Holiday Trip Tips: Time Warner Center In New York City

For average New Yorkers, it's a staycation. For out-of-towners, it's an urban destination.

Any way you slice it, the Time Warner Center (TWC) is a must-try for those looking for a one-stop culinary and travel adventure.

Situated in New York City's beautiful Columbus Circle, the Time Warner Center is home to the Columbus Center shops, boasting a range of everything from Hugo Boss to H&M, a selection of cocktail lounges and, of course, some of the city and arguably the world's best restaurants.

Perhaps the best time to visit is during the holiday season. The building constructs its "Holiday Under the Stars" display on the soaring glass wall that overlooks Columbus Circle. The best way to take in the holiday light show is front and center, no pun intended, at the very chic Center Bar located on the fourth level. Center Bar serves  some light bites such as wasabi tuna and a tequila pepper stuffed with goat cheese that is most satisfying. Its menu also contains a range of avant-garde cocktails, well-chosen wines, and festive champagnes; it's an amazing spot to sip a drink, relax, and experience the light and music show. I found it to be a lovely reprieve if one had been shopping far too long.

For a proclaimed food lovers, the TWC might make you feel as if you've died and gone to heaven. It has three Michelin-star restaurants, including Per Se, A Voce, and Masa. For more casual dining, there are other eateries like Landmarc, Bouchon Bakery, and Porter House.

I recently dined at Porter House, where I sampled seasonal dishes such as butternut squash soup paired with a classic filet mignon, cooked to perfection at a medium temperature and served with creamy mashed potatoes and greens. For something sweet, I opted for the flourless chocolate cake, as I'm not sure I could ever turn that down. It did not disappoint. My dining companion opted for the fresh and light Belgian endive salad, the crispy baked wild salmon, and the smooth and luscious raspberry sorbet for the dessert finale. These choices were part of a fabulous prix fixe three-course meal offering that would suit pre-show guests perfectly.

Spa-goers may be taken with its sister property, the Mandarin Oriental, which can be accessed directly from the TWC. This lavish locale has a well-known world class spa with a variety of luxurious treatments to be combined easily with fantastic food and drink for an urban getaway.

TWC also offers packages that combine all your shopping, food, and entertainment needs. It is home to Jazz at Lincoln Center, which has a variety of performances as well as its own renowned Dizzy's Jazz Club.

Dizzy's is quite an anomaly for the New York City nightlife scene. While it may appear to be a city scene from the outside, once you're at a front-row table smelling the delicious Southern creations, enjoying a vintage cocktail, and listening to lively jazz music from places like Kansas City, you'll realize you've been transported back to a place and time that transforms your seat in the Big Apple.

The weather in New York can get quite bone-chilling during the holiday season and blustery winter months. A wonderful way to keep warm, entertained, and quite well-fed is to enjoy a fulfilling visit to the TWC, where fantasy meets reality in New York City.