Cue the holiday jingles: It’s Christmas time in NYC where the best New York attractions transform into festive winter extravaganzas! There are open-air holiday markets to hit, family-friendly shows such as the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, and other iconic traditions like the all-out-madness holiday displays on Fifth Avenue and in Dyker Heights. Once you’ve crossed those off the list, you can make room for new traditions too! Our guide will help you plan and navigate the merriest time of year in New York leading up to New Year’s Eve. Looking for the greatest things to do in the city throughout all seasons? Check out the very best things to do in NYC this winter.
Recent Christmas in New York coverage
The best NYC Christmas food and drink deals this year
You’ve gawked over the stunning holiday lights, watched all of the classic Christmas movies, and bought the coolest gifts for everybody on your list. Now, all you have to do is find a great restaurant for Christmas Eve and Christmas dinner. NYC restaurants have your back, with takeout and delivery holiday packages as well as festive outdoor and indoor dining on December 24th and 25th. RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in NYC
Where to see stunning holiday lights in NYC
New York City transforms into a magical wonderland with millions of holiday lights right after Thanksgiving, giving us over-the-top inflatable Santas and reindeer found at the Dyker Heights Christmas Lights in Brooklyn to more iconic New York displays, such as in Central Park, Rockefeller Center and at Saks Fifth Avenue. More than ever, we're in need of some magic, so take it all in and get ready to “ooh” and “ahh” at these landmarks, holiday markets and neighborhoods that create the most picturesque holiday light displays during the holiday season. RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Christmas in New York
Here’s what you need to know about quarantining for the holidays in NYC
As the holiday season is upon us, some folks are preparing to travel, even with Governor Cuomo advising people to stay home entirely this year. But if you are packing your bags anyway, here is everything you need to know about how and what quarantining means this time around when entering New York. What are the current quarantine rules in New York for travelers as of December 2020? If you're coming into New York from a state that has significant community spread (or any CDC Level 2 or Level 3 Health Notice country) you must quarantine for 14 days. Are there any states exempt? Yes, the quarantine guidance does not apply to travelers from border states: Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont. Can you "test out" of the 14 day quarantine? Yes, you can potentially test out early. Ahead of the holidays, Gov. Cuomo revised New York’s quarantine rules, giving travelers an option to test out of the two-week quarantine period, by showing two negative tests. First you must obtain a COVID test within three days of your arrival to New York. Once in New York, travelers must quarantine for three days. On your day four of quarantine, you can get another COVID test. If both tests comes back negative, the traveler is allowed to stop quarantining early with proof receipt of their second negative diagnostic test. What are travelers forms? What if I don’t fill them out? To help ensure travelers are following the state's travel restrictions, a State Department of Health traveler form is currently given out to passengers by airlines prior to, and upon boarding flights to New York. You must complete the form upon entering New York. Those who leave the airport without completing the form “will be subject to a $10,000 fine and may be brought to a hearing and ordered to complete mandatory quarantine”. Will officials call your home to see if you’re quarantining? Yes, after filling out a travelers form where you must provide contact information, officials have been checking in on travelers through calls and text messages—and if they can’t get through to you on the phone, teams may even come knocking on your door. What are penalties for not following quarantine requirements? Technically, anyone who violates a quarantine order may be subject to a civil penalty of up to $10,000 or imprisonment up to 15 days (per PHL 229). What if I’m out-of-state for less than 24 hours? Heading back to New York after less than a day? These travelers do not need a test prior to arriving into New York, and do not need to quarantine upon arrival in New York, states the New York COVID-19 Travel Advisory guidelines. But, you must fill out traveler forms upon entry into New York State, and take a COVID diagnostic test four days after you arrival back into New York. Are quarantine rules different if I’m driving into New York instead of flying? Nope. New York is still implementing quarantine checkpoints at “key entry points” along main bridges and tunnels to the city to randomly screen travelers coming in. New York State also writes on their website that out of state travelers coming to New York (from non- by other means of transport than flying, including cars and trains, must fill out the travelers form online. Most popular on Time Out - The Dyker Heights Christmas Lights Guide 2020- The best Christmas movies for kids- The coolest drive-thru Christmas lights near NYC- A major snow storm is predicted to hit NYC this week- 60 notable NYC restaurants and bars that have now permanently closed Want to know what’s cool in the city before your friends do? Sign up to our newsletter for the latest and greatest from NYC and beyond.
