As a couple, I think myself and Ian are generally well matched, until it comes to Christmas. Ian absolutely loves everything about this time of year. He loves the decorations, the constant stream of Christmas films, and the whole load of drinking and celebrating throughout December.
I on the other hand, am quite the opposite. I do enjoy Christmas day, and being able to eat excessive amounts of chocolate, however I get a bit lost in the run up to it all. At the time of year when we are basically told we should be having a good time, I often struggle to get into the festive spirit.
And this year we will be in Philly for the Holidays, away from our friends and family. So we are making a conscious effort to make it a more *magical, exciting, and happy Christmas for us both. And what better place to start, than New York?
*Even using the word magical makes me roll my eyes a little bit, but please bare with me.
Last year we visited New York for the first time in December, where we spent four days hitting all the main tourist spots. So this year, it was our chance to revisit our favourite parts, and enjoy a more chilled out, relaxing, New York experience. Wandering around the Christmas Markets, and making our way through the twinkling light displays.
After dropping off our bags in our room at The Lexington hotel, we headed straight to the very impressive Grand Central Terminal. And from here we made our way to The High Line; a public park, that runs along an old railway line, above the streets of NYC.
This was one of the main attractions we didn’t get to see last year, so it was at the top of our list of things to see. If you are looking to escape the city crowds for an hour, or you just need to walk off the concoction of hot chocolate, and cookies you found yourself eating at 10am, because ‘it’s Christmas’, this will do just fine. You can walk along, or take a seat, whilst listening to the life on the streets below, and enjoy the vibrant street art along the way.
As the sun began to set, we made our way across Brooklyn Bridge, where we got to have an up close look at the impressive bridge itself, as well as the famous NY sky line.
Afterwards we stopped by the Winter Village at Bryant Park. This holiday market was a firm favourite of ours last year, and it was even better this year. Everything that is magical (there we go again) about Christmas is captured here. Good food, fancy pants presents, a twinkling tree, a big ice skating rink, and beautiful decorations against an NYC backdrop.
We of course had to re-visit the famous Rockefeller Christmas Tree, and walk along 5th Avenue to see the famous light displays on every corner. The window displays at Lord and Taylor, and the luxurious Cartier bow, being my personal favourites.
The next morning we headed straight to Chelsea Market, where the Etsy NY Holiday Handmade Cavalcade was being held. As a massive fan of Etsy, for all things personalised and handmade, a market ran by Etsy sellers is my absolute dream.
A place where I can spend an hour wandering around, looking at handmade jewellery, pretty makeup bags, and fancy home ware = Ian’s nightmare.
The rest of the building was also filled with small boutique stores, a flea market, and an amazing food hall. We even found a shop that sold meat pies and SAUSAGE ROLLS, which seems to be a rarity in America. I loved everything about Chelsea Market. I think it may even have been my favourite part of New York this year.
Once Ian managed to pry me away, we made our way to Central Park – Ian’s favourite part of New York. Here we spent an hour walking aimlessly, taking photos (Ian), and shivering (me). New York is COLD. However, I am always amazed at this huge space of peace and quiet amongst the skyscrapers of New York.
Afterwards I had the most chocolate laden, thick, hot cocoa from the Columbus Circle Holiday market, before saying goodbye to the Winter Village at Bryant Park, and tucking into some cheese truffle fries. Because Christmas is all about the food.
It was then time to head back to Philly on the bus, where a man had a phone conversation, on loud speaker, for a good hour of the journey.
But I did not let that dampen my Christmas sparkle.