It's our fourth edition of Gothamist's travel content, Gothamist Getaways. A few times a year, we'll have a week of posts featuring looks at travel, food, products and tips—near and far—for making your trips more enjoyable. So sit back, dream of your next journey and let us know if you have any hints for us—email email@example.com.
If you are one of the rare few that still listens to FM radio and watches live network television, expect to be inundated with Christmas songs, Christmas themed TV shows, and holiday movies this month. If you’d like a break from the holiday season or have decided to play Grinch and shelve it altogether this year, head to some of these spots where you won’t be forced to celebrate another Christmas.
The Jade Sauna (Spa Castle)
Hide from the holidays relaxing under the infrared healing rays emanating from the Jade Sauna. Or take a dip in the heated spa pools at this enormous Korean spa in College Point. Queens. You do have to shell out an additional ten bucks for the entrance fee on Christmas, making it fifty bucks for a day at the spa. Food isn’t included in the price, so use your holiday money on spicy pork, udon with shrimp tempura, and other treats at Asya. You can easily fill a day getting treatments like body scrubs or foot massages, but if you want to stick to the free activities, limit your visit to the saunas and pools.
Atlantic City at sunset tatianatatiana/istockphoto)
This seaside town prays to a different god, so the casinos don't close for Christmas. Atlantic City has seen a decline in recent years and this means you can score a room at a casino for peanuts. If you're in the mood for a cheesy Christmas, which might include roulette and buffet dinners, then this is your bargain budget escape from the city.
Askay the snow leopard at the Central Park Zoo (Jen Chung/Gothamist)
Animals don't celebrate holidays, unless their owner forces them to wear a Santa hat for an Instagram pic. Spend Christmas watching the penguins (the only residents in NYC who mate for life) play or the snow leopards enjoy the winter weather at the Central Park Zoo, which is open 365 days a year.
The Jewish Museum (Facebook)
Peruse the galleries at the Jewish Museum on the Upper East Side—or, if you want to experience a real Jewish Christmas, hop on the Q train to Avenue J in Midwood, Brooklyn. A stroll down Avenue J toward Coney Island Avenue will bring you to a stretch of NYC where you would think it was just a typical Thursday. Shops, restaurants, and supermarkets are open for business. This also comes in handy if you’re planning on celebrating the holiday and need to purchase last minute presents.
Mitsuwa fare (Everlyn T./Foursquare)
While most New Jersey malls are closed, you can find Mitsuwa Marketplace open for business on Christmas day. The food court has everything from standard sushi, gyoza, udon, and many other delicacies. If you want to head back home to cook a Japanese dinner, you can stock up on supplies at the supermarket. After you've filled up on some authentic grub, stroll through the shops at the marketplace. Be sure to buy yourself some presents at Mars New York, a Japanese shop that sells an eclectic range of products including bonsais, toys, and home goods.
Alison Lowenstein, Gothamist Getaways editor, is the author of NYC guidebooks, and travel articles for National Geographic Traveler, Newsday, NY Daily News, etc. When she isn’t planning trips, she enjoys jogging around the streets of NYC. Despite her athletic pursuits, her favorite food is the donut. You can find her on Twitter at @cityweekendsnyc