Trip to NYC in December - questions

Nov 11th, 2008, 09:39 AM
  #1  
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Trip to NYC in December - questions

We just booked 2 nights at the Hampton Inn on 35th Street in NYC. It's a new hotel, and we were able to get it with Hilton points. We also are flying free (courtesy of Delta frequent flier miles!)

Our dates are December 5-7, arriving at 9 in the morning on the 5th and not leaving until late in the evening on the 7th, so we really have 3 full days.

My husband has been to NYC, but I haven't been.

We were thinking about the Radio City Music Hall on Friday night.

Maybe Ellis Island on Saturday.

I'm assuming there will be lots of Christmas stuff going on during that time -- any ideas for fun things to do?

We will be going without kids.
Samsaf is offline  
Nov 11th, 2008, 10:25 AM
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Hi

I went to NYC with my wife in December last year. Maybe you can find some useful info in our trip report with pictures and links on our homepage http://gardkarlsen.com/NYC_travelogue_2007.htm . Get in touch if you have any questions

Regards
Gard
http://gardkarlsen.com - trip reports and pictures
gard is offline  
Nov 11th, 2008, 10:27 AM
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Ify ou look below you will find at least a dozen threads on what to do in NYC at Christmas.

for special activities look at the web sites of Time Out New York and New York Magazine - the latter searchabele by type and date.
nytraveler is offline  
Nov 12th, 2008, 07:30 AM
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What about the hop on, hop off bus tickets? Are they a good deal?

My sister said she bought one for $49 for 48 hours, but that included some other things, I think. It still seems awfully expensive to me.
Samsaf is offline  
Nov 12th, 2008, 08:40 AM
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IMHO not a good deal. They run only every 30 minutes or so (versus city buses or subway every 5 minutes for $2 a trip). And at that time of year you will waste a huge amount of time just sitting n traffic (walking is often faster than the bus then).
nytraveler is offline  
Nov 12th, 2008, 05:57 PM
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There is simply nothing better than walking around Manhattan during the Xmas holiday season -- be sure to catch the Xmas tree and skaters at Rock Ctr (50th and 5th), Top of the Rock for the view, the windows at Saks (across the street from Rock Ctr), Lord & Taylor (38th and 5th) and Macy's, Bryant Park's Xmas market and skaing rink. Walk over to Hell's Kitchen, and up the west side, spend some time in Central Park, window shop at Tiffany's, walk through Grand Central Station, visit a museum or two, walk across the Brooklyn Bridge (have I filled up 3 days for you yet ? )
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Nov 13th, 2008, 02:18 AM
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I think the Radio City Xmas spectacular is a great idea but I wouldn't book it for the day/night you arrive. What if the plane is delayed or you're too tired? Not worth the worry. Book it for the 6th.

Ellis Island is great but takes a long time to see with security, ferry lines etc. If you want to go, make sure to buy tickets in advance online but I would consider saving it for a longer visit (if you think that's in the cards).

If you want to do a bus tour, I'd do onboardtours.com rather than the hop on/off. You'll waste a lot of time waiting for buses for such a short trip.
mclaurie is offline  
Nov 13th, 2008, 07:55 AM
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Agree with sf and mc: To get the most out of it, put your walking shoes on and see the sights recommended. Also, Ellis Island is definitely worthwhile, but you will have to block out a fair amount of time for it, so it's kind of up to you.

If doing Radio City, get tix soon.
j999_9 is offline  
Nov 13th, 2008, 08:07 AM
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For Ellis Island you need to buy ferry tickets (far) in advance and allocate at least 4.5 or 5 hours - between waiting lines, ferry trips to and fro and the museum itelf.
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Nov 13th, 2008, 10:45 AM
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Thanks for all the tips!

We were able to get tickets to Radio City for Friday night at 9:00 p.m. That is the day we arrive, but we arrive at 9 in the morning, so I know we'll have plenty of time. We had a better choice of tickets for Friday than for Saturday, and we wanted really good seats.

We'll arrive in NYC at 9 a.m., go to hotel and drop off bags, wander around, walk up 5th Avenue, maybe Central Park, lunch and dinner somewhere around there. We might check out MOMA (I think it's free from 4 to 8 on Fridays) and then Radio City Music Hall at 9. Then maybe to the Top of the Rock. After that, I'm assuming it's still safe to walk back to our hotel (which is on 35th)?

On Saturday, we'd really like to do Ellis Island (we both like history and historical sites). Thanks for the tips on advance tickets and how long we should allocate for this. We might check out Statue of Liberty, too, depending on time. After that, sometime in afternoon, check out Times Square area; have dinner down there.