NYC’s most festive outdoor dining set-ups for the holidays
Winter in New York may be frosty and frigid, but there's nothing warmer (well, warmer feeling anyway) than Christmas in New York. Luckily, the city's many temporary outdoor dining spaces are getting in on the jolly action—stringing up holiday lights, tricking out the tree and dialing up the comfort to maximum coziness. From street-side operations to rocking rooftops and every private space bubble in between, celebrate the season at the city's most festive outdoor dining set-ups. Miracle on Ninth Street View this post on Instagram A post shared by Miracle on 9th Street (@miracleon9thstreet) The O.G. of Christmas-themed pop-up bars is back for the season and it's as outrageously decorated as ever. The outdoor patio is fitted with Santa-hat seat backs, hung holiday stockings, colorful string lights, themed drinks (a Christmapolitan, anyone?), plenty of tinsel and—most important of all—hand sanitizer at each table. A jolly time, indeed. Pink Snow Lodge at Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge at Moxy Times Square Photograph: Courtesy Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge Come wintertime, après ski concepts start materializing all over New York, but none have been quite as pretty in pink as this Barbied-out holiday pop-up. Running through March 2021, the Moxy's East and West terraces have been festooned to look like Nicki Minaj moved to Aspen: floor-to-ceiling pink log walls, faux pink taxidermy, a pink electric fireplace, a ski lift "carousel." If that doesn't warm you up, 15 outdoor heaters and, yes, even pink hot cocoa should do the trick. Loreley View this post on Instagram A post shared by Loreley Outdoor Beer Garden (@loreleynyc) Along with some seriously sip-able suds, this downtown beer garden is raising a metaphorical pint to the holidays by turning their outdoor seating into a Heated Winter Wonderland, complete with a selfie-ready ornament wall, strung lights, hung holiday decorations and seasonal cocktails. Cheers to that! Haven Rooftop View this post on Instagram A post shared by HAVEN Rooftop (@havenrooftop) This rooftop retreat in Midtown West goes all out for every season, and winter seems to be no exception: Newly installed heat lamps, fleece blankets, buffalo plaid pillows and archways decorated with frosted branches and twinkling fairy lights make for one picturesque dining experience. Arlo Soho View this post on Instagram A post shared by Arlo Hotels (@arlohotels) Cozy up to warming sustenance like truffle pizza and mulled wine at Après Arlo, the seasonal "getaway" nestled in the courtyard of the Arlo Soho hotel. The open-air courtyard is set with private cedar cabins that can be reserved for 4-10 guests, and each is decked out with ribbons, wreaths, garland and enough trees to make you think you've wandered all the way upstate, not downtown. Industry Kitchen View this post on Instagram A post shared by Industry Kitchen (@industrykitchen) As if having your own private, heated greenhouse wasn't cool enough, each of the outdoor dining structures at this waterfront spot are spruced-up with red-and-green holiday lights, frosted wreaths, gold-trimmed ribbons and a cheery soundtrack of holiday tunes. Most popular on Time Out - The Dyker Heights Christmas Lights 2020 guide- The best Christmas movies for kids- The 50 best things to do in NYC- The coolest drive-thru Christmas lights in NYC- The 100 best movies of all time Want to know what’s cool in the city before your friends do? Sign up to our newsletter for the latest and greatest from NYC and beyond.
Buy boozy gift packages for your friends from these NYC restaurants
Still looking for thoughtful holiday gifts to get your friends and family? You can go the local route with restaurant gift cards or cool wares from NYC makers. Or you can get them something that everybody's been wanting more of as 2020 finally winds down: Alcohol. Luckily for you, some of NYC's best restaurants and bars are spreading holiday cheers and offering liquored-up gift bundles for the season. From Spanish wine and cheese kits to booze-and-baked-goods packages, these festive alcohol delivery services are great gift-basket upgrades for every (21-plus!) person on your list. The Four Horsemen Got a serious wine snob in your circle? This Brooklyn wine bar recently introduced a monthly wine subscription, spotlighting natural vino hand-selected by wine director Justin Chearno. Choose between one ($40), three ($115) or five bottles a month ($180), and your giftee will also receive educational content, tasting notes and a gourmet goodie from the Four Horsemen team. (Is your loved one more into cocktails than Cabernet? 4H is also hosting a Nightmoves Cocktail Club, with monthly bottled cocktail selections from bar director Orlando Franklin McCray.) Death & Co. Available for prepaid pick-up at their NYC, Denver, and Los Angeles outposts, the famed bar is offering Holiday Cocktail & Dessert Kits stocked with batched seasonal drinks and freshly-baked goods. Each $90 package can serve 6-8 people—or one person who wants to keep the holiday rocking till New Year's—and comes in two varieties: Vintage Egg Nog paired with Grandpa’s Drunken Cookies (Couverture chocolate, banana and rum), or a Hibernal Toddy paired with a local pie (cinnamon apple for NYC, a butternut custard tart for Denver, and a lemon tart for Los Angeles.) Soogil The holidays just aren't complete without bubbly. This Korean-French favorite in the East Village obviously agrees, because it's offering a luxurious Caviar & Champagne box for the gifting season. Available for pick-up or local delivery, the $235 set includes a half bottle of Le Mesnil Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru and two ounces of Regalis Golden Osetra caviar with all of the classic fixings (buckwheat blini, crème fraiche). Photograph: SoogilCaviar & Champagne box at Soogil Threes Brewing Perfect for the lager lover on your list, this $75 suds-packed set from the Gowanus-based brewery includes four premium canned lagers (including the famed Vliet), as well as a beer koozie, a branded stem glass, and $30 online gift card with which to buy even more beer. Talk about a gift that keeps on giving! Huertas Give your giftee a little taste of the Iberian peninsula with A Spanish Holiday bundle from this Basque spot. The $100 gift basket includes everything one could possibly need for un aperitivo: One bottle of house vermouth, one bottle of Basque cider, one bottle of Raventós Cava, two conservas (tinned seafood), three cheese selections, and some house hot sauce and herb salt to spice things up even further. Order by 12/15 for nationwide delivery by Christmas Day, or 12/17 for local NYC delivery. J.Bespoke Is there a budding bartender at all of your holiday parties? Gift them a private virtual cocktail-making class from this NoMad speakeasy, hosted by head bartender Hernan Trujillo. Choose your pal's favorite cocktail from the bar's menu—old-fashioned, Negroni, cold brew martini, you name it—and the bar will ship them a drink kit complete with all of the ingredients, tools, and recipes needed for the class. Pricing is based on timing and preferred cocktails, so inquire at email@example.com if interested.
All the twinkling holiday lights you can catch at NYC parks this year
More than 80 parks in New York City will be lit up with menorahs and Christmas trees this holiday season, giving New Yorkers no excuse to miss out. On Friday, the New York City Parks Department announced dozens of parks and green spaces with lights across the boroughs, highlighting five of them: RECOMMENDED: This interactive map shows where to find every holiday light display in NYC Mosholu Parkway Tree Lighting Display, The Bronx Central Park Seasonal Holiday Display, Manhattan Historic Richmond Town Tree Lighting, Staten Island MacDonald Park Menorah Lighting Display, Queens Litchfield Villa – Prospect Park, Brooklyn You can find your nearest lighting on the NYC Parks website. "It is a time-honored tradition here at parks to light our green spaces and buildings up for the holidays—a tradition we derive great pride from and one that we are committed to continuing even in these most unprecedented times," NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver said in a statement. "We know that throughout this challenging year, people have looked to our parks for refuge and recreation, and we want to continue inspiring joy by spreading holiday cheer. We hope that our lights can help illuminate the hearts of all New Yorkers as we celebrate the holidays and what they mean to us all." You can see these and more on our Google map of NYC's holiday lights, Christmas trees and shop windows, too: Most popular on Time Out - The Northern Lights could be visible from New York and New England this week- The best Christmas movies for kids- The Dyker Heights Christmas Lights 2020 guide- 15 things every New Yorker does to prepare for winter- New Yorkers respond to the season’s first snow Want to know what’s cool in the city before your friends do? Sign up to our newsletter for the latest and greatest from NYC and beyond.
