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A New Yorkers Guide to Taking a Holiday Staycation

Above Image: A Dyker Heights Christmas light display (Brooklyn Daily Eagle)

Amid the flocking tourists that flood the bustling New York City streets during the holiday season, it is easy to feel overwhelmed when taking a staycation in the city. Thankfully, New York has plenty of unique experiences for city locals. The holidays bring an assortment of fun activities for all: from light shows to trains, the holiday spirit seems to be omnipresent across the five boroughs. 

Brooklyn is home to a multitude of unique winter excursions, all of which are great for families. Dyker Heights is an incredible place to visit if you are looking for classic Christmas lights, with the entire neighborhood getting completely decked out for Christmas in head to toe lights. Many companies offer guided tours through the neighborhood, but they come at a steep cost. To save money and still experience the lights, you can simply tour the neighborhood on your own. The houses feature singalongs, light shows, and unconventional decorations, making it a fun winter stop for every one. 

Another must during the colder months is hot chocolate, and Brooklyn Farmacy delivers a praiseworthy take on the classic beverage. Brooklyn Farmacy, an old-timey soda fountain, sells a messy but delicious salted caramel hot chocolate. The star of the drink, however, is a small mountain of homemade marshmallow fluff on top.

The Brooklyn Botanical Garden hosts an annual Winter Solstice concert to ring in the new season. In which this year the concert will feature be a performance of Franz Schubert’s 1828 orchestration Winterreise. The piece being performed is from a classical body of work which is filled with the imagery of winter. 

In addition to the festivities offered by the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, The Manhattan Botanical Gardens annual train show is also a great experience during the holidays for younger kids. Featuring scenes of famous New York landmarks made with repurposed materials and 25 scale model trains, it is perfect for families to visit while in the city.  

Manhattan also has many holiday excursions, but one, in particular, shines above the rest: Rolf’s. A historic Gramercy Park staple, the German restaurant decorates elaborately with incredible lights and baubles everywhere. Over the years, the snug food joint quickly became a must-visit restaurant during the holiday season.

Lastly, Randall’s Island Park hosts Luminocity, a festival of lights with multiple LED inspired art installations. The twelve-acre site consists of three different lands, all of which feature vibrant themed inflatable art exhibits. It is the perfect dose of eccentric holiday spirit for your Instagram feed!

Needless to say, New York is bustling with holiday spirit and has many experiences to spice up your staycation!

Apple Diamond is currently a junior at the Packer Collegiate Institute and Arts and Entertainment editor for the Prism this year! This is her second year in journalism, and she is excited to continue her work on the paper. In addition to writing for The Prism, Apple has a passion for the performing arts and discovering new music. She is also a member of Women's Ensemble, Artworks for Youth, Family Composition, and is the leader of Packer for Lesvos. In her free time, she can be found hanging out at Trader Joes or binging British TV shows. Apple can be reached at

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