David and I popped down to NYC last week to enjoy a few days soaking up Christmas in the city. Our NYC apartments were downtown when we lived there (Greenwich Village and Gramercy) but on this trip we spent most of our time uptown so I wanted to put together a little list of some of our favorite uptown spots in case you have a NYC trip coming up this holiday season!
Ralph’s Coffee on Madison – You can either grab takeaway and sit outside (there’s a fun table on the steps of the neighboring brownstone for one lucky party), or opt for table service inside on chilly days.
Sant Ambroeus – Small coffee bar offshoots of the restaurant, it’s fun to feel like you’re in Milan for a moment at their Park or 3rd Ave locations.
Laduree – A small shop perfect for quickly fueling with a coffee and macaron!
Monkey Bar – A great spot for old New York glamour in Midtown east, meet for a drink in the bar before heading into the restaurant for dinner. Come hungry as the portions are huge, and we especially loved the truffle mac ‘n cheese and enormous slice of carrot cake.
Cafe Sabarsky – This old world Viennese cafe is perfect for lunch during a day of museum hopping. Order the hot chocolate and I dare you to resist picking a dessert from their beautiful display.
La Goulue – Another old New York favorite we used to go here after church. Very good French menu, with an eccentric UES clientele.
Bemelmans – This famed bar in The Carlyle Hotel is the spot to dress up and order a few too many martinis. While I love listening to the the pianist, the early crowd at (5:30-8:30pm) is prone to wearing new balance sneakers and company zip-up fleeces with manners to match. I recommend going around 9pm when the jazz trio starts and guests put a little more effort into dressing themselves.
J.G. Melon – A casual, old school haunt that’s just the right amount of kitsch. Great for a late night meal (and by meal I mean get the burger).
The Polo Bar – Plan ahead if you want a reservation, they usually book up the same day reservations are released. Be sure to abide by the dress code!
The Campbell Bar – Tucked into a corner of Grand Central Station this clubby spot is perfect date night spot for a drink and late night jazz.
Clubs – My favorite clubs include The Union League Club, The Yale Club, and the Explorers Club (members & guests only).
The Nutcracker Ballet – Nothing ignites the childlike wonder of Christmas like this classic ballet. Plus Lincoln Center always feels inherently festive during the holidays.
Handel’s Messiah – A must in my book, my favorite performances are in the beautiful old churches on the Upper East Side at St. Thomas or our former church, Central Presbyterian. (Performances are this week!)
Central Park – Always worth a wander, I love the contrast of the park setting and city skyline (especially the view of the Plaza Hotel over the trees). Wollman’s Rink is fun for ice skating too!
Afternoon Tea at the Plaza Palm Court – I’ve done teas all over the city over the years but this one is really worth the hype. I also love getting a glass of champagne at their Lobby bar. (Tea at The Whitby is another favorite!)
Shopping – My favorite NYC shops are mostly on and around Madison Ave (instead of 5th) and include: Stubbs and Wootton (shoes), Dempsey & Carroll (stationery), Scully & Scully (home goods), D Porthault (linens), Kwiat (jewelry), The Corner Bookstore (books), Beretta Gallery (sporting goods), William-Wayne & Co. (home goods), Ann & Sid Mashburn (lifestyle & clothing), and Ralph Lauren (no explanation necessary).
Christmas Displays – Of course you have to take a walk up 5th Avenue during Christmas, with Rockefeller Center, St. Patrick’s Church and Bergdorf’s windows topping my must-see list!
Brooks Brothers Coat (old, similar here)
Fleur Sauvage Scarf c/o (20% off with code “Stacie20”)
Paige Maternity Denim (TTS)