The most hilarious reactions to New York’s Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree
New Yorkers can be a tough crowd when it comes to their traditions. The annual Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, displayed every year between West 49th and 50th streets and Fifth and Sixth Avenues, is one of New York’s most famous rituals. Rockefeller Center posted a photo this week of the famed Christmas tree arriving in New York City. Let the holiday season begin! The 2020 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree has officially arrived at the Plaza. 🎄 pic.twitter.com/RapXlMt1Fb — Rockefeller Center (@rockcenternyc) November 14, 2020 This year, with many holiday traditions called off due the pandemic, there was an even greater anticipation for the tree’s big arrival in the city. Unfortunately, when the raggedy-looking spruce arrived on Saturday, New Yorkers were ruthless. Deeply perplexed by the less than lush Christmas tree, many sounded off on Twitter regarding its looks and it being the perfect metaphor for 2020. In true 2020 form, the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree looks like it tried to cut its own hair pic.twitter.com/HEV0OImQ7u — Chris Ryan 🏳️🌈 (@HiChrisRyan) November 15, 2020 the christmas tree for rockefeller center looks like they forgot there was an assignment due and this was the best they could find pic.twitter.com/Pset0aW9EW — blake 🍄🪐 (@blakewillsonn) November 18, 2020 Ladies and Gentlemen - the Christmas tree has arrived at Rockefeller Center in NYC. Left pic is how it looked when it was cut down. Right pic is how it arrived. Welcome to 2020. pic.twitter.com/bKSq87BVP1 — 💙 Depoetic (@Depoetic) November 17, 2020 the rockefeller center christmas tree is the christmas tree we deserve, not the one we need pic.twitter.com/JJuYCPLVbt — alex (@alex_abads) November 17, 2020 Rockefeller Center came to the 75-foot spruce's defense on Wednesday with a lighthearted tweet. Wow, you all must look great right after a two-day drive, huh? Just wait until I get my lights on! See you on December 2! 😉 — Rockefeller Center (@rockcenternyc) November 18, 2020 On Thursday afternoon, days after the tree's initial reveal, spectators noticed an on-site crew filling in holes with the tree version of hair extensions. Yup, the tree's getting branch extensions. Many others came to its defense. Walked by the Rockefeller Tree tonight. She says shut up while I’m getting my extensions it’s been a hard year for us all thank you very much pic.twitter.com/meM8pHcAW4 — Emily (@ejweeks) November 19, 2020 I was today years old when I found out the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center has branches added to it. The tree gets extensions. pic.twitter.com/EVHMv7qSPS — Scrambled Megz (@Megs_Not_Here) November 16, 2020 The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree needs a weave pic.twitter.com/bDteMsU7RT — Reese Waters (@reesewaters) November 18, 2020 someone at work said “they’re probably going to give the Rockefeller Christmas tree extensions” and I replied “yeah, clip-ins” — analog andromeda (@pseudocope) November 19, 2020 YALL STOP SHADING THE ROCKEFELLER CHRISTMAS TREE LET HER GET HER EXTENSIONS IN AND HER MAKEUP DONE AND SHE WILL LOOK BEAUTIFUL SHES BEEN THRU A LOT OKAY — ava || 𓆉 (@avasguava) November 18, 2020 stop bullying the rockefeller christmas tree :( she just doesn’t have her extensions in — miss eggnog (@mauveprior) November 20, 2020 Wherever you stand, just remember, without this year's Charlie Brown tree there would have been no tiny owl. Most popular on Time Out - 11 ridiculously cozy outdoor dining spots in NYC- NYC releases new rules for outdoor dining- The fastest places to get a Covid-19 test in NYC- NYC holiday traditions that aren’t happening this year- Best Thanksgiving movies for kids and families Want to know what’s cool in the city before your friends do? Sign up to our newsletter for the latest and greatest from NYC and beyond.
