New York City in December has always been a dream of mine and this year it finally happened. We took a 5 day/4 night trip and had such a wonderful time! We tackled so much in our 5 days and yet there is so much more that we could have done. I cannot wait for a trip back in a few years!
5 Days in NYC
Day 1: Our first day was a short one since our flight didn’t get in until 4PM. We knew in advance that this would be a short day but we wanted to make the most of it so we purchased tickets to see George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker at the Lincoln Center for Performing Arts. We arrived at One Hotel-Central Park around 5:30. The performance was at 8PM so we rushed to get ready, headed out to grab a quick bite at The Plaza Food Hall. There were so many options it was a little overwhelming but ultimately we decided on the Tartinery and then split an amazing blueberry cheesecake from Billy’s Bakery. We then headed straight to the theatre. The Nutcracker was so much fun and a great way to spend our first night in New York City. After such a long day of travel we went back to the hotel to prepare for the busy schedule ahead of us.
Day 2: We started the day with lots of baked goods and treats from Bouchon Bakery. We had visited Bouchon Bakery while we were in Napa so I was thrilled to go back for a few of my favorites. We got our goodies to go and headed over to a family friends for breakfast and after he showed us around his neighborhood. During our morning out we stopped by Grand Central, Bryant Park, Times Square and then worked our way back up 5th Avenue and Madison Avenue, shopping along the way, as we headed back towards our hotel. After our morning exploring the area we got ready for tea at The Plaza. During the holiday season the tea menu changes to include more festive treats. After a long morning it was so nice to sit back and enjoy afternoon tea in The Plaza’s Palm Court. After tea we rested for a bit before heading to church and then to a late dinner at Balthazar. We had heard such great things about the restaurant and we were not disappointed! Our meals were wonderful and after we shared creme brûlée before heading back to the hotel.
Day 3: We began our day with an early run, breakfast delivered to our room, and then headed to the MET for the Empty MET tour. If you are interested in visiting the MET while in the city I would definitely recommend this tour. It is a great way to experience the MET without the crowds. The tour covers a lot of ground in 90 minutes so it isn’t very in depth, I would recommend taking the tour and then going back through the museum on your own after the tour to see anything you may have missed or rushed passed, but having a guide take you around explaining the art you encounter makes for a wonderful experience. After the MET we headed to the Natural History Museum. When on vacation or visiting somewhere new I like to visit as many museums, landmarks, and historical sites as possible! Luckily Andrew was a trooper and let me explore to my hearts content before we headed back towards our hotel. We decided to walk through Central Park on our way back. It definitely took a lot longer to get back but I loved walking through the park on such a beautiful winter day. The park was practically empty so we had it all to ourselves. We took our time and enjoyed the views as we wondered back. Next we grabbed a late lunch at Mangia, a cute Italian cafe a few blocks from out hotel. We then wandered around 5th, Madison, and Park avenues enjoying all of the holiday window displays as we did some Christmas shopping (and of course shopping for ourselves as well. I love picking up pieces while traveling to help remember the trip). That evening we headed to Per Se for dinner. This was an event that we were all looking forward to. Per Se is a three Michelin star restaurant located near Columbus Circle. We went to The French Laundry during our honeymoon in Napa and so we were thrilled to visit another of Chef Keller’s restaurants. Dinner was of course wonderful with about 8 different courses from the famous Oysters & Pearls to a wonderful Poularde, and finished with our favorite, Cappuccino Semifreddo. If you are someone who appreciates fine dining or are interested in the culinary world, Per Se is definitely worth a visit!
Day 4: We again started our day with a trip to Bouchon Bakery (whoever said macarons weren’t a breakfast food?), but this time we stopped into the Rockefeller Center location which happens to be across from NBC Studios and the Today Show set. I grew up watching the show with my mom so I was thrilled to walk by. We decided to get a closer look and gathered with the crowd on the plaza as they filmed. After seeing the set and getting some pastries we hopped on a bus to explore a bit more of the city. New York is just too big to tackle on foot and we wanted to make sure that we could see as much as we could. We stopped throughout the city at Greenwich, the Brooklyn Bridge, Wall Street, Battery Park and Chelsea. It was great to explore each of these areas to experience a bit more of the city. After finishing out site seeing for the day we stopped into Macy’s for a bit more shopping before we had to get ready for dinner that night. Andrew had made us reservations at Eleven Madison Park to celebrate our anniversary. EMP is a three Michelin star restaurant ranked 3rd in the world. We were so excited to enjoy a wonderful dinner by Chef Daniel Humm. Again, we were not disappointed. I know this will be a meal that we talk about often and I cannot wait until we are able to visit again. After dinner we changed into warmer clothes and headed to Rockefeller Center to see the tree lit at night and watch the Saks Light Show. It was delightful to experience the festive side of New York City in December. This was truly a wonderful night to end our trip.
Day 5: We spent our fifth morning preparing to head back home. We stopped into Bouchon Bakery for a few more treats while we picked up some goodies to take back home to family. We then finished our Christmas shopping, took in a few last city views and stopped for hot chocolate at Jacques Torres before heading back to the hotel to pack up.
Our 5 days in New York were busy trying to fit in everything on our list and overall I would say we did almost everything we wanted.