Top NYC Holiday Shopping & Sugar Fixes
For more on NYC at any time of year see our At a Glance section.
I may be biased, but there’s nothing more magical than Christmastime in New York. The lights, the decorations, all those cozy spots to stop in for a hot chocolate; it’s pure yuletide bliss. So if you happen to find yourself in NYC, here are a few things you’ll definitely want to check out – besides the obvious (and wonderful) Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.
Get Crafty at Union Square’s Holiday Market
Head down to the Union Square area, and you’ll find lots of things to do. Every year Union Square plays host to an outdoor Holiday Market (top) that features unique, often-handmade jewelry, ornaments, art, clothes and toys (cool toys!).There are also foods to both give as gifts and at on site.
After getting chilly in the markets, warm up with hot chocolate at nearby City Bakery on 18th Street west of 5th ave, Their homemade marshmallows are enormous! If you don’t have sweet tooth go for the pretzel croissants. Or try Max Brenner on Broadway just south of the park.
Note: The Strand has tall stacks, tiny aisles and lots of people browsing in December. Don’t even think of bringing a stroller in.
Cruise Columbus Circle
The Southwest corner of Central Park has a smaller holiday market with similar vendors to Union Square’s. It’s worth a stop if you’ve been skating at nearby Wollman Rink, or seeing the Nutcracker at Lincoln Center.
When you get cold, head inside the Time Warner Building where a light and music show cues up every half hour from 5:00 on starting mid-December. Afterward, head upstairs to Bouchon Bakery & Cafe, probably the most affordable Thomas Keller restaurant in his collection. If it’s not a meal time try any of his impeccably yummy baked goods.
Hit Rockefeller Center
While it may sound fairly obvious, the Rockefeller Center tree really is a sight to behold. The best view is from 5th avenue, looking down the line of trumpeting angels. Lego fans must stop by the store above the rink for its NYC icons done in Lego bricks. The NBC Studios Shop across the rink is the place to shop for fans of the network’s latest hit shows.
The nearest sugar stop is Magnolia Bakery on 6th Avenue at 49th Street. It’s famous for its cupcakes, but I prefer the cookies and lemon bars. Then consider heading to Top of the Rock to see the city lights from above.
More Shopping? Sure!
Small independent stores are what make New York unique. Try like Kidding Around in Chelsea, Boomerang Toys in Battery Park City and the stylish Babesta (right) in Tribeca for toys and baby goods. For older kids head to the Compleat Strategist, a fun shop full of games on 33rd Street.
No matter what you do, you’re sure to catch some of that holiday spirit—it’s everywhere in NYC.
Kristy Jefferson is a freelance writer and NYC parent.
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