New York City is known as a shopping destination year round. The shopping scene naturally peaks every holiday season, with pop-up shops and festive holiday markets. My favorite is the Bryant Park Holiday Market. It’s so full of cheer with unique gifts, an outdoor bar, and (most importantly?) FREE ICE SKATING!
Ok, the ice skating is in fact free, but the skate rental is not. That’s “the catch”. Still, it’s completely worth it, smack in the heart of Manhattan with views of the Empire State Building and the New York Public Library.
A night at the Bryant Park Holiday Market is definitely my favorite Date Idea for the NYC holiday season.
It’s romantic with twinkle lights, cups of cider, and hand holding spins around the ice. Weekday nights are best as Bryant Park gets exponentially more crowded on weekends.
Wander through the shops surrounding the rink and you’ll find beautiful, unique gifts. This is not the place to hunt for bargains. It’s where you’ll find a special gift for someone you want to impress – your boss, your mother-in-law, your girlfriend. Yes, I definitely think the shopping here skews best towards the ladies on your list.
Handmade jewelry, beautiful accessories, and surprising treasures fill the majority of the bright and cozy stalls.
Any gift from the Bryant Park holiday market comes with a wonderful story: “I got this for you at the beautiful holiday market in Bryant Park! Yes, right in the middle of Manhattan! Hope you like it.” You can often even add, “I even met the person who made it!”
I was excited to see Strand Book Store has a booth in the market this year! A Strand tote is always a great NYC gift!
That outdoor bar I mentioned? How does that work in December?! The answer is heat lamps! It’s the Southwest Porch sponsored by the airline…which is a little strange, but I love the novelty of being outside in a park in spite of the cold!
Plus it has porch swings! More points for romance!
Want to see how spontaneous your date is? Suggest a ride on the itty bitty carousel on the south side of the park.
There are 2 types of people, those who’ll consider such an idea corny and those who consider it magical. You know which type I am.
The south side of the park is also where you’ll find wonderful food vendors featuring bites from all over the city. You can grab a full meal, a snack, or a delicious dessert. Definitely get a hot cider to have in hand as you wander the holiday shops.
If you get too cold and want to head inside, Public Fare has replaced Celsius as the rink side indoor destination. It looks much more inviting and has no EXCLUSIVE, INVITE ONLY vibe like the Celsius bar did in years past.
A perfect destination for anyone visiting NYC in December, you’ll feel the holiday spirit all throughout Bryant Park.
What’s your favorite place for holiday shopping or a romantic Christmas-y date?