The winter holiday season in NYC can be truly magical. The city goes all out for Christmas, with evidence of this spread out all over Manhattan. It is a great time to visit from out of town, as many of the more upscale hotels decorate their lobbies. Some of the hotels with the best holiday decorations include The St. Regis Hotel, The Plaza, and The Baccarat.

Bryant Park’s Winter Village is a holiday treat that locals love as much as tourists do. It is an outdoor shopping center erected for the months of November and December. Kiosks are run by local merchants selling everything from homemade soaps to jewelry to bathrobes and even quaint eateries. This is also where the outdoor ice skating rink is always free to use, a rare opportunity in the city.

However, ice skating also takes place outside of the Standard Hotel. This rink is ideal for beginning skaters because they can hold onto provided materials that help them remain standing. Near the hotel’s ice rink is also a cafe that serves hot chocolate.

Both the Lower and Upper East Sides of Manhattan offer up their own Christmas cheer. The Lower East Side’s John Derian shop sells elegant and unique ornaments for Christmas trees. On the Upper East Side, there are two places to get some sweet holiday treats. Cupcakes are the highlight of the menu at Two Little Red Hens Bakery, while William Poll sells elaborate gingerbread houses perfect for a holiday centerpiece.

Holiday pop-up bars are also part of the yearly festivities. Two of the most popular are Sippin Santa, and Miracle on 9th Street. In addition to these temporary bars, permanent bars such as Bar 21, offers a unique homemade spiked eggnog visitors won’t find anywhere else. Bars in the Ludlow and Marlton Hotels also serve drinks made specifically for the holiday season.

The window displays at many of NYC’s high-end department stores are stunning during the holiday season. On Madison Ave, visitors will find Hermes and Barneys both have elaborately decorated windows. Along Fifth Avenue are many other stores famous for this, such as Bergdorf’s, Harry Winston, Cartier, and Tiffany’s. Saks Fifth Avenue is the icing on the cake of the window displays.