eatingMy Favoritestours

Holidays in New York: a guide to help to plan your trip

This is my third year in New York and I started writing about the city since I got here. And, since then, some questions are classic – especially about Halloween season, Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve. People want to know what to do, where to eat, where to have lunch, which party to choose. Last year, I even wrote some posts about Halloween events, restaurants for Christmas and New Year parties. But the truth is that: first, it ‘s hard to talk about some party without to know it. Second, these options change every year, so, the post from last year doesn’t help this year. And as I am the team that thinks it is better to teach how to catch the fish than give the fish, I wrote this post to give some tips on how you can plan for the special dates and holidays in the city.

Halloween, October 31th – contrary to what most people think, Halloween is not a holiday. This date is very strong in the United States and New York it could not be different. There is plenty to do in the city during the days preceding the date – usually, Halloween mood begins in early October. In residential areas, you will see several homes decorated. Get out of Times Square and Fifth Avenue and walk on the streets (West Village, Upper West Side and Upper East Side are super charming neighborhoods). You also can visit Party City (223 W 34th St and 38 W 14th St) and have fun with the costumes and decoration items. Several shops, pharmacies, and supermarkets have the atmosphere: you will always find something related to Halloween in October.

What about events? Well, the classic of classics, which takes place every year, is the Village Halloween Parade, which always happens on 31st. It’s a fantastic show, very entertaining, with lots of costumed people and music. You can check all the details of the Parade on this link here. Remember to get there early – I recommend at least one hour before, and wear comfortable clothes and shoes, because you will stand the whole time.

Do you want to go to a party? The website Haloween Parties lists several parties that will be happening in the city during the weekend of Halloween. EventBrite is also great to find this kind of party – there are several options, for every budget. Click here, type “Halloween” and click Search. It is worth also download the app Fever, which is like a calendar of events in the city – and is also packed with Halloween parties suggestions. You can search by date and region. I believe that with these three sources, it will be possible to find some cool party to go!

Thanksgiving, fourth Thursday in November – Thanksgiving is a very important date in the American calendar – I would say that it is even more important than Christmas. It always happens on the penultimate Thursday of November, and the next day, it is Black Friday. This is an official holiday, then, in that case, you must be careful. Many shops and restaurants have different opening hours that day. As Black Friday happens the next day, don’t worry about shopping on this day. Some big stores, like Macy’s and Best Buy, are closed and open at the end of the day, starting the great deals. On the websites and Fan Pages you can check information about the hours operation.

Some attractions may close on Thanksgiving  – but, contrary to what many people think, many touristic places work on Thanksgiving, such as the Statue of Liberty and the Top of the Rock. So ALWAYS check the official website of the attractions that interest you before concluding anything or discard any program because of holiday, okay? It is very simple to check. Just access the official website and search for “Visit”, “Hours & Admission”, “Hours of operation” to name a few terms. Or even the FAQ.

It is also worth remembering that there are several restaurants offering special menus for that date. Ideally, you should make a reservation to ensure a lunch or nice dinner. On OpenTable, you can search restaurants that will be open on the day and make your reservation. Just search informing number of people, date and time. You can also filter by price range! Ah, Eater is an excellent restaurant guide too. Last year, they made a unique guide with suggestions of restaurants – it’s worth checking closer to the date to see the list for this year. Finally, if you want to know details about the Macy’s Parade, just click here.

Christmas Eve and Christmas – after Thanksgiving, is one of the most important holidays as well. Thus, you must be aware of stores and attractions hours. Here, you should follow the same tip from Thanksgiving: if you are planning to visit some tourist attraction, it worths checking the official website to see if is going to be open. The Statue of Liberty, for example, closes on 25th. But the Top of the Rock works both on the 24th and the 25th.

As for supper and Christmas lunch, also worth the same tip was given to Thanksgiving: if you want to ensure something special, you better make a reservation. In a case of a date like Christmas and Thanksgiving, reservations usually open exactly one month before the date, so, you need to put a reminder on the phone and stay connected on OpenTable not to lose the deadline! This TimeOut page also gathers information on Christmas programs – including restaurants. Just stay tuned to date – the page is updated every year. Make sure that the tips you are reading are for the currently year.

New Year’s Eve and e January 1st – New Year’s Eve occurs during the winter – which ultimately makes the experience outside somewhat unbearable because of the low temperatures. The first tip I give – and that will serve to every year is: stay away from Times Square! The place is crowded, you need to get there early – we’re talking about being in the area around 4pm, standing all this time, and can not even go to the bathroom. Highly not recommended.

Here in New York the common are the closed parties, which usually include dinner and drinks. There is plenty of parties, for different budgets. The New Year’s Eve Central website brings together several of them – and you can click here to check. One of the most classic is the party at Bryant Park! Ah, remember that this website also shows parties options near Times Square – for those who want to stay close to the area but do not want to face the crowd.

For those who enjoy fireworks, also keep an eye on New York parks website – there are always fireworks in Central Park and also in Prospect Park. Click here to follow updates on events.

On January 1st, also worth the same tip is given for Thanksgiving and Christmas: check the official website of the attractions you want to visit to see if they will be open. And do not forget to book a restaurant – many of them close on this day.

Di you like these tips? I hope this guide can help you to plan your holidays in the city!

Leave a Response