For the first time, we decided to spent last Christmas away from home, because we wanted to experience a white Christmas, so after weighing some options we chose the big apple. We made no mistake, it was like being in a movie, the city has Christmas ornaments everywhere and there is a festive mood wherever you go. In spite of the artic cold weather, we had temperatures from 28° to 3°, still we had a great time! Knowing in advance we would have pretty low temperatures, we planned many indoor activities such as a visit to the NY Public Library, it is a beautiful place and has a children section where you can pick a book a share a moment of family reading.
The library is beside Bryant Park that, for Christmas season, has Winter Village with a huge Christmas tree, a market and an ice rink. The rink is big, but it’s a little bit crowded as the one on Rockefeller Center an Central Park as well, that’s why I loved to skate on a little and less known rink near the Chelsea Market. Located on 13th and Washington St. The Standard Ice RinkThe Standard Ice Rink it’s ideal for families, there’s fewer people and outside the rink you can sit on comfy red rocking chairs and have the yummiest hot chocolate with marshmallows.
If you visit NYC for Christmas you absolutely MUST visit Santa at Macy’s Santaland, we went on December 24th only 20 minutes before its closing time and without a reservation (rookie mistake!), but it was Christmas and the miracle happened! The joyfully elves considered that we had traveled from so far and let us in anyway. After making a long line, which moves really fast while you enter in Santaland, we were able to see him and it was magical! I can’t remember who was more excited, the kids or me.
Another must see is a Broadway play, we chose Aladdin which we enjoy so much and the genius is hilarious, and The Rockettes the Christmas classic at Radio City Music Hall. The synchronization of the tens of pairs of legs is perfect! The costumes, the music and the whole staging yells Merry Christmas! Another option suitable for kids is Frozen, it premiered after we went, but I was told it is spectacular and that it snows inside the theatre. I have to go back to see it!
Museums are an ideal option for cold weather, we chose the classics, the MET and the American Museum of Natural History. If they haven’t seen it yet, it’s a good idea to make the kids see A night at the Museum movie so when they visit they can recognize it. At the AMNH, the are some exhibits that require an extra ticket, we bought the Butterfly exhibit and the kids loved it! You enter a room full with vegetation and butterflies are flying all over the place, if you stay very still the butterflies rest on you hands, arms or even your head. Museum tip: when you visit a museum with small children try not to spend more than 1 or 2 hours there, the kids tend to be bored much quicker than adults and that could be a problem, this really works for my family.
To visit some iconic skyscrapers is a wonderful plan for both kids and adults, we decided on the One World Trade Center observatory. The elevator is so cool, there are LED screens that show you a timeline of the beginnings of NYC without buildings to this day, as you go up. Finally you get to the observatory where you can enjoy breath taking 360° views of the city, the Statue of Liberty and Brooklyn. If you get there by subway, you get to see the Oculus, the modern subway station designed by the famous Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava.
Last but not least, believe me when I tell you that you will be delighted by the shop windows of the 5th avenue. This past year Saks made it all about Snow White, I can’t tell you how lovely it was. Each one of the windows was a scene from the tale with animated figures and by night there was a huge led castle that changes its color, you could imagine yourself at Disneyland. And to make it more special, the music of Snow White was playing all day long.
¿Would you like to spend Christmas at NYC? If the answer is yes, here’s a final advice: the city is filled with people, so plan in advance everything! At least 1 or 2 month prior your arrival.
Other activities with kids:
Central Park Zoo, the house of Alex and Marty from Madagascar.
Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre at the Central Park
Brooklyn Childrens Museum
Dylan´s Candy Bar, a world of Candy for them!
M&M World, more sweets!
Jane’s Carrousel, a lovely carrousel by the river in Brooklyn.
Some restaurants where we dined at:
PJ Clarke’s: They claim to be the oldest hamburger joint of NYC, the burgers were awesome and the best French fries ever!
Nobu 57: We went alone with my husband, the kids were with a sitter, we ate sushi and a delicious fried rice.
Smith & Wollensky: classic restaurant of great steaks.
Tao Downtown: Went there for my birthday with my husband, very Sex and the City.
Tavern on the Green: A lovely Christmas brunch on Central Park.
The Dutch: chic restaurant by the Soho.
Balthazar: The food was great but despite having a reservation, we had to wait 30 minutes for the table . Too crowded!
Lavo Night Club: We went for lunch, really nice Italian restaurant.
Giovanni Rana: On Chelsea Market, I adore the fried ravioli.
Maloney & Porcelli: Delicious food and great service.