A chandelier with rows of lights I'm...gonna swing...

A New Yorker’s bucket list for the holiday season in New York

New York is less smelly this time of year, and generally happier. You might still witness a cranky commuter or two (or a few million), but the overall atmosphere quietly shifts during the holiday season. Maybe it is the shopping high that everyone is on.

My toes tell me it’s cold, but my hair couldn’t be happier to escape the humidity of Singapore. I’m back in New York, and I have a few things I’m looking forward to this holiday season.


The radio station playing in the kitchen has already started with the Christmas carols. The sales have started. I’m in the mood for hot chocolate. But first, my favorite holiday of the year is Thanksgiving, which is in less than one week! The best part is definitely the sticky rice stuffing that my dad puts in the turkey. It isn’t like your usual bread stuffing! I’ll get some photos this year and post a recipe sometime after, but the gist of it is sticky rice with celery, chestnuts, and onions.

The tree at Rockefeller Center

It is always a bit sad to know that a tree was sacrificed to be placed at Rockefeller Center each year, but it is still nice to see once in a while. They also usually have a light show on one of the buildings nearby, and then there are the windows at Saks Fifth Avenue which can’t be beat. You can’t help but smile when you are surrounded by people who are just as happy to be alive as you are. Even the tourists are less annoying, except when it is packed and you can’t get through the crowd. I think I’ll go at a non-peak time.

Those other lights, on Broadway

I would like to see Pippin if possible. I still need to see the Lion King, but anything else that might be affordable would do as well. If you are looking at my track record, you might be ashamed for me for not taking advantage of all the good shows that go on in New York. I’ve seen 2 shows this year so far, and that is more than the past 10 years combined already…

Stage with map curtain and green lights

Wicked the Musical stage before the show

Cat cafe

Finally! There will be a cat cafe in NYC, opening on December 15th. I’ve got a browser tab open waiting for the moment I can book my half hour slot (who am I kidding, probably more than just that…). I probably post too many cat photos already, but it can’t be helped. You can fork out $4 for half an hour, or $30 for 5 hours. The cost effective approach would suggest that I opt for the latter…

Long walks with Sidney

Two of my close friends in New York have a dog, the one you see in the photo. I went on a long, snowy walk with them earlier this year. She is not only stunning, but fun to be around. The humans are pretty cool, too. 😉

If you haven’t done much exploring of Upper Manhattan (which you should), I would suggest checking out Inwood Hill Park and the Cloisters. It is much less crowded than Central Park and apparently has caves, and the Cloister are basically a castle by the river. Yeah, it’s that cool, and you can get there within 40 minutes from Midtown!

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Sidney in Inwood Park, Manhattan, New York

Visit my favorite restaurant

Pisticci has been my favorite restaurant in New York since about 6 years ago. It is proudly one of the few green restaurants, sourcing things locally. It also happens to make delicious Italian food, and conveniently hidden in my neighborhood.

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Fresh handmade pasta at Pisticci

Ok, so this might be a pretty short bucket list, but I don’t want to get my expectations too high and then not deliver. I still have loads of friend and family time that need to get squeezed in somehow.

Do you have a holiday bucket list for New York? Wherever you are this season, what is on your list?



  • I’m currently listening to my Christmas playlist, which made reading this post that much more enjoyable! Seeing NYC during the holidays is definitely on my bucket list. All of the things on this list seem so magical!!

    • I agree, it might be cliche to say that it is a magical time in New York, but it really does feel magical! What’s on your Christmas playlist? I think I’m looking forward to hearing Pentatonix’s holiday album, but maybe I’m just being an a cappella nerd. hahaha

  • I started seeing Christmas decorations going up on Halloween here in Medellin, while I was still searching for a costume. They don’t have Thanksgiving in between so I guess they were just amped to start covering the city in lights instead of fake spider webs. Cat cafes are such a weird concept to me, but I would definitely go. Love me some kitties!

    • Yeah, I definitely like having Thanksgiving to help to slow things down a little, though the radio station started with Christmas music a full week before Thanksgiving this year!

      I’ve heard of bunny cafes in Japan…That would be pretty cute too.

  • Nat

    I can’t wait to go to the new cat café next time I’m in New York! The caves at Inwood Hill Park also sound cool; I had no idea they were there while I was living in New York, or else I definitely would’ve gone! I miss Pisticci’s fettuccine ai funghi!

    • You can make bookings up to 2 months in advance. I haven’t seen the caves, but it sounds cool! I miss Pisticci too!