This year for the Christmas season, I headed to the Big Apple. I have always heard that New York is an incredible place to be during the holidays and the pictures prove it. Although one key element (in my mind) to Christmas was missing, snow, I still enjoyed myself and taking in the extravagant decorations that New York has to offer. Since I was only in New York for a short period of time, about two and a half days, there will be two or three travel diaries to go along with this trip. 


As soon as we entered New York, we headed to the New York botanical gardens. Sounds a little strange, doesn't it, going to see flowers during the winter season? However, the New York botanical gardens has a special event for the holidays, a holiday train show. Located in the Haupt Conservatory, model trains zip by the famous New York landmarks made out of trees, twigs, nuts, and other natural resources that can be found in your own backyard. Although I don't care much for trains, I know some people are avid train collectors out there in the world, I came for the buildings. I think that it is such a creative idea to create these buildings, because they're so detailed and realistic. It's crazy to think that an something like a pinecone could be made into the eagle on the outside of Grand Central Station. 

New York Botanical Gardens

The Haupt Conservatory not only housed the spectacular displays for the holiday train show, but it also housed many other plants species that could be seen. There were three other sections in the conservatory (that I saw, there could be more, but I'm not sure) the desert, the tropics, and the aquatic life. However, I was most intrigued by the train show, since I had already been to many botanical gardens before and was more mesmerized by the model buildings, which I had not seen before and are truly unique. 

New York Botanical Gardens

New York Travel Diary

One of my favorite things about the train show was that they displayed the trains and the buildings alongside the foliage. It was just so much prettier to see the models among the lush tropical plants. Not only did it make them perfect for pictures, but it added a whole new aura to the exhibition. 

New York Botanical Gardens

New York Botanical Gardens

New York Botanical Gardens

New York Botanical Gardens

Following the Holiday Train show, we ventured onto Greenwich Village, where we walked through the brick townhouses and then stopped for some pizza (New York pizza is a must!) for lunch. This area seemed to have quite a few eateries and bakeries that I would have loved to try. If I lived in this area, I would be sure to try all the food in the area.  

Following West Village, we headed into Midtown to check into our hotel. It was definitely a super busy time of the year, since there was an enormous line to check in. If you're planning on visiting New York, note that you will probably find yourself waiting in a lot of lines, especially in the heart of Manhattan. Since the city is just full of people, there will be many times where you'll have to wait patiently for your turn, whether it comes to restaurants, checkouts, entrances, and even the food trucks have lines!

New York Travel Diary

After checking into our hotel, we ventured into the crowds once again. During Christmas, there are all kinds of decorations throughout the city and we intended to see as many as we could. We must have passed by the Radio City music hall at least twenty times throughout our whole trip and each time we passed, there was always a huge crowd gathering for the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Although I'm sure that the show was just as spectacular as promised, we decided to not go to it and see a Broadway musical instead. That night, we were heading to see Aladdin and intended to do some sightseeing on the way to the theater and grab a bite.

New York Travel Diary

On our way to the theater, we decided to stop at Bryant Park to take in the festive atmosphere. There were tons of shops around this area that we took our time browsing, but we also came for the lights and the tree. In the park, Christmas music was playing and there were lights illuminating the rink, where a lot, and I mean a lot, of people were ice skating on. From there you could get a view of the Empire State building, which was festively lit with red and green lights. 

New York Travel Diary

After leaving Bryant Park, we searched for a place to eat. At first, we thought that we would try out one of the food halls/food courts that New York City had to offer. Yes, a food court, which in my mind usually associates with Panda Express and Sbarro, but Manhattan is much more sophisticated than that. The food courts have some high quality eats with all types of cuisine, ranging from sushi to lobster rolls to tacos. However, we actually ended up eating at an Italian place instead, called Trattoria Trecolori. This restaurant is reservation only and even though we hadn't made one, they managed to seat us anyways. The staff was friendly and the food was delicious, probably worth making a reservation for. 

New York Travel Diary

And of course, we had to visit Times Square as our last stop before the theater. Although I had already been to Times Square before, I've visited New York two times in the past, we still came by. If you've never been to Times Square before, know that it is very busy and always packed with people, especially during the nighttime. Yes, Times Square can be exciting, but I think that it's not actually the most interesting part of New York City.

New York Travel Diary

And to end off the day, we sat down in the New Amsterdam Theatre for Aladdin. I really enjoyed this show, despite already knowing the story and plot. However, it didn't exactly follow the movie in its entirety. Things were changed for them to better fit the stage and throw in some laughs for the audience and although some would consider it to be a disgrace if it doesn't follow the original movie, I liked the ways that they changed it and I found it a lot more entertaining than the movie. If you're considering watching a Broadway musical, I would definitely recommend Aladdin. It reminds you of your Disney days but it also has a ton of laughs thrown in and spectacular singing and dancing. Not to mention, the costumes are incredible. I read in the playbill that 1,428 Swarovski crystals are sewn into one pair of chorus members' pants in the finale of the show. Extravagant, I know. However, if Aladdin isn't for you, I would definitely recommend Wicked or Matilda, which I saw two years ago, also in New York and loved. 

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