New York City Christmas Trip


Jul 8th, 2013, 05:13 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 1
New York City Christmas Trip

I am traveling to NYC Dec. 7-9 and need an idea of a trip itenarary. I am traveling with my boyfriend, a friend and her son who is 9. We are staying in New Jersey near the PATH train. Below is what we want to do and any suggestions of an intenerary would be much appreciated! Thank you in advanced.

1. Rockefellar Center - Tree @ Night
2. Rockefellar Center - Top of the Rock
3. 5th Ave Windos: Macys, FAO Schwartz, Toys R Us
4. Tiffanys <3
5. Empire State Buidling
6. Carlo's Bakery (we plan on doing tihs on our last day in NYC (Mon) fairly early in the morning.
7. Carriage ride in Central Park (probably just my boyfriend and I)
8. Christmas Show (if we can get decent priced tickets / depending on show type) - any suggestions of what to see this Christmas?
9. Ice Skating - I was thinking in Bryant Park

Is there anything else we should do? I would like to see Santa at Macy's as long as we can get there early, but with only one kid I'm not sure if this is worth it.
elkmrct is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 8th, 2013, 05:44 AM
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 650
You will be in the tourist epicenter and you will not beleive the crowds Christmas week. Be sure to have a meet plan if 9 year old gets separated or he has a cell phone.

The restaurants in that area will be jammed, so if you take the subway a few stops to a residential neighborhood or some place like Koreatown, it will be cheaper and easier.

If you go early to te Met Museum, you will see the most elegant Christmas tree in NYC, otherwise it too will be a zoo.
BigAleinstein is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 8th, 2013, 06:08 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,643
Themajor Christmas windows are on Fifth AVe (Macy's i not - it's at 34th between broadway and 7th.

The best windows are Lord & Taylor (40th & Fifth) and Saks (across from Rock Center). Expect lines of at least 20 minutes to have yuor chance at the windows.

For other famous trees - besides the one at Rock Center, look at the Neapolitan tree and creche at the Met and the origami tree at the Museum of Nat'l Hist.

Definitely do Top of the Rock versus the ESB - which will have lines HOURS long.

Also - if you plan on shopping dep't stores do early (before 9 am) or late (after 9 pm) to avoid the worst of the crowds.

Not sure what you mean about christmas show. THE Christmas show is as the Radio City Music Hall - and there are always discounts online. Instead we do the Nutcracker at Lincoln Center - which is a great into to ballet for those interested. Discounts to B'way shows are usually limited that time of year due to the hoards of tourists - but you can check about 2 months out to see who may be discounting.

One note: check to see the PATH hours to get back to your hotel - it's really for commuters and may not run very often after dinner and/or a show.

Also, with a 9 year old there is no way I would miss the MUseum of Natural History - kids ALL love it - and there are a lot of interactive activities if you organize in advance.
nytraveler is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 8th, 2013, 06:18 AM
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 7,720
Plan on everything taking 1.5-2 times as long as you think it will and be twice as expensive.
sparkchaser is online now  
Reply With Quote
Jul 8th, 2013, 07:36 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 9,895
Rockefeller Center, shopping, and the Christmas windows would make a good day, perhaps doing a carriage ride later in the afternoon or early evening to relax and soak up the atmosphere.

If you want to see a show, then consider doing the tree in Rock Center immediately after. It's within fairly easy walking distance of most Broadway theaters and, naturally, very close to Radio City. Just be prepared for huge crowds at night (much bigger than during the day). As for the choice of Christmas shows, I'd actually choose A Christmas Story over the Radio City show. But there may be at least one more playing, though it's way too early to know for sure.

And my planning advice: Don't expect to do everything you want to do since the city will be insanely crowded. Unless you want to eat fast food, make dinner reservations for 12/7 and 12/8 at least a month out. I know this is a pain, but you will be thankful that you have a set place and don't have to wait with the crowds. If I eat in Midtown, I always make a reservation, even if it's just the day before, since those restaurants are always crowded with tourists.

Finally, expect transit to be crowded and slow. After 11pm, the PATH may run only every half-hour or hour. But it actually has a schedule, which you can check online in advance, so you can easily plan your trips into and out of the city. You don't have to just show up and wait. There are two PATH lines that come into Manhattan. One goes only to the World Trade Center station; the other goes to 33rd Street, and there's no transferring between the lines in Manhattan. Instead, you have to do that in NJ at Grove St. or Journal Square.

