We’d never advise against cooking candy-loaded spaghetti in green tights - we’d simply remind you that there’s more than one way to get yourself into the holiday spirit. A few others include hot cocktails, fondue, and pine trees that require multiple surge protectors. You’ll find all that, and a lot more, at the 14 spots on this guide.
The Lodge Deck
From ice skating and iceless curling, to shopping and tree-gazing, there are a lot of holiday-themed activities available in Winter Village at Bryant Park. And in the midst of them all, there’s The Lodge Deck, a pop-up where you can get wild boar sausages, flamed marshmallows, and hot cocktails after panicking when Santa asks if you’ve been naughty or nice.
If you’re an Alsatian bon vivant, then dipping sourdough in cheese fondue and drinking hot buttered rum in a private cabin might be the norm. In NYC, though, it’s festive, and it’s something you can do on the roofdeck of Pier 17 at the Seaport. Reserve one of the heated cabins for up to 10 people for 90 minutes between 11am-10pm, and eat a truffle grilled cheese while checking out your own virtual fireplace or the floor-to-ceiling views of the Brooklyn Bridge.
Frenchette @ Rockefeller Center
Whether it’s thanks to Kevin McCallister, or the 50,000 lights on the 11-ton Christmas tree, the fact is few places in NYC let you know what time of year it is (the most wonderful time) quite like Rock Center. After snapping some pictures of the tree, and window shopping at FAO Schwarz, head to the South Plaza, and pick up crepes and hot chocolate from Frenchette’s holiday food truck.
As they do every winter, The Standard East Village has filled their outdoor garden with heated yurts with enough faux-fur chairs for up to 10 people. If that all brings to mind the word “glamping,” then we’re sorry you had to go through that, and you should know that they also have uncovered tables throughout the evergreen-filled courtyard. Wherever you sit, you’ll be able to order things like fondue, gingerbread cookies, and hot toddies.
Miracle On 8th Street
You could go caroling, or put reindeer antlers on your dachshund, but if you really want a tutorial in spreading holiday cheer, look at Miracle. Since 2014, this pop-up has been taking over bar spaces all over the world, making them look about as festive as Santa’s workshop, and serving cocktails like the “Bad Santa″ with mulled red wine, port, and Christmas spices, and snacks like roasted cranberry flatbreads. They’re currently operating out of two locations in NYC, on 8th Street in Greenwich Village and 9th Street in the East Village.
Lioni Italian Heroes
The houses in Dyker Heights make Martha May Whovier seem downright drab. It’s a highly entertaining area to walk around this time of the year, and there are lots and lots of decorations, displays, and light shows to check out. But no matter how many steps you tally, the odds will still be against you finishing a whole sandwich from Lioni Italian Heroes. There are more than 100 options on the menu, and they’re all about the size of a fully grown King Charles Spaniel. The Dean Martin is a classic (just prosciutto and mozzarella), but our favorite is the Danny Aiello with broccoli rabe and chicken cutlet.
Until the end of December, The Garret Nolita is hosting a Latin-inspired holiday pop-up called Feliz Coctelería. The whole indoor space and a few private, heated outdoor cabins are decorated with hanging wreaths and colorful string lights, which you can sit under while drinking a hot toddy with guajillo-infused bourbon out of a santa-shaped mug.
People have their Christmas movies. The one they watched every Christmas Eve growing up, and now make their roommates watch the day after Thanksgiving. Whatever your movie is, there’s a good chance it’s playing at The Forest, an evergreen-filled outdoor pop-up at The Standard Highline. At 7pm Sunday through Thursday for the month of December, they’re showing famous Christmas movies in their heater-equipped courtyard. You’ll have to pay for fondue and hot cocktails, but admission and popcorn are free.
The Springs is a place we tend to think of for boozy slushies under colorful umbrellas when it’s nice out. So walking into this Greenpoint bar right now feels a bit like running into your teacher outside of school. Along with an ornately decorated Christmas tree, there are colorful lights draped over the bar, videos of fireplaces on the TVs, and stockings hanging on the walls. Once you get your bearings, wrap yourself in a blanket in the backyard, and order a marshmallow-topped hot chocolate spiked with peanut butter whiskey.
Rezdora’s narrow dining room in Flatiron is as welcoming as ever. It’s just not prosciutto and pork-filled anolini covered in parmigiano cream sauce that’s the draw right now. Instead, it’s a wreath and Christmas tree-adorned holiday market where you can pick up Italian specialty goods, like oils, truffles, and housemade sweets. Buy a curated gift box for a friend (or yourself), and then order that anolini at a table on their outdoor patio.
City Winery @ Rockefeller Center
If you want to pull a Jovi from Elf, and say “you missed” when your date kisses you on the cheek at the Rock Center ice rink, head to City Winery’s pop-up. Whether or not you actually put on skates, you can reserve one of the heated rinkside domes for a 90-minute time slot, and share some charcuterie and mulled wine.
Classic Harbor Line
If we simply suggested checking out the Statue Of Liberty and Brooklyn Bridge as stand-alone activities, you’d be well within your rights to tell us that you’re not a tourist. But when you take a 90-minute boat ride from Chelsea Piers, the sights are just part of the experience. You’ll also get a private table on a garland-covered yacht, Champagne (or less festive drinks of your choosing), and, yes, some very impressive views of the city. Check out the various cruise options here.
Few things say vacation like the mimosa flights at 11am on a Tuesday. And when your order also includes Swedish pancakes, roasted duck cranberry hash, and eggnog pie, brunch takes on a decidedly festive tilt. Experience it for yourself at Bubby’s in Tribeca, which is serving a holiday-themed brunch every day between December 21st and January 1st.
Vale Rink @ The William Vale
On the floor above Westlight, and 23 floors above Leuca, there’s a rooftop ice rink at The William Vale Hotel in Williamsburg. Make a reservation for a 50-minute block here, and hold hands with someone who you like and/or who has good balance while overlooking Manhattan.