New York City Holiday Magic!


New York City is a melting pot of cultures, cuisines, museums and activities to last a lifetime. We go there at least once or twice a year, since Sean’s sister and her three children live in Manhattan.  Given the fact that it’s Christmas and we came here to enjoy  the time with the family, we decided to pick ONE day to explore the city on our own. The purpose of this post is to show how much you CAN see and do in a short time in NYC.

Adventure started when we booked GoTo bus. We could not believe it was just $15 pp each way from Chinatown in Boston to Chinatown in NYC. I had no high expectations, just hoped for the bus to arrive and prayed it doesn’t break down on the way 🙂 . I have to say- it arrived and left on time, had great wifi and even free movies to choose from, so bring your iPads! It was a bit tight and bathroom had no toilet paper, but hey- for the amount we saved, we could buy quite a few rolls of that 🙂 .

Saturday was a gloomy, rainy day, but we got a break in between rain showers and went to our favorite -Obao -Asian fusion restaurant on 9th Avenue for lunch. IMG_5646The ambiance, the food, the drinks- it has never disappointed. Obao did not let us down this time either. The rest of the time was catching up with the family. Tomorrow, we explore!


I know, one day seems like such a short amount of time! Where do you even begin to cover this huge metropolis?! Well, IMO, everything starts with a good breakfast. While in New York, we typically try to have bagels for breakfast at LEAST once. I don’t know what it is about the bagels here, but this city knows how to make them well. There are so many options, so we try new places whenever possible. This time we decided to start our day in Brooklyn, so it made sense to take the A (or C) line subway line from Time Square to Dumbo District.

La Bagel Delight was not busy when we arrived, service was fast and food delicious! One downside- there is no indoor seating, which would not matter so much if it was not getting chilly out. Luckily, across the street there was an area under the archway, that had benches and tables, so we camped out there and ate our food before it got cold. Would certainly come back here in the warmer months!

Taking our time, we walked around and enjoyed the views of the New York City skyline from this side of the river.IMG_5708IMG_5710IMG_5724It’s quiet and picture perfect. Away from the craziness of touristy Times Square and with much better view (I think).

As we are on the other side of the Brooklyn Bridge- we need to cross it. No subway this time, let’s enjoy the walk!

A lot of picture opportunities here as well, as you can see 🙂 .

We had a good breakfast, crossed one of the biggest landmarks of the city (FYI: you can also see the Statue of Liberty from the Brooklyn side pretty well too!), what should we do next? How about getting a quick Uber to the Meatpacking District and walking the High Line? You have to like walking if you are going to do this itinerary by the way 🙂 .

The High Line is 1.45-mile-long city park built atop an abandoned elevated railway that brings you through the southwestern side of Manhattan 30 feet above street level.

It is the most beautiful in the fall when the leaves are changing, or in summer when you can sit on the benches without freezing your butt off, but you can totally enjoy it at any season. We surely did!

It gives you a different feel of this bustling city,  just moments away from the main tourist attractions. You will see some interesting art and futuristic building structures along this walk as well.

Ready to get back into the heart of Manhattan? Time to get into that Christmas cheer mode? Head to Bryant Park- it’s especially fun during the holidays. We did not go ice skating, but that is available if you so desire. As are the numerous vendors for some souvenirs, last minute gifts or snacks.

Yes, snacks is what I am interested in. Warm, soft, straight out of the oven brioche! Yummm!

Next on our agenda- Grand Central Terminal. It is a commuter and intercity railroad terminal at 42nd Street and Park Avenue in Midtown Manhattan. Why would you want to go to the train station, you say? Well, “because it’s beautiful!” would be the simplest answer. Also, because it’s one of the U.S National Historic Landmarks, with intricate designs inside and outside the building, gorgeous astronomical ceiling and it has one of the most railroad platforms in the world!

It’s a quick stop, definitely recommend checking it out!

It’s now time for lunch, so we decided to try a restaurant we haven’t been to before- Refinery Rooftop– chic place right in the Refinery Hotel.

On Christmas Eve it opened at 2pm, which was perfect timing for our itinerary. The place is cozy, has nice view and relaxing atmosphere.

Great espresso martini and a different twist on the grilled cheese as well!

With the new burst of energy, we are ready to be tourists again!  You cannot come to New York City for Christmas and miss the decorations. So we’ll walk over a few blocks to see the Rockefeller Center with its tree!

But before that, there is a New York Library (closed on Christmas Eve, but you should check it out if you are there any other day). IMG_5838

The city is decorated everywhere you look- Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord and Taylor, Macy’s- the windows are a work of art and worth stopping by even if you don’t plan on going inside to do more shopping!

As it’s Christmas Eve, we made it to 4pm Mass at St. Ignatius Loyola Church – beautiful place, but if you want to get a seat, you would need to get there way before Mass starts. We did not mind standing. IMG_5892

So there, you have your one day in NYC during holiday season! At this point, we went home and had dinner with the family. But if you are visiting, you still have plenty of time in the day to visit another magical place- Dyker Heights Christmas Lights in Brooklyn! We left this activity for the Monday evening, but it could certainly be done in the same one day of touring NYC.


You may have thought that you’ve seen well decorated houses for the holidays in your neighbourhood. You might have a house of your own that you’ve hung string lights on and proudly thought it looks festive. But you’ve NOT seen the house/yard decorations until you’ve seen Dyker Heights 🙂 .

It’s a neighborhood between the 11th and 13th Avenues, from 83rd to 86th streets in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn. A bit of a hike from Manhattan, but even in the freezing cold it was worth it. There are a few ways to get there- subway, then walk about 15 min, there is a bus too, but we simply took Uber pool. Nobody joined on our trip and we arrived in 40 min for about $30 each way. The lights get turned off a bit after 9pm, so I recommend getting there just after it gets dark, so you have enough time. The most festive houses are on the streets blocked off from traffic, so in order to see them you will need to walk a little bit. Bring hats, warm gloves and your camera ready!

I was much more impressed with this, than the Christmas Tree at the Rockefeller Center to be honest. If his does not get you in the festive mode, not sure if anything else in NYC will 🙂 !IMG_6057

Full of holiday cheer? Camera is overflowing with pictures of lights? Mine surely is 🙂 . Time to get back in the city and make one more stop before going to bed. Spyglass Rooftop Bar is great for a drink and a view of the Empire State building! Located next door to the Refinery Rooftop, right at the Archer Hotel, the bar is small, but the view is grand!IMG_6105

The terrace with incredible view is open for walking around (and taking photos) even when it’s friggid out. I can only imagine how nice it is to hangout here on a warm summer night! We’ll just have to come back 🙂 .



I hope you’ve enjoyed my little festive post. Hopefully it helps you while planning your next trip to The Big Apple regardless of the time of the year!

The city has endless options for exploring, so take it one day at the time, venture to a new neighbourhood, try a different restaurant. Most importantly, have fun and take a bite out of the Big Apple!

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