A Green Girl’s Holiday Travel Guide to New York City!

Christmas in New York, what a sight!

Holiday season in New York is spectacular! On our recent NYC trip, we were able to hit 14 ‘must see’ New York attractions in 3.5 days. Here’s how!


What to pack – During the holiday months, the airlines charge a $25 fee per luggage that you check in with a maximum weight of 50 lbs. So make sure not to overpack.


  • Clothes – Trench coat or a thick winter coat. The rest can be thinner so you can easily layer your clothing. Jeans or thick comfy sweats for pants are perfect.  It was pretty cold during our visit and most places had the heat on so it was easy enough to just remove the trench and an extra layer while indoors. Gloves & hats that covers your ears are a must; especially when getting on the ferry for the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. It is windy and colder on the water so hats & gloves are essential.


  • Shoes – Expect A LOT of walking. We chose to wear cozy winter boots for the duration of the trip and they were perfect. They kept our toes warm and comfortable and had enough cushioning for the long walks. I also packed tennis shoes but ended up not wearing them at all. 

The Hotel – We stayed at the Eco-friendly, Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers. Here is why we chose this hotel.

Food & Dining – As you know, your body gets taxed from traveling so we tried to eat as healthy as possible. On this trip, we mostly ate at WholeFoods. We also bought snacks and fresh fruits to bring to our room.

The Attractions – Here are all the stops we made during our trip.

  • Rockefeller Center Big Tree & Ice Skating
  •  Radio City Rockettes
  •  NYC Public Library
  •  Statue of Liberty
  •  Ellis Island
  •  FAO Shwarz Big Piano
  •  Central Park
  •  5th Ave. Windows
  •  Trump Tower
  •  St. Patrick’s Cathedral
  •  Empire State Building
  •  Freedom Towers & 911 Memorial
  •  Time Square
  •  Carnegie Hall
  • Bonus: A Slice of New York Pizza!

Cab vs. Private Car – After a 4 hour flight, it’s nice to stretch out during the 45 – 60 min. drive from JFK to the hotel. We chose to rent a private car from JFK to the hotel and from the hotel back to JFK. The difference is about $40 more each way and well worth it for the comfort.

Here is our complete itinerary with some of our fav photos from the trip:

After checking in, we headed straight to Rockefeller Center. The skating rink is not as crowded during the day than it would be at night so we hit the ice and checked that off our list right on the very first day!
Also on our first night, we took on an 8:00 p.m. show of the RockettesChristmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall. The performance was magical. We will definitely go back for more on our next visit!After the show, we walk back to Rockefeller Center to see the big tree lit up. It was very crowded and the ice rink was full. Glad we got on the ice earlier that day!
On the 2nd day, we walked towards Columbus Circle. On the way there, we passed a row of horse drawn carriages. We did not go for a ride.
We grabbed a picnic from WholeFoods, grabbed a seat in the middle of Columbus Circle and had brunch with the bronze elephants!

   After a nice hearty & healthy meal, we walked towards Central Park, just a few minutes away.
We ended up on 5th Ave. where we saw the beautiful and famous holiday decorated windows.
Right at the corner of 5th & 58th was FAO Schwarz.
   We headed straight upstairs to look for the “Big Piano”. We even caught a quick performance!
Also on 5th was the Trump Tower. It was very gold.
That evening, we visited St. Patrick’s Cathedral. It is a gorgeous cathedral. We attended a beautiful service that started right when we got there.
From the Cathedral, we walked to Time Square. Since Time Square is only a couple of minutes from the hotel, we walked here a few more times during our stay. The lights are dazzling.
NYPD was always around and always interacting with the tourists.
On our 3rd day, we took a cab to Battery Park. We got tickets for the ferry to Liberty Island with a stop at Ellis Island. Tickets were $13 per person.  It was a sunny day but had really cold wind chills. Gloves and a hat came very handy on this day.
It was a real treat to see Lady Liberty with our own eyes. She’s beautiful & larger than life!
The ferry also stopped at Ellis Island, but we were just too cold (Forgot to bring the trench coat) & was ready to get back on dry land. We passed on Ellis Island on this trip and moved on to our next stop.
  About 8 blocks from Battery Park were the Freedom Towers. We wanted to check out the 911 Memorial but on that particular day, it didn’t open to the public until 3:30 p.m. If this is a ‘must see’ for you, make sure to check the schedule here. More visitor’s info about the 911 Memorial here: http://www.911memorial.org/visitWe did get a glimpse of the Freedom Towers under construction. They’re pretty amazing.
From there, we took a cab to the Empire State Building. The cab dropped us off right across the street. Before crossing the street, we saw a pizza joint called “Little Italy”. We just had to try a slice of NY pizza! 

We then walked over to the Empire State Building.

Here are the prices for the 86th floor observatory:


Ticket Prices*

Adult (13-61) ……. $20.21

Child (6-12) ……… $14.70

Senior (62+) …….. $18.37


You can purchase the tickets there or online.

   From there, we walked to the New York City Public Library. (About a 10 min. walk from the Empire State Building) We love libraries in general, but the NYPL is extraordinary!  
On our last morning in NYC, we walked up 2 blocks to Carnegie Hall to check out the Beatles Hidden Exhibit. It was a nice end to a wonderful trip.

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