Active Travel



Active Christmas in New York

Dec 21, 2018 | Active Travel, Active Travel Guides, Kit | 6 comments

This post is sponsored by Zappos.

Christmas in New York

Anyone who has ever been on holiday with me might attest to the fact that I am not a relaxed holiday kind of person (unless I’m at my in-laws house in Portugal, in which case you’ll find me horizontal on the sun lounger for most of the week). However, in usual holiday mode, I am armed with a list of things I want to see and do. And Christmas time in NYC meant an even longer list…

Not only that, but I wanted to ensure that we were as active as possible, choosing options that would work up a sweat and create a bit of a healthy balance during this indulgent season.

Christmas in NYC

Ice Skating at Rockefeller Centre 

This was top of the list was ice skating at Rockefeller Centre, under the tree, I feel like this little rink is synonymous with the holidays in NYC.

I had read that there are long queues to skate here, given that it’s a small rink and obviously a holiday hotspot, and booking in advance was looking to be about $75 per person. It was also pouring with rain on the Sunday, which meant that the rink had a layer of water sitting on it – not ideal for the beginners in our group! S

However, Zoe and I managed to book the First Skate for the Tuesday morning, which was $45 per person, including skate rental and free hot chocolate and coffee. Plus the ice was empty, it was incredible. There were maximum 25 people in our session, the area around the rink was clear of tourists and we had the best time.

Christmas in NYC

A Festive Race 

When booking most trips, I will look to see if there’s a local race when I’m in town. Luckily this weekend there was the very small, but perfectly festive Holiday Classic 4 miler & 10K race in Central Park. It was one of the smallest races I’ve ever run, which meant that as I was starting, Zoe shouted to me – ‘you could win this’. I’d planned to use the race as my tempo run, and had run a half mile warm up to the start. 4 miles with the goal pace of 7.25-40, finishing with a 7.32 average was enough to win the female race, and come in sixth place overall! My first win (and quite possibly last!). Unfortunately, because it was a small local race. the photos are rather slow in coming, I am stalking Urban Athletics NYC Facebook page for them to be released.

Christmas in NYC

NYC Christmas

A Running Tour of Christmas Lights 

I took my new Asics GT-2000 from Zappos for a festive sightseeing run around NYC, running from my friends house next to the High Line, up through Time Square, along Fifth Avenue, around Rockefeller Centre, and up to Central Park.

I had been given a list of must-see windows by Evann, Ashley and Zoe over brunch and didn’t want to miss them. My friends and I had actually walked along 5th Avenue already, but it was in the pouring rain with thousands of tourists out doing their shopping, so I opted for an early start on Monday morning to make the most of the lights without the crowds.

NYC at Christmas

Holiday Light Hot Spots 

  • Rockefeller Tree and surrounding decorations
  • Radio City Music Hall
  • Cartier, Tiffany, Saks, Macy’s and Bergdorf Goodman shop windows
  • The Plaza Hotel Christmas decorations – nip in to see the tree inside if you can
  • Bryant Park tree and Winter Village
  • Times Square

Below are the lights at Tiffany’s and yes I made a post run stop at Starbucks for another hot chocolate!

Stability shoe for overpronation, but not stiff or uncomfortably pushing the arch, which is often my issue with stability shoes Women’s version is also suited for neutral runners because it’s a slightly different last than the men’s (probably why I liked it) Good middle of the road cushion Fits true to size Plenty of room in the toebox Shoe felt flexible on push off and comfy around the foot – it’s designed for a glove like fit, but that doesn’t mean tight 10 mm heel to toe drop is higher than I often run in, but it still felt really good and no issues with changing my foot strike

Despite it being my first test run in the trainers, they were so comfortable. I’ve worn a lot of pairs of ASICS over the years, and some of them have come up a little small/narrow, so I always make sure to order a size up (although sidenote, I often have issues with a narrow toe box but didn’t have any problems). Plus, Zappos have fast, free shipping and a 365 day return policy if you do find that they are a little too small, so no need to worry. Plus they have a range of styles to ensure you find the perfect pair.

I went for a recent gait analysis and was told that I would benefit from some light support, especially on long runs, which is one of the reasons I was so keen to trial the GT-2000 7. The shoe offers support for slight overpronation but aren’t too stiff or overcorrecting, as I’ve found in other stability shoes. Apparently, this particular model, the shoe also suits female neutral runners!

CHristmas in NYC - ASICS GT 2000 7

As a natural heel striker when I get tired, I appreciated the cushioning as well as flexibility of the sole. They use what is technically called a Impact Guidance System which is designed to enhance the runner’s natural gait rather than forcing you to change your movement pattern.

The GT-2000 7 are really lightweight whilst still provide enough support for long distance, and are versatile enough to wear for easy/long runs, long or tempo miles – the perfect travelling pair!

I’ve got a real thing for black trainers at the moment (as well as black leggings, black tops, black jackets!) so the black and white colour way were a perfect choice for me. They do also come in a light blue, grey, and navy with pink versions (I have my eye on the navy & pink too!).

A Bottomless Brunch to Remember 

After a very, very damp 16 miles through Central Park, I could not wait for our bottomless brunch at Lillies. An old Victorian restaurant near Union Square, Lillies was fully decked out for the holiday season. Another option that came up a lot when searching for things to do was Rolfs – a German restaurant and a New York institution – sadly they don’t take reservations and the queues outside were crazy (and you know how hungry a long run can make you!!)

Christmas in NYC


I actually wore my ASICS again for my day at the outlets, knowing that I would be walking a lot – I clocked up 25,000 steps! But I also successfully bought gifts for almost everyone on my list at Woodbury Commons.

SJ and I also wandered around all the market stalls at Bryant Park (the iceskating here is free if you have your own skates, or you can rent them for $20). We picked up some more presents, including some incredible aromatherapy candles that turn into body oil – I bought some that are specially designed to help with migraines and anxiety apparently! We also enjoyed a cup of delicious fresh Hot Chocolate that tasted like melted chocolate.

And some other recommendations that we didn’t have time for: 

  • The Rockettes (not everyone in my group’s cup of tea so sadly had to give the show a miss this time, but recommended as a timeless NYC Christmas tradition by everyone on instagram!)
  • Holiday lights at Dyker Heights in Brooklyn – I’ve heard the locals in this area are famed for their decorations
  • Holiday Nostalgia Train Line – eight vintage NYC subway cars run on the weekends betweem Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Have you been to NYC at Christmas? Where is the best place you’ve spent Christmas? 


  1. Cari

    The Standard’s cafe – hot chocolate with neon Christmas trees. It’s under the High Line and one of my favorite quiet escapes

  2. shineonsyd

    Great pics and congratulations on your 1st place! Love NYC anytime of year and hope to do at least my 3rd major marathon in NYC within next 2 years

  3. W. Purves

    Happy New York Christmas.
    Hope that y6ou are not using Gatwick.G.

  4. Claire

    I love NYC at Christmas! Where are the best places to run in Central Park?

    • charlotte

      i love the outer loop, the bridle path and the resevoir loop!

  5. Allie

    Well done on coming 1st!!! Also, how do you take all your pictures while you’re running?


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