Yule dazzle in New York’s party: The best places for Christmas shopping in the Big Apple
Yule be dazzled in New York’s party: The ultimate guide to Christmas shopping in the Big Apple (and where to stay for free hot chocolate and “Santa Letter” stationery)
- Many travel agencies can organize mini-breaks for Christmas shopping
- Don’t miss the iconic storefronts of Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy’s and more
- Browse the city’s covered festive markets – the 2022 Party Fair is a great choice
Each week, our holiday hero, Neil Simpson, takes an in-depth look at a brilliant holiday topic, doing all the groundwork so you don’t have to. This week: Christmas shopping in New York.
The countdown to Christmas is well under way in New York. Rockefeller Center’s festive ice rink is open, and this weekend workers are busy draping 50,000 multicolored lights around its 82-foot-tall Christmas tree and attaching a 9-foot-wide star covered in three million Swarovski crystals on top.
“Seeing skaters slide past the tree is one of the most iconic Christmas sights in the world,” says Shelley Thomas of New York’s Big Bus tour company. “That’s just one of the reasons tourists flock to New York in December.”
All the Trimmings: The countdown to Christmas is well underway in New York. Above, the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree
Bloomingdale’s (above) on Lexington Avenue is a must-see as stallholders pulled out all seasonal stops to celebrate the store’s 150th anniversary
Other seasonal attractions include exaggerated Christmas displays in the windows of the city’s department stores. Luxury boutiques cluster around Fifth Avenue in midtown Manhattan with Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy’s, Bergdorf Goodman and Tiffany & Co providing some of the best storefronts. Bloomingdale’s on Lexington Avenue is another must-see as window dressers pulled out all seasonal stops to celebrate the store’s 150th anniversary.
Worried about missing out on a great display? Local guides can showcase the best of them on the NYC Christmas Markets and Lights Walking Tour that begins in a festive village on Columbus Circle. From £38 per person at getyourguide.co.uk.
And don’t worry about the weather: New York is full of covered festive markets if the temperatures drop. One of the top picks is the 2022 Holiday Lounge under five golden chandeliers in the Vanderbilt Beaux-Arts Lobby at Grand Central Station. Gifts include jewelry, clothing, cosmetics, artwork, and Christmas decorations.
Many travel companies can organize mini-stay packages for Christmas shopping or bargain hunting during the January sales – and it’s not too late to book.
Private transfers from JFK Airport to your hotel are a big selling point of the seasonal trips offered by Inspiring Travel.
If you have deep pockets, he can book big name hotels for you such as The Plaza, The Carlyle, The Pierre and The Peninsula. And while his three-night stay at the city’s hottest new hotel, AMAN New York, costs £5,479 pp including flights, the same stay at the state-of-the-art 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge begins at £1,869 less appetizing (inspirationtravel.co.uk).
Splash out: Inspiring Travel’s three-night stay at the city’s hottest new hotel, AMAN New York (above), costs £5,479 pp including flights
Book a flight and hotel package with British Airways Holidays and you can splurge by staying at the five-star Lotte New York Palace hotel on Madison Avenue. Guests can take private behind-the-scenes tours of the adjacent St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which looks like a real Christmas card, and use the hotel’s spa after a long day of shopping.
Three nights hotel with flights from £1,429 pp in December, or BA Holidays can find deals at various hotels for less than £700 pp (ba.com/newyork).
Booking flights and hotels independently can also be chargeable. Low-cost airline JetBlue offers flights from London to New York from £540 return. (jetblue.com), while Virgin Atlantic flights start at £416 return (virginatlantic.com).
Stay at the Pendry Manhattan West (pictured) – it has its own winter market and a free hot chocolate cart
If you want to have a blast, consider the newly opened Pendry Manhattan West, where you can have Christmas decorations in your room and special stationery for sending a letter to Santa.
In early December, the hotel also offers a winter market and a free hot chocolate cart. Rooms from £750 per night (pendry.com).
Get more details on New York’s seasonal attractions at nycgo.com.