Visiting New York City might not be as easy of a task as you may think at first. Figuring out a perfect tour in the metropolis populated by some 8 million people is not exactly easy. The city, which spans over 1,200 square kilometers and is one of the world’s most important commerce centers, boasts a vibrant array of over 500 galleries, more than 200 museums, 150 theaters, and over 18,000 eateries.
If you visit during the Christmas season, the answer is simple: Manhattan. In Manhattan, the time leading up to the holidays is celebrated like nowhere else on the planet, where millions of lights captivate the city even before the holidays begin. The MINI Electric took to these streets to create a photo journal and possibly a short guide to the most essential places you have to check out if you’re planning on traveling to the Big Apple for the holidays.
Central Park, with its famed ice rink in the southern portion of the green area, is a perfect starting place for a slightly unusual city tour. Wollman Rink has served as the setting for several Hollywood films, including Love Story, and is equally popular among New Yorkers and tourists. Being on the ice among the skyscrapers with a view of Manhattan’s Christmas skyline and then exploring the snowy park on foot is an unforgettable experience.
A trip to New York in December inevitably entails a lot of Christmas shopping. The city is decked out in festive garb, and shop displays sparkle, tell stories, and make people’s eyes light up. The Macy’s department store on West 34th Street (151 West 34th Street) is especially beautiful. Visitors young and old will find not only wonderfully decorated shop windows, but also Santa Claus himself. Everyone can make their Christmas wishes in the famed Santa Land on Macy’s eighth floor.
You can then proceed to Columbus Circle through the famed 5th Avenue and West 59th Street. The Christmas market there is one of New York’s most evocative. The Time Warner Center’s 30-meter-high ceiling is adorned with twelve four-meter-high stars. The “Under the Stars” light show is a New York institution. The Christmas market at Union Square, on the other hand, is virtually European, with stalls selling food, drinks, and sweets, and many New York artists and craftsmen displaying their talent and originality.
The MINI Electric cruises along The Plaza at the intersection of 5th Avenue and East 59th Street on its way to other shopping hotspots. For more than a century, the hotel with the magnificent French-style façade has operated as a hostel for wealthy and renowned guests. It was one of the locations featured in the Home Alone II movie over 30 years ago.
If you have a wish list made by a child in your pocket on your New York tour, whether you’re a parent, friend or relative, you’ll surely be tempted to check out the FAO Schwarz toy shop. It was once the world’s largest toy store, and it was located on Fifth Avenue until 2015, reopening in Rockefeller Plaza in 2018. The “Big Piano” on the floor, made famous by Tom Hanks’ dance in the film “Big,” still has a lot of its original charm.
Radio City Music Hall, located at 1260 6th Avenue, is close to New York’s Toy Paradise. The world-famous Radio City Christmas Spectacular, one of New York’s most iconic Christmas productions, is performed here. It encompasses everything associated with the big event, from Santa Claus to the Nutcracker and the birth of Christ. The world’s most famous Christmas tree is located directly next door at Rockefeller Center. This year’s winner is a 25-meter-tall spruce from Maryland. A big star, fashioned by star designer Daniel Libeskind, perches atop it. The tree is illuminated by almost 50,000 colored lights.
A visit to New York’s newest observation deck, The Summit One Vanderbilt, is a suitable finish to the pre-Christmas sightseeing tour (45 E 42nd Street). It has been open to the public since October 2021, and is close to Bryant Park and Grand Central Station. The neighboring Empire State Building, the East River, and Central Park can all be seen from a height of 427 meters. The music-to-light show at the Empire State Building is really worth watching. Every night, the Empire State Building’s already amazing lights is synchronized to songs by stars – and you can expect some extra cheerful music at Christmas.