Best Holiday Route in New York City

Beautiful, chilly and crowded: that's December in New York City. Pack some patience during this busy tourist season and bundle up because you've got a lot of shopping, gawking and drinking to do. This nighttime trip features classic holiday stops like Rockefeller Center and Macy's, plus fun, quirky treats like the Union Square Holiday Market and Miracle on Ninth Street, all accessible by subway.

Rockefeller Center | 1 hour
Ice skating and a magnificent Christmas tree at this landmark
No holiday visit to NYC is complete without a visit to Rockefeller Center and the holidays are an especially fun time to go. Check out a Christmas tree so famous it gets its own NBC special. This year's version is an 85-foot Norway spruce from Hemlock Township, Pennsylvania, according to the Daily News. After you've snapped some photos, it's time to head to the ice skating rink, another beloved holiday tradition. Admission is $27 ($30 at peak times) and skate rental is $12.

From Rockefeller Center, it's a five-minute subway ride to Macy's.

Macy's | 20 minutes
Two sets of holiday windows showcase Santa Claus and friends
Follow Virginia O'Hanlon as she doubts the existence of Santa, then pens a heartfelt letter to the New York Sun in order to discover the real truth about the jolly fat man. The second set of windows tells the tale of a little boy named Alex, his dog and Santa as they travel into outer space. Also, don't miss the glittering sign that says "Believe" on the Macy's building and, on the first floor, the gold and silver fake trees and beautiful ornaments depicting various holiday moments in miniature.

After Macy's, take a five-minute subway ride to the Union Square Holiday Market.

Union Square Holiday Market |45 minutes
A shopper's outdoor paradise featuring cool gifts from small businesses
When you see the red-and-white striped booths, you know you've found the Union Square Holiday Market, a one-stop shopping experience outside of Union Square Park. This is the place to get a gift for that friend who has everything, because surely he or she does not own a Christopher Walken T-shirt ($28 at Urban Cricket). This year's vendor lineup features 170 retailers like Cliff Belts, Beekman's Copa Soaps and Kristiana Parn Art and Stationary. If it gets too chilly, grab a cup of hot chocolate from Nunu Chocolates ($4) or apple cider ($2.50) from German Delights.

Following Union Square Holiday Market, it's a seven-minute subway ride and a ten-minute walk to Miracle on Ninth Street.

Miracle on Ninth Street |30 minutes
Sophisticated cocktails in a new East Village holiday pop-up bar
Sit back and take in the festive office holiday party atmosphere as bartenders in Santa hats shake up a bit of holiday relief. The menu boasts a dozen $14 drinks bearing names like Christmopolitan (fig leaf-flavored vodka, lime juice and spiced cranberry sauce). There's also a fully-decorated Chanukah corner in the back if Christmas is not your thing.

Gena Hymowech is a New York-based writer who enjoys holiday drinks from Starbucks and chocolate Chanukah coins. She's been published in GO Magazine, The New York Post and others. Follow her @genah.