We have always wanted to visit New York City during the holidays and on a whim we decided to take the kids for a quick 2 day trip to see a midnight Christmas Eve service in downtown NYC. Of course we would hit as many stores and sights as we could, while walking roughly 10 miles a day.
We stayed at the The Roosevelt Hotel about five blocks from Bryant Park. During the holiday season, Bryant Park turns into a Christmas market with hundred of kiosks selling holiday gifts. The park also has a seasonal outdoor ice skating rink during the holiday season. The hotel location would keep us close to the storefronts near Macy’s and not too far from Times Square and Rockefeller Plaza.
The lobby of The Roosevelt Hotel was tastefully decorated for the holiday season. The Christmas tree was so beautiful and elegant it quickly captured your attention as you entered the lobby. It was definitely the focal point and captured your eye’s attention.
Bryant Park was our first stop once we settled into our hotel room. The ice rink was very busy, but to be expected on Christmas Eve. You could rent ice skates or bring your own, you just had to be willing to wait in a very long line to get on the ice. We walked down the many aisles of kiosks selling holiday gifts and sweets. There were some very cute gift ideas that the ladies spent time looking through. I however, used this time to look at the building architecture and the holiday decorations. The Empire State Building was lit up in holiday colors as well as several other downtown buildings.
A visit to New York City isn’t complete without a visit to Times Square to people watch. I enjoy nothing more when traveling than to people watch from a new destination. This visit didn’t disappoint. There was many holiday characters walking around in costumes posing with tourists. Times Squares is one of the busiest pedestrian locations in the World and it seems the whole World is there visiting. You can’t go a city block without hearing 5-6 different languages.
After leaving Times Square we hopped on the subway and rode nearly to the end of Manhattan and got off to go to Trinity Church. It turns out they were not having a midnight Christmas Eve service, so we walked a few blocks north and entered St. Paul’s Chapel of Trinity Church Wall Street. This was a beautiful church that had been turned into a holiday wonderland with Christmas decorations. The service was outstanding, from the angelic choir to the wonderful readings. Most definitely the highlight of our trip to NYC! It was very late once the service was over, so instead of riding the subway or walking at nearly 2:00 am, we decided to call an Uber for a ride back to the hotel. The driver was very friendly and gave us a nice scenic tour of the east side of Manhattan past the Brooklyn Bridge and many others sights.
After opening a few small Christmas presents in our hotel room, we decided we would head out for more exploring. Christmas morning brought Ice skating at Rockefeller Center, which is an extremely common & busy destination for many visitors to New York City. We stood in line for nearly an hour just to rent ice skates and almost another hour to get onto the ice. The time on the ice was very fun and enjoyable, especially with all of the holiday festivities going on all around you.
No trip to New York City during the holidays isn’t complete with walking past the storefront displays. Obviously Macy’s had some of the most creative and interesting for both child and adults alike.
We stopped at Grand Central Terminal to check out the architecture and found it tastefully decorated. We didn’t spend much time there, but just long enough for the girls to get a pic.
The Christmas tree at Rockefeller Plaza is a popular destination for many visitors and well worth the time spent to get there. The crowds were quite heavy, but to be expected on Christmas night. The sea of humanity was manageable and you could get a good picture with the tree if you are patient and waited your turn to get near the base of the tree.
So on Christmas night we had the opportunity to attend the Rockettes’ Christmas Spectacular. I didn’t know what to expect from the performance, but it was very entertaining and the family really seems to enjoy their time watching the show and being in Radio City Music Hall as well. The show definitely made you feel apart of the holiday experience in New York City.
Saks Fifth Avenue department store had a holiday themed light show on the outside of their building. After a very long day I just kept my 3D glasses on from the Rockettes’ show and watched the outdoor light show with them on. Other tourists kept asking me where to get the 3D glasses, which were not necessary for the Sak’s light show. I was past the point of getting goofing from being so tired and on the go all day. We walked past St. Patrick’s Cathedral prior to heading back to our hotel. This was pretty much the end of our quick trip to NYC, but definitely checked off a bunch of items on our bucket list.