The holidays are a wonderful time of the year to be in New York. Sure, the city is swarming with tourists, but the seemingly endless spectacles more than make up for these shortcomings: There's ice skating in Bryant Park, busy holiday markets, and of course, festive decorations that can induce awe from even the most cynical New Yorker.
With so many businesses decking the halls with Christmas-themed bells and whistles, it can be difficult to narrow down the places that are actually worth your time. Lucky for you, we've done the research on the best attractions this year. From the prettiest hotel lobby to the most cheery-looking restaurant display, read ahead for six attractions you have to see.
Photo: Courtesy of NYBG.
Best Indoor Attraction: The New York Botanical Garden
The NYBG is home to the
Holiday Train Show
, a recreation of 150 iconic NYC landmarks, surrounded by greenery and twinkling lights. Seeing the miniature trains zip through the enchanting replicas is something you have to experience in person — preferably with a camera in tow. Seasonal imbibers are served to over-21 visitors
on select evenings
, accompanied by live piano music.
The Holiday Train Show is on display from Wednesday, November 22, 2017 to Monday, January 15, 2018.
Photo: Courtesy of Peninsula Hotels.
Best Hotel (Exterior): The Peninsula New York
This five-star hotel pulls out all the stops when it comes to impressing pedestrians: The Neo-classical style exterior is lavishly adorned with colorful baubles, miniature Christmas trees, and two imposing silver reindeers. The hotel also hosts an annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony at the end of November.
Photo: Courtesy of The Plaza.
Best Hotel (Interior): The Plaza Hotel
What can we say? We've been enamored with The Plaza's Christmas decorations ever since Kevin Mcallister accidentally wandered into the lobby in
Home Alone 2
. (As it happens, the hotel has a
Home Alone-themed anniversary room package
on offer at the moment.) Swanky decorations on the towering Christmas trees are to be expected for a grand dame of this caliber, but the hotel takes it up a notch with a caroling choir and personal visits by
himself. For those feeling extra fancy, Santa's available for
for $100 a pop.
Photo: Getty Images.
Best Walking Neighborhood: Dyker Heights
When it comes to Christmas decorations, the residents of Dyker Heights take the cake. Over the years, the area has become well-known for its no-holds-barred approach to Christmas decorating. The opulent displays has turned the area into a tourist attraction, giving rise to a cottage industry of
. These days, home owners are not the biggest participants in the overt pageantry: Many of these lights are now installed by
local decorating businesses
to gain brand exposure.
Photo: Getty Images.
Best Department Store: Bergdorf Goodman
There's no shortage of exquisite window displays from department stores along Fifth Avenue, but none of them can put on a holiday show quite like Bergdorf Goodman. This year's displays are a high-fashion ode to NYC's iconic cultural institutions, from the American Museum of Natural History to the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Be prepared to spend hours dissecting the meaning behind these breathtaking exhibits — and checking out the designer names of the luxury merch featured in the windows.
Photo: Courtesy of Rolf's.
Best Restaurant: Rolf's
A Christmas dinner at Rolf's is truly something else: The German eatery drops an upwards of
each year on festoon its ceilings with oversized lights, ornaments, icicles, and dolls. Reservation at the 40-year-old restaurant around this time of year is hard to come by (can you imagine how good the Instagrams are gonna look?), so make sure to book early.