NYC holiday traditions that aren't happening this year
Your New York City holiday bucket list may look a lot different this year. With the pandemic still in full swing, many of our favorite seasonal traditions will be put entirely on hold—the Rockettes won’t be high-kicking at Radio City, and Santa won’t be making his rounds at Macy’s for the first time since 1861. But instead of turning full grinch at the sound of that news, rejoice that there are still plenty of reasons to cue the holiday jingles. We may have to say goodbye to some traditions this year, but there are lots of over-the-top, candy cane-filled new holiday ones to try instead. Get ready to still pack in all the holiday glee you can get this season with these alternatives that’ll put you in a similarly festive New York State of Mind. Called off: Union Square Holiday Market Time Out/Ali Garber Two major seasonal events put on by UrbanSpace—Union Square Holiday Market and Columbus Square Market—will not be setting up their stalls this year. Do this instead: Statue & Skyline Holiday Cocoa Cruise One of the best parts of strolling around holiday markets is sipping a cup of hot cocoa while you people watch. While you can’t do that at Union Square Market this year, instead, you can make for a new tradition: a Statue & Skyline Holiday Cocoa Cruise. The 1920s-vintage style motor yacht called Manhattan will be decked out with holiday decorations and steamy holiday beverages. On this cruise, you’ll be able to still listen to holiday jams, sip on hot cocoa and people watch the most famous New Yorker there is—Lady Liberty! Called off: Hello Panda Festival Photograph: Courtesy Hello Panda Festival The largest lantern festival in North America, Hello Panda, will not illuminate its 120+ enormous lanterns this year at the Met's home turf of Citi Field. Do this instead: NYBG Glow The New York Botanical Garden is adding an all-new outdoor experience this year, NYBG Glow, which will illuminate NYBG's landmark landscape. On 14 select evenings this holiday season, visitors can expect to explore a glowing grounds of energy-efficient LED lights and festive installations. Plus, there will be dance performances, ice carving demonstrations and other seasonal activities to enjoy (at a distance). Tickets, which are timed and mandatory, are available here. Called off: Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes Photograph: Carl Scheffel The glittery spectacular that usually charms the city through winter months with its high-kicking Rockettes and toy-soldier routines, was forced to cancel due to the pandemic. The song-and-dance troupe are keeping spirits up by teaching fans around the world, how to kick it like them. You can learn their world-famous precision choreography (and their workouts) live from your living room. Do this instead: Bloomingdales Virtual Holiday Benefit Bloomingdales is throwing a Virtual Holiday Benefit this year to unveil their famous and extraordinary holiday windows. The retailer is debuting the window decor virtually with a planned song and dance show, so you can play it safe instead of huddling around the corner of 59th street with hundreds of other New Yorkers. During the show catch performances by singer Andra Day and American Ballet Theater dancers Misty Copeland Skylar Brandt, and Gabe Stone Shayer. You can register for the show here. Called off: Santaland Courtesy: Mike Coppola/attends Macy's Herald Square Santaland on November 17, 2017 in New York City. Macy's Santaland, is a time-honored tradition in New York. Since 1977, families have flocked to Macy's in Herald Square to venture through the colorful Santaland, and of course, wait for your turn to get one-on-one time with the man in the red suit. Do this instead: Virtual Santaland Don't fret Santa believers, from Nov 27 through Dec 24, Macy’s Santaland will be transformed into an interactive, virtual experience, to bring the NYC Christmas spirit to homes everywhere. You can play interactive games and take a peak inside Santa's village and workshop while you're on your North Pole-bound train. At the end of the extravaganza, kids can video with Santa, and read off their wish lists via the Santaland website. Called off: Grand Holiday Bazaar Photograph: courtesy Grand Bazaar NYC This Upper West Side marketplace, which began in 1982 as the oldest flea market in New York City, usually goes all during the holidays, but this year the show will not go on. Back in March, the Grand Bazaar suspended it's weekly Sunday markets until further notice. Do this instead: Grand Central's Virtual Holiday Fair If you want to continue to support small businesses and local merchants while checking off your shopping list, hop over to Grand Central’s Holiday Fair that has gone virtual this year for the first time ever. The website, which is now open to shoppers, will showcase over 40 local artisan vendors using ethically sourced materials. You’ll find anything from men’s and women’s clothing and jewelry, to home accessories and holiday ornaments. You can also check out our NYC small business gift guide, for items including picks for antique hunters, book lovers, and audiophiles. Most popular on Time Out - Iconic New Yorkers will be the new voice of the MTA- The Metropolitan Opera is streaming full operas for free every night this week- The best restaurants in NYC right now- How close is NYC to banning indoor dining again?- How close is NYC to banning indoor dining again? Want to know what’s cool in the city before your friends do? Sign up to our newsletter for the latest and greatest from NYC and beyond.
12 heartwarming online Christmas events to make you feel festive despite it all
So Christmas is going to be a little different this year. There are fewer IRL events taking place, thanks to social distancing restrictions, and you might even be spending the Big Day alone or with pals instead of travelling to see vulnerable loved ones. But you know what? That doesn’t mean you can’t get your fill of the festive feels. If there’s one thing the world has gotten pretty good at this year, it’s online events – and the ingenious performers and arts venues of the world are pulling out all the stops for the festive season. Look no further to find heartwarming virtual carol concerts, seasonal plays and even online cookery workshops to help you ace that turkey – all of which you can stream from the comfort of your home. RECOMMENDED: 101 properly fun things to do at home
The Empire State Building is putting on a musical light show for the holidays
The Empire State Building is planning to celebrate the holiday season with technicolor lights and the seasonal sounds. While the world famous tower lights atop the Empire State Building routinely display combinations of colors to mark various occasions and holidays throughout the year, this December, the Empire State Realty Trust and iHeartMedia have teamed up to give it a little extra yuletide pizzaz. Every night leading up to Christmas day—Saturday, Dec 19 to Friday, Dec 25—New Yorkers can tune in for a special song and light display to get into the festive spirit. This light show, designed by lighting artist Marc Brickman, will be synced with Carrie Underwood’s new song “Hallelujah” with John Legend, from her first-ever Christmas album My Gift. The tunes will be broadcasted on iHeartRadio’s Z100 and LiteFM at 8pm. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Empire State Building (@empirestatebldg) If you can’t see the light-show from your apartment window, don't sweat it. You can catch the range of technicolor hues synched to "Hallelujah" live via Earthcam on their website. Most popular on Time Out - Will NYC schools be forced to close?- The Metropolitan Opera streams free modern operas every night this week- This map shows positive Covid cases by NYC zip code- The coolest drive-thru Christmas events near NYC- There’s a new hidden tea salon that just opened in NYC Want to know what’s cool in the city before your friends do? Sign up to our newsletter for the latest and greatest from NYC and beyond.
Holiday gift ideas
Holiday gift guide 2020
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, so spread good tidings by using our holiday gift guide 2020 to score the perfect presents for your loved ones. Holiday shopping can be super stressful, especially this year, from the department stores and holiday markets overrun with crowds to the headache that is finding room in your budget to splurge on your loved ones. Luckily for you, we’re here to help. Whether you're searching for affordable options or grand experiential gift ideas from some of the best New York attractions, just consider us your personal shopping elves. We'll help you go from “bah humbug!” to “ho ho ho” by the time the gift-giving season is through. RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Christmas in NYC
21 amazing holiday gift ideas from NYC makers
After a tumultuous year, we need a little Christmas and we need it, like, yesterday. So hang the Christmas lights, polish your menorah and start checking off your shopping list with our hand-picked holiday gift ideas! You can lift spirits by opening your heart or your wallet. If you’re able to do the latter, pay it forward by doing all of your holiday shopping in NYC. By that, we mean supporting your favorite mom-and-pop stores and local makers who are selling epic gifts this holiday season. Our top 21 picks include amazing NYC gifts from a Black-owned jewelry company, an LGBTQ+ accessory designer, a Brooklyn woodworking company and more outstanding businesses.