On Sunday, we're not sure; is visiting Chinatown fun? If not that, then do you have other ideas? Our flight leaves LaGuardia at 9 p.m., so we basically have the whole day on Sunday, too. I'll look up Hell's Kitchen and Bryant Park Christmas Market.

And I definitely want to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, but not sure which is the best day for this, and also, is it better at night or during the day?

Thanks so much for all your help!
Samsaf is offline  
Nov 13th, 2008, 11:45 AM
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Re the "safe to walk back" to 35th st. comment: The only threat to your safety is that you'll get trampled by the crowds in Times Square. Whenever I have to make that trek, I always head a few streets east or west to avoid TS. However, it's all part of the show of being in NY.
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Nov 13th, 2008, 01:35 PM
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And actually, our tickets to Radio City Music Hall are for 7 p.m. on Friday -- we looked at so many ticket options last night that I forgot which we had chosen.
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Nov 13th, 2008, 01:48 PM
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I went to Ellis Island 2 weeks ago and the trip took the full day. It is an amazing place and since I live in NJ it was my second time there; I just wouldn't plan on doing anything else that day. There are a zillion things to do in NYC, it all depends on what you are into.
debsnj is offline  
Nov 13th, 2008, 03:24 PM
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Here are the things that I think would interest us:

Wandering around, seeing Christmas decorations

Top of the Rock/Rockefeller Center area

MOMA (just for a an hour or two)

Ellis Island (4 or 5 hours)

Walking across Brooklyn Bridge

WTC-St. Paul's Chapel

Central Park

Circle Line Cruise

Rockettes show

Times Square (just walking through)

Seeing street musicians and performers

Maybe Grand Central Terminal
Maybe Chinatown or Greenwich Village
Maybe a Knicks game
Maybe just a little shopping

Also, I'm wanting to find out more about the International Center for Photography.

Obviously, we can't do all of this, but that's just to give you an idea of what interests us. We're not interested in fancy restaurants and, in fact, plan on eating as cheaply as possible. We're not interested in bars or nightclubs.

We enjoy walking and exploring. Thanks for all the ideas!
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Nov 14th, 2008, 08:26 PM
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I would strongly suggest you use Friday to explore the Christmas attractions - 5th Avenue, Rockefeller Center, Bryant Park (beautiful holiday shops), ice skating, etc.

Although it's always crowded in NYC in December, the crowds on Saturday and Sunday will be intense. You'll have a great time, just be prepared for crowds no matter what.

I always advise visiting friends to start at Macy's to see the windows (34th and 6th), then head over to Bryant Park (42nd between 6th and 5th Avenues), and enjoy the holiday shops and ice skating. After that wander up 5th Avenue and see the department store windows, Rockefeller Center and the tree, and St. Patrick's Cathedral. A few more blocks and you'll be in Central Park! You can take a carriage ride if you want a quintessential experience (and don't mind waiting in lines). Otherwise, just enjoy the park!
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Nov 15th, 2008, 12:33 PM
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I agree with tarheels that Fri. is probably a better day to see Xmas decorations than the weekend but the best time to see dept. store windows is actually after the stores close. I'd walk back to the hotel down Fifth ave.

Make sure to get to Radio City at least an hour in advance for security checks. I've also been hearing they've cancelled some performances (without contacting people who held tickets). I doubt that will happen in Dec., but make sure to check the website closer to your trip.

Since you enjoy history, you might be interested in the free walking tour of Grand Central and the area given on Fri's. at 12:30.
http://gonyc.about.com/od/toursbr/a/ferate_tour.htm

In the same vein, there are some other free walking tours, one of the lower east side on Sun. morning.
Here's a list including that one (Orchard st.) and others.
http://nymag.com/guides/cheap/walkingtours/
mclaurie is offline  
Nov 16th, 2008, 12:41 PM
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Since you do like history, I would try to squeeze in a tour at the Tenement Museum on the Lower East Side (others have recommended it to you in another thread I think). It's really brings to life what the immigrant experience was like. Then you can have lunch at Katz'. What could be better??
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Nov 17th, 2008, 10:40 AM
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Thanks again for all your information and tips! I'm printing out these threads, and we'll definitely look at all the advice. Several people have mentioned the Tenement Museum, so we're definitely going to check into that.

And we'll be sure to do a trip report when we return.
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Nov 17th, 2008, 02:54 PM
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You're going to love the Radio City Christmas Show. It is fabulous!
Leburta is offline  
Nov 17th, 2008, 03:06 PM
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If you do decide to do the Tenement Museum, make advance reservations - it does sell out.
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