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Xmas in NYC 2016

Gold Coast...
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Xmas in NYC 2016

Hello to everyone, I have been reading the forum the last couple of weeks and the amount of information available is amazing, thanks to all that contribute. My family and I are in the early stages of planning a trip to the USA for Xmas 2016 where the focal point will be 10 nights in NYC from the 23rd of December until the 2nd of January. I will be travelling with my wife and our two sons aged 6 and 9. We will probably head to LA for a few days after this so the kids can see Disney Land etc. but we will worry about that part of the trip a little later.

Our first concern really is where to stay, obviously the Time Square area is popular and seems to be very well located in regards to a lot of the attractions but I get the feel through reading a bunch of stuff that it is possibly very touristy and may not be the nicest place to stay? I could be very wrong though and would welcome all opinions. Through our initial research it seems that a lot of the hotels have room configurations featuring 2 double beds, that would suit us fine. I'm thinking we will spend around US $400 a night for that kind of setup but would spend a little more if we were convinced of the value. Does anyone have any suggestions/tips?

Secondly, the weather! We have lived in Sydney, Australia nearly all our lives and only recently moved to the Gold Coast. I mention this to point out that we've always lived in a very warm climate, the kids and I have not so much as seen snow let alone lived in it. I really want to be well prepared for what I understand can be very cold weather. Any help here would be great (I wouldn't even know where to buy a coat that would suit where I live :( )

Xmas day. Is most stuff shut Xmas day or will we be able to book Xmas lunch/dinner somewhere nice? I have looked at only a couple of restaurants at this stage but have noticed they are closed Xmas day, Keens Steakhouse is one I remember. Would love to have a nice somewhat traditional Xmas feed somewhere. We are also there for my 40th B'day on the 30th Dec so would be looking to find something special for that. Our kids are regular restaurant goers having been taken out to eat at least once a week since they were very small and both enjoy it immensely.

We will be planning to look at plenty of the tourist attractions but would also really like to get out amongst the city and get a real feel for it if possible. We expect to walk a lot but realise the weather may play a part in that. Also very happy to ride the subway to get around and would really love to see some off the grid stuff if possible.

I apologise for the length of this post but we are all really excited and want to make sure we do it right. If anyone has any suggestions thoughts or ideas we would love to hear them. Thanks everyone in advance.

sydney
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1. Re: Xmas in NYC 2016

Have a look at The Hotel Beacon. It's popular with Aussie families. Located in a nice area (away from the craziness of Times Square). Rooms have kitchenettes, there is a really good deli/supermarket across the road. Subway really close and buses in the street outside. Hotel has a laundry which may come in handy. We stayed there in August and loved it.

Adelaide, Australia
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2. Re: Xmas in NYC 2016

Hi, my family of five are doing NYC 14-26th then Washington DC. My boys will be 11, 15 and 17 so they are obviously older, but it does make it trickier and more expensive. Please stay away from Air BNB. I haven't had great dealings with them in NY.

2A and 2C should be fairly straight forward and your budget is pretty good. We booked through booking.com a hotel/apartment in Hells Kitchen/Garment district and got a great deal. Midtown or lower west are good. That way you might be able to reduce metro usage but that is part of going to a huge thriving metropolis.

Good luck as this is a very busy time.

As with the weather, dress for winter Australia and take thermals and good warm walking shoes. You can always buy it when you get there and it might be unseasonably warm.

Edited: 6:17 am, January 21, 2016
Hervey Bay...
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3. Re: Xmas in NYC 2016

Start by having a look at the top questions on the left hand side of the forum (not viewable on a smart phone). There is a great list of threads that can help you including the must see's and dos, where you can eat on Christmas Day, the Chistmas post that includes everything about markets, trees, window displays, ice skating etc. You may even find some of the trip reports about families useful.

The websites for researching your trip top question is also a good one and I highly recommend www.nycgo.com and www.mommypoppins.com

There is so much to see and do that you can keep very busy just in Manhattan. Many first time tourists stay around a few key areas (Midtown, southern end of Central Park and the Financial District and Battery Park) but there is so much to see and do. I'll post a separate post of things that I suggest for people on their second plus trip but some of these may interest you given the amount of time you are coming for. In short though,' look at places like Greenwich Village and he Lower Easr Side, walk the Highline, go to the Intrepid Musuem, explore the northern end of Central Park. If you want to explore an area but aren't particularly sure what to do see or do, take a walking or food tour with wwww.freetoursbyfoot.com Do this early in your trip so you can go back and explore later on if you really like the area and want to see more.

