About Madison S
Lives in London, United Kingdom
Since Sep 2014
Hello! I'm Maddie- a native NYer whose Wanderlust has taken her abroad again and again. Having lived in six countries, and visiting others for school, work, leisure, and sport, I've adopted many localities, and am an admirer of a great many more. An avid scholar of language and culture, I hope to keep expanding my travel repertoire, and sharing great stories with the rest of the travel community. To give you some background on my travels, I spent months each year since childhood in Old Montreal, where part of my family lives. Summers were spent visiting folks in Ft. Lauderdale and L.A. My first big trip outside of the US on my own was to Australia & New Zealand at 12- I caught the bug early! I then moved to Japan where I studied for part of high school & uni. I am very familiar with Japanese cities, Sapporo and Osaka especially. Some of my favourite travel destinations include Goreme, Dubai, Marrakech, and Queenstown. (Plans for 2015 include China & Uganda!) Nice to meet you!
Points of Interest & Landmarks, Architectural Buildings
Bars & Clubs
Points of Interest & Landmarks
Department Stores, Gift & Speciality Shops,
Points of Interest & Landmarks, Theatres
Gift & Speciality Shops
Speciality Museums, Libraries
Dinner Theatres, Bars & Clubs, Concerts, Blues Clubs & Bars
Natural History Museums
Art Museums, Sacred & Religious Sites
Flea & Street Markets
There's nothing more quintessentially New York than a holiday visit to Rockefeller Center. Whether you're going for the tree lighting, the ice skating, or just the brilliant display of large-scale, brightly-lit decorations, festivity is bound to be in the air! Surrounded by a similarly merry selection of shops, the gigantic tree and public skating rink serve as a focal point.
Winter Village at Bryant Park is another staple of the New York holiday calendar. The park is transformed to house a 17,000-square-foot public outdoor skating rink, and 125 micro holiday shops open to revelers. The mini boutiques, which span the alleys around the park in neat, brightly illuminated wooden rows, are meant to pay homage to the holiday markets of Europe. Each cozy kiosk has its own focus, so whether you're in the mood for hot cocoa and a handmade ornament, or a local hot dog and an astounding gift idea, Winter Village has you covered. The carousel and reading corner remain open, and heated restaurant terraces stay full into the evening.
After a visit to either the Winter Village or the skate rink at Bryant Park, a stop at Celsius can help warm you up. With gorgeous rink-side views (especially wonderful at night, when everything including the holiday tree is lit up), diners can choose to sit indoors or on the heated terrace. The glass enclosure features a lounge, bar, and restaurant, so visitors are welcome to a peppy pick-me-up of hot wine, or can sit down to a full holiday dinner right in the heart of things.
Fifth Avenue has long been the shopping destination extraordinaire for Manhattanites - but for the holiday season, this legendary street really goes all out! Decked out in holiday lights and strung up with giant snowflakes, the storefronts along the avenue sure get into the spirit of things. Some buildings have light shows, while others spruce up with decorations, and shop windows are gorgeously adorned to entice shoppers through their doors. Even if you're not looking to shop 'til you drop, it's worth visiting for the windows alone. Some more famous ones? Barney's New York, curated by the likes of Baz Luhrmann and Henri Bendel, always has a magical, Wonderland-like take on the season; plus, there's the Saks 3D light show, and Tiffany's sumptuous displays to look out for.
So long as we're talking about amazing holiday windows, the display at Bergdorf Goodman is world-famous... and for good reason! Eleven months of planning go into their five main windows along Fifth Avenue. Always an extravaganza of art, architecture, storytelling, and fashion, these are perhaps the most photographed holiday windows in the world. Plus, it doesn't hurt that Bergdorf is also a multi-level shopping mecca with top-notch service and brands for all your luxury needs! So whether you're window shopping or in the market for a personal shopper, this is worth a visit.
Herald Square is Macy's multi-story flagship store. When the holiday season strikes, so does Santaland: an extravagant indoor village of reindeer and toy trains. Outside, Macy's six windows become a storyboard, with moving displays and LED lights, retelling a popular holiday tale from window to window. Shop around for some new kicks, or just drop by to see the free, motorized show!
Radio City Music Hall opened to the public in 1932, and has been producing fantastical shows ever since. Its Christmas Spectacular is a seasonal staple, featuring the world-famous Rockettes dancers, and is a feast for the eyes and ears, with light-up sets, 3D technology, and big musical numbers that feature everything from 'Nutcracker' style ballet to giant toys and teddies dancing along to yuletide tunes. Especially wonderful for families, but magical for all ages, the show is made bigger and better every year.
