New York is justifiably famous for its landmarks of holiday cheer: Central Park’s picturesque skating rink, Rockefeller Center’s staggeringly-tall Christmas tree, and the lavish window displays at Bergdorf’s, Saks, and Macy’s are icons for a reason. But a visit to these winter hot spots also means wading through mind-bogglingly dense crowds. Once you’ve survived these classics, escape the throngs of tourists and head to one of these cozy stops that bring the good vibes without bursting your personal space bubble.
Photo Courtesy: mahzedahrbakery
Winter weather and hot chocolate go hand in hand, and Mah-Ze-Dahr does a steady trade on the nostalgic treat. You could grab yours to go, sipping on the rich elixir as you stroll along the picture-perfect West Village streets, but we have a feeling you’ll want to linger inside the bakery’s chic interior. If a heartier snack is on the agenda, nibble your way through the pastry case; really, any order is a good order, but if you need a nudge in the right direction, the cocoa-crusted cheesecake or Mah-Ze-Dahr Bar are particularly great.
Brioche doughnut, Mah-Ze-Dahr Bar, cheesecake, Dark Chocolate Explosion Cookie
Photo Courtesy: ML
For an up-close glimpse of Gilded Age grandeur, wander through the opulent rooms of The Morgan Library, J.P. Morgan’s personal library turned museum. Rows of leather-bound books scrape the frescoed ceilings, lush Persian rugs line the floors, and chandeliers emit their majestic glow. And that’s just the decor; you’ll also find a rotating collection of art and rare manuscripts that rivals museums many times its size.
Photo Courtesy: cocoronteam
Take the chill off with a steaming bowl of noodle soup at Cocoron, a tiny Japanese restaurant that specializes in soba. Here, nutty buckwheat strands float in a sea of soy- or sesame-based broth — or, in the case of dip soba, are dunked into your choice of broth, for a meal with an interactive element. Whichever you choose, be sure to start with the shop’s superlative silky tofu (it’s nothing like those vacuum-sealed supermarket blocks). Word to the wise: if given a choice, sit at the L-shaped wooden bar for an experience that’ll transport you straight to Tokyo.
Mera Mera dip soba, homemade silky tofu, warm yuba soba
Photo Courtesy: smallplansbigtrips
Whether you’re searching for the perfect holiday gift or are looking to round out your collection of kooky mugs, this quirky purveyor of kitchen goods ought to be on your list. Charmingly-cluttered, this NYC institution offers up a cheerful selection of vintage and vintage-inspired cake stands, platters, and dish towels emblazoned with everything from retro floral patterns to Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s portrait.
Photo Courtesy: wallflowernyc
Make Wallflower, a diminutive West Village gem, your holiday hideout. With a cocktail program designed by Daniel’s former head bartender, you know the drinks will be dreamy; rounded out with a menu of elevated bistro fare, it’s no wonder why this spot is a local favorite. But, first booze: let the warmth wash over your body as you sip on a whiskey (any of the Japanese labels are a surefire bet), or work your way down the creative cocktail list (the Negroni Carbonato is a good place to start). Sip by sip you’ll soothe away your seasonal stress.
Negroni Carbonato, Cornelia, oysters, dry-aged NY Strip steak
Photo Courtesy: live2leave
Around the corner from Washington Square Park lies one of the city’s coziest hotel lobbies. Sip on Manhattans at the bar inside Margaux, The Marlton’s Parisian-chic bistro, or, for a boost of energy, queue up to the corner espresso bar for Wes Anderson vibes. For the ultimate move, snag a spot by the fireplace in the wood-paneled lounge. As the fire crackles, page through a book, plot your next move, or stealthily engage in prime people-watching.
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