Epic experience gifts in NYC for adventurous people
When themed socks and evergreen-scented candles just aren't cutting it for gifts this holiday season, an experience you can only have in New York City is key to a memorable gift exchange. Giving an experience is more personalized and fulfilling and caters to your loved ones' interests. Book a tour that offer behind-the-scenes access to the top New York attractions for your history buff dad or snag tickets to the new Fotografiska museum for your art-loving bestie. Better yet: join them and share the experience together! And if you really can't resist wrapping something up, you can always pick up a few stocking stuffers. RECOMMENDED: See the full holiday gift guide 2020
The best NYC-themed gifts for the holidays
If you want to know what to buy a New Yorker, our NYC gifts for the holidays are a good place to fill out your list. Of course, the ultimate gift would be an in-unit washing machine and dryer (a New Yorker can dream!), but that's a pipe dream. Sure, an envelope comprising a gift card for them to blow at either one of the best restaurants in town or on a pair of tickets to see one of the hottest shows on Broadway would slay this holiday, but our NYC-themed suggestions are a bit more creative than that. Anyway, here’s our NYC shopping list including items that show off some of the best New York attractions.RECOMMENDED: The full holiday gift guide
Winter in NYC
15 things every New Yorker does to prepare for winter
Winter in New York City takes cojones to survive it. New Yorkers quickly learn what they need to make it through the darkest, coldest months in the Big Apple—from the right winter coat to artificial sun lamps and more. This winter, in particular, is set apart from all others. We're having to learn and abide by new rules and settle indoors more than ever before. Below, you'll find 15 things New Yorkers do to prepare for the winter: RECOMMENDED: 12 things real New Yorkers don’t know but are too afraid to ask 1. Open the windows to counter the blazing radiators that make us sweat in the dead of winter. While we are grateful to have heat, the "raging fire" that emanates from our radiators is enough to have us strip down to our skivvies to survive as if the banging and clanging wasn't enough torture. 2. Buy new winter boots because the city killed your last pair. A good pair of winter boots is essential, especially for a wet winter promising salt and slush for every step we take. They wear out quickly after particularly bad winters, but also, changing up our boots to match current fashion trends is a must when we wear them every day. 3. Say our goodbyes to the sun, which we shant see again until roughly late March. The daylight we have is so minimal these days, so we enjoy every ounce of it that we can soak up. 4. Bring the happy lamp out of the closet that we'll also use as a ring light. Because there's so little light, those among us with Seasonal Affective Disorder have a weapon we like to use to fight against the blues. Our little artificial light lamps mimic the sun and are actually pretty good ring light alternatives. 5. Pack our weekends with brunches and drinks in igloos to pass time. There's an abundance of igloos and bubbles to dine and booze in these days. And since outdoor dining is a certainty this year (as opposed to indoor dining), we'll be inside these semi-private hovels more than ever this winter. 6. Buy a new puffer jacket before they sell out. We all have our tried-and-true puffer jackets that get us through the winter, but there's a small window to get them before they sell out. 7. Bring in our illegal fire escape gardens — nothing to see here! Cold temperatures aren't great for the plants and gardens we cultivated over 2020. It's time to move our plant babies indoors. 8. Re-up on new pairs of gloves and winter socks each winter, because we rarely come home with full pairs after trips to the laundromat. Having an actual pair of mittens and matching winter socks at the start of the season is a rarity. 9. Scout out the closest bodega with the ultimate snacks, so we don't have to venture out too far, once it's so cold that our faces hurt. Knowing where the best bodega is for the winter is imperative while we hibernate. No one wants to be outside longer than we have to. 10. Do a test run to our bodegas in PJs the first day it gets below 30 to make sure it’s bearable. Find out which PJs are the warmest to run out in by heading out to the bodega to get those snacks. 11. Bookmark the best winter warmer recipes from New York chefs and curate our recipe lists of soups to cook up. The season of soups and stews is here! Now is the time we bookmark those comfort food recipes we've been meaning to try or gather our cozy go-to's. 12. Consider masks with fur or flannel on them. We've never really had to think about it before, but face coverings are part of our wardrobe this winter and companies are releasing fur- and flannel-covered masks to keep our faces extra warm and trendy. Therefore, we need to re-think our mask game. 13. Stop by our local bookstores to pick up a stack of winter reads. With even more time indoors, catching up on our reading lists is a must. Before things get real messy out there, we'll need to head to our neighborhood bookstores to stock up on titles. 14. Consult Time Out New York's Google doc of every NYC restaurant and bar with an outdoor heater Dining out is going to be a challenge this winter. We'll need to plan ahead to make sure we aren't sitting in 20-degree weather without a heater nearby, that's for sure. We'd rather chew our food than chatter our teeth, so we'll consult this running list of bars and restaurants with heat. 15. Buy a blanket scarf for all those nights we will be dining outdoors. Blanket scarves (a la Lenny Kravitz) seemed a little over the top until now. We don't want to leave our level of warmth up to fate, so we'll be prepared with our fashion-forward, dual-use scarf blankets, thank you very much. Most popular on Time Out - The Dyker Heights Christmas Lights 2020 guide- The best Christmas movies for kids- The 50 best things to do in NYC- The coolest drive-thru Christmas lights in NYC- The 100 best movies of all time Want to know what’s cool in the city before your friends do? Sign up to our newsletter for the latest and greatest from NYC and beyond.
