The Big Apple by Day, New York City deserves its other name, The City that Never Sleeps, quite well.

Beside obvious evening or night-specific activities, such as a Broadway show, a walk through Times Square, or Holiday Decorations over Christmas and New Year, make sure to also revisit some of the sights and monuments you saw during daytime as they take on an entirely different mood at night. Definitely worth coming back in your footsteps!

Rockefeller Center

A New York Show – On Broadway or Off

No visit to the City is complete without a Broadway show. With so many shows to chose from, on and off Broadway, it was hard to choose but since it was the holiday season, what better choice that famous Radio City Hall Christmas Spectacular – only in New York!

We were not sure what to expect though, but their representation of Christmas was really nice and funny, and The Rockettes routine was one of a kind! We were not expecting to see live animals such as sheep on stage – they played their parts very well too! I would recommend it for families and grown-ups alike. More information on current shows can be found on Broadway website.

Radio City Hall Christmas Spectacular

A Dinner Cruise – VIP Style with New Year Fireworks!

For New Year’s Eve, we treated ourselves like VIPs and boarded a luxury New Year Dinner Cruise on the Atlantica for the occasion. While we were cruising along New York Skyline, we savored gourmet dinner, savored nice cocktail from the open-bar and danced on live music.The best part of our evening happened as we were nearing midnight. Our yacht anchored close by the Statue of Liberty and started the countdown to midnight until we were greeted by amazing fireworks.

The temperatures outside were freezing (27F /-3C) but we were warmed up by the great food and bubbly, celebrating the passage of the new year in style and cheering away! A lifetime experience and highly recommended if you are around New York for the New Year!

Several cruises offer New Year Eve’s option – we went for the Gourmet Dinner and Fireworks to ensure the best experience possible.

NYC Skyline

Christmas Illuminations at Rockefeller Center, Fifth Avenue & Time Square

Part of the reason we went to NYC end of December was to see the holidays lights and decorations, a gigantic Christmas tree lighting up the Rockefeller Plaza, the shops’ windows of Fifth Avenue… Well, we were not disappointed, with amazing lights shows over several buildings. Our last stop was at Time Square, a very fitting end of our day with the brightest neon signs and billboards..The crowd at Rockefeller Center was impressive, people queuing to go staking or watching the wall light shows.

We were glad we had our reservation for skating the next morning, as it was definitely was too populated at that hour.

Holiday Illuminations

Sunset from the Empire State Building

Our second top-of-the-world view was from the Empire State Building. The entrance was packed with visitors but we made just in time to catch the last rays of light, the sunset coloring the city with various shades of red, orange and yellow until the night was darker, allowing the city lights to contrast against the dark night.

It was a magic moment, staring at the Manhattan skyline.

View from Empire State Building

Jazz Clubs 

Unsurprisingly, NYC has a rich jazz scene with famous clubs like Cotton Club, but other locations to be mentioned include Blue Note, Smalls, and Smoke. As we were heading to back to Greenwich Village, we decided on the Fat Cat Jazz Club to complete our night in style. A great underground location, part game scene with board games and pool tables, jazz enthusiasts will get some of the local beer on tap before grabbing one seat of the few coaches – just sit and relax! Another option is to head for Jazz Brunch in Harlem, a perfect mix of Soul Food moment.

Fat Cat Jazz Club

Rooftop Bars

A drink and a view – can’t get any better than that. Around Central Park, downtown Manhattan to Brooklyn Heights or  the Bronx, you only have to choose what your experience should be. Some have pools, some have mile-long lists of exotic cocktails; others are uber clubby, or European like with beer gardens or tapas galore. You can change every day if you want and never have the same night!

NYC Speakeasies

Speakeasies are legacies from the prohibition era, when these cool bars were often away from open views, hidden in subway stations or basements, or somewhere in a backroom. Make sure to add them during your NYC visit for a feel of New York from the time past. Definitely one unusual thing to do in NYC!


Things to Do and See in New York City

New York City offers an incredible array of activities and attractions, no question here. From museums, restaurants and food trucks, jazz bars, shopping, to simply a stroll in Central Park – everyone can find something to do with all budget. We especially liked traveling and exploring over the holidays season – even in freezing temperatures! Looking for more info? Click here for more New York Tips, how to plan your trip with itinerary ideas, or even NYC weekend recommendations.

Where to Stay in New York

New York City is among the most expensive cities in the world and finding budget lodging will take some juggling and planning. We stayed in an Airbnb this time but are fans of where we usually find good deals. If you are like us and plan to spend most of your time exploring, we contented ourselves with a simple bedroom, even a very small one, and access to a shared bathroom.

New York Travel Resources

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