Bryant Park: Your Ultimate “Holidays in NYC” Adventure!
New York City is a fun adventure in any season but especially sparkles during the holidays. And thanks to Peter Pan Bus Lines, traveling to NYC for the day has never been easier! Once you have arrived at the Port Authority Bus Terminal you are only three blocks away from the epicenter of holiday fun in NYC: Bryant Park.
Bryant Park is located at 47th and 6th Avenues, just a short walk from Port Authority through Times Square. Enjoy the bright lights and New Year’s Ball but don’t get distracted — a winter wonderland is waiting for you only a few minutes away. (As you stroll you might be lucky enough to catch sight of the famous Naked Cowboy as he sings to the crowds!). When you enter the park you will see the New York Public Library and a charming merry-go-round, but first things first: let’s focus on seasonal fun!
Bryant Park During The Holidays
There are several features of Bryant Park that only operate during the Holiday Season. The Bank of America Winter Village is Manhattan’s Winter Wonderland, centering around NYC’s ONLY free ice skating rink! Alongside the skating rink is The Lodge by Urbanspace, a cozy bar, and food hall where you can enjoy specialty cocktails, a barbeque smokehouse, unforgettable desserts and more. And lining all the pathways of the park is the Holiday Shops, where over 175 merchant kiosks offer a dizzying array of food, clothing, crafts and artisanal goods.
Get Your Skates On!
The Rink might be free, but it is very popular so you should still plan ahead. Even if you bring your own skates, you still need a ticket to get on the ice. Luckily, this year they have added an online reservation system so you can reserve your time slot (and prepay for your skates if you are renting). Free lockers are available for storing your bags but you must bring your own lock (or buy one on-site for $12).
Once you’re in the Skating Pavilion, enjoy the ice!
The Lodge at Urbanspace
Once you are done skating, or if you’re more into people-watching and relaxing, it’s time to hit The Lodge. This rinkside food hall is overflowing with ambiance and festive holiday décor, making it perfect for daytime hangs or nighttime dinner and drinks. Most importantly, the vaulted glass ceilings give you an open-air feeling, while keeping you toasty warm!
After reviewing the many delicious options, we finally decided on Mayhem Smokehouse, which specializes in slow-braised sandwiches, as well as mac & cheese, specialty fries and full BBQ plates (if you are very hungry, check out “The After Skate Plate,” a truly spectacular array of pulled pork, ribs, chicken, and sides that feeds up to four people!). We opted for the BBQ Mac, a hearty portion of homemade mac and cheese loaded up with pulled pork, smoked sausage and jalapeno, and topped with their homemade barbeque sauce. On a chilly day, this was the perfect meal to warm us up!
What is a meal without dessert, however? So off we went to The Stackery, which serves “chimney cakes.” These Eastern European pastries are twisted into a spiral “chimney,” and then filled with a variety of goodies. We chose the Yule Want S’More, filled with Nutella, graham cracker cheesecake whip, chocolate and marshmallows, and then toasted to perfection with a torch right before serving. It tasted like a crisp churro cup filled with chocolatey/marshmallowy goodness, and was a perfect shareable treat for two!
The Holiday Shops
Once you are full, warm, and ready to head back outside, the Holiday Shops await! These custom-built kiosks line every path and walkway in the park, offering artisanal food and enough boutiques for you to check everyone off your gift list! After walking and browsing the novelty items of Nuop Design and the custom Christmas ornaments of North Pole, we were feeling hungry again, and had to face the age-old dilemma: fried pickles or mozzarella sticks? The crispy garlic-and-parsley encrusted sticks of warm Wisconsin cheese offered by Big Mozz won out this time, but don’t worry, Pickle Me Pete, we will undoubtedly be back before the Holiday Shops close for the season in early January.
Bryant Park All Year
In addition to the Winter Village, Bryant Park has quite a few attractions that are available year-round. The New York Public Library is a beautiful building guarded by its iconic stone lions, and also features an ample outdoor seating area for reading and relaxing. For the young (or young at heart), Le Carrousel is a picture-perfect merry-go-round open daily. If you are feeling competitive, you can test your ping-pong skills at the public tables – they are open every day as long as the temperature is above 45°F. Or if you need a break, relax at the Fever-Tree Porch, a comfortable outdoor lounge space which features a full bar and restaurant as well as power outlets, so you can recharge yourself and your devices at the same time!
With over 1,000 special events annually, it would be impossible to list all the performances, exercise classes, kids events and art that Bryant Park has to offer. It’s a good idea to check both their Programs Page and Calendar to see what might be going on during your visit.
If you are full of the holiday spirit and ready to see Bryant Park for yourself, let Peter Pan Bus Lines help you plan your trip to NYC today!