Spending the Christmas season in New York City may seem stereotypical but theres a reason so many of us take the trip across the Atlantic to visit the Big Apple.
From the possibility of snow, to the magic of the lights spreading out across Manhattan and the gosh darn happiness of everyone in the city, the hype is real, so get booking a last minute trip for this December.
The most famous tree in the world
The Rockefeller Christmas tree is perhaps now the most famous Christmas tree in the world, with the lighting ceremony being broadcast across America for 86 years.
But theres a reason for this as the tree – which weighs 21 tons – is 15-metres wide, is decorated by 50,000 multicolored lights and is adorned with a Swarovski crystal star – designed by architect Daniel Libeskind.
Beat that this Christmas.
The ice skating rink over which the tree presides is open until midnight every day so you can ice skate to your hearts content all evening.
And even Scrooge would have to admit that ice skating underneath the spectacular Rockefeller tree is pretty damn magical.
Shop til you drop
Think Christmas markets and your first thought will be the classic German markets.
But New York can do markets just as well as the Germans, and perhaps one of the best is Bryant Park winter village, with a 17,000-square-foot ice-skating rink (in case you havet had enough of whizzing around the ice) and more than 170 shopping kiosks and food vendors.
Pretzels, waffles, frites, mac and cheese and more are all on offer for a tasty lunch (or snack) while vendors sell the likes of woolly mittens, candles, Christmas ornaments, gorgeous local artwork (visit Melsys Illustrations for an Instagram-worthy booth and unique prints for the Sex And The City fans in your life) and moisturisers from Dr Silkman, which involve burning a candle and using the wax to massage into your hands.
Is there anything more decadent?
At Grand Central Station you can shop inside one of the citys most gorgeous buildings, with 40 stalls available under the celestial ceiling.
This market features a lot of handmade crafts, including childrens toys, so a perfect place to pick up a gift or two for the kids in your life, while Union Square market is the place for supporting local businesses as it features a wide array of artisanal products, many of which are NYC-made, organic and often made from recycable materials.
If youre looking to give back, Choose Love is the first store in the world to sell gifts for refugees, and in 2018 theyre opening their first NYC pop-up shop.
Customers buy items like food, life jackets, shoes and sleeping bags at the shop, and every purchase goes towards a similar item for a refugee, delivered via one of the 80+ projects Help Refugees support across the world.
NYC is also the home of the department store and while you may be too old to sit on Santas knee and ask him for bicycle under the tree this year, some of the citys best shops also have stunning mini Christmas markets set up for you to buy gifts for loved ones, including Bloomingdales, Saks, and Macys – home of the original Miracle On 34th Street film.
And if youve got a book lover in your life (and who doesnt?) head down to The Strand, home to 18 miles of new, used, and rare books.
Its also home to literary gifts such as mugs, bags, bookmarks and candles scented with names such as Cafe Au Library.
As Frank Sinatra sang, it truly is a wonderful town
Lets get this out of the way, NYC is home to some of the best tourist spots in the world, from the Statue Of Liberty to the Empire State Building and Brooklyn Bridge, and going to the city to see these spots in December may seem silly but is genuinely magical.
Americans may be known for always being there with a smile and a how are you today? but that warmth and happiness adds to the joy as you take in the sights (with a hot chocolate in hand, obviously).
A 60-minute boat trip out to Liberty Island will take you past the lady of the lamp, along with Ellis Island, and offer you a view back at the bottom tip of Manhattan with the financial district and the imposing One World Trade Centre building.
It stands at 546 metres making it the tallest building in the United States and the Western Hemisphere – and the sixth tallest in the world.
To get the best views of the city from high above, you could be brave and try a helicopter tour, or head to Top Of The Rock, the observatory at Rockefeller Centre, for 360 degree views that will ensure your pictures include the iconic Empire State Building.
The Radio City Rockettes:
The famous Rockettes dance company have called Radio City Music Hall home since 1932 and are now a Christmas tradition for dance fans around the world, known worldwide for their precision dancing with over 60 dancers performing high kicks and dazzling tap-dance routines in exact synchronicity.
The dancers are required to be able to kick up to 1,200 times a day and change costumes in less than 78 seconds and this year their Christmas spectacular will literally have you slack-jawed as they dance, kick and sing their way through a 90-minute performance focusing on the birth of Jesus, Santa Clause, and the Nutcracker.
And wait until you see them in extreme slow-motion line up and fall over like dominos…
New York City
Where to stay: If you want to make the most of a trip to New York City, you need to stay as central as possible.
Metro.co.uk stayed at The Kimpton Eventi, on 6th Avenue, which is in walking distance from the Empire State Building, Rockefeller, Macys, Bryant Park, the High Line and the Strand meaning youre really going to earn those glasses of prosecco and mulled wine.
Plus, sign up (for free!) to become an IHG member and you get free WiFi to upload your Instagram pictures and this December members are gifted a a whopping 5,000 points if IHG are tagged in their snaps.
How to fly: Its Christmas and that means sales.
Flights to New York are incredibly cheap right now and are available from across the UK; Metro.co.uk flew from London Heathrow with United Airlines.