What they say is true. There is nowhere as magical as celebrating the holiday season in New York City. The Christmas lights, the Rockefeller Christmas tree, the ice skating, the general jingle jangle, December is one of the best times of year to be in New York.
As someone who’s lived in New York the past couple of years, I definitely have a bit of bias. But of any city I’ve lived in, this is by far the most ~winter wonderland~ of them all. And unlike other places I’ve lived, there’s always the possibility of snow.
Here are some of the absolute best NYC Christmas bars to visit while you travel. Just keep in mind always with New York– the earlier you arrive, the more likely you are to get a seat!
Tips for Bar Crawling in New York City
There’s nothing like a New York City Christmas where nearly every window is filled with festive Christmas decorations. The only thing that can top it off? Bourbon apple cider, seasonal craft beers and holiday cocktails galore! But here’s what you need to know before you hit the bars!
New York isn’t known for its slow pace or lack of crowds.
My advice in general is to get to bars as early as possible, but especially from November through January. The earlier the better. It’s our most popular tourist season!
Use The Bathroom While You Can
There is no worse feeling than leaving a bar or restaurant and realizing that you have to use the restroom. Cities like San Francisco are amazing for providing public restrooms, so it’s less of an issue.
NYC has one of the absolute worst public restrooms in the country. You can find public restrooms in Central Park, but it’s far too cold to trek out there this time of year.
Even if you think you don’t have to go, I highly recommend just waiting in line and checking one more time before your next stop.
Dress In Layers
New York winters are positively brutal. It’s one of my least favorite things about living back on the East Coast.
Make sure you dress in layers. You’ll need a puffy coat for walking around, along with a sweater and maybe even a hat. But the subways? And the bars? BLAZING hot. Most places pump the heat so high, it’s a sauna and bar experience in one. Definitely dress for both occaiions by layering up.
Wear Comfy Shoes
Whether you’re staying on the Upper West Side or Brooklyn, you will be doing a lot of walking through the trip. Comfy shoes are key. And if it’s snowing, waterproof shoes are even more key.
New York snow is gorgeous while it’s falling, and absolutely foul anytime afterwards. So make sure you protect your toes and wear a pair of comfortable, sturdy, very waterproof shoes.
New York is one of those places that changes with the seasons. It’s true of a lot of cities, but I’ve always felt that because of the climate, NYC in particular is susceptible to the ebb and flow of spring, summer, fall, and of course, winter.
If you are planning a holiday winter wonderland trip, whether it’s this winter, next winter, or beyond, you should definitely consider a holiday bar crawl. There’s no better way to get to know a city than fluttering around it. And there’s no better way to flutter than with a hot toddy or two warming your belly.
Happy holidays, and enjoy your time in the big apple!