Without question, holiday shopping on the Magnificent Mile—plus nearby Oak and Walton Streets—provides a dazzling array of gift choices. But not all presents have to be opened right away. Why not plan a Big Apple getaway to extend the holidays into the new year?
WHERE TO STAY
Midtown's Hudson hotel, steps away from Central Park, Columbus Circle and the Theatre District, is a hip and innovative space dreamed up by über designer Philippe Starck. Guests enter through a small door that leads to a low-slung foyer radiating with chartreuse light. "Apartments" are outfitted with wood burning fireplaces, 2,000 square-foot tented terraces and luxe spa bathrooms. Standard rooms are replete with city, river or courtyard views, sumptuous linens and all the Korres bath and shower products one could need.
Also on the hotel's campus is the rustic Hudson Dining Hall, serving small plates made from locally sourced produce, the Gatsby-esque Hudson Bar, featuring floor-lit glass tiles and a hand-painted ceiling mural, a cozy English-style library, heated private park and sky terrace. The best part? December rates start as low as $169 per night. 356 W. 58th St., 212-554-6000
Head to Rockefeller Center to ogle the legendary holiday tree in all its glory, followed by a bit of exercise: Rent a pair of skates and whip around the center’s famed rink. Here’s a tip: If Rockefeller Center is too crowded, check out nearby Central Park’s Wollman Rink.
It’s also always fun to see the Rockettes kick up their heels at Radio City Music Hall, where their annual Christmas Spectacular show runs through the end of the year. The Broadway and Off-Broadway theater offerings this year are extensive and eclectic, ranging from Pee-wee Herman’s new show to two options backed by Chicago investors, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark and Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson. Another tip: Buy two single tickets rather than a pair to get better seats at hard-to-get-into productions. 1-800-broadway; broadway.com
A must-do for holiday visitors to New York is a leisurely window-shopping stroll down Fifth Avenue (if possible, given the crowds!), though those come-hither displays will undoubtedly lure you for more than mere browsing. Make sure to check out Bergdorf Goodman (featured in the new book Dreams Through the Glass: Windows from Bergdorf Goodman), Tiffany & Co. and Saks Fifth Avenue.
After shopping the pricey boutiques and world-renowned department and specialty stores, a nice alternative is checking out two special holiday shopping fairs. The holiday markets in Bryant Park and Union Square provide a wide variety of gift-buying opportunities, including many handmade goods, jewelry, fine art, one-of-a-kind clothing, holiday ornaments, toys, organic foods and sweets.