A Grown Up Trip in New York – Top 10 Things To Do Mhairi Clarke

I’ve just stepped out of a yellow taxi in NYC on a Saturday night in December and I’m brimming with Buddy the Elf-like levels of enthusiasm. I am ‘Congratulations! The world’s best cup of coffee – you did it!’ excited. I’m only here for three days so I need to calm down and shape my list around the most memorable experiences I can have in one of the best cities in the world to visit in December.


I’m staying minutes away from Brooklyn Bridge so I’m on the bridge for sunrise and DUMBO for coffee afterwards to warm up my chilly stroll along the shoreline, capturing the best views of lower Manhattan as the snow starts to fall.


Visit The Beekman Hotel, one of those grand, old New York buildings that you associate with 19th century wealth, old world glamour and late-night tales of opulence and extravagance – a ‘if the walls had ears’ type place.

The Bar Room sits on the ground floor of the nine-story atrium; a moody, dimly lit, swanky, intimate space with velvet sofas and chairs; cosy, sophisticated and comfortable. Sundays are jazz brunch day, so my cocktail menu perusing is accompanied by the tinkle and lazy brass of the Latin ensemble with their tropical ‘Ipanema beach in the 60s’ style sultry tones. A couple of sips of a peach and ginger Bellini and I’m whisked away to another era…

Bright lights and baubles

Throughout December you’re never far from festive cheer and sparkle. Head for the famous Rockefeller tree, towering above the ice rink at 77 feet, then do a 180-degree swivel to catch the Saks Fifth Avenue Christmas light show before visiting the Instaworthy giant red baubles on Sixth Avenue.

Razzle Dazzle

The Christmas Spectacular with the Radio City Rockettes is an iconic December show. Sitting in the grandeur and amber glory of Radio City Music Hall watching 80 candy cane striped high kicking precision dancers parade across the stage is probably the most New York thing I will ever do. Arrive early, grab a cocktail and soak up those famous Art Deco surroundings.under the 50 ft crystal chandelier.


Dante in Greenwich Village has recently been named the world’s best bar, so it’s top of my list to try at 4pm on a Monday afternoon because today I’m not doing the school run…The Italian aperitivo bar is famous for its Negronis. I’m going for the Negroni Sbagliato which uses fizz instead of gin and gold flakes.

Rooftop bars

Get cosy outside, six storeys up at the McKittrick Hotel’s ‘Lodge at Gallow Green’ rooftop bar and restaurant where you can sit by the firepit with a hot wine cocktail, gazing upwards at the West Chelsea loft apartments and stars. This charming, rickety, hideaway with its cosy wooden nooks and crannies takes its inspiration from Scottish bothies. For late night glam, head uptown to The Skylark bar to sip your champagne 30 storeys high, with breath-taking views of the Manhattan skyline and the Empire State Building.

Window displays

Do Fifth Avenue without melting your credit card by taking stroll past some of the high-end stores. Bergdorf Goodman pulls out all the stops and does the most magical ‘holiday windows’. Every window is colour explosion and photograph.


In NYC you walk a lot; it’s December, and cold so you’ll easily build up an appetite. Head to Midtown and visit db Bistro Moderne, home of the famed DB Burger, a sirloin patty stuffed with foi gras, short rib and black truffles. Created by French chef Daniel Boulud, this is where the gourmet burger craze started and the burger is on every ‘Best Burger in NYC’ list.

Winter Wonderland

The Bryant Park Winter Village surrounds a 17,000 square foot area of ice magic. Get your skates on and twirl beneath the skyscrapers before wandering round the pop-up shops with a hot spiced cider.

New York in December is a glittering playground. Everything is a moment, a memory in the making. You can visit and buy wonderful, luxurious experiences or you can come on a budget and experience just as much magic for free. It’s all around you and if you feel it inside, you’ll see it outside, so puddles become neon mirrors and a flat white in the sub-zero Central Park temperatures really does feel like the world’s best cup of coffee.

Discover all that New York has to offer, whatever season you’re planning to go at www.nycgo.com