Christmas is a spectacular time to visit New York City! There’s something spectacular about seeing famous media highlights for yourself in person at last, like finally putting a face to the name on a screen. As the most populous city in America, there is too much of NYC to cover in one weekend. We know that many of us don’t get enough time off work, and we must squeeze as many memorable moments into one trip as possible. While the one-weekend visit will have you longing for more, here’s your weekend itinerary for your quick getaway to New York City. Save some headaches and many hours of planning by stealing our itinerary. Here we go!
FRIDAY: FLY TO NEW YORK CITY
- Take an early evening flight from your home airport
- Depending on your work schedule and location, you might be able to catch a flight after the work day. Otherwise, you might want to schedule time off to fly over.
- Three top locations to fly into include John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), LaGuardia Airport (LGD), and Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR).
- Arrive, commute into NYC, and check in to your stay
- Recommendation: Just take a Lyft or Uber from the airport. It will be pricey, but it’s much easier than all other transit options. For such a short trip, we recommend staying in a hotel in either Midtown Manhattan at the Archer Hotel or the Lower East Side at PUBLIC Hotel. For those with an extra special budget set aside to make Christmas dreams come true, a stay at The Plaza is what dreams are made of.
- Check Times Square off the bucket list
- Head back to the hotel and rest for the next day
SATURDAY: CHRISTMAS ICONS & SKYSCRAPERS
- Start with bagels
- Recommendation: Best Bagel and Coffee. Some friends that lived in NYC for years shared this place with us, and it’s truly all you could want from an NYC bagel.
- Scope out Iconic Christmas Landmarks
- Start the day with a walk down 5th Avenue and then check out the iconic Macy’s department store on W 34th Street and Harold Square. You can live out your Miracle on 34th Street dreams, shop through the store with wonderment, and maybe even get a glimpse at Santa himself. Pretend you’re Kevin McAllister with a visit to Grand Central Station followed by the Rockefeller Center. Make sure to get your selfie with the giant live tree or even skate a lap or two on the ice rink. Just remember – there will be crowds! It’s worth it, but brace yourself!
- Buy a toy as a Christmas gift or take the opportunity to feel like a kid again at the iconic F.A.O Schwartz.
- No NYC Christmas trip is complete without a visit to the iconic Rockefeller Center for a look at their giant and grand live Christmas tree!
- Grab a New York Slice
- Visit Central Park’s Christmas Market at Colombus Circle
- You definitely don’t need an excuse to visit Central Park, but this is a great way to start your journey through the vast green space. Start at Colombus Circle and shop vendors offering ornaments, creative gifts, snacks, and sippable hot drinks.
- Go up to the top of Summit One Vanderbilt
- Recommendation: buy tickets for 90 minutes before sunset for the best views of the city and plenty of time to get through security lines and the elevator to see it.
- This is the absolute best view of New York City. Forget the Empire State Building. This place gives you views to look down on the Empire State Building! The Summitt is a must-visit, combined with out-of-this-world art installations, a high-floor bar for snacks and drinks, and an elevator to take you higher than ever. We highly recommend skipping the long ticket line at the box office and buying your tickets in advance before going through the Tiqets app.
- Casual dinner at a local restaurant
- Commute back to your overnight stay and rest up for tomorrow’s travel day
SUNDAY: ROCKETTES & MARKETS // FLY HOME
- Early brunch
- Head to midtown for a filling brunch before a long day ahead. Oscar Wilde is the perfect option for brunching among outrageous Christmas decorations. (Brunch is only offered here on Saturday and Sunday.)
- Catch the morning show of the Rockette’s Christmas Spectacular
- Make sure to book your tickets for the 11:00 a.m. performance in advance! Check here for tickets.
- Shop the Sunday Markets
- While on the West Side, head to the Grand Bazaar NYC for the city’s most curated weekly markets. Find anything from fur coats to film rolls to vintage jewelry. They’re open every Sunday and are one of our favorite markets worldwide.
- Commute to one of the NYC airports
- Check in at the airport and kiss the Big Apple goodbye (for now!)