New York City at Christmas: A Whirlwind Layover

What are two of my favourite things in the entire world? Christmas and New York City. When my family had to change our flights to Antigua, I lobbied hard for one that gave us an overnight layover in NYC, and much to my delight I won over my parents. They were unconvinced that we’d have time to go into the city, but I was set on going in no matter what. If you’ve ever been to New York City at Christmastime, you know that this was an excellent decision: the city is nothing short of a magical paradise. We were frigid since we didn’t want to bring our bulkiest winter clothes to the Caribbean, but it was absolutely worth it. (Side note – sorry for the terrible quality of photos in this post!)

We booked a Newark airport hotel for the night, and once our indescribably slow hotel shuttle finally showed up we dashed to our room to get ready for our evening in the city. Making it to the Amtrak station about 30 seconds before the hourly-ish train left, we ran madly through the station and hopped on the train. This event set the scene for the whole night: a completely whirlwind evening that saw us rushing and running to pack in as much as we possibly could. While mom and I had each been to New York twice, this was my Dad’s first experience and we wanted to show him our favourite things! First stop? The Macy’s Christmas windows!

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I had completely forgotten that these windows existed, but my mom reminded me and I happily photographed every single one while grinning like a little kid. Each window was supposed to represent a different planet, and some of them were pure magic! It must be hard to come up with a creative idea for the display each year, but they succeeded this year in my eyes. I tore myself away from the Christmas magic, and after confusedly consulting a map we began our trek up 5th Avenue to hit NYC’s Christmastime highlights. When I was in New York City in November, there was a bustling Christmas market and skating rink in Bryant Park, so I begged to go back only to find that it didn’t seem very open. Disappointment!

The New York Public Library is one of my favourite city icons as an avid book-lover, and Dad wanted to see it too. The building is just gorgeous, and the wreaths around the lions’ necks was an adorable Christmas touch! If we had more time we would have gone in, but there was no way we could fit that into our schedule.


One of the highlights of my night was the light show on Saks Fifth Avenue. This was another surprise: the street was packed and a countdown flashed on the side of the building, so we waited to see what was happening. I filmed part of the show (check out my Facebook page for the clip!), but suffice it to say I got a bit teary. I could spend hours watching those Youtube videos of people who sync up their house’s Christmas lights to music, and this was even better.


Our last stop was possibly the highlight of my entire life. I don’t know why I share these things on the internet, but immediately upon getting my first glimpse of the Rockefeller Tree I burst into tears – ask my parents, I’m pathetic. Christmas is such a special time and it’s always meant so much to me, and seeing this amazing tree and watching the crowds gaze up at it in awe was amazing. I could have stayed here for hours.


To end our night, literally ran through Times Square, giving Dad a brief glimpse before we caught the train back to our hotel. We got home around 1:30AM, exhausted and sore but so glad we took the change to head into the city. If you’re considering heading to New York City at Christmas, don’t pass up the opportunity – and try not to cry when you see the tree!


  1. Ani Loyal says

    I am not set up with a website yet, but I am looking to start a webpage, not only on travel, but events and attractions. My idea is to have a site that is more Canada based, as I have not traveled anywhere far as of yet. I have how ever been across Canada and lived in almost every province since I turned 18. I am currently 34.

    I am wondering what blog site is best, and how to start with getting it ready and I am looking for just basic advise from other bloggers. Please help me!

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