Christmas in New York City is as magical as you have imagined.


One of about 1,000 selfies Brooke and I took during our recent trip to New York City.

By SARA VANDEN BERGE


If, like me, you believe that Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, then a trip to New York City in December should be on your bucket list.


The Daughter and I just returned from a three-night stay in the Big Apple where we shopped, toured and ate our way through the city.

And, yes, it was absolutely magical.


The one and only other time I have visited NYC was at Christmas a few years ago. I couldn’t wait to go back and this year I got the chance to enjoy it with my daughter.


I posted tons of pictures from our trip to my personal Facebook page and received several questions about our experience.


So for those of you planning a visit to NYC soon (or dreaming of one), here’s a little info about our trip and a few things we learned along the way.

SHOPPING: Some of the best shopping in the world happens in New York, and even if making purchases is not on your to-do list, visiting the big name department stores is a must. The window displays are like nothing you have ever seen.


Saks Fifth Avenue is a place you definitely don’t want to miss. Its windows are spectacular and the evening light show is incredible. Saks is near the famous Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center so the entire area is worth spending some serious time enjoying.

CENTRAL PARK: This sprawling jewel located between the Upper West and Upper East sides of Manhattan is not only beautiful, it’s full of cool touristy things you won’t want to miss.


But at 843 acres, it’s easy to get lost if you don’t know where you’re going (or what you should be looking for), so we splurged on a tour guide that zoomed us through the park on a bicycle.


Our tour guide had a wealth of information and showed us sights we might not have found like the famous fountain from “Friends,” the tribute to John Lennon (Strawberry Fields), the rock where the snowball fight on the movie “Elf” took place and the Bethesda Terrace and fountain.

DINING: There is no shortage of amazing restaurants in NYC, and while some of the fancier places are special, the local pubs and bars are worth checking out.


If you like great Italian, Carmine’s is a must (and so are reservations). The family-style restaurant is located in the heart of Times Square and it’s bustling with festivity this time of year.

If you’re looking for an upscale dining experience, Tavern on the Green is definitely worth the splurge. We enjoyed the holiday brunch that comes with a pre-fixed menu and it didn’t disappoint.


Tavern on the Green is one of those iconic places you will want to dress up for. Dining there is an experience.

THE ROCKETTES: There is no shortage of Broadway performances in NYC, but during the holidays, you have to catch the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall.


Spend a little more for the good seats and settle in for a high-energy, holiday production that will leave you on a Christmas high.

THE 9/11 MEMORIAL AND MUSEUM: This, of course, isn’t part of the Christmas festivities you will find in NYC this time of year, but it’s still a must-see.


I toured the memorial and museum during my last trip to the city and the experience is both powerful and somber. Every American should see it.

My daughter and I showed up on Saturday afternoon and learned that the tickets had just sold out for the day, so make a reservation by purchasing yours ahead of time.


We were still able to visit the memorial pools that include the names of each victim, but we missed an important part of the experience by not getting a chance to tour the museum

WALL STREET: This was a really interesting part of the city to visit.


The famous Charging Bull bronze sculpture is only a short walk from the 9/11 museum. You’ll know when you arrive because it’s surrounded by throngs of people jockeying for a picture.


After you take yours, you will want to walk a little further to see the New York Stock Exchange. Located in the Financial District of Lower Manhattan, the iconic sites are fun to see.

If you need to take a rest, pop into one of the many local coffee shops and bakeries you’ll find in the area.


Our trip to NYC was fast and furious. We walked at least seven miles every day so wear good shoes.


And, of course, dress warm. It’s cold at Christmas.