A busy street in New York City with modern shops seen in the background

How to make the most of Black Friday in New York City

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New York City is one of the world’s most notorious shopping destinations. So it’s no surprise that it knows how to celebrate Black Friday in style. Long before the annual shopping extravaganza hit UK shores, NYC was dishing out bargains – with famous department stores opening up early and 70% discount tags being the norm.  

If you’ve booked yourself an NYC shopping break that spans over Black Friday (or the days that follow – bargains can still be found weeks later) here is our quick guide to getting it right on the day.

Arrive at the department stores early

The department stores of New York City are world-famous and, as a result, everybody heads there first. Many of them open up early, so it really is a case of “you snooze, you lose”. Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord & Taylor, Barneys, Bloomingdales, JCPenny, and Century 21 will all have a line of people waiting to get in (make sure you’re one of them). 

Macy’s will be open all night

On the topic of department stores – the iconic Macy’s has recently dropped the news that they will be open throughout the night. The doors will open at 5pm on Thursday, just hours after the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Stores will stay open until 2am then close for a few hours. The doors will re-open at 6am on Black Friday.

Get out of Midtown Manhattan

After you’ve grabbed some bargains from the big department stores, it’s time to escape Midtown Manhattan. This is the perfect excuse to head to Manhattan’s newest (and shiniest) shopper’s paradise: Brookfield Place. You’ll find even more high-end brands here, including Louis Vuitton, Lululemon, Saks Fifth Avenue, and J Crew.

Visit the Winter Villages

If you’re looking for some unique Christmas gifts, make your way to one of NYC’s Winter Villages. You’ll find them in some of Manhattan’s most famous public squares, though Bryant Park Winter Village is the most well-known one. There you’ll find jewellery, artisan soaps, home-made candles, art prints, and other unique gifts for your loved ones.  

Follow the stores and brands on social media

Several brands and stores will offer exclusive offers on social media – including discount codes that you can show at the checkout.

Leave the British brands alone

While the shops of NYC boast many incredible deals, the big savings only really apply to American brands. Many British brands sell goods in America at a higher price – so if you’re looking for some Burberry or Vivienne Westwood, you’ll make bigger savings in London.

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Snow at Christmas New York City

Christmas Movies Set in New York City

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Christmas is just around the corner, so it’s the perfect time to snuggle up on the sofa, hot chocolate in hand, to watch your favourite festive films.

There are so many incredible movies to get you in the mood for Christmas. One thing that many of them have in common is that they are set in New York City. This concrete jungle comes alive in the winter, with elaborate lights, beautiful trees and awe-inspiring holiday windows turning it into a winter wonderland.

Here’s a list of our favourite movies set in the Big Apple that are bound to get you into the festive spirit.

Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

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Miracle on 34th Street has been beloved by fans for 70 years. It’s hard not to feel full of Christmas spirit when watching Kris Kringle bring the joy of Santa Claus to New York. This movie has won four Oscars and even inspired a Broadway play over the years!

Location Spotting: Beginning during the iconic Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, this movie is set in Manhattan, and is specifically set on West 34th Street. Macy’s Department Store is still situated there to this day – allowing for the perfect photo op for fans of the film!

Elf (2003)

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This movie may only have come out in 2003, but it has become a Christmas classic in that time. It is hard not to appreciate the beauty of New York during the holidays as you witness Buddy – raised by elves in the North Pole – discover the joy of Christmas in the city.

Location Spotting: Dozens of exterior shots of NYC were used in the filming of Elf, but one of the most memorable is of Bethesda Fountain – which Santa’s sleigh narrowly misses when it crashes in Central Park.

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)

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The second film in the ‘Home Alone’ series, this movie shows New York from the eyes of 10-year old Kevin. It’s no wonder we feel a child-like excitement for Christmas when we watch it! Even though the focus of the movie is on Kevin outsmarting and out-pranking the Wet Bandits once again, some of the scenic shots of the Big Apple will take your breath away.

Location Spotting: The heart-warming reunion between Kevin and his mother at the end of the movie takes place at the Rockefeller Centre. Would you like to make a Christmas wish there like Kevin does?

Scrooged (1988)

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Did you know that ‘Scrooged’ is a modern adaption of Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’? Bill Murray’s much-loved comedy is all about teaching inconsiderate Frank the true meaning of Christmas, with an ending that will leave you feeling warm and fuzzy inside.

Location Spotting: If you want to visit the spot where Dickens’ tale came to life, head to Park Avenue. It may look like many other office blocks in New York, but this is where Frank’s Christmas story began to unfold!

