A while back, I was lucky enough to visit New York over New Year 2013/14 with my family. We stayed in the Roosevelt Hotel in midtown Manhattan which I’d highly recommend, it has a stunningly ornate lobby and has a real ‘wow’ impact on arrival. It was especially magical around Christmas time, it was beautifully decorated and added something so special to the trip. The location is so convenient to access all major tourist points, with Fifth Avenue, Grand Central Station, the Rockefeller Centre, Central Park and Times Square (to name but a few) all under a mile away.
On a previous visit in February 2009, we stayed in the iconic New Yorker Hotel and went to the Empire State Building. Obviously it was amazing and a rite of passage for all New York tourists however on a second visit, I would suggest that you go to the Top of the Rock instead like we did on our second visit – hear me out on this – you get the amazing views of the Empire State Building and skip the crazy queues. It’s a win-win! Also, the ice rink which is outside of the Rockefeller during the Christmas period is a great place to people-watch (it’s a guilty pleasure OK… admit it, we all love seeing people fall over) and stare in awe at all of the decorations which will be sure to get you in the festive mood.
We were quite unfortunate with the weather on one or two of the days so something great to do in this situation is to go on a theme bus tour of the city. We went on a TV and Movie tour which was a really interesting way to see parts of the city that you may not venture to otherwise. A particular highlight for me, as a huge ‘Friends’ fan was seeing the apartment building where the exterior shots were taken! It’s just such a classic New York sight, I was fangirling over it more than I care to admit…
We also went to see the Christmas Spectacular show at Radio City Music Hall. Of course, the Rockettes were flawless and it was an amazing sight to see so many ladies dancing in such perfect unison. If you didn’t feel in the Christmas spirit before seeing this show, you surely will once you leave! Of course, it’s probably the cheesiest, most camp show you’ll ever watch but just leave your inhibitions at the door and you’re bound to have a shamelessly Spectacular night.
For more casual things to do, a stroll around Washington Square Park, exploring Central Park or walking across Brooklyn Bridge are all great experiences that truly show New York at its best.
For our New Years Eve celebrations we decided against going to Times Square for the Rockin’ Eve, based on recommendation from locals and tourists alike. In general, the view was that spending an entire day penned into a small area barely able to make a toilet trip, was not worth the time (or indeed, the effort of standing for all of those hours). Instead, we spent the day on a River Hudson cruise and went to see the fireworks at Central Park in the evening – unbeknown to us, a 4-mile midnight run around Central Park begins at the strike of New Year which made for a really great atmosphere and along with the live music, was an unforgettable way to ring in 2014.
Tweet me @evierosetravels or comment below to let me know what hotspots in New York you’d recommend during the festive period!
If you’re planning on travelling to the United States anytime soon, visit this website for information on visa-free travel.