LINDSEY BURNS & KRISTIE KILLEN
Like decorating a Christmas tree or icing snowman shaped cookies, exploring Bryant Park during the holiday season is sure to put you in the Christmas spirit.
Offering a plethora of options, Bryant Park provides endless entertainment for tourists and New Yorkers alike, and ice skating in the center of the Bank of America Winter Village is a must during the winter season.
Access to the rink is free (always a plus for broke college students!), and skate rentals cost $15. There are also free lockers to put your shoes and small personal belongings in, just make sure to bring your own lock in order to save yourself from dishing over the $9 it costs for a rental lock. If you need more space to keep your stuff, there is a bag check that costs $8.
In order to beat the crowds and long, winding lines, it is better to arrive earlier rather than later. This way, the lines are relatively short and there is not too much of a crowd. Less crowds means more skating freedom!
One major perk of the Bryant Park ice skating rink, as opposed to the one in Rockefeller Center, is that general admission at Rockefeller Center is only good for 30 minutes, even though there is an admission fee of $27-$30, whereas at Bryant Park, you can stay on the rink for as long as you would like for free.
There is nothing quite like ice skating to a variety of classic New York tunes, with some traditional Christmas carols mixed in, and looking up and seeing the Empire State Building towering above you. Talk about embracing the city we live in!
The Bank of America Winter Village also consists of over one hundred tiny pop up shops surrounding the ice skating rink, filled with delicious goodies perfect for warming you up after a few hours on the rink and with fun trinkets perfect for gift giving.
There are a wide variety of gourmet food shops, with food options ranging from sushi (Sushi Republic), to soups and paninis (Witchcraft), to French crêpes (Crepe Café). The hot chocolate options spread throughout the winter market are enough to make any chocolate lover’s mouth water, and sipping one of these delectable drinks is the perfect way to warm up in the winter cold.
Browsing through the Christmas themed shops, filled to the brim with Christmas ornaments and decorations, one cannot help but get in the Christmas spirit. There are also several jewelry shops, New York City themed shops and art shops. The Bryant Park Bank of America Winter Village is an ideal destination for Christmas shopping, even for the hardest people to shop for, as there is an immense variety of shops in the market.
So take the 1 train downtown and stop by Bryant Park between 40th and 42nd Streets and Fifth and Sixth Avenues sometime this winter, especially before finals, to experience some holiday cheer. Embrace the cold weather by going ice skating and drinking some hot chocolate. Get some Christmas shopping done. Get out of your dorm and embrace the snow-covered city by visiting this iconic park.