A major snow storm is predicted to hit NYC this week
While the weather outside is currently slushy, chilly rain, a major snowstorm is on deck for New York City this week. The Weather Channel warns a powerful nor'easter is expected to make landfall late Wednesday afternoon and is expected to be one of the more impactful winter storms in the last couple of years. Winter Storm Gail is expected to strike the East Coast with significant heavy snow and strong winds. While it is too far out in time to specify exact forecast snowfall totals, NYC has a high chance at heavy snowfall of more than a foot, according to The Weather Channel. That means significant travel disruption is likely in New York City from Wednesday night into Thursday. Wednesday night into Thursday is going to be a mess. All this snow, plus strong winds, will lead to power outages. Please plan ahead. #NJwx #NYwx #CTwx pic.twitter.com/SnqlEF3wIA — Storm Team 4 NY (@StormTeam4NY) December 14, 2020 More than 2 feet of snow could fall in some areas with a different threat expected farther south. And the storm is arriving at a pivotal time amid the pandemic: https://t.co/YHrBVcTEt0 — AccuWeather (@accuweather) December 14, 2020 But beyond messy, snow-piled streets, even an inch of snow could significantly affect restaurants this winter season. RECOMMENDED: NYC shares new rules for outdoor dining this winter Last week, the Sanitation Department, which handles snow removal for the city, announced that if over one inch of snow is expected, a snow alert would be issued. With just one inch, restaurants will be required to suspend outdoor street dining, under the new guidance. “All tables and chairs should be removed or secured, electric heaters should be removed, and the tops of structures should be removed, if possible." And if over a foot of snow is forecast, restaurants will be ordered to "remove or consolidate structures, including barriers, to take up as little space as possible." Snow-related suspension of outdoor dining could last days, depending on how quickly the Sanitation Department can clear roads. The new rule comes on the heels of the state shutting down indoor dining in NYC once again. Most popular on Time Out - The Dyker Heights Christmas Lights Guide 2020- The best Christmas movies for kids- The coolest drive-thru Christmas lights near NYC- The 50 best family movies to watch together- 15 bodegas we love in New York right now Want to know what’s cool in the city before your friends do? Sign up to our newsletter for the latest and greatest from NYC and beyond.
Here's an exclusive first look at Eataly's brand-new winter rooftop restaurant
In New York, the change in seasons not only brings a change in temperature but also tradition. And one seasonal tradition we love is the thematic turn-over of the rooftop at Eataly Flatiron. After dipping into the honey pot for fall, SERRA by Birreria will take you to a magical forest with its wintertime concept, SERRA Stellata - Into the Woods, debuting today. Taking inspiration from the great outdoors and being in the open air—the restaurant is named stellata, which means "starred" in Italian, to give inspiration to people to "look up" and admire the winter starry night—the open-air rooftop will feel fittingly woodsy with Adirondack chairs, bird houses, and white-and-gold "foliage." The winter concept is actually in partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation, the largest nonprofit organization dedicated to planting trees—during the course of Stellata - Into the Woods, Eataly will donate funds for 5,000 newly planted trees to help reforest U.S. areas affected by natural disaster. The woodlands theme continues with the food-and-drink menu. Get a taste of Italian winter via polenta crowned with wild-boar ragù, blistered dumpling squash filled with fontina or taleggio and braised leaks drizzled with balsamic. On the beverage front, smoke plays a starring role: Joining smoked beers and barley wines, many cocktails will be prepped tableside and ingredients will be presented in smoked bottles. (Try a trio of Negronis, each with varying intensities of smokiness.) Take a gander at the festive, forested space and the food and drink offerings below: Photograph: Courtesy SERRA by Birreria Photograph: Courtesy SERRA by Birreria Photograph: Courtesy SERRA by Birreria Photograph: Courtesy SERRA by Birreria Photograph: Courtesy SERRA by Birreria Photograph: Courtesy SERRA by Birreria Photograph: Courtesy SERRA by Birreria Photograph: Courtesy SERRA by Birreria Most popular on Time Out - The Dyker Heights Christmas Lights 2020 guide- The best Christmas movies for kids- The 50 best things to do in NYC- The coolest drive-thru Christmas lights in NYC- The 100 best movies of all time Want to know what’s cool in the city before your friends do? Sign up to our newsletter for the latest and greatest from NYC and beyond.
NYC's only rooftop ice skating rink has incredible skyline views
The William Vale has once again transformed its 23rd-floor outdoor rooftop into a skating rink—an experience that comes with a side of panoramic views of New York City. While there is an impressive selection of ice rinks to skate at all over the city, Vale Rink is taking the experience to new heights. The true first-ever open-air rooftop ice skating rink in New York, Pier 17, is closed this year. But luckily you can still head to Brooklyn. Sessions at Vale Rink are now open just in time for the holidays. Guests are required to make reservations in advance to allow for reduced capacity during skate sessions (which run 50 minutes per group). You can snag tickets here. All customers are required to wear masks at all times during their visit on and off the rink. The best part of Vale Rink other than the sweet sky-high views? The rink is made of synthetic ice by Glice, a company that specializes in synthetic rink technology. Glice is not only far more green as it doesn't require power or wasteful water production, but it is debatably better for rookie ice skaters. If you're a wall-hugger who is prone to falling on their butt, the glide factor is more forgiving, so you, too, can get a better grip than regular slippery (and cold) ice. Glice is still slick, but you might fall less, and if you do, at least you won't get wet stains on the backside of your jeans. Vale Rink is open Wednesday to Friday from 2pm to 10pm and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 10pm. Get all bundled up in your parka, hat and gloves and glide out of 2020 in style. Vale Rink at The William Vale is located at 111 N 12th St, Brooklyn, NY 11249. Most popular on Time Out - NYC's beloved piano bar Marie's Crisis will reopen next week- Best Sex Scenes of All Time That Are Too Hot to Watch- 12 things real New Yorkers don’t know but are too afraid to ask- Where to see stunning holiday lights in NYC- The 100 best movies of all time Want to know what’s cool in the city before your friends do? Sign up to our newsletter for the latest and greatest from NYC and beyond.
