When the weather turns cold and the holidays are within reach, there is nothing more magical than wandering through New York during the festive season.
From sparkly light displays to stunning Christmas trees standing proud and tall, there are so many amazing festive photo opportunities to discover. With the help of some New York-savvy bloggers, we’ve rounded up some of the most Instagram-worthy spots in New York for taking the perfect festive snap.
Image credit: @empirestyleofmind, Instagram
Originally from Florida, Emily from Empire Style of Mind is part photographer, part Marketing & Sustainable Fashion graduate. As Emily has got used to her new urban chic lifestyle, she says you can’t beat capturing a picture at the famous New York attraction Rockefeller Plaza during the holidays!
“The quintessential spot for taking holiday photos in New York that just cannot be beaten is Rockefeller Plaza! It's the most festive area in the city around this time of year and the spirit you will feel while taking in the ice-skating rink, the huge tree, the sparkling lights, and the bustling crowds, cannot compare.”
Image credit: @jacobthefu, Instagram
If it starts snowing during your visit you’d be tempted to head to the nearest parks, but Jacob recommends heading to Brooklyn Bridge instead. “Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most popular Instagram spots in NYC but is extra magical when it snows. Plus, if you're willing to brave through the cold, it's usually less crowded!”
Image credit: @empirestyleofmind, Instagram
You can’t go to New York during the most magical time of year and not snap a photo in the famous Central Park!
“A close second would, of course, be Central Park,” says Emily. “Especially the area around the Great Lawn. When blanketed by snow, with the skyline in the background, it's a beautiful vista of glimmering white.”
Jacob also recommends heading to the park if you’re looking to make the most of the snow-covered greenery. “Central Park is full of photo opportunities and when there is fresh powder, it truly becomes a winter wonderland. Visit during sunrise to avoid the crowds.”
Jacob also knows a few secret spots and photo op-gems around the park that are worth exploring while you’re in the Big Apple, which you can read about here.
Image credit: @chasingsunsetsabroad, Instagram
If you’re looking for some quirky one-of-a-kind shots, there are plenty of pop-ups across New York this holiday season, says Jacob. “NYC has amazing pop-ups throughout the year, but the holidays tend to bring even more. Each one is unique and has plenty of photo ops!”
From enjoying all things sugary at Candytopia to the 90th anniversary Mickey Mouse exhibition, these pop-up events are visually spectacular and offer some amazing backdrops that will have you feeling like a model starring in your own photoshoot. These pop-up shops aren’t around forever, so they really will create a unique snap to remember in your feed.
To see what other pop-up events are in New York during your visit, check out Local Adventurer’s pop-up events calendar.
Image credit: @alleygirl, Instagram
If you’re looking for a festive day out as well as getting some great snaps, take a trip over to Bryant Park. Every year (from October!) the park welcomes roughly 170 shopping kiosks and some amazing food vendors, as well as boasting a giant, glitzy Christmas tree and an ice rink.
Betül, blogger at Alley Girl, recommends having a picture with the stunning tree in Bryant Park. Although the Rockefeller tree is the more popular when you think of New York’s grand array of Christmas trees, you’re sure to get an amazing Instagram snap standing underneath this one and its sparkling branches and views of the ice rink in the background!
Image credit: @seng_seng, Instagram
So, we’ve already included Brooklyn Bridge, but we couldn’t resist not including the impressive Manhattan Bridge too! But this time, from a slightly different angle on Washington Street in the fondly named area of DUMBO.
Claire, a writer at The Every Girl, recommends this secluded spot for taking truly breath-taking photos that embody the true feel of New York. And in the winter? It’s even more magical!
“The intersection of Washington Street and Water Street is easily one of most photogenic spots in New York City. DUMBO, a neighbourhood known for its cobblestone streets and chic lofts, got its nickname for being ‘Down Under the Manhattan Bridge.’
“Travellers who stop in the middle of the intersection (watch for cars first!) and gaze up will see the Manhattan Bridge perfectly frame the Empire State Building beneath its arches.”
The location is known for getting tourist attention, so if you’re looking to avoid the crowds, you’re better off visiting early in the morning or late in the day.
Washington Square Park
mage credit: @joethommas, Instagram
Wanting a more traditional photo? Then a visit to Washington Square and its famous arch is a must, especially in the glisteningly chilly, winter weather.
“Teeming with artists, musicians, sunbathers, performers, chess players and cute dogs and surrounded by Greenwich Village and NYU, Washington Square Park is one of the most vibrant spots in the city,” says Elaine, blogger at The Whole World is a Playground. “The backdrop of the Washington Square Arch, framing the Empire State Building with its view up 5th Avenue, makes for some awesome Instagram opportunities.”
And Elaine’s top tip? “Casually pose by the fountain with the arch and the glimpse of the Empire State Building in the background.”
Image credit: @iloveario, Instagram
For a gorgeous window display that brings out the spirit of Christmas, head down to 254 Elizabeth Street and marvel at the festive window display outside this gorgeously quaint French boutique.
“A Parisian dream in the heart of NoLita,” says Elain. “Sezane is a French lifestyle boutique with an Instagram wow factor. From the chic ‘Bonjour New York’ tiled floor to the vintage bicycle surrounded by a beautiful flower arch at its entrance, Sezane is a gorgeous capture.
“There is security on the door, but staff are welcoming so have a browse and a coffee and soak up the atmosphere.”
For the perfect pose, sit outside with a warm cup of coffee or stand in the doorway – just make sure you get those beautiful, flowery Christmas arches and the warm glow of the windows in the shot!”
Dreaming of a Christmas getaway to New York? It's not too late to book that trip! Click here to browse our New York attraction tickets.