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Pros and Cons of Spending Christmas on Manhattan

The ups and downs of the Christmas season in New York City

Beautiful outdoor decorations you'll see if you're spending Christmas on Manhattan.
While Christmas is much more than beautiful lighting and decor, these are the things we
notice first, which create the celebratory atmosphere, which you will encounter in NYC.

The Christmas spirit is slowly approaching and there’s only a week left before the Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center is lit. With epic decorations and numerous holiday attractions, Christmas in NYC is a celebratory experience. If you don’t believe us, just read Clement Moore Clarke’s famous poem 'A Visit from Saint Nicholas'. However, the best way to feel the holiday spirit is to experience it firsthand. However, if you’re planning on spending Christmas on Manhattan this year, know that not everything is a picture-perfect Christmas card. Read the article and prepare for both the ups and downs of the Christmas season in NYC.

PRO: Ice skating

As soon as the temperature drops, one of the city’s main attractions becomes ice-skating. With numerous indoor and outdoor rinks scattered all over Manhattan, this sport is easily one of the best tourist attractions in NYC during the winter holidays. The notorious outdoor rink, located right in the heart of the borough, is the one at the foot of the Top of the Rock. Another great rink is close to the Bryant Park Christmas market. It’s part of Manhattan’s Winter Village, the largest Christmas market in the city.

People ice skating while spending Christmas on Manhattan

Ice skating in Bryant Park during the day or at night for a better holiday atmosphere,
is surely one of the best ways of spending Christmas in Manhattan.

But if you want a true movie-like experience, with beautiful natural surroundings and music, then, by all means, head to Central Park. Wollman Rank is huge, so you won’t have to worry about it being overcrowded. Plus, they usually have a few guides that can be of great help if it’s your or your children’s first time on skates. Add to that group or private skating lessons, ice dancing and a hockey program, this rink offers an all-around experience. Oh, and night-time skating is definitely one of the ways of spending Christmas on Manhattan too!

CON: Crowds

No doubt that NYC is bustling with so many famous places where you can spend Christmas. However, with great fame come great crowds. And while some may argue that the streets of NYC are always chaotic, they forget that the craziness simply gets out of hand during the holiday season. Whether you’re exploring NYC as an ex-pat or just as a tourist, and if this is your first winter here, be prepared for huge crowds.

Night crowds at Times Square

People from all around the world flock to NYC during the holidays.
Prepare yourself for the crowds and plan ahead.

If you were planning on doing some shopping, the frantic last-minute rush in the stores around Times Square might turn you off on the idea. However, there are some steps you can take to overcome this issue and not get swarmed. Don't go blind into the fray, plan ahead and book in advance. That means researching exactly at what time it is less crowded in certain locations. Also, try to avoid taxis or car rides – the subway may be the best option. Yes, it will be packed, but at least there won’t be a traffic jam.

PRO: Rockefeller Center

Is it even possible to talk about spending Christmas on Manhattan without mentioning Rockefeller Center? Year after year, it has been a true Capital of NYC Christmas. Ever since 1931, it hosts the biggest Christmas tree in the city, the one you’ve seen in movies such as Home Alone or Elf. If something is worth fighting the crowds for, then this is it. It’s truly a sight to remember, especially if you visit it at night when 50,000 LED lights start flickering. We’ve already mentioned the ice skating rink, but this is just the beginning of what Rockefeller offers.

Rockefeller Plaza in New York at Christmas

Rockefeller Center Christmas tree has been a long tradition in New York.
If you are spending Christmas on Manhattan, d
on't miss it for the world!

Dining and shopping are among the main attraction as well, but because of the overwhelming crowds, it’s best to leave it after the holidays. Top of the Rock is an absolute must if this is your first time visiting the city. It’s an especially charming view during Christmas, and you’ll even be able to see a red-and-green Empire State Building. It’s quite possible you’ll want to move to the Big Apple once you see it from up above. If that’s the case, know that Upper Manhattan offers reliable assistance for your move – you’ll thank us later! You certainly wouldn’t be the first person that’s fallen in love with the city from the 70th floor of this building.

CON: No snow

The only thing that might be a kind of a deal-breaker during the Christmas season is the fact that it probably won’t be snowing. At least, it is definitely not typical. If we look at history, it has snowed about 22% of the time on Christmas Day in NYC. That information alone doesn’t say much, but it’s best to know the odds. And while White Christmas may pass us by, if you’re staying a bit longer or even spend a full winter, you’ll definitely see some snowflakes.

You can count on ice and sleet for sure, but the city always remains walkable for the most part. Are you a tourist who is used to having a White Christmas? If you're worried that this might kill your holiday spirit, that won’t be the case. Snow or no snow, spending Christmas on Manhattan is an exquisite treat. With just a month before Christmas, now it’s a perfect time to find and book the cheapest flights and plan your holiday.

Mesmerizing Christmas tree colors in New York

Spending your Christmas on Manhattan could be one to remember!

PRO: Catch a Christmas show

There can be no Christmas without the Christmas shows in NYC. From musicals, ballet performances to holiday-themed plays and movies, it’s all available right here in Manhattan. Seeing the Rockettes perform has long become synonymous with New York, and their annual Radio City Christmas Spectacular is a must-see. Disney’s Frozen musical or a Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in Concert is perfect if you’re visiting with your kids. Maybe you want to see an opera, so grab your tickets for The Phantom of the Opera. It is the longest-running show in the entire Broadway history and it'll definitely brighten the holiday season.

All in all, spending Christmas on Manhattan is like being in a Winter Wonderland. Enjoy the festive mood and happy holidays!

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