Don't be put off by the cold. We left a Mount Isa summer where it averages 45 degrees and arrived in February to snow with our first full day being forecast for -7. In our 10 nights there only one day was forecast above 0. It's the wind that gets you more than the cold. Layers are the key. It's hot inside so you want layers so you can easily rug up and strip down. Don't be put off by the cold and keep in mind that Decemebr is traditionally the mildest of the winter months and in 2015 was unseasonably warm with temperatures in the high teens.

Be sure to buy the weekly unlimited metro cards for $31. The break even point is 13 rides so you will probably find that even though you are staying for 14 days you will still come out in front.

Adelaide, Australia
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4. Re: Xmas in NYC 2016

Hi, my family of five are doing NYC 14-26th then Washington DC. My boys will be 11, 15 and 17 so they are obviously older, but it does make it trickier and more expensive. Please stay away from Air BNB. I haven't had great dealings with them in NY.

2A and 2C should be fairly straight forward and your budget is pretty good. We booked through booking.com a hotel/apartment in Hells Kitchen/Garment district and got a great deal. Midtown or lower west are good. That way you might be able to reduce metro usage but that is part of going to a huge thriving metropolis.

Good luck as this is a very busy time.

Hervey Bay...
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5. Re: Xmas in NYC 2016

Suggestions for "getting off the grid"

Get out of Manhattan and into the other boroughs and lesser visited neighbourhoods.

Go to Staten Island, get off the ferry and explore places like Borough Hall, Snug Harbour, the Botanical Gardens including the Chinese garden, Fort Wadsworth, the 9/11 Postcards Memorial, Alice Austin's House and Richmond Town to name but a few.

Go to Queens and do a food crawl along the number 7 train line. Enjoy food from the Caribbean, Sri Lanka and then go to China Town right at the end of the line. As you come back into Manhattan go to the Queens Musuem and see the panaroma, then look at the unisphere in Flushing Meadows Corna Park. Visit Louis Armstrong's house and get your art fix at MoMA PS1, Noguchi Museum or the Socrates Sculpture Park. Finally, take in the views of Manhattan from Gantry Plaza State Park at any time but at dusk and sun set for optimal viewing.

Head north and explore Harlem, Washington Heights and Morningside Heights. There is St Nicholas' Park with the Hamilton Grange National Memorial, Grant's Tomb, the Riverside Chruch, Columbia University, Morningside Park, the Cathedral Church of St John the Devine (climb the spire for the view), Strivers Row, the Apollo Theatre, National Jazz Musuem, Marcus Garvey Park and the Schomburg Centre for Research in Black Culture. When you're hungry eat at the iconic Sylvia's or Amy Ruth's or go to the newer but very popular Red Rooster.

Go to Brooklyn but catch the East River Ferry there for a different perspective. There is plenty to do in DUMBO (Brooklyn Bridge Park, Jane's Carousel, Fulton Park, Jacque Torres for your sweet tooth and Juliana's Pizza which is better that the touristy Grimaldi's a couple of doors down) after which you can walk back across the Brooklyn or Manhattan Bridges. You can also combine Propsect Park with Carroll Hill; go to Williamsburg and then walk the Williamsburg Bridge back or go to Bushwick for great street art and pizza at Roberta's. Finally, it's good news all year round for foodies with the famous Brooklyn Smorgasbord in two locations during the warmer months and indoors in Williamsburg over the colder months.

Catch the aerial tram to Roosevelt Island (using the same card you use for the subway) and stay to explore. Go north and see the light house and the Tom Otterness sculptures 'The Marriage of Real Estate and Money', they are so cute! Then catch the bus and head south and take in the abandoned Small Pox Hospital and the Four Freedoms Park.

In the warmer months take the subway down to Coney Island. A hot dog at at Nathan's Original Famous is a most before taking in the home of the Brooklyn Cyclones baseball team on your way to the Aquarium, Boardwalk and the amusements and rollercoaster. Then head east and walk along the ocean until you hit Brighton Beach. As recommended by the forum's resident foodie Ziggy take in not only the view of the ocean but also all the delicious Russian on offer. See this link for his recommendations: eatingwithziggy.com/2013/…

The list goes on!

Flushing, New York
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6. Re: Xmas in NYC 2016

Things do not completely shut down for Christmas in NYC unlike elsewhere. There will even be some stores that will be open. Some restaurants, especially those that cater to office workers, will be closed. The old standby are Chinese restaurants that tend not to observe holidays. Museums will be closed. Transportation continues to run, but with less frequent service.