The best hot chocolate in NYC
New York's hot chocolate revival can be traced back to City Bakery more than 20 years ago, but even though that bakery bastion shuttered in 2019, the scene is still piping hot. One reason? Baristas. A great coffee shop is often a great hot chocolate spot—that latte-quality milk can make all the difference when you want a cocoa to lift your spirits when battling the brutal cold. But whether you get it from your corner Joe joint, one of the city's best bakeries, or from a bar as a warming hot cocktail, hot chocolate in NYC has never been better. There are so many high-quality options in this city that you could go on a season-long cocoa crawl, and try everything from classic cups to more creative expressions. (Cardamom almond milk hot chocolate, anyone?) Fancy techniques aside, the best cocoas are comforting—there's a reason why hot chocolate is one of the defining flavors of childhood. RECOMMENDED: Full guide to best restaurants in NYC
11 ridiculously cozy outdoor dining spots in NYC
Sure, technically, the holidays are the most wonderful time of the year, but we’re quite partial to fall in NYC: the fall foliage, the hot cocktails and especially the outdoor dining. Whether you’re looking for hidden patios or scene-y rooftop bars, there’s an al fresco option for every preference and—thanks to heated lamps, soft blankets and covered tents—every weather advisory. Here are 10 great outdoor spots to cozy up to this fall in NYC. Olmsted View this post on Instagram A post shared by Olmsted 🍁 (@olmstednyc) The greenery-filled backyard of this Prospect Heights favorite is charming at any season, but with warming infrared heaters and fall-inspired fare (hello, chestnut chawanmushi), it’s an autumnal must-visit. Prospect Heights, Brooklyn Dr. Clark View this post on Instagram A post shared by Dr. Clark (@drclarkhouse) Forget standalone heaters: Each outdoor kotatsu table is heated at this Hokkaido-themed newcomer in Chinatown. In case that’s still not comfy enough for you, they’re equipped with remote controls so customers can adjust the temperature, plaid blankets to snuggle up to, and a disco ball overhead, because life is short. Chinatown Mr. Purple View this post on Instagram A post shared by MR. PURPLE (@mrpurplenyc) The chalet is open for the season on the Hotel Indigo’s rooftop terrace, and it sure looks like a fall getaway: think faux-fur blankets, fireplace logs, and freshly-popped bubbly, all tucked inside a heated, private snow globe. Lower East Side Wayla View this post on Instagram A post shared by wayla (@wayla.nyc) The back garden of this stylish Thai spot has all of the floor pillows, woven rugs and candlelit lanterns of our West Elm-loving dreams. And if the spicy, Bangkok-by-way-of-Bowery eats don’t warm you up from the inside out, the outdoor heaters should do the trick. Lower East Side Sushi Lab View this post on Instagram A post shared by Sushi Lab (@sushilab.nyc) It’s easy to enjoy omakase outdoors at this raw-fish restaurant situated atop midtown’s Sanctuary Hotel: Leaf-covered tenting and electric heaters ensure that the only chills you’ll feel during your meal are from the food. Midtown West Hütte View this post on Instagram A post shared by Hütte (@blumenyc) Travel’s not an option right now, but you can get some Alpine ski-lodge vibes without the plane at this woodsy cold-weather concept, found in the tented garden behind Schaller’s Stube. Wrap yourself in a blanket and tuck into a hearty spread of bubbling fondue, game meats, and Austrian beer. Upper East Side Scarpetta View this post on Instagram A post shared by Scarpetta (@scarpettarestaurants) The garden café outside of the Italian stalwart has turned a new leaf for fall—literally. The semi-covered pergola is lush in seasonal foliage courtesy of “floral scientist” Elisabeth Santana, and the whole outdoor structure is heated so you, and your pasta, won’t ever get cold. Flatiron Ten Hope View this post on Instagram A post shared by Ten Hope BK (@tenhopebk) The open-air patio behind this Williamsburg eatery is sprawling, but feels invitingly intimate thanks to rooftop canopies, ivy garlands, comfy banquettes and a dozen heaters fighting the seasonal chill. Williamsburg, Brooklyn Daniel View this post on Instagram A post shared by Daniel Boulud (@danielboulud) Who said that private cabanas were a summertime luxury only? You can have yourself a very cozy fall date night inside one of the striped, heated bungalows at Daniel Boulud’s fine-dining flagship. An extra layer of warmth: That famed white-tablecloth service. Upper East Side Shuko View this post on Instagram A post shared by Shuko NYC (@shukonyc) Leave it to the Shuko team to make a New York alley feel quaint and magical, instead of the usual cold and menacing. Warming up the traditionally nondescript space are overhead heaters, string upon string of twinkly lights and, of course, world-class sushi. Union Square Pastis View this post on Instagram A post shared by Pastis (@pastisnyc) The Keith McNally classic is a perennial outdoor dining favorite, but that doesn’t need to end just because the temperature’s dropping. At the restaurant’s sidewalk patio, French plates are served with a side of propane heaters, so you’ll spend less time shivering and more time people-watching down the cobblestone streets. Meatpacking District Most popular on Time Out - Iconic New Yorkers will be the new voice of the MTA- The Metropolitan Opera is streaming full operas for free every night this week- The coolest drive-thru Christmas events near NYC- Stunning NYC filming locations in HBO Max’s The Undoing- This hidden archway in Prospect Park just got a gorgeous Insta-worthy upd Want to know what’s cool in the city before your friends do? Sign up to our newsletter for the latest and greatest from NYC and beyond.
10 cozy cabins near NYC that you can rent on Airbnb
Nothing is better than spending the colder months in a cozy cabin near NYC. It's the perfect winter getaway from NYC and is only made better with hot chocolate, a crackling fireplace, wool sweaters and a cozy cabin to cuddle up in. Whether you need lodging at ski resorts near NYC or somewhere rustic chic for a girls’ weekend, this list of cabins near NYC on Airbnb has got you covered. After just a few hours of driving, you could be snuggling in a chalet in the Pocono Mountains, relaxing in a geodesic dome in upstate New York or sipping a hot toddy in a trendy container cabin in the Catskills. No matter where you choose to go, escaping the city to a snow-covered wonderland has to be one of the top things to do in the winter. RECOMMENDED: Full guide to weekend getaways from NYC Note: please check the latest travel guidance before booking your trip.
