Manhattan: A Winter Wonderland
Walk around New York in winter and you might feel as if you are on the set of Miracle on 34th Street or some other Christmas movie. The air is crisp, the lights are sparkling, and shop windows beckon with bright, cosy delights. Read our guide to places to visit and things to do if you’ve hired a car in Manhattan this winter.
What could be more magical than skimming across the ice with the New York City skyline as your backdrop? Once you get the hang of it, ice skating is really enjoyable and great exercise. There are several excellent rinks in Manhattan, from infamous landmarks such as Rockefeller Center to a shiny new rink in Bryant Park. Skating at the cutting-edge Citi Pond in Bryant Park is free and, although the Skating Rink at Rockefeller Center may be more iconic, Citi Pond offers a superior skating experience. Ice skate rentals are $15 and skating lessons are also available. The rink is open from the start of November through to March.
Combine heat and chocolate on a cold winter’s day in Manhattan and you have a recipe for heaven – especially if you’ve just been ice skating. For a spicy chocolate hit, choose the “wicked” hot chocolate at Jacques Torres, which gets a gentle hit from allspice, cinnamon, ancho, and chipotle chillies. The magnificent Russian Tea Rooms serves a “signature hot chocolate,” luscious with whipped cream and marshmallows, making it a tasty and affordable way to get your foot in the door of one of New York’s most exclusive restaurants. The City Bakery’s classic version is thick and gorgeous enough in its plainest form, but they also do variations including ginger, banana peel, and “Ode to the Polar Bear.”
If you’re in NYC during the holiday season, a really good idea for a walking tour is to take in all the best Christmas window displays. Starting at Bloomingdales on Lexington Avenue, head west to Barneys and then continue south down Fifth Avenue to see Bergdorf Goodmans, Saks, Lord & Taylor, and ending up at Macy’s. The tour is about 2 miles long, so wear comfortable shoes, warm clothes, and keep an eye on your belongings. While you’re at Macy’s, go in and check out Santaland, with its stunning scene of Christmas trees, elves, toy trains and snow-covered magic.
The Lights at Rockefeller Plaza
Avoid the tiny, expensive, and crowded ice rink here and let your jaw drop at the holiday display instead. There’s been a Christmas tree here since 1931, with contemporary versions now studded with some 30,000 lights, so its worth shouldering your way through the crowds to take a picture. The lights remain on until 11:30pm through Christmas and until 9pm through New Year’s Eve.
The High Line
Get great views of a wintry Hudson River from this public park on the site of an elevated train line on Manhattan’s West Side. Featuring natural landscaping and an alternating collection of public art projects, the High Line now runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 30th Street.
Free tours of Central Park
Covering some 843 acres, Central Park takes up 6% of Manhattan, so you really have no excuse to miss one of the world’s most iconic parks – particularly as you can avail of free daily walking tours led by park representatives. The “Amble through the Ramble” tour, for example, takes in streams and woods using a network of pathways criss-crossing the tranquil 38-acre woodland section of the park.
All fired up for winter in Manhattan? Hire a car in New York from Nova Car Hire for an east coast adventure you won’t forget.