Unusual Things To Do In New York At Christmas

New York, New York. It’s one of the world’s most exciting cities that’s brimming with extraordinary activities and a wide variety of areas to discover. We’re sure you’ve all read about the Rockefeller Centre Christmas tree, the Trump Towers tree and Radio City’s Christmas Spectacular. However, we have a few unusual activities to make this year’s festive holiday unforgettable. If you want to do something out of the ordinary…here are a few ideas!

Coney Island Polar Bear Club

From November and through to April, cold water swimmers belonging to the Coney Island Polar Bear Club,  take to the Atlantic Ocean at Coney Island for a dip. The club began in 1903 – founded by self styled physical health guru Bernarr Mcfadden. He and his Polar Bears regularly took to the icy waters off Coney Island and finished a swim with a snow bath! It’s meant to improve stamina, virility and immunity. Although the membership is closed for the 2012-2013 season, you can still join in all the fun by becoming a guest swimmer. A swimming session is also open to the public on New Year’s Day and starts at 1pm. Can you overcome the cold and swim in the Atlantic Ocean?


Santas – lots of them –  come together in force to run around Manhattan and spread the joy of Christmas to every bystander – and this years event is scheduled for 15th December.   The Santacon organisers are currently spreading the joy of Christmas in 37 countries. Santacon has specific rules and guidelines which are you have to dress like a Santa, you have address everyone else as Santa, you have to bring age appropriate gifts to hand out to adults and children, as you stagger around the city and if you get drunk – you’re on your own, there is no bail-out bond to get Santa out of jail! Moscow recently had 70,000 Santas take to the streets and New York is hoping for a major turnout this year.

“Santacon is not a bar crawl. Every time you call it that, a sugarplum fairy dies.” NYC Santacon.


After a long day shopping, whether it’s for Christmas gifts or scrambling to get to the best January sale bargains, you’re sure to be in need of some TLC. There are many cheap massage places around town. Some can charge as little as a dollar a minute! Keep a keen eye out for neon signs that advertise massages and list their price range. Trust us, not all of them are dodgy and are surprisingly good. As you’re in New York you have to try something different, so why not walk down a couple of steps and try out a post-shopping massage?

High Line

The High Line is one of New Yorks most unsual open spaces.  An elevated freight train which was threatened with demolition, has been saved and the old line is now an aerial garden. You can visit the line which runs across the west of Manhantten, and enjoy a stroll in the winter sunshine, and watch the streets below. There are facilities, benches and a huge range of planting, and the High Line also offers up lots of events for locals and visitors to enjoy. Due to Hurrican Sandy, the High Line has amended some of it’s winter programme, so check the website for details. It’s open between 8.00am and 5.00pm – and there’s the High Line Holiday Concert on 8th December at 2.00pm and the High Line Soundwave event, where your footsteps are transformed into electrical chords on 21st December. This is an unmissable place to visit – looks magic in the snow!

Bodies – The Exhibition

The Bodies Exhibition is coming to New York’s South Street Seaport during the festive season and what a fantastic show to see. Forget about watching the ballet or some festive plays, do something out of the ordinary and discover how the body works. Celebrate the inner workings of your body and discover your inner beauty. Definately not for the sqeamish, but this will be an exhibition that you’ll talk about for years to come.



Submitted by the jolly people at AFD – one of the UK’s best fancy dress retailers.