Huge, exaggerated, unique. All people who have been to New York for the first time usually describe it as a place that amazes you, almost a bit stunned by its size. Well, if for the rest of the year the impression is already on New York, I must tell you that Christmas Day New York becomes indescribable, as if its shining grandeur had been amplified to the nth degree. A city that sparkles, festive, teems with life and chaos every month, at this time of year it reflects the atmosphere of Christmas well and even for those who are not a great fan of this holiday it is difficult not to be fascinated.
1-Christmas markets in New York
The city’s Christmas markets offer a wide variety of items to buy, from Christmas tree souvenirs to crafts and, of course, various types of food.
Union Square Holiday Market: In a beautiful park in the heart of Manhattan you will find a small Christmas market with small multi-ethnic shops where you can buy a little of everything or where you can simply relax with a beautiful Christmas tree in the background and an ice rink where you can have fun.
Bryant Park: Larger than the previous Christmas market, Bryant Park offers an endless variety of products and shops. It is the perfect place to shop for New York Christmas decorations, also perfect as alternative souvenirs.
Grand Central Holidays Fair: At Grand Central Station you will find a small Christmas market, certainly a little less impressive than the other two, but certainly perfect for a stroll around the house.
Columbus Circle Holiday Market: Located near Central Park’s southwest entrance, this Christmas market offers a variety of crafts, food from around the world, clothing, etc.
2-Skating rinks in New York
There can be no Christmas in New York without skating rinks:
Central Park: Obviously the ice skating rink not to be missed is a central park with skyscrapers in the background and trees which, although bare, are still suggestive.
Rockefeller Center: Another must-see skating rink is Rockefeller Center, where you’ll skate in the shade of the majestic Christmas tree and atop the rock.
Bryant Park: Strolling through Bryant Park’s Christmas markets, you can relax and have fun on the beautiful skating rink.
Chelsea Docks Ice Rink: This is New York’s only ice rink that’s open year-round and indoors, making it perfect even in bad weather.
3-Holiday lights tour
Popular activities around this time include festive light tours. Sure, you can admire decorated and illuminated shop windows all over the city, but there are places where you can enjoy a unique show. In this sense, the district of Dyker Heights should be distinguished, a residential area that attracts a significant number of tourists every year who want to admire the wonderful lights that residents create in the gardens of their homes. You can visit Dyker Heights on your own or as part of an organized tour; we explain both ways in our guide to exploring the area.
4-What to expect at Christmas?
On Christmas day, families gather for dinner to eat and drink together and exchange gifts. The opening of gifts at Christmas is undoubtedly the most important event in American homes. If you plan on eating out for Christmas, I recommend that you book well in advance as all the restaurants are filling up. I can recommend Philip Marie, Marseille or Bryant Park Grill. If you are in New York with a larger group, the Carmine Italian restaurant is the place for families. Remember that most shops, even department stores, are closed on Christmas Day.
Christmas Eve in New York
Many restaurants are full on Christmas Day, New Yorkers usually go out for dinner, but on Christmas Eve they are not. It’s definitely worth trying to book a restaurant for Christmas, but if you can’t find a table go for Christmas Eve.
5-Christmas cruise in New York
The New York Christmas Cruise is an atmospheric cruise available in December. Gorgeous views of the Manhattan skyline and a wintry vibe make it one of the highlights of this vacation month. The whole boat is decorated with festive decorations, so enjoy hot chocolate (with some liquor if you prefer) and a cool cookie, sit back and enjoy the magical New York City atmosphere. On this cruise you will immerse yourself in the festive atmosphere with festive decorations and chocolate. The deck ship is the perfect place for a romantic evening. However, even if you want to go on a boat trip with the whole family, this cruise is very suitable. Inside you can enjoy the view while staying warm. You can admire the city skyline and take beautiful photos. A drink and a biscuit are included, other drinks are available for purchase.
6-The Gospel Mass in Harlem
Another stop not to be missed during New York’s Christmas season is to visit Harlem for this unique occasion.
Attending the Gospel Mass, in fact, will mean feeling at one with the city and with Christmas. The best way to participate in this event is to remember that it is not a ceremonial tourist attraction but a religious holiday. No photos or noises, but adequate clothing and good predisposition to experience an event like Sunday Mass. The ceremony will be captivating because the gospel songs will fill the Church and the voices will be the voices of the choir and the participants in the mass. The sharing and commitment with which this event is lived is perhaps the greatest strength of this beautiful party.
Gospel choirs deserve artistic admiration, some of them give concerts all over the world. For example, the Brooklyn Tabernacle is a Grammy Award winner and enjoys world fame.
The songs will be followed by a more or less engaging sermon: the ceremony lasts about two or three hours.
The most famous churches in Harlem to attend Christmas mass are:
Convent Avenue Baptist Church;
Abyssinian Baptist Church;
Canaan Baptist Church;
Greater Hood Memorial Ame Zion Church.