Seasonal celebrations in cities across the world provide travelers with charming holiday getaways to explore a destination and create some memorable traditions of their own.
NEW YORK CITY
There’s a reason so many holiday movies take place in New York City: Its streets transform into a winter wonderland during the season, and it’s hard not to feel caught up in the festivities if you’re a local or a visitor.
Christmas in New York essentially kicks off with Santa arriving at the end of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and offers a wide array of activities that will get anyone in the holiday spirit, from ice skating at Rockefeller Center or Wollman Rink in Central Park to seeing the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall.
For shoppers, the window displays along Fifth Avenue are always a delight, and the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center is always worth a post for social media.
The newly redesigned hotel, close to Central Park, Broadway and Times Square, offers large rooms for family or friendly gatherings. Dabble, its restaurant and bar, will embrace the season with custom menus.
Conrad New York Downtown offers another welcoming alternative, set closer to the World Trade Center, plus the Tribeca and SoHo neighborhoods, with its own suites and ATRIO Wine Bar & Restaurant worth considering for holiday meals with a fresh menu of locally sourced modern cuisine.
Christmas in London is a serious affair. From small, charming light displays on cobblestone-covered side streets to entire fair grounds filled with themed food and attractions, there’s something for every kind of traveler seeking some holiday cheer.
One of the most popular attractions is the mile-long trail at Kew Gardens, which is lit up with more than one million lights and includes immersive experiences as you wind your way through the Royal Botanical Gardens.
Then, make your way to Winter Wonderland in the city’s Hyde Park, where you can enjoy ice skating, thrill rides, shows, Christmas Markets and more throughout the day and into the evening.
Restaurants at Conrad London St. James, including the Blue Boar and Emmeline’s Lounge, offer themed menus, including a lavish annual Christmas afternoon tea, complete with seasonal sweet pastries and savory bites, carols and a harpist.
The hotel is just steps away from Hyde Park, the Christmas markets at Elizabeth Street and the Southbank Centre, as well as the performing carolers at Westminster Cathedral.
The decadent five-course Christmas Day menu at the Blue Boar Restaurant has always been a favorite, honoring holiday flavors like Norfolk Bronze turkey or Scottish Angus beef, smoked duck with foie gras, honey roast parsnips and, of course, sticky toffee pudding.
Enjoy the traditions of a British holiday at Conrad London St. James.
Japan loves a good theme, and Tokyo embraces every holiday to the max. Just walk into any of its department stores around Valentine’s Day, Easter or Halloween and you’ll see wall-to-wall décor and limited-edition cakes and sweets. It’s all so tastefully done and worth experiencing. Add it to your list of holiday getaways any time of the year.
Winter is no exception, with Japan’s largest city decked out with lit-up Christmas trees, reindeer, wreaths, ornaments and, of course, high-tech visual displays and pristinely wrapped packages for gift givers.
For the city’s biggest light displays, head to Tokyo Midtown, Tokyo Skytree and Tokyo Tower, popular year-round attractions that pull out all the stops during the holidays with decorations, Christmas markets, and plenty of traditional and seasonal food options.
The high-end district of Roppongi and Roppongi Hills, with its luxury shops and restaurants, will get anyone into a festive mood when admiring its decked-out displays.
The Shibuya Blue Cave creates a magical tunnel experience with LED lights covering trees along the walk from Shibuya Park Street to Yoyogi Park.
Tokyo’s largest park, Showa Kinen Koen or the Showa Memorial Park, also features light displays in various zones.
Just outside Conrad Tokyo is Caretta Shiodome, the shopping and dining complex which features ever-changing themes for its annual audio-visual show that always impress.
Finally, at Conrad Tokyo — located on the 25-37 floors of the Tokyo Shiodome skyscraper in one of the city’s most popular districts — talented chefs up their culinary game with custom menus each year, crafting exclusive dishes, appetizers and desserts for guests to enjoy while taking in stunning views of the city.
Experience Japan’s holiday illuminations at Conrad Tokyo.
Like Tokyo, Osaka is another large Japanese city that eagerly welcomes the holidays with its own brilliant light shows and displays.
Its top tourist attraction, Osaka Castle, is spectacularly illuminated and will honor 150 years of history, from the Edo to Meiji periods, with over 3 million colorful LED lights in its Nishinomaru Garden, offering plenty of photo ops.
There are over 20 small and large illumination events planned around the city during November and December, with three standouts, “Mido-suji Illumination,” “Osaka Hikari-Renaissance” and a stunning display in Nakanoshima Park, as part of the “Festival of the Lights in Osaka 2019.”
Read Also: Explore Osaka With This Insider’s Guide
For the family seeking some thrills, the Universal Studios Japan theme park, which boasts its own Wizarding World of Harry Potter, transforms into the “Universal Crystal Christmas,” with colorful decorations and live shows.
Once back at Conrad Osaka, atmos restaurant celebrates the season with a “Radiant Rose Gold”-themed holiday buffet, including a playful menu of sweets designed around the pink color.
Enjoy classics like Stollen, Pavlova, Pistachio Paris-Brest and Bûche de Noël, as well as ornament-shaped cakes filled with passion fruit mousse. A separate strawberry menu will also be offered at Christmas with plenty of Christmas-colored desserts.
Light up a new holiday tradition at Conrad Osaka.
Explore more holiday getaways with Conrad Hotels & Resorts.