Christmas in New York starts with the culmination of the annual Thanksgiving Day Parade as Santa arrives at Herald Square officially marking the most joyful, magical and fun-filled time of year. The holiday season is here at last!

Native New Yorker Deirdre Gartner

Native New Yorker Deirdre Gartner

Christmastime in the city is like no other. It’s in the air, it’s in the hustle and bustle on the streets, the jewel-like sparkling of Christmas trees peeking out of apartment windows, the numerous outdoor holiday markets dotting the city landscape, as well as the myriad decorations in lobbies and shops. Familiar memory-filled smells and sounds pervade the senses; pine mixed with gingerbread and peppermint, hot chocolate, roasting chestnuts, church bells, Christmas tunes echoing in the chilly night air, and excited laughter of gleeful children.

 The delightfully visual scene and intoxicatingly fresh scent of newly cut fir trees propped up against sheds decked in twinkling lights, wreaths and homemade decorations. The sight of festive New Yorkers carrying their newly purchased trees through the streets, on top of yellow cabs, rigged up to the back of a Citi-bike and a few even held precariously in the back of a pedicab. New Yorkers are endlessly creative!

City sidewalks are busy sidewalks as locals and tourist alike navigate their way down Fifth Avenue strolling by decorative store windows, having their photos taken in front of the famous Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, waiting in line at FAO Schwarz toy store, or heading to the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall.

Restaurants, cafes and bars go all out on the holiday décor, from the elegant Tavern on the Green to the over-the-top explosion of holiday spirit at Rolf’s German Restaurant. With 100,000 lights, 15,000 ornaments and thousands of icicles hanging from the rafters of this cozy eatery-well, if this place doesn’t get you in the holiday spirit, then nothing will! When you are there make sure you try the spiced-eggnog or a glass of their famous mulled wine. After a day of window shopping, sightseeing and just breathing in the city in all its festive finery, you’ll be glad you did.

Here is your comprehensive list of things you MUST do in NYC this holiday season!

NYC at Christmas
NYC at Christmas
Christmas House NYC
Christmas House NYC
  1.  Visit the tree at the Rockefeller Center
  2.  See the Radio City Christmas Spectacular
  3.  Shop for gifts at Bryant Park Holiday Market
  4.  Meet friends at Lillie’s Victorian for holiday drinks
  5.  Visit Santa at Macy’s (no matter how old you are)
  6.  Go skating in Central Park
  7.  Book afternoon tea at the Plaza Hotel
  8.  Admire the Fifth Avenue holiday window displays
  9.  Take a carriage ride through Central Park
  10.  Have a festive dinner at Rolf’s
  11.  Order a holiday cake from Magnolia Bakery
  12.  Get tickets to New York City Ballet’s Nutcracker
  13.  Admire the city’s holiday lights from above at Top of the Rock
  14.  Pick up Christmas ornaments at John Derian
  15.  Take the family to see the Big Apple Circus at Lincoln Center
  16.  Shop the Flower Market for Christmas poinsettias
  17.  Bask in the glow of the tree at the Met Museum
  18.  Slurp frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity 3
  19.  Stop into Greenwich Letterpress for holiday cards
  20.  Attend a reading of A Christmas Carol at the Merchant House Museum
  21.  Head to Washington Square Park for caroling on Christmas Eve

New York during the holiday season is truly The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.

Author Bio:

Deirdre Gartner was born and raised in the city of New York. She brings a uniquely personal and distinct perspective to the city that she adores. As a former fashion executive traveling the globe for years, nothing was more affirming and inspiring than when she would return home to Manhattan. Informed by her adventures abroad, this native daughter’s ardor and curiosity for all things New York led her to zealously document both the obvious and hidden that the city has to offer. Gartner’s extensive collection of lovingly curated photographs, stories, and historical details eventually led to the creation of the “Girl in the Yellow Taxi NYC” website and Instagram. Her work has been featured in Conde Nast India, the New York Board of Tourism, StreetEasy, and others. She has been a guest blogger for various websites and has created custom itineraries for her enthusiastic international and domestic followers.

The Book

Deirdre's book  Dearest New York: A Love Letter to the Big Apple (Globe Pequot), a visual homage to The City That Never Sleeps is out now.

“There is just something so magical about New York City. I fell in love with its neighborhoods and cozy shops when I lived there 20 years ago, and it’s still my favorite city to visit often. If you love the city as much as I do, you’ll enjoy flipping through the inspiring imagery of Deirdre’s beautiful book. Every page captures the magic of the city and made me nostalgic for an afternoon walk along its iconic streets” - Joanna Gaines

Dearest New York is a visual homage to The City That Never Sleeps. Authored by native New Yorker Deirdre Gartner, this compendium of starkly rich and uniquely personal images is her love letter to the city. Compiled through her high-profile “Girl in the Yellow Taxi NYC” Instagram and blog, she dedicates this book to all those who dream of the New York City that was and will always be.

Packed with photos, illustrations, and guides to both the classic and off-the-beat architectural wonders, cafes, shops, and sundry hidden gems, Dearest New York reminds us of the vibrant spirit, elasticity, and resiliency that is New York City.

Follow Dierdre on Instagram 

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