Plan Your Perfect New York Holiday

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Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Harlem SpiritualsPhoto by Anthony Quintano

New York City’s unique holiday atmosphere, infinite lights and décor, and incomparable offer of exciting shows and seasonal activities make it the ideal holiday destination. Despite all the joy and wonder that Christmas in NYC exudes, your trip deserves proper planning… especially if you’ll be visiting the Big Apple for the first time! Here are some tips to help you plan your perfect holidays in New York:


1-Book & Buy in Advance

-Your Hotel: You’d be surprised at the number of travelers that make the mistake of arriving and trying to book a room onsite. This is not a good idea for NYC in general, and especially not during the holiday season. And don’t think you can resort to calling extended family or friends for a place to sleep, because if you did not warn them in advance, chances are they’ll also be booked up with guests. Just research hotel options, pick your hotel early, book said hotel, and exhale.
If you are not sure in which neighborhood to stay, what type of hotel to choose, don’t hesitate to call experts like Harlem Spirituals for your booking!

-Your Tickets
Don’t be intimidated by the influx of travelers into NYC this holiday season. Yes, they’ll want to visit all the best locales too and there is no doubt the top NYC attractions will be crowded with visitors and endless lines. But you’ll be stress-free when you purchase tickets in advance and skip the lines! Check out these seamless and time-saving options:
Please note: When booking on our website, you get a 10% discount if you buy 3 or more services. Use code pack10 upon checkout.

– Empire State Building
Top of the Rock Observation Deck
One World Observatory
Statue of Liberty and Ellis Islands Tour
NYC Museums
NYC Tours

And for great discounts to multiple NYC landmarks and attractions, get a City Pass!

-Your Restaurants
Never more so than during the holidays, do we love to share food and drinks with loved ones. And NYC restaurants eloquently provide all the ambience of the season with cuisines to match. Obviously, everyone wants to experience this holiday deliciousness! Please, make reservations early, especially for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s.
For ideas to find the best NYC foods, check our blog post: A Guide To Some Classic NYC Food Experiences.


The Rockettes NYC Harlem SpiritualsPhoto by Ralph Daily

-Your Shows: From an array of classic Broadway shows, to iconic holiday shows like Radio City’s Christmas Spectacular, and Paul Winter’s Annual Winter Solstice Celebration; NYC shows are all spectacular must-do’s during Christmastime in New York. Book your tickets early:

– Radio City Christmas Spectacular
Paul Winter’s Annual Winter Solstice
Contact us if you want help booking Broadway/Off-Broadway shows

-Your Spots
If you’re planning to attend the big NYC holiday events like the lighting of the Rockefeller Tree, or the Times Square Ball Drop, arrive early… Seriously, these events are immensely popular! For landing your spot, just subtract a few hours from the time you planned to arrive to see what time you should actually arrive.


2- Go off the Beaten Path

The Holiday season is one of the busiest ones in NYC. Wherever you go, and especially in the most popular neighborhoods, you can expect to find a lot of people. Which can be a bit overwhelming at times. So if you want to flee NYC’s hustle-and-bustle for a while, here are some great suggestions:


Visit Harlem
Harlem is soulful, historic, and currently in the midst of a 2nd Renaissance; making it the ultimate comeback tale. For an unforgettable visit to Harlem this holiday season, join us on our authentic and exciting Harlem Gospel & Jazz tours!

By the way, this year Christmas and New Year’s Eves are on a Sunday. Another amazing reason to join our Harlem Gospel Tours !

Harlem buildings Harlem Spirituals


Witness Holidays decorations at their best in Dykker Heights
Brooklyn Dyker Heights has become recognized as a Christmastime gem that overflows with holiday spirit amongst the homes lined between 80th and 86th Streets and 10th and 13th Avenues. This one-of-a-kind neighborhood, spells quintessential Christmas in New York.

Dykker Heights Brooklyn Harlem SpiritualsPhoto by Dov Harrington

3- Thoroughly Pack for Winter

As part of your perfect holidays in NYC, prepare and pack thoroughly! You won’t last a moment as the dude that rocks a windbreaker and tennis shoes. NYC’s winters are no joke!

Times Square New YorkPhoto by Anthony Quintano

Ideally your luggage will contain:
Heavy Coats– puffy ski-type coats, and a second coat/jacket to wear underneath the heaviest one.
Layers– warming gear like Under Armour, traditional thermals, and cotton layers like turtlenecks are all great.
Accessories– scarves, mittens, gloves, hats, socks, boots, treaded shoes… These are essential! If possible, cover every inch of your skin!


4- Navigate New York Like a Pro

Here are a few advice from our team to help you navigate New York City at Christmastime like a pro:

– Buy your MetroCard in advance, and be sure you have plenty of change for tickets.
– When you’re out and about snapping pictures around NYC, stay to one side of the sidewalk. Standing in the middle will likely result in you being yelled at by busy New Yorkers.
– When taking escalators, “riders” should stay to right and “walkers” should stay to the left.

Also, be on the lookout for slush puddles at crosswalks/intersections! These slush puddles seem harmless- often disguised as solid ice or snow. However, they’re anything but! These puddles are like dirty, freezing black holes, and your feet and legs will be soaked if you end up in them. If you use caution and keep an eye on where the locals are stepping, you’ll be just fine.

snow in times square harlem spiritualsPhoto by Anthony Quintano

For additional suggestions and advice about exploring NYC during the holiday season, make sure to check out our other blog post: Top 10 Activities for your Holidays in New York.

We hope this brief guide will help ensure a seamless trip and stay in NYC this holiday season! As you can see, holidays in New York can be a blissful experience with just a little foresight and planning. If you are spending the end of the year in the Big Apple, don’t hesitate to share your plans in the comments below and contact us if you need any assistance with your bookings. Happy Holidays!