central park snow
The holidays in Naples are beautiful. We enjoy balmy weather, outdoor activities like golf and boating, and traditions that might include strolling Fifth Avenue in shorts while manufactured snow falls around you. But there is something extra special about a traditional, cold-weather holiday. For the past three years I’ve been lucky enough to spend Christmas in New York City with family and friends. With all the Christmas lights, holiday window displays, snow and Christmas trees, New York City truly is a winter wonderland.
Whether you head to New York with the kids, your spouse or with friends, a few days in New York City is a lovely way to celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah. There are activities for everyone whether you’re looking for holiday events, Broadway plays or winter outdoor fun.
Even if you prefer not to spend Christmas Day in New York, getting to the city sometime during the holiday season is a special treat. Last minute options can be found on websites like Expedia.com and Orbitz.com and since it’s just a 2 1/2 hour flight, it’s easy to get to the city for a quick weekend getaway. JetBlue Airways offers a number of direct flights daily to John F. Kennedy International Airport and LaGuardia Airport out of Southwest Florida International Airport.
Where to stay:
Hotel options are numerous and at every price point. My personal favorite is the Library Hotel on Madison Avenue in midtown. It’s a beautiful boutique hotel with awesome service conveniently located in mid-town within sight of the New York Public Library. A huge bonus is the continental breakfast and wine and cheese reception included with your room. Both are served in “The Reading Room” where you can find hot drinks and snacks all day. Each room at the Library is unique and Dewey Decimal System themed. The rooms aren’t large but beautifully appointed with unique artwork and books and more than enough closet space. The Library Hotel is within walking distance to shopping on Fifth Avenue, Grand Central Station, Times Square and Bryant Park.
I’m still learning my way around the city so I get the Grey Line Bus two-day pass and use it to hop on and off throughout Manhattan. It’s more expensive than taking the subway but cheaper than cabs, and I like learning about the city from the guides. I always spend a day or two sightseeing and doing last-minute Christmas shopping, and the pass gets me everywhere I want to go.
You can find plenty of dining options at all price points on tripadvisor.com or urbanspoon.com. Since we both love to try new restaurants, my daughter and I always plan on one or two special evenings out. This year our treat is an evening performance of the musical “Newsies” and dinner at Marea, a restaurant with two Michelin Stars that we’ve both been dying to try. We generally mix in special nights like this with neighborhood eateries that are more casual and inexpensive.
For families without adventurous kids, there are lots of chain restaurants throughout the city. If all else fails, delicious pizza, deli sandwiches and bagels can be found on just about any corner.
What to do:
Depending on the ages of your children, there are a variety of activities to keep everyone occupied. Children may enjoy an afternoon at one of the museums, a Broadway matinee or the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. I love the Holiday Shops at Bryant Park (a great place for gifts!) and watching the skaters, hot chocolate in hand. See the sidebar and www.nycgo.com for more ideas.
Spending the holidays in the Big Apple is an experience unlike any other. If you’re really lucky, snow will fall (lightly, please!) while you’re enjoying the special winter wonderland that is Manhattan in December.