Many do not like Times Square and there is no particular reason to stay there. You can go there after dark and gawk at the lights, but an hour might suffice for this. Select a hotel near a subway station and you will be able to travel anywhere. The NYC subway has a single fare for any distance and free transfers from one line to another.

New York City, New...
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7. Re: Xmas in NYC 2016

You can use last year's Christmas threads as reference for 2016:

"Christmastime in NYC 2015: Attractions & Events (with dates)"

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g60763-i5-k8868958…

"Places to Eat for Christmas Eve & Christmas Day 2015"

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g60763-i5-k8882694…

Ideas of things to do on Christmas Day, in addition to a nice meal: go up to one of the observatories (Top of the Rock, Empire State Building, or One World), visit Central Park, do a holiday windows walk in Midtown (there is a mapped walk in the Christmas thread), walk over the Brooklyn Bridge and wander a bit through the pretty Brooklyn Heights neighborhood, walk through smaller parks and architecturally interesting neighborhoods that have pretty decorations (ex - Madison Square Park, Flatiron neighborhood, Gramercy Park, Greenwich Village neighborhood, Washington Square Park). The zoos are all open on Christmas Day, including the one in Central Park and the big one in the Bronx, a trip which would take most of the day.

There are also FAQs on this forum for what to do on New Year's Eve and how to survive cold weather.

If you're thinking you'll be able to enjoy the NYE ball drop in Times Square, do research. With children it's pretty much impossible. To see it for free, you have to stand in a pen in the cold for ~12 hours, no toilet, almost no food or drink. There are some restaurants and bars with ball drop views; they mostly cater to over 21s only and the tickets cost hundreds of dollars, if you can get them (usually it's a lottery). If you can spend thousands of dollars for the night, you might be able to get a hotel room with a ball drop view.

In short, you'll probably spend NYE at the Big Apple Circus, or watching the modest fireworks display in Central Park, or in your hotel room.

Right around Christmas there are fewer tourists in NYC, it gets a bit quieter, and cheaper for hotels. (Early December is hopping, but most people want to be home for Christmas). Then, around the 28th, the NYE crowds start arriving en masse. Midtown, tourist attractions, and museums become incredibly crowded. Times Square, Rockefeller Center, and other Midtown areas can be nearly impassible. Museums and attraction can have lines around the block. Hotel prices spike with the demand.

I tell you all this because, if it was me, I'd come to NYC at least 5 days earlier than you're currently planning. You'll be able to soak up more pre-Christmas magic and you'll have smaller crowds and lower hotel prices. Fly to LA on the 28th and spend NYE there, where it's warmer and where I'm sure Disneyland has a nice family-friendly celebration. :)

Portland, Maine
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8. Re: Xmas in NYC 2016

Don't worry about trying to reduce your subway (not Metro in NYC) usage. You'll need and want to use it multiple times every day. The weekly unlimited Metrocard will cover all subway and local buses for $31. Each of you will need a separate one. The six year's need will depend on height. If he/she is no taller than 44 inches then no fare is due so no card will be needed. Above that height he/she will need a card.

For your extra days beyond seven you can just "add value" to your existing cards and just estimate the number of additional rides you'll take and that the proper amount to cover that. You don't have to do that until toward the end of your trip when you'll have a clearer sense of what this additional usage will be, but you can "add value" at any time. It won't be used until the unlimited feature has been exhausted.

Edited: 12:29 pm, January 21, 2016
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9. Re: Xmas in NYC 2016

Sound like a great holiday - we are also family with 2 teens from QLD doing the same trip. We hope to do overnight trips to Niagara & Washington DC in between the 21 December & 02 Jan and staying in NY in between. We have been told the Beacon and Distrikt for accommodation. We are also looking at the NYC pass and city pass for all the tourist things. We plan on getting thermals and layers of clothes after the QLD winter (Kathmandu shop have lots of specials).

We are also heading to LA, Vegas, San Fran & National parks and have been told to do Disneyland after US kids go back to school after 1st week of January.

Have fun with research - this can be the exciting part.

Gold Coast...
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10. Re: Xmas in NYC 2016

Thx everyone for all the great replies so far. There really is so much to take in and absorb, that Xmas thread and a host of others will prove to be invaluable I'm sure. LOTS of reading to do. We hadn't thought about the Zoo for Xmas day but that really sounds like a great idea.

In regards to NYE we hadn't planned to do the ball drop thing. Just as it is Sydney is on New Years we were expecting it to be way too busy and crowded. We would most likely have an earlier meal, a stroll around and possibly see it in from our hotel room, much like we do at home. As I stated though it's my 40th the day before and my wife has insisted we do something really nice for that so I'm still open to ideas.