Even if you don’t plan on spending a fortune in the stores on Fifth Avenue, the window displays are worth braving the tourists. Department stores partner with visual artists to create the most eye-catching displays, each with their own themes and whimsical tunes. Stop by at Saks Fifth Avenue between 5 and 11 pm for the most show stopping experience, when the elaborate light show covers the ten-story building.

The NoMad Hotel Library:

If you’re looking to enjoy the Christmassy feeling without all the madness and masses, The NoMad Hotel Library is the place for you. Plop down on the comfortable seats with a holiday cocktail, and take in the elegance of the space and admire the stunning Christmas tree, which is positioned just perfectly so everyone can see it.

Dyker Heights

Dyker Heights in Brooklyn:

How many Christmas lights are too many? That question is unlikely to come up if you’ve got a house in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn. Each year, the homeowners triumphantly transform their houses by covering them with endless lights, huge snowflakes, inflatable Santas, reindeers, and snowmen. The list goes on, and so does the crowd of people who take tours around the neighborhood. Yes, there are tours for everything in this city.

Great Jones Café:

The casual, easy-going vibe makes this Noho-café a neighborhood favorite, but it gets especially cozy during the winter months. Inside the small space you’ll find colorful Christmas lights, beams dressed up as candy canes and tree ornaments all around the place, while friends gather around the tables for drinks and comfort food.

Union Square by @walterz85

Union Square Holiday Market:

Hundreds of market stalls take over Union Square Park from November 16th until December 24th, offering everything from jewelry to home goods and stationary. Browse the eclectic selection made by local artists, and you might be able to find some unique gifts that won’t break the bank.

Lucky Strike:

There are only so many times you can take your parents to Balthazar during the holidays. This year, try the other Keith McNally restaurant Lucky Strike instead, complete with festive decorations and more French food. Order the deeply rich onion soup, and don’t miss the affordable cocktails – it’s what keeps us warm.

Words by: Siobhan Gunner.