Published November 22, 2019
With a white Christmas approaching (hopefully), you’ll want to find the best place to enjoy the wonderful holiday atmosphere. Here we bring you the best places to take in the seasonal decorations, lights, shopping and special events in Washington, D.C. and New York, whether you celebrate Kwanzaa, Christmas or Hanukkah. So, when you’re done watching the Nightmare Before Christmas, put on your ugly Christmas sweater and get out and enjoy the lit streets and the holiday décor and ornaments and get merry with your friends and family.
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Thanks in large parts to its iconic location at the entrance of Central Park, this is one of the most popular holiday markets in the US. Lose yourself in the ornamental aisles where art, jewelry, homeware and delicious food and drinks are on display. Experience the elegant and beautiful lights and decorations, whether you’re purchasing Christmas presents from local artisans and designers or just enjoying the lovely atmosphere. Winter splendor is ripe for the taking as you can, for the first time, drink German Glühwein and beer at a dedicated Bratwurst Stand. And if you ever find yourself lost, there’s even dedicated on-site concierge staff that will help you navigate the vast market and guide you to your preferred stalls.
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WHEN: 4 December–24 December
WHERE: Columbus Circle, 59th Street and Central Park West
OPENING HOURS: Mon-Sat 10am-8pm; Sun 10am-7pm
HOW TO GET THERE: From the FlixBus stop at 300 W 31st St take the A or C line to Columbus Circle.
With more than 150 regional artisans and crafters in front of the Smithsonian American Art Museum & National Portrait Gallery, this year you can find the 15th annual Downtown Holiday Market bringing a wonderfully unique and festive feeling. In D.C. you won’t find a better holiday market. Gift items are being continually rotated as the vendors are changed. You can find handcrafted special gifts for everyone in your family. While doing your shopping you can enjoy all the live entertainment on offer. The program is packed with plenty of jazz, soul and blues and much more. So, go get the best treats in town, while enjoying the lights and decorations and be merry in Downtown Washington, DC.
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WHEN: 23 November-23 December
WHERE: Downtown Washington
OPENING HOURS: Noon-8pm Daily
HOW TO GET THERE: Get off the FlixBus at 715 H St NW and walk south on 8th St NW and you’ll be able to see it!
As an internationally renowned holiday market, you should visit this not just because it gathers millions of people in a festive holiday spirit each year, but simply because of the vast variety of the unique gift ideas and lights and decorations on show. Other than the lights, decorations and the Christmas tree, this year the Union Square Holiday Market premieres new sections like Little Brooklyn and Urbanspace Provisions. Get your special and unusual gifts like brew-your-own-beer kit or monogrammed stuffed animals. Take in the unique New York holiday atmosphere from the new Warming Station and Lounge or watch the kids enjoy themselves in the Kid’s Arts Studio. In short, there is no end to the fun and games in one of the most famous holiday markets in the US. Read more here WHEN: 15 November-24 December
WHERE: Union Square Park
OPENING HOURS: Mon-Fri 11am-8pm; Sat 10am-8pm; Sun 11am-7pm
HOW TO GET THERE: Get off at the FlixBus stop 7th Ave & W 33rd St, walk 5 minutes east and get on the N, Q, R or W line two stops south.
Never mind the unbridled joy of the park itself, the first-ever Holiday in the Park will bring millions of holiday LED lights to bring the Yule-tide spirit to all visitors. During the holiday period the park is transformed into a magical winter wonderland. Spend a whole day jumping from rollercoasters to cozy cafés and street vendors, where you can munch on seasonal snacks or drink a delicious cup of hot cocoa, before challenging yourself on a new ride. The decorations will keep you amazed and even if that doesn’t do it for you, you can treat yourself to one of the festive holiday shows or dance around the beautifully lit Christmas tree. Take the family to visit the North Pole, where Santa is waiting, before munching on some delicious s’mores. The mix of winter cheer and fun coasters and rides will make sure to get you and your family in just the right spirit!
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WHEN: 23 November-1 January
WHERE: Six Flags America, Bowie, MD
HOW TO GET THERE: Get off at the FlixBus stop on 715 H St NW in Washington. Walk west and turn left on 11th St NW and take the Silver Metro line to Largo Town Center and get on bus C22 and get off in front of the park.
Located behind the majestic New York Public Library, Bryant Park is transformed into a magical winter wonderland. With German-style lights and decorations, this holiday market offers more than your average holiday fair. More than the 125 plus vendors, the Winter Village also contains the only free ice-skating rink in Manhattan, so you can exercise and have fun doing it, before indulging in all the tasty treats from all around the world. Jewelry, toys, clothing and trinkets are also for sale, so the Christmas or Kwanzaa shopping has been made easy. Listen to festive tunes, while you marvel at the 55-foot Christmas tree decorated with 30,000 red-and-white lights and 3000+ decorations. At the tree-lighting ceremony a celebrity will read out a Christmas tale to the crowd, while the story is being brought to life on the ice rink. The finale concludes with the lighting of the tree accompanied by fireworks.
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WHEN: 28 October–2 January 2017
WHERE: Bryant Park
OPENING HOURS: Mon-Fri 11am-8pm; Sat & Sun 10am-8pm
HOW TO GET THERE: Get off at the FlixBus stop on 7th Avenue & West 33rd Street, walk north on 7th Ave and turn right on W 41st St, and you’ll be able to see the park right in front of you.
In Washington, D.C. on the 14th and 15th of December the Nguzo Saba, the seven principles of Kwanzaa, will be honored by the Coyaba Academy and Coyaba Dance Theaters annual Kwanzaa Celebration at the Dance Place. Also check out the energetic and interactive Melvin Deal African Heritage Dancers & Drummers and much more at the Town Hall Education Arts Recreation Campus. Furthermore, the Alexandria Black History Museum has a Kwanzaa workshop suitable for both children and adults on December 14th. In New York the biggest festivities can be found at the American Museum of Natural History with a local artisan marketplace and a live-drawing performance plus live music acts on December 28th. Same day the Apollo Theater will play host to their annual celebration, by putting on a joyful evening of dance and music.