Visiting New York City In December
Last year Kyle and I decided to take a long weekend trip to New York City. I’ve always wanted to visit New York City in December. The city is full of life and excitement, but all the Christmas decorations definitely took it up a notch.
We, unfortunately, couldn’t afford to stay in the beautiful Plaza hotel, but we found a nice little hotel in Seaport for our weekend trip. We stayed at the Best Western Seaport Inn Downtown. I really liked this location. It’s located in lower Manhattan, right next to the Brooklyn Bridge. The Seaport area was so nice. We arrived at our hotel later in the evening, so our first night we just walked around Seaport and and stopped in at Jeremy’s Ale House (a dive bar across the street from the hotel) for a few drinks.
First Full Day In New York City
Our first day was busy but really enjoyable. We started off our day by visiting the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. The walk from our hotel to the ferry at Battery Park was only about a mile. And we made a quick stop in the Financial District to take some pictures of the Charging Bull statue.
Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
I’d definitely recommend allowing plenty of time for visiting The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. The ferries run on a schedule but it takes some time to get there. I really enjoyed being up close to The Statue of Liberty. The island is also a great spot to take some NYC skyline pictures.
Ellis Island was just OK. I’m not the kind of person who enjoys reading every bit of information at a museum. I like to just wander around and if I see something interesting then I’ll read about it. There was an interactive exhibit that was pretty fun. I think we just ate lunch at the cafeteria before heading on to our next stop of the day.
Ground Zero Memorial and The One World Observatory
The Ground Zero Memorial is obviously an important place to visit because 9/11 had such a huge impact. The Memorial is a beautiful and sobering place to visit.
My absolute FAVORITE thing we did while in NYC was visit the One World Observatory. We had tickets for later in the evening – around 4:30pm or so, and it was perfect. There is an extremely fast elevator that takes you to the top. It was crazy. Then you watch a short video about the city before you go to the observatory floor. We were able to watch the sunset from the observatory and it was really nice. Taking pictures up there was a little difficult because the inside lights caused a glare off of the windows. And I didn’t have a tripod (they’re not allowed), so I had to try to balance the camera off whatever I could find. I’d highly recommend making the time to go if you are in NYC. Worth every penny.
We finished up our night by wandering back to our hotel and enjoying all the Christmas decorations. There was even a group of carollers singing near our hotel. So festive.
Second Day in NYC
When you only have a short amount of time in a city, you pack your schedule full. At least that’s what we do. We started our day off by visiting MOMA (The Museum of Modern Art), spent the afternoon checking out all the Christmas decorations in Rockefeller Plaza, and rounding out the day by visiting Macy’s and Times Square.
I really enjoy art so I thought MOMA was pretty cool. Well, some of it was pretty cool. Other parts were like, is this actually art? Seeing Van Gogh’s Starry Night painting was a highlight for me. There are a ton of other great paintings as well, from artists such as Dali, Picasso, and Monet, to name a few. I thought MOMA was a really nice art museum. Definitely worth checking out.
We walked around the city for a little while and checked out The Plaza Hotel (although you can’t go in the hotel unless you’re a guest), Central Park, and window shopped down 5th Ave.
Rockefeller Center Christmas Decorations
Seeing the Rockefeller Christmas Tree has always been on my bucket list. It was awesome to see in person but it was SO CROWDED. It was basically like wading through a sea of people trying to get around. My advice would be to go really early or late to try to avoid the crowds. I think we went in the middle of a weekend afternoon. Poor planning on our part.
Times Square is one of those touristy places that most people visit when they go to NYC. We stopped by O’Lunney’s Pub for some beverages and took a bunch of pictures in Times Square. Then we ended our night by going to Dave and Buster’s to watch the MMA fight. (It’s lame, I know, but I had a good time.) We stayed out pretty late but I felt safe because it’s SO bright in Times Square and there were still so many people out late at night. NYC really is the city that never sleeps.
Third (and last) Day in NYC
Our last day in NYC was a little more laid back. We had an amazing brunch at Cowgirl SeaHorse (located right next to our hotel). After brunch we took a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge (also walking distance from our hotel). Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge was really worth all the hype. It was very enjoyable. We then visited the American Museum of Natural History, where we realized we don’t care that much about Natural History museums. We hung out in Central Park for a little while before calling it a day.
Visiting New York City in December was a really wonderful experience. I want to go back after looking through all my pictures. There are way too many awesome things to do to fit it all into a weekend trip. I feel like I barely touched the surface. Until next time, New York City.