December in New York City is defined by festive outdoor markets, bright Christmas lights and fun winter activities. So while it can be a cold and snowy month, there’s no excuse to not go outside and explore the wonderful season.
This month, throw on some warm and comfortable clothes and get ready to explore the Big Apple with your friends. Best of all? You won’t have to break the bank to have a fun time.
Here, a to-go-to list of places that are (almost) free to visit:
Bryant Park Winter Village
In New York City’s winter wonderland, you can find the ever-magical Bryant Park Winter Village. If you’re in the mood to partake in fun and free activities, this is the place to go, as it’s where you’ll find NYC’s only free ice-skating rink. It’s perfect if you’re running low on cash but still want to enjoy the outdoor activities.
At Bryant Park, you’ll also find holiday shops where they sell, among other things, clothing and accessories, artwork, health items, makeup, jewelry, sweets and games for kids.
If you start to feel hungry after a few hours at Bryant Park, grab a drink and something to eat nearby. The Lodge, which is right around the corner, offers a dozen of new and classic NYC eateries.
Union Square Holiday Market
If you’re looking for a more downtown vibe, head to the Union Square Holiday Market. This must-go-to market offers live music for entertainment and warming stations for you to get cozy.
The Union Square Holiday Market has over 100 vendors with local craftsmen and artists. Once inside, you’ll find everything from eco-friendly bags and accessories, made from recycled plastic, to handmade jewelry.
Have you already been there? Good news: They’ve updated this year’s look with sections like “Little Brooklyn,” where you can find Brooklyn-based companies, and “Urbanspace Provisions,” which features locally produced food and drinks.
If you have some money to spend, Rockefeller Center is the place to be. The rink is one of NYC’s most celebrated attractions around Christmas, though there is a downside: It’s not free. To skate the rink, you have to dish out 25 bucks.
Beyond ice-skating, you can also find a lot of food options at Rockefeller, including everything from sandwiches to burgers, to sushi. What’s more, they even have vegan food! If you’re in the mood for a drink that will warm you, there are also several coffee places to choose from.
Grand Central Holiday Fair
If it gets extremely cold outside, we’ve found the perfect market for you to explore. Inside Vanderbilt Hall is the Grand Central Holiday Fair, one of the most beautiful architectural indoor fairs in NYC.
Here, you’ll find a range of products from 70 vendors that sell locally sourced or handmade artwork, clothes, accessories, toys and home goods. The vendors are all carefully picked out by their uniqueness.
Like other markets in NYC, the Grand Central Holiday Fair offers a ton of food, including over 30 dining options that are good for whatever you’re in the mood for, whether it’s a cocktail, fine dining or grab-and-go snacks.
Need some cash this December?
Provident Loan Society offers short-term loans in exchange for collateral such as gold and fine jewelry. These loans won’t impact your credit and are frequently lower than interest from credit cards.
Provident Loan Society has five New York City locations where you can bring your collateral and walk out with cash. The whole process takes 20 minutes to complete. Click here to learn more about the loan rates.
About the Author
Diana Andersson is a Swedish student studying sociology and rhetoric in Stockholm.