Friday, December 9, 2011

Treats'n'Trees {and shopping!}

A Christmas walk through the Upper West Side - seeing the beautiful trees and sampling the best treats!
{Works great with a group - since you'll want to share the sweets! :)}

This is one of our family traditions that has developed over the years!
I la-la-la-love Christmas decorations and I love treats {and walking crazy amounts!} 
so we combine the best of all on one night!

Here was this year's version with my family.. 

{It really turned into a Treats'n'Trees'n'ShoppingTrip this time! And I think that might be a new tradition! It's always great to get a little Christmas shopping done along the way!}

Start at the American Museum of Natural History at Central Park West and 81st Street.

Proceed to the basement to see the delicate and ornate Origami Holiday Tree!
Admission is a little pricey {if you're just going to see the tree} - so you could either start here earlier in the afternoon to make the most of it or choose your own donation for admission.
The tree will be on display now until January 2nd.
Make sure you get here by 5pm!
The museum is open daily (except Thanksgiving and Christmas) - but it closes at 5:45pm.

After visiting the AMNH - walk south on Central Park West (the park should be on your left).
Then, take a right on West 74th Street. 
You'll find the almost hidden Levain Bakery on West 74th Street between Amsterdam and Columbus Avenue.

 The chocolate chip walnut cookie just might be the best ever! Though the dark chocolate peanut butter chip rivals it closely! Especially when you get them hot out of the oven! Just remember to get there early because the below street level bakery closes at 8pm.

You might need to warm up by now like we did with some hot chocolate
Walk south on Amsterdam Avenue towards West 73rd Street and you'll see another delight! 
Just around the corner from Levain - you'll find Jacques Torres.
If you're daring, order the 'wicked' {with ancho chiles!} hot chocolate!
If nothing is ever to dense for you, try the peanut butter hot chocolate! 
It's sweet enough - everyone will want more than a sip. 

On our way down, we saw Sabon at Broadway and West 70th Street and had to stop in!
If you haven't washed your hands with their special scrub, you've got to try it!
Even my Dad and brother enjoyed it!
Just another place along to the way to pick up a present!

Then, Ashley and I spotted the Apple store!
Get your Christmas shopping done as you take in the spirit of the season!
With hot chocolate in hand to keep you warm, head south on Amsterdam until it intersects with Broadway. 
Then, take Broadway south towards Lincoln Square. 
The Lincoln Square Tree is at West 63rd Street and Broadway.
It may not be that impressive from afar - but the ornaments are incredible to look at up close!
Many of them are made from wrappers!
Magnolia's Bakery (if you're still hungry for another sweet:): Skip the famous cupcakes {there's much better ones elsewhere) - but make sure you order some banana pudding! The regular size is enough to split with a friend!

We've saved the best for last!
My favorite display on the West Side is at Columbus Circle. 
Head south on Broadway and enter The Shops at Columbus Circle.
The Holiday Under the Stars display is amazing!
Don't miss out on the best view! 
Take the escalator upstairs to the second floor - where the music and lights show looks even more spectacular!

If you're still up for a bite - take the escalator to the third floor to enjoy the stars at Bouchon Bakery
It's an experience you won't want to miss!

FYI.. many of these places close at 8pm or 9pm so you'll want to check before heading out!

Hope you enjoy a holiday walk this season!

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