Christmas in New York City Guide: Best Holiday Decor, Hotels and Shows (pt 2)

Alright who's ready for day TWO of my ultimate Christmas in New York City guide?? So happy to see you guys are loving the first day (you can check it out here if you haven't already)! Today we're hopping into the best decor, the best shops, hotels, and shows! So.. away we go!!

The Ultimate Christmas in New York City Guide


Best Festive Shopping + Decor:

1. Cartier

A blogger paradise: massive bow on an elegant store. I'm sure you've seen this all over Instagram but the Cartier store on 5th Ave has the best outside decor in the city! It's so picturesque -- just watch for cars, shoot when you have the crosswalk, and stand diagonally across from the store to get the full shot!

Speaking of 5th Ave.... 

2. 5th Ave Shops

The stores along 5th Ave (in Midtown) really go all out -- I feel like one trying to outdo the next. Each year it keeps getting better and better so I'm obviously loving it but it's hard to keep up to date with all the storefronts! All of my photos above are from previous years but I was just walking around there today and Saks is AMAZING. Very crowded since it's across the street from the tree but wowowow it's worth a see!

3. Dyker Heights

So this isn't on the island BUT I couldn't not mention it... as it's close by in Brooklyn (you can take a cab or subway). There is this neighboorhood that is famous for having completely crazy holiday decor. It's INSANE. It's on my wish list for next year as all the photos I've seen from there look amazing. Holidays on crack.

4. Brookfield Place + Westfield World Trade Center

I've always been a big fan of Brookfield Place as it's a really nice mall, it has amazing shops and restaurants and it's right by the water (not to mention I'm a #WestSide girl). When we went the other day I had NO IDEA that it connected to the Oculus in the Westfield World Trade Center Mall. There is an underground walkway that also connects the path under the West Side Highway. WHO KNEW.

Both places are outrageously decorated with Christmas decor so it's easy to pop into both in one trip. But I have to say the Westfield mall has the cutest little holiday market in the center. There were lit up archways, small pop up shops and a ton of lights and decor! I wish we stayed longer to really enjoy what they had set up!

5. Chelsea Market

Omg this photo is so old. I used to work in Chelsea Market so I have a sweet spot for it. But an unbaised opinion is that it's amazing. Something you should always visit in the city as you are sure to try something new each trip! My favorites are the Los Tacos No 1 and Sarabeth's (both the best of their kind). They always do wild and crazy decor inside but just be ready because the market is never not busy. I took these photos around 9am but around lunch and until it closes, it's a madhouse!! 

Honorable mentions: Ralph Lauren store on Madison Ave, Macy's Herald Square, Rolfs at Rockefeller Center.


Best Hotel Decor:

1. Lotte New York Palace Hotel

(blog post herehere and here)

Guys, remember when I told you I LOVE the New York Palace?? It's because I LOVE IT. All of it. It's amazing and wonderfully decorated each year. The outside is just as good as the inside and it's truly a magical place. They never stop you from going in/taking photos (as long as you're doing it in a respectful manner of course) so stop on in and act like you're a guest there!!

2. The Plaza Hotel

(blog posts here and here)

Now the Plaza is another amazing hotel BUT they are pretty strict with tourists around the busier holiday season so the place doesn't get too crowded with people. Which is fair... but there are ways to get around it :) First off, having an old room key helps as you just flash it and they'll let you in. But I get that most people won't have that. If you don't tell them you have a reservation at the tea room and they should let you in! Also going in the side entrances has always worked for me too. 

They have like a million trees inside, all prettier than the next, but my favorite is the on in their lobby bar by the check-in desk (go in and go left!) the cascading staircase and the light is always the best for a photo opp, as the tree itself is not blocked off!

3. The Peninsula Hotel

(blog post here)

So they have definitely updated their decor since I was here last but it's another hotel that welcomes you in to see the decor! And their decor is gooooood. The outside facade always gets me but the inside is just as nice! It's a little on the darker side so if you're looking to snap some photos just be aware. My biggest tip for any hotel visit (when you're not a guest) is to just act like you're staying there and be confident. I haven't been stopped yet. 

4. The Waldorf Astoria Hotel

(blog post here)

These photos are also a little older so I hope they have spruced the place up some but The Waldorf on its own is such a classic hotel that it's worth it to see or stay! But when it comes to the holiday they're all about the minimal elegance and letting the historic hotel speak for itself. It's a little further down in midtown as compared to the others that are right in the heart of it all. But this is a close stop to Grand Central which is a great place to visit no matter the time of year. 

5. (honorable mention) The Beekman Hotel

Ashby and I stopped in on our adventure around the city yesterday to use the bathroom and this place is like old school New York. It's gorgeous and truly one of a kind! I couldn't leave it out!

Best Shows:

1. Radio City Christmas Spectacular (Rocketts) 

Everyone should experience Radio City once in their life. We've been there twice: once for the Christmas show and another time to see John Mulaney. The place is massive and you never realize that until you're in it! The show is great -- a true classic Christmas show accompanied by the Rockettes and a bunch of animals! They have shows all the time so it's easy to get tickets, just make sure to get them in advance!

2. The Nutcracker

So I've never seen the Nutcracker but I have been to the ballet at Lincoln Center. If you want to feel real fancy and see a tried and true classic, this is the spot for you!

3. Saks Fifth Ave Light Show

When you're looking at these photos imagine turning around and you will be facing the Rockefeller Christmas tree! The reason this area is so crowded all the time is that there is so much to do and is really the heartbeat of Christmas in the city. 

The light show is every 15 or 30 minutes (I can't find the exact time) but it's often so you can stop and see the tree and then watch the show before heading out. It's timed to music and it really well done. PLUS the Saks store and outside decor is one of the best!

4. A Broadway Show

(blog post here)

And while this isn't exactly Christmas, if you're in the city -- go see a Broadway show! There are so many options for great shows you might as well just pop in to see something while in town. You'll have better luck getting cheaper tickets in the afternoon and during the week. My pro tip for cheap tickets is to look last minute on StubHub, wait for extra seats or TodayTix (which have a pop up in Time Square).


And that's all she wrote!! I hope you enjoyed the guide. Let me know below in the comments what I missed, I'm always looking to add more spots to my guide!!

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