The holidays are, in my most humble opinion, the best time to be in New York. The lights, the storefronts… the shopping, the sales… the city just gets prettier and everyone is in the best mood. Maybe I’m being idealistic, but it truly is the most wonderful time of the year.
A few weeks ago, I teamed up with Coca-Cola Freestyle to spend perfect little holiday afternoon with my photographer and friend Lydia. We spent the afternoon wandering around Flatiron and Union Square… just doing holiday things and enjoying the city at its very best.
We started out at New York Burger, where we made custom mixes using the Coca-Cola Freestyle Machine. If you aren’t familiar, it’s pretty cool… it’s a touch-screen soda fountain with over 100 unique choices of beverages.. allowing you to have some fun mixing + matching drinks to create your own unique mix.
We had a lot of fun playing around. Lydia opted to mix Coke Zero Cherry + Coke Zero Vanilla for a Vanilla-Cherry Coke. I, however got a bit more adventurous. I am addicted to Diet Dr. Pepper (it’s so hard to find though!) so I filled my cup about 3/4 of the way with that and then added a little bit of Fanta Zero Strawberry. I know it sounds weird but it was actually really delicious!!
From there, we wandered down 5th Avenue towards Union Square. This part of town (basically between 15th street and 22nd street) is my absolute favorite place to shop. The best Club Monaco (complete with a Toby’s, Strand Bookstore, + floral shop), the brand new Aritzia, and all my other faves (Madewell, Zara, J.Crew, etc.) all conveniently located within a few blocks of each other.
When we got to Union Square, we spent some time wandering around the Farmers Market (my other weekly obsession… there’s no better place to buy your produce!)
And then, we spent a solid hour perusing the Union Square Holiday Market. As crazy as it sounds, in a city as big as New York, it can be hard to find unique and thoughtful gifts from smaller brands + designers. This is the place to do it. So many incredible gifts and fun little things in one place. It gets pretty busy on weekends, but if you go in the middle of the day like we did, you’ll be golden.
(The Coca-Cola Freestyle machines are everywhere… from stadiums to movie theaters to restaurants. You can find your closest one here!)
In collaboration with Coca-Cola Freestyle.
photography by Lydia Hudgens for The Stripe.