The David H. Koch Theatre at Lincoln Center will be ringing in the 2016 holiday season with a 60th-anniversary performance of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker. The piece, performed by the full company and set to the score by Tchaikovsky, features incredible sets and stunning choreography. Even if you've seen The Nutcracker before, this version features a 40-foot tree and an onstage blizzard, which may just add an extra pinch of spice to the sweet story.
The winter season at the Queens Botanical Garden may surprise you. It features a quaint holiday marketplace with bespoke local gifts, alongside a selection of flora that can outlast the chillier months. If you're looking for a more peaceful adventure in the big city, its snowy walks might be just the thing, and children will enjoy a visit too, with a number of activities geared towards them - from holiday crafting to winter storytelling.
Hearth has had a growing reputation of popularity and excellence ever since it opened its doors in the East Village. Why does it make the holiday list? Well, apple cider donuts, of course! Hearth serves up its donuts - a fall and winter treat - with a luxuriant maple syrup glaze, apple compote, and whipped cream. Not to mention, a tall glass of piping hot apple cider being available on the side! If you're visiting NYC, warm apple-themed foods are just a must when it's cold outside.
FAO Schwartz is a children's paradise — especially during the holidays. From the 'Toy Soldiers' that greet you at the door, to the larger-than-life teddies, to the candy-land on the first floor... there's a ton to do, see, and explore! The flagship store features three floors, many with interactive elements, like story time and science experiments, not to mention a whole selection of customizable toys. Find a perfect gift for a tot you know, or let them personally design their own dream toy!
The Jewish Museum offers a wonderful holiday event and exhibition. Home to a year-round permanent collection of art, media, and artifacts, that insightfully document Jewish culture, the museum hosts a special annual event for Hannukah. 'Family Day' invites all visitors to create a Hanukkah menorah from repurposed materials, decorate dreidels, listen to holiday tracks, and even take in a holiday show. This DIY day also marks the opening of the museum's seasonal Hanukkah lamp display!
The Morgan Library puts its best foot forward for the holiday season. Along with displaying the original manuscript of 'A Christmas Carol' by Charles Dickens, the library offers numerous cozy corners and picturesque hearths to snuggle up with a book, and have a good read indoors, away from the cold.
B.B. King's noted music lounge in midtown, offers a festive ensemble for the holiday season! Nearly every night (and some matinees!) are filled-up with Motown, gospel, and rock performances, served up with a side of tasty food and drink. Some shows are more festive than others, so be sure to check the schedule ahead of time and pick the sound that's right for you!
If this seems like a bizarre holiday destination, then hold onto your antlers! The Origami Holiday Tree at the American Museum of Natural History is actually a long-standing New York tradition. Each year the origami is based on a new theme, inspired by elements of natural history and chosen by the museum's staff. Five hundred hand-folded origami fish, animals, and artifacts stud the lighted tree, making for one of the most unique and lovingly-crafted visual displays the city has to offer.
Taking guests on a tour of the development of modern traditions through the last century, from decor to records, this museum provides New York's only glimpse at a fully-preserved home from the 1800s - and during the festive season, it decks itself out in full, 19th century holiday regalia. Plus, the museum hosts an annual reading of 'A Christmas Carol,' a tradition started by Charles Dickens himself!
The Cloisters, the Metropolitan Museum's dedicated European medieval art and architecture branch, always dresses itself up in unique style to celebrate 'Christmastide.' The ancestor of the modern-day holiday, the halls and gardens of the Cloisters are re-decorated in period-appropriate regalia so that visitors can peek in upon, learn about, and even join in the fun of a medieval celebration. Best of all, Fuentiduena Chapel becomes a music hall, featuring a Dutch acapella group singing 15th-Century Bruges, a symphonic version of 'The Christmas Story,' with 15th century compositions, Leipzig Vespers, and more.
Chelsea Market has a special lineup for the holidays. A seasonal bazaar, to be exact, with off-beat presents in the form of local artisan offerings - ranging from arts and crafts to vintage and vinyl. Located in one of New York's best foodie spots, indoors and illuminated by fairy lights for the winter season, it's certainly worth a visit to get out of the blustery weather and into a land of new gift ideas.