This Google Doc shows every private dining bubble in NYC
What was once a wintertime novelty in New York has now become the new normal: Festive bubble tents, heated yurts, and cozy outdoor dining structures erected so that cold-braving locals can enjoy a warm-and-toasty, socially-distanced meal outside during the winter. And since it seems there's a new space bubble popping up every day in NYC, we've started a handy Google Doc that highlights all of the restaurants and bars that have private outdoor dining setups, from bungalows to greenhouses and everything in between. Find the running list here, which will be updated regularly. Want to join in the fun? Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org for any spots we might've missed. The list is divided by boroughs and each venue is hyperlinked so you can check out their website. This is 2020, which means outdoor dining rules change nearly every hour, so best keep yourself informed! Looking for more options? Here’s everything you need to know about outdoor dining in NYC. Most popular on Time Out - The fastest places to get a Covid-19 test in NYC- NYC releases new rules for outdoor dining- The most hilarious reactions to this year’s Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree- NYC holiday traditions that aren’t happening this year- Best Thanksgiving movies for kids and families Want to know what’s cool in the city before your friends do? Sign up to our newsletter for the latest and greatest from NYC and beyond.
You can go both ice and roller skating at Industry City this year
This winter, you won't have to choose between roller skating and ice skating—you can do both at Industry City. Industry City is opening its ice rink by Volvo Car USA at the end of Thanksgiving week on November 27 and the beloved Dreamland Roller Rink by Lola Star in December. RECOMMENDED: The best places to go ice-skating in NYC "Here at IC, we, fortunately, have the gift of space in a city that so often finds it sparse," said Jim Somoza, Director of Development at Industry City. "We wanted to make sure we used that space in a tactful manner, while also incorporating our diverse tenant base when so many need outlets to create memories and experiences. The addition of both rinks, we hope, will offer New Yorkers not only something to look forward to these days but something to remember for years to come." This year, Industry City’s ice rink in Courtyard 5/6 will be open during the winter season every Thursday-Sunday until March 1. (It will also be larger than last year's rink!) And when you're not skating on the heated outdoor rink, decorated with tons of holiday décor, you can grab a cup of hot chocolate from Frying Pan Brooklyn next door. You can skate during the following hours: Thursdays: 4-8pmFridays: noon-8pmSaturdays: 10-8pmSundays: 10-6pm Photograph: Courtesy Industry City Tickets are $12 per person, with skate rentals costing $10 per person. Tickets can be purchased on site at Industry City or online. If you're feeling nostalgic for the olden days of roller skating to groovy tunes, Dreamland Roller Disco is nearby for you on the Factory Floor in Building 1 December through March. The decision to return to Industry City was a no-brainer for Lola Star, who has had a creative space on the Industry City campus since 2012. "So many decided to start because it’s the perfect way to stay fit, decrease stress, and have fun while social distancing,” Star said. "Right now, the world needs the experience of collective joy, so I am thrilled that Industry City has given me the opportunity to create these safe experiences of collective, roller disco joy." Her costumed roller disco parties will be back on these days: Adult Skate Class: every Friday & Saturday 6-7pmDreamland Roller Disco: Every Friday & Saturday 7-10pmToddler Skate Party: Every Saturday 10-11amKids Skate Class: Every Saturday 11-noonFamily Skate Extravaganza: Every Saturday noon-3pmDreamland Discoteque – Roller Disco Brunch Party: Every Sunday 1-4pm Tickets are $12–$28 per person with skate rentals included with admission. Tickets can be purchased on site at Industry City or online. Of course, there will be social distancing and face masks required on both rinks. Photograph: Courtesy Industry City Most popular on Time Out - The fastest places to get a Covid-19 test in NYC- NYC releases new rules for outdoor dining- The most hilarious reactions to this year’s Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree- NYC holiday traditions that aren’t happening this year- Best Thanksgiving movies for kids and families Want to know what’s cool in the city before your friends do? Sign up to our newsletter for the latest and greatest from NYC and beyond.
NYC shares new rules for outdoor dining this winter
Throughout our summer (and now autumn) of outdoor dining, there’s been one big, nagging question in the back of most New Yorkers' heads: So… what’s going to happen when the weather gets cold? Well, we came a lot closer to answering that question today with the City Council voting on legislation that will make NYC’s popular al fresco dining program permanent. (Lawmakers approved the bill 46 to 2.) That bill makes sure that the program will continue until September, 2021. “We commend the City Council for passing legislation extending the critically important, temporary outdoor dining program for one year and allowing the use of heat lamps to keep customers warm during the colder months,” said Andrew Rigie, executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance in a statement. “Outdoor dining has been monumental to reviving thousands of struggling restaurants able to avail themselves of the program, protecting jobs, and returning a sense of vibrancy to our neighborhoods.” Also announced this week were some new regulations that provide a clearer view of what that dining experience will look like. Participants in the city’s Open Restaurants program interested in providing heating for customers in outdoor dining areas will now have the following three options: Electric radiant heaters (allowed on sidewalk and road seating), natural gas radiant heaters (allowed on sidewalks only) and portable heaters fueled by propane (only allowed on sidewalks and regulated by the fire department.) Raucous bonfires in which diners ritualistically toss physical representations of this woebegotten year, however, are not an option. The new guidance means that not every restaurant in NYC will have to resort to installing space bubbles for their guests. It also means, however, that we should all start investing in some solid “going out” blankets ASAP. Most popular on Time Out - The longest outdoor mountain coaster in the country just opened in Upstate New York- NYC’s largest wine bar opens this week on the Hudson River- Five NYC performers tell us what they’ve been up to since March- A new Medusa sculpture now stands victoriously across from NYC criminal court- Here’s how to track your mail-in ballot this year in NYC Want to know what’s cool in the city before your friends do? Sign up to our newsletter for the latest and greatest from NYC and beyond.