The New York Essentials: What to Pack for a Holiday Trip to the North East

winter night in new york

There’s nothing quite like spending the holiday season in the Big Apple. With endless parades, events, sights, and lights, it seems like New York was almost made for this time of year. Even though it’s not the warmest season, there’s no shortage of fun things to do!

5 Top Things to Do in NYC this Holiday Season

Whether you’re enjoying a quiet couples getaway or are flocking around the city with your entire family, you’re sure to find something for everyone in New York City. From eating at cozy corner cafes to bundling up to see the city’s greatest sights, the following should make your list of “Things To Do” while visiting NYC this holiday season.


  1. Go ice skating at Bryant Park: A favored activity amongst locals and visitors alike, ice skating in the heart of Bryant Park is an unforgettable experience. Surrounded by the city’s towering skyscrapers, Bryant Park also boasts a Winter Village during the holidays which, in addition to an ice skating rink, also features a magnificent Christmas tree and yummy food kiosks.
  2. Hear the New York Symphony: Fill your heart and mind with the sounds of the holidays by attending a New York Philharmonic show at the Lincoln Center. As one of the nation’s most notorious orchestras, the New York Philharmonic joyously strings out classic Christmas performance such as “White Christmas” and “Winter Wonderland.”
  3. Tell Santa your holiday wishes at Macy’s: Whether you’re a family with small children or an adult feeding the jolly Christmas spirit inside of you, Santaland at Macy’s is sure to jingle your bells. Between the jaw-dropping decorations and the overflowing spirit of Christmas time, Santaland is sure to make the top of your list when it comes to NYC holiday memories. Be sure to make a reservation online prior to arriving.
  4. Eat your fill the festive way at Rolf’s: You’re sure to have visions of sugarplums dancing in your head after a night of dining at Rolf’s. Famous for its over-the-top Christmas decor and delectable holiday menu items, Rolf’s is the go-to spot for eating and drinking in NYC. With cold German beer on tap and a remarkable list of German cuisine with everything from Schnitzel and steamed mussels to crispy potato pancakes and hot-dog-like wursts, there’s something to please every palate at Rolf’s.
  5. Rock with the Rockettes: You may have seen them on TV during the notorious Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, but there’s nothing quite like seeing the Rockettes perform in real life. From astonishingly precise high-kicks to jaw-dropping displays of athleticism, the Rockettes put on a show that will have you jumping and jiving into the holiday season.


The aforementioned sights and activities are just a few of the hundreds—if not thousands—of festive holiday events you’ll find in New York City. With so many places to visit, sights to see, activities to check off, and grub to gorge, you’re probably worried about what and how you’ll pack. Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about lugging around a bulky, overweight suitcase; with these 3 key packing tips, you’ll be able to pack everything you need to stay warm and comfortable in New York without going overboard on luggage.

1. Your Bag is Key

If Santa gets a brand-new bag, why can’t you? The Nomatic backpack and Nomatic travel bag offer all the key, innovative features you need to properly pack for a chilly holiday in New York. Plenty of compartment space and thoughtful pockets, this waterproof bag includes things like lockable zippers, support straps, and a roller bag sleeve for easy on-the-go maneuvering. Not only does the Nomatic bag design make your life easier while traveling, but it also has everything you need to ensure your belongings stay safe and secure during all your adventures. Shop Nomatic today and get the perfect bag for your NYC holiday travels.

2. Layering is Key

The humidity of the North East can make the winter cold feel like it goes straight through your bones. The best defense against this damp cold is layers. By smartly layering your clothes, you can easily add on and take off layers as you please, while still looking good. Three main layers to remember are:

  • The Base Layer: Lightweight or silk long underwear packs small and adds comfort and warmth under pants, jeans, sweaters, etc.
  • The Mid Layer: Stylish sweaters, thick jeans or pants, vests, and long-sleeved shirts make great mid layers that you can layer over long underwear but still look good when you take off your outer layer.
  • The Outer Layer: Make sure your pack a warm, waterproof and windproof coat. Whether it be a full-length down coat that packs neatly or a winter jacket that can be packed down into a small space, having a wind and water resistant outer layer is key when it comes to staying warm in New York.


Lastly, by being smart with your color choices (think solids and neutrals rather than bold patterns) you’ll have more options to mix and match without forsaking comfort or style.

3. Keep Accessories Handy

Never forget key accessories such as a hat, scarf, mittens, and plenty of warm socks when packing for New York. You should also keep in mind additional accessories you might need like an external battery pack to keep your phone charged during long days of snapping photos, hand/toe warmers for extra chilly days, sunglasses, and a refillable water bottle. Whatever you decide to pack, make sure each accessory has a purpose prior to adding it to the bag. As a rule of thumb, if you think you might not need it, chances are you won’t.


With your itinerary full and your bags packed, it’s time to hit the streets of New York City and experience this holiday season in the type of style and flair that only the Big Apple can offer. We hope your holidays are merry!