If you're like me, you don’t feel like it’s the holidays until you've traveled to the city – by the city I mean no other than New York City - to see the illumination of a winter wonderland.
My favorites include The Rockefeller Christmas Tree, The Windows of 5th Avenue, The Winter Wonderland at Bryant Park and ending at the always enchanted Plaza Hotel. If you only have one day, or like me, live here and have an annual tradition of sites to see, read on and use this checklist.
▶️ First stop for a cocktail is Rolf's German Restaurant. It opens at 12noon daily during the month of December, but you will need to go around 11/11:15 because there's a wait to get in. This place is like walking into Santa's Village with a full bar and restaurant. Decorations and decorations and then they added more decorations. It's over the top and more, but if you want to get into the holiday spirit, this will do it. Order a drink from their specials, they offer a wide variety of hot and cold drinks. Snap a selfie with your drink and decorations and move on!…. Check ✔️ it off the list.
▶️ Next The Winter Wonderland at Bryant Park, offering a large skating rink with free admission, 125 boutique style booths selling everything from apparel, art and jewelry and a large collection of gift items made by local artist, so if you’re looking for that one- of-a-kind gift, check this place out. Try a snack or eat lunch from one of the food vendors. I opted for a Nutella crepe. And don’t forget that selfie in front of the skating rink...Check ✔️ it off the 📝.
▶️ Walk uptown on Fifth Avenue and check out all the great windows and stores. Hopefully the sun is setting as you turn the corner into Rockefeller center, walk around, see the tree, eat a cupcake from the famous Magnolia, watch the people skate, take lots of photos and of course, that selfie in front of the tree… it's amazing there. As you're looking at the tree, turn around and you will see the ever magical Saks Fifth Avenue. The front facade of the building is transformed into a Winter Palace with hundreds and thousands of lights and huge icicles, all in 3 dimensional form. You will be truly mesmerized by the light show that plays every 15 minutes… watch it! Take a selfie …Check ✔️ it off.
▶️ Then, walk down the street to see the windows of Bergdorf Goodman. I still get butterflies when I see the Bergdorf windows. This place is extraordinary, even after visiting it for 20+ holidays. Google them, follow them, just see them. They are amazing. Take a photo!
▶️ Now, time for dinner… walk next door to The Plaza, I know it sounds outdated, but go downstairs. If you have not been there in a while - it's all new! There are many restaurants and small vendors, but the reason I go is the Todd English Food Hall. They offer a European specialty menu and what I like most is the different menus - a full pasta bar, seafood, etc. Everyone will be happy and full. One last stop, head upstairs to The Plaza Bar. I order a Manhattan to celebrate Manhattan at this magical time of year.
For more from food blogger and Rhody native/NYC transplant Lori Gizz:
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