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  • Writer's pictureLily Burns

Go to the Bryant Park Christmas Village

New York City in the winter has its pros and cons. The black slush and piles of snow on icy roads and sidewalks that appear after the first snowfall- one of the cons. The winter village in Bryant Park- one of the pros.

Bryant Park is one of my top NYC parks, especially in the summer and early winter. Every year they host their winter village where you can find an ice skating rink, food + drink, and shops. It's really great for all ages. The lounge area has a great bar and I always looked forward to their ice rink and hot chocolate stands as a kid.

The village is a little overwhelming because there's too many places to go to and a lot of people around. If you don't know where to begin, here are my favorite things to do and go to at the park!

*I'd recommend going on a weekday. It's still busy, but the lines are much shorter than on the weekend!

My top activity is window shopping because I can't afford a lot of the things here! It is a bit expensive, but so is a lot of NYC (especially the touristy areas, like this one). Seriously though, I find I don't need to buy everything there. Just browsing and people watching can be enough! I remember listening to a podcast (The Minimalists) a while ago and they spoke about how just window shopping (online or in person) can give you as much satisfaction as buying things you may never use or you don't need. Try it out!

That being said, I have bought a few Christmas gifts at these shops over the years! I believe this will be the third year I bought my sister earrings from this market. She always wears fun, dangling earrings so it's my go-to Christmas present. Waiting on her to tell me she no longer wants to receive earrings as gifts...

There are quite a few stores here and I don't remember them all by name, but a quick walk through is easy enough. Definitely check out the many jewelry stores here, some are expensive but others are fairly reasonable! There's also some really great art stores selling canvases, totes, sculptures, photos- the works. There's a few odd shops dedicated to cats, lights, beautiful journals, or crystals. Even some for things like hot sauce or truffle oil! It's worth walking through the park to see what catches your eye. Here are a couple of shops I remember by name though:

Mure & Grand- This is a really cute, colorful, and trendy store! They have jewelry, some hoodies and sweaters, clips, little bags, socks, and more. A bit more on the expensive side, but worth trying out for those friends that enjoy cute graphics and being hip (did I really just say that? Yeah... I'm leaving it).

Dekco- A really cool assortment of posters, photos, and other decorations. I've gotten a few New Yorker covers here and have friends that've gotten those old-timey, metal signs you hang on a wall (have no idea how else to describe them). If you know someone who likes to collect art or cool signs, check it out.

The food here is absolutely delicious. It's really hard to pick a spot. I unfortunately didn't find too many fun vegetarian options (I'm sure there are even less vegan options :/), but there's still some gems. And loads of delicious bakeries.

Pickle Me Pete- Hot girls love pickles. I don't make the rules. This place sells an assortment of pickles AND fried pickles on a stick. So good. A bit hard to eat. I found myself stabbing myself in the mouth with the stick, on accident of course.

No Chewing Allowed!- This chocolate shop is amazing. Even more amazing is the fact that they hand out samples of their chocolate!! As the name suggests, you're not meant to chew the chocolate because it's supposed to just melt in your mouth. Which it practically does. They also make a good hot chocolate.

United Chocolate Works- This is a chocolate factory in Brooklyn selling amazing hot chocolate (in my opinion, my sister thought it was just good) and fun chocolate creations at their kiosk in Bryant Park. They sell chocolates in the shapes of trains, cameras, angels, and more. You can even get some chocolate on top of your hot coco!

Bao by Kaya- Here, my sister and I had a delicious Buddha Bao with fried tofu and yummy sweet chili sauce and spring rolls. They had non-vegetarian options, but I honestly was too into the Buddha Bao to pay much attention.

Winter Pie Shop- This cute shop has amazingly glazed pies that they'll offer to reheat for you!!! Which you should most definitely do! Here's the apple crumb cake my friend got (next time I go I'm going for the cherry 🤤).

The park is also doing a small business spotlight! They're currently on their last business (others were featured earlier), but it's worth checking out. It's currently Blue Paws Art, an adorable shop for all the pet lovers in your life! The shop is also Hispanic and LGBTQ+ owned!

Bryant Park at Christmas time is my favorite NYC winter activity, so I hope I've convinced you to check out some of my favorite spots there!! Check 'em out and tell me which are your favorite!

It’s only running until the first week of January, but it comes back every year!

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