New York City in December is one of my favorite times here. There’s something in the air that feels (and even smells) magical, and maybe that’s my inner child, but either way, I love taking the long way home in December. I’ll walk wherever I can as often as I can so I can take in all the holiday decorations, smell the early winter air, and appreciate the jovial feelings in the air from both locals and tourists alike. Sure, I’ll avoid heavily trafficked areas this month, like the Rockefeller Tree or Bryant Park, but the whole city is ready for the holiday season, so even if you want to avoid the denser areas, you’ll still feel like you’re in the most magical place on earth.

Whether you’ve been here for a while or pretty new to the Big Apple, there are quite a few ways to enjoy New York City in December, even if you’re trying to put your English skills to use. As I’ve said before, one of the major things that makes New York City so special is that this area is a gigantic melting pot – people from all over the world live here, and you’ll be surprised to hear all the various languages that are spoken all over the five major boroughs. Because of this, if you ever need any help or guidance, you’re bound to find someone that can help you.

So, if you’re looking to keep your English skills sharp this December while you’re walking in the New York City winter wonderland, check these options out below.

  • New York Botanical Garden Glow

If you can manage getting up to the Bronx this month, it’ll be worth your travels to check out this outdoor event. Only in its second year, this light festival will not only keep you safe since you’re outdoors, but it’ll put you into the holiday mood. With plenty of photo opportunities, you and your friends will have memories to last years to come. If you need help navigating or with translation, be sure to check in with your friends to see if they can help OR be sure your translation app on your phone is ready to go so you can get the answers you need right away. Don’t forget to dress for the chilly night temperatures!

  • Urbanspace Union Square Holiday Market

I’m personally really excited for this one because it didn’t operate last year due to COVID, so you can bet that this year, the activation is going to be better than ever before. Keep this in mind as you’re planning your day here, as you can be sure to expect lots of people eager to get their market shopping done since last year was a bust. I recommend checking out the map and vendor list so you can set up an action plan, including specific “routes” to take while you’re at the market so you can hit the stands you want to hit first and then leisurely stroll once you have your targets done. This is a GREAT opportunity to practice your English back-and-forth with various vendors, so get ready to chat with some locals!

  • The Greens Winter Cabins at Pier 17

I might have written about this installation over the summer, but I never got around to trying this myself! When COVID hit, places like this tried their hand at catering to the guidelines but not alienating peoples’ need to socialize, and it worked! So now they’re converting their summer pods into winter “globes” so that you and your pals can stay warm but still socially distanced from others around you. This is super trendy, so I highly recommend you contact the organizers so you can reserve your spot with enough time and without breaking the bank. Pack your activities, extra socks, and don’t forget the games – this is the perfect opportunity to practice your English social skills with one another! You’ll definitely want to Instagram your experience too, so start brainstorming those hashtags!

December is not a month with a shortage of things to do in New York City. All you’ll need to do is keep an open mind, dress with layers, and always be conscientious about staying safe and protected since we’re still trying to get through this pandemic. You’ll have so many options to stay entertained and to put what you’ve learned in your English classes to use in real life that you won’t even have to think about what you’re going to say next!

Category : How to Learn