What are New York’s most popular holiday attractions? How far do people typically travel to spend their holiday in the Big Apple? We asked and you answered. Almost 1,000 of you took the time to answer our questions and tell us everything from what you’re doing for New Year’s Eve to which NYC holiday displays you most look forward to every year. Here is what we learned about why #welovethiscity, especially during the holiday season.
It’s the place to be. Locals aren’t making plans to leave the city over the holidays—more than 80 percent of the folks who live here will stay here through New Year’s. And when it comes to visiting, more than 80 percent of visitors will travel more than 200 miles to get here and will spend between 3 days and one week in the city.
Everybody appreciates Times Square, but not everybody wants to party there. Ask any New Yorker what they think of Times Square and you’re likely to elicit an eye roll. So it may come as surprise that visitors and locals rated Times Square in their top three favorites when it comes to NYC landmarks (Central Park came in first for both groups). That said, you’ll only find 8 percent of New Yorkers ringing in the new year in Times Square, whereas nearly half (45 percent) of visitors say they’d rather watch the ball drop in person than celebrating at a bar or club.
Where to eat is a hot topic. It doesn’t matter where you’re from – eating out is one of the most popular pastimes in the Big Apple. Finding the best restaurant, however, can be a headache, especially when you consider that the city has enough restaurants for someone to eat somewhere new each night for 54 years. The majority of visitors and locals said that they could use advice on where to eat.
There’s only one “Dream Hotel.” New York is not lacking in hotel options, but when it comes to classic NYC grandeur, one hotel is the clear frontrunner. Regardless of your zip code, The Plaza came in as the top choice for a dream hotel, ahead of the Waldorf Astoria, the Four Seasons and the St. Regis.
Oh Christmas Tree! Nearly half of visitors and about 40 percent of locals surveyed shared that the tree at Rockefeller Center was their favorite holiday display over Bryant Park and all of the city’s most popular department store window displays. (Here is what you need to know if you’re planning on attending this year’s lighting ceremony on Dec. 4.)
Nothing beats a warm mug of hot chocolate. Hot chocolate is the number one winter-time indulgence for locals and out-of-towners. Among locals, however, baked goods and cocktails rank a close second and third, respectively. (For the best chocolate hot or otherwise, check out our chocolate lover’s guide to the city.)
Nothing beats Miracle on 34th Street when it comes to holiday films set in NYC. Whether you live here or not, everyone agrees that Miracle on 34th Street best captures the holiday spirit in the city. Both groups rated it far ahead of other holiday movies set here, such as Elf, Home Alone II and The Family Man. (Learn more about movie sites from this and other films with TV and Movie Sites On Location Tours.)