Also, buy a Metrocard. You will have to pay for each PATH and subway ride separately, and that's your best bet for getting around the city during December. The streets are so crowded, a taxi can take considerably longer than the subway, particularly during the day.
doug_stallings is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 8th, 2013, 08:31 AM
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 674
Save yourself the trip to Carlo's, essentially a storefront bakery and that's all, and have a look instead here:

Depending upon where you're staying along the PATH lines, it's only a few minutes away, but what's the attraction? In the panoramic photo, note the line outside. Is it worth it?
bspielman is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 8th, 2013, 09:58 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 9,895
Carlo's is featured on a popular reality show, but having now had their baked goods, I can say that there are indeed many other places that are better. But what can you do? It's a popular tourist destination. We're as likely to dissuade folks from visiting there as dissuade them from visiting the Empire State Building.
doug_stallings is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 8th, 2013, 10:18 AM
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 650
I have stopped arguing with people about going to bad restaurants and other places. if they want to go, let them go. It means the lines are smaller at the better spots.

A new destination is, of course, unfamiliar and what they think they know adds a bit of comfort.
BigAleinstein is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 10th, 2013, 11:16 AM
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 5
I think you've got yourself a pretty good list.
lesliehorning is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 10th, 2013, 03:03 PM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 22,971
volcanogirl is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 10th, 2013, 04:36 PM
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 15
You definitely have to walk around 5th Avenue at Christmas time. Yes, NYC is crowded this time of year but it is so much fun. Plus, it IS NYC it is pretty much always crowded except for weekends in August!
We took our kids to the Radio City Christmas Shows a few years ago. Got last minute tickets without much of a problem. If you get the time, it's fun to go downtown as well. Walking around the Village, Little Italy, etc.
shoreen is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 11th, 2013, 04:44 AM
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 245
We were in NYC with a 9yr old last Christmas
Don't underestimate the crowds. We got trapped in a couple of human traffic jams around the Rockefeller Centre and the queue for FAO Schwartz went around the block! We found the best time to see the tree was early evening when people were having dinner.
We loved the Rockettes, saw them on the 23rd and then went to Bryant Park on the way home.
My husband went to the Empire State Building at 8.30 am and walked straight in - no queue.
A couple of our highlights were walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, visiting the 9/11 Memorial and walking the Highline.
Kwaussie is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 11th, 2013, 09:46 AM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 3,521
Others may consider this touristy, but we enjoyed dinner at the Sea Grill in Rock Center, looking out on the skating rink. Even saw a marriage proposal on the ice.

The food was fine, pricy as you would expect, but a nice memory.
rncheryl is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 11th, 2013, 10:43 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,643
We do the Sea Grill once every holiday season - to see the skaters and enjoy good fish - not the best - that would be Le Bernardin - but still excellent - but pricey. Suggest you check out when making reservations - it has actual menus with prices so you can what you will need to spend at various restaurants.

If your 9 year old is a picky eater - do check out menus before making reservations - to make sure there is something he will eat. Ours were always adventurous eaters - but I know there are a lot of kids that survive on burger and chicken fingers and classify as exotic even chinese, thai or indian.
nytraveler is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 24th, 2014, 09:34 PM
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 5,904
Elk should be home by now, since this posting is from July 2013.
IMDonehere is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 25th, 2014, 01:57 AM
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 3
Help please. I am going to New York for the first time in 2 weeks. I went online to buy my statue of liberty tickets for our trip and they appear to be sold out! I had no idea they would sell out that fast. Is this true? Any insight would be helpful!
I'm devastated. Any other suggestions on what I should buy now?
Salento is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 25th, 2014, 05:59 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,643
Yes, the ticket for the statue typically sell out many weeks in advance - esp in holiday high season.

Your option is to take a cruise of the harbor (try circle line boats which have commentary) that can get you near the statue - but only the national park service boats are allowed to stop at Liberty Island. (And have you looked at National Park Service site for just ferry tickets - to see the statue up close even if you can't get tickets to go inside?)

Another option is to take the free Staten Island ferry across the harbor - but this is a commuter ferry and there is no commentary - and your view of the Statue is from quite a distance. Ferries run every 20 minutes or so during the day - but are crowded at rush hour.
nytraveler is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 25th, 2014, 11:34 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 9,895
This time of the year, I'd only take the free Staten Island Ferry. A longer harbor cruise in the cold is not fun. But it's nice to steam by the Statue of Liberty.

If it's not too cold, I'd also recommend the High Line, which is not so busy in winter.

If the Statue of Liberty is something you've always dreamed of your whole life and you'll never get to NYC again, you could take a full day and go to NJ and probably get tickets from that side. But it's a slog to get out there and requires two trains (NJ Transit or PATH to Hoboken and the light rail) or a separate ferry to Liberty State Park from downtown.
doug_stallings is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 26th, 2014, 02:11 AM
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 3
No, I did not looked for just ferry tickets... But in my opinion it would be a best solution. Thanks for your replies and help.
Salento is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 26th, 2014, 06:00 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 9,895
I think you misunderstand. You HAVE to take a ferry. But the tickets are tied to the various options at the Statue (Crown, Base, grounds). If none are available from NYC, that means there are no ferry tickets. If some are available from NJ, then that means you can get a ferry ticket there, but if there are no NJ reservations available then you still can't go.

But again, it's a real big deal to get there and will take you well over an hour.
doug_stallings is offline  
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:08 AM.