December marks one of the most magical times of the year in Manhattan. Millions of people travel to the Big Apple each winter for a bit of festive cheer and to celebrate the holiday season. And it’s no surprise why, considering the fact that New York is known for being home to some of the world’s most famed holiday traditions, such as The Rockettes Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall, ice skating at The Rink beneath the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, and watching the ball drop on New Year’s Eve in Times Square.
As outlined in our recent blog post by In Front Row Style, you’re most likely already well aware of these classic celebrations that draw massive crowds of men, women and children each year. But sometimes you just want to avoid the masses and start your own traditions! If that approach seems more your style, then we have just what you’re looking for!
Check out the list below for our top “hidden holiday gems” that you simply can’t miss during Christmastime in New York:
Creative Christmas Cocktails:
Talk about festive! Manhattan’s LOCL Bar, located on 77th and Broadway, just launched an unforgettable, holiday-themed pop-up called A Midwinter Night’s Dream. In addition to over-the-top decorations, bartenders have been mixing up inventive cocktails served in actual snow globes (complete with edible glitter to achieve that true snowfall effect)! And, as if you didn’t think it could get any better, a portion of sales from every drink purchased will be donated to Save the Children. But don’t wait – the temporary set-up will be disappearing on January 1, so make sure to stop by while you can. For more holiday-themed pop-ups, head over to Miracle on Ninth Street (located within Mace Cocktail Bar at 649 9th Street) to sample one of their 11 cheekily-named cocktails, or stop by Sippin’ Santa’s Surf Shack (inside Boilermaker at 12 First Avenue) where you can enjoy tropical twists on seasonal favorites.
Take in a Show or Two:
There’s no doubt about it; New York City is one of the leading theatre capitals of the world. And while we all know and love the classic holiday staples, there are plenty of other innovative and interesting shows to enjoy while visiting New York that will appeal to any taste. For something funny, head to the Reckless Theatre in Chelsea to watch A Reckless Christmas Carol. This improv-comedy group has reimagined Charles Dickens’ classic that guarantees a one-of-a-kind, side-splitting performance every time! Here’s how it works: a different comedian plays the role of Scrooge for each of the three parts. So while the rest of the cast has memorized their lines, Scrooge has to improvise as the show goes on. And with tickets priced at just $10, this show is worth every penny. For something more somber, don’t miss The First Noel showing now at The Apollo Theater. An original holiday musical by Lelund Durond Thompson and Jason Michael Webb, the plot centers on a Harlem family grieving the loss of a loved one, which has been receiving powerful reviews. And for something more risqué, you may want to visit the Irondale Center in Brooklyn which is currently showing Company XIV: Nutcracker Rouge. Think of it as part The Nutcracker, part Fifty Shades of Grey. Definitely leave the children behind for this burlesque performance where viewers can expect circus entertainers, operatic singers and partial nudity.
Stroll Along Gingerbread Boulevard:
Memories of decorating your very own gingerbread house with candy canes, gum drops and other assorted sweets probably come to mind around this time of year. But one destination has taken this favorite holiday pastime and literally blown it out of proportion! Gingerbread Boulevard is a little-known, interactive installation that anyone with a sweet tooth simply can’t pass up. Tucked away in Madison Square Park, a tiny village of life-sized gingerbread houses line a pathway that will make you feel like you’re stepping into the pages of an age-old fairytale. Visitors can virtually explore inside each of the differently-themed houses using their smartphones and Visual Shazam technology!