When Harry Met Sally (1989)

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This hugely successful romcom is the ultimate ‘will they, won’t they’ love story. Whilst not strictly a Christmas movie, it’s hard not to feel festive when you see Harry and Sally carrying a Christmas tree together through New York. This is the perfect movie to watch with your other half on these longer, darker nights.

Location Spotting: Get dropped off at Washington Square Park and walk through the arch, luggage in hand, to mimic Harry in the movie. Don’t forget to bring your favourite travel buddy so they can capture the perfect shot!

Have these films got you feeling festive? Let us know which location you would like to visit first in the comments below!

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More than a city: where to visit in New York State

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New York City is amazing and one of a kind; there is no denying that. But so many travellers get sucked into the glamour of Manhattan that they never step outside to see the wider New York State. A contrast to its glitzy capital, New York State is an abundance of green and natural landscapes, outdoor activities and quaint towns dazzled with that New England charm. Whether it’s your first or fifth time visiting the Big Apple we highly recommend taking a trip outside the city to explore the gems that lie within the wider state.  

1. Niagara Falls

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While this famous waterfall is mostly associated with Canada and the much-loved Toronto, it’s New York State that hugs the American border. Some visitors have even argued that New York offers a more natural experience of the falls, as the USA side is situated within national park rather than a lively tourist town. 

2. Finger Lakes

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New York’s scenic Finger Lakes region can be found in the western part of the state and is named after the 11 long, narrow, north-south lakes that stretch across its plains. Ideally suited for watersports and outdoor activities, the region is popular with active holidaymakers looking for fishing and kayaking. Wine enthusiasts will love the award-winning tipples that grown in the region, while history enthusiasts will adore the cultural attractions including the Haunted History Trail of New York State. 

3. Thousand Islands

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After visiting Niagara Falls, stop by this other natural wonder that straddles the Canada-USA border. Stretching for about 50 miles down the Saint Lawrence River, the archipelago is made up of 1,864 islands with some belonging to the province of Ontario and some belonging to the state of New York. Grindstone Island and Wellesley Island are the two most recognisable islands that belong to the USA, the first of which is filled with tourist-friendly relics.  

4. Bannerman’s Castle

Further up the Hudson River from NYC lies Pollepel Island and Bannerman’s Castle: an abandoned military ruin steeped in history and haunted tales. The island was, at one point, owned by Scottish entrepreneur Francis Bannerman who purchased it in 1900 as a storage site for his business. At 150 Main Street, Beacon, New York you’ll find the Bannerman Island Gallery that showcases work inspired by the island and castle. 

5. Adirondack Region

Head upstate to the Adirondack Region and explore the largest protected natural area in the lower 48 (it spans for more than six million acres). It will be difficult to see the whole region and different parts bring different activities. You could head to Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake regions for kayaking and canoeing, or take your pick from hiking trails in the High Peaks Wilderness in the Lake Placid Region. You can even keep a lookout for sunken shipwrecks in Adirondack Seaway near the Canadian Border. 

6. The Hamptons

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New York State’s other famous residential area is a popular seaside break for locals looking for a bit of low-key luxury. Located at the eastern end of Long Island, you’ll need to spend a pretty penny to stay here but being within easy reach of New York City itself you can easily pop out for a day-trip. 

7. International Museum of Photography and Film

The George Eastman Museum in Rochester is home to many artefacts but it is the photography and film section that makes it a must see. Considered one of the best collections in the world, visitors can gaze upon 400,000 photographic objects dating from the introduction of the medium in 1839 and admire works by over 1,000 photographers. 

8. Watkins Glen State Park

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You’ll find this natural gem at the southern tip of Seneca Lake and will be instantly mesmerised by the rock formations and waterfalls. The singular stream descends 400 feet past 200 foot cliffs, while the gorge path winds under and over waterfalls for an immersive experience.  

9. Wine tasting in Hudson Valley

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Wine enthusiasts need to make sure they visit Hudson Valley aka the oldest wine making and grape-growing region in the United States. The regions wine industry dates back as far back as 1677 and even today visitors will find a beautiful collection of wine tasting events and festivals. 

10. Allegany State Park

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Somewhere as beautiful as New York State is bound to have plenty of peaceful state parks, but Allegany clocks in as the state’s largest. Outdoor enthusiasts will love the 18 hiking trails (all of varying difficulty) while history-lovers will love exploring the ruins of a New Ireland settlement from the early 20th Century. 

Where is your favourite place to visit outside of New York City?


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Bucket List ideas for New York City

Here’s some bucketlist ideas for New York City which is the world’s melting pot of culture. This skyscraper packed metropolis is the most populated city in the US, making it one of the most diverse and culturally rich in the world, so it has to be jam packed with attractions. From famous landmarks, designer stores and […]

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