Last December I left Europe for the first time in my life to go spend Christmas in New York with my family. It was the first time I've ever spent Christmas anywhere else than snowy Finland, but I wouldn't change it for the world. After all, at this age family holidays are becoming a rare treat!
I have a few recommendations on what to do below, but mostly I just wandered around in awe forgetting to note down any names or addresses. But feel free to ask if you need any further tips!
First few days were a little bit gloomy and spent doing typical touristy things like going to see the Christmas Tree in Rockefeller Center and visiting Times Square. Our hotel was quite close to Times Square and in my opinion I got a bit too familiar with it! It was great to see it at first but after a while it just felt way too packed and touristy, so not ideal for someone who likes to avoid the masses.
We stayed at the ACE hotel which was definitely one of the nicest and quirkiest hotels I've ever been in! They also have a really cool restaurant and a bar, so even if you're not staying in the hotel I would recommend visiting just for the food and cocktails!
The restaurant above, Schillers, is where we had our Christmas dinner. Not a very traditional choice, I know, but that's exactly what we wanted from our away-from-home Christmas experience. The restaurant is also very known for their cocktails, so definitely don't leave them out of the menu if you ever visit! I just think New York and cocktails go together so well - although maybe I'm just influenced by a certain Carrie Bradshaw and all those cosmopolitans..
On Christmas day most places were closed so we opted for a must-do touristy thing: going to see some views at Top of The Rock at Rockefeller Center. After reading some recommendations we decided on doing this rather than going to the top of Empire State Building which is the more popular option. I would really recommend opting for Top of the Rock instead because it had much faster queues and it's also the cheaper option.
One of my favourite places was definitely Brooklyn. We walked around in an area called Dumbo, which is a walkway in between Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges with amazing views to Manhattan.
Instead of taking the tube back to Manhattan we decided to walk over the Brooklyn Bridge at sunset. Best decision ever!
On our last days we were very lucky with the weather and it definitely felt more like spring than Christmas time. Along with Brooklyn my other favourite area had to be East Village. Like Brooklyn, it was a lot quieter than Manhattan with much less skyscrapers and much more character!
Writing this post has really made me want to go back to New York - preferably in the summer this time. Probably need to get saving..!