Nobody does the holiday season like New York City. And with kids?—even better. From the grand kickoff of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade to St. Nick himself taking up residence (magically!) all over the city, Christmas in New York is the place to be. We’ve also got lightings of two larger than life menorahs (one in the Guinness Book!), and awesome lights everywhere you look. Plus: classic shows, holiday crafts, out of this world train displays, and more! How many can you tackle before the clock strikes 2019? Happy happy!


See a record-breaking gingerbread house display—and make one of your own!

NYSCI's Guinness Book display Gingerbread Lane returns. It's free with museum admission, and you can make your own when you visit at a workshop if you want ($15 fee. click here for info.) Don't forget to mark your calendar for the Gingerbread Land Giveaway on January 21 from 2-5 p.m.!

Can't make it to Queens? Sign up for a Gingerbread House Workshop for kids two to eight and a caregiver at Taste Buds in Chelsea! 

Celebrate Hanukkah

Christmas hardly has a monopoly on lights in NYC. See the lighting of one of the world's largest menorahs, attend a rockin' Hanukkah concert, gorge on latkes at Latkepalooza and more! Click here to see all the kid-friendly Hanukkah celebrations in NYC! 

photo: photo: Rachel Wright

Singalong with hundreds of tubas at the 45th Annual Merry Tuba Christmas at Rockefeller Center

It's a thing, and it happens on Sunday, December 9 from 3:30-4:15 at the Rink at Rockefeller Center!

Head to City Point for Free Latkes and Virtual Reality Adventure

From December 2-10, Katz's at City Point celebrates Hanukkah by giving away 100 latkes each night. Get there at 6 p.m. sharp to enjoy the tater goodness. 

And all December, City Point hosts The Brooklyn Arctic Adventure, a holiday Virtual Reality experience by Yokey Pokey. Ride a sleigh, take part in a snowball fight, meet with Santa in cyberspace and more. The 10-minute version is free; a 30-minute experience is $25. Parents can relax in the Joybird Furniture lounge while kids take flight. 

Register in advance here.

City Point
445 Albee Square West
Downtown Brooklyn 

Attend the 10th Annual Blessing of the Animals at Christ Church

Dogs, cats, fish, pigs, chickens, llamas and more will be on hand. Cindy Adams hosts on December 9 at 2 p.m.

photo: Radio City Music Hall

Catch the Rockettes and their Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall

Santa and live animals make an appearance during the classic show, too!


photo: via Queens Center Mall Facebook page 

Get a photo with Santa himself

We've got lots of suggestions on where to find him. 

Attend a tree lighting

Click here for options, which range from the Big Ones, to smaller, local traditions.

photo: Unsilent Night

Make some noise on Unsilent Night

Composer Phil Kline started this free event way back in 1992, and now sister events happen all over the world! Participants parade from Washington Square Park to Tompkins Square Park toting boomboxes playing an original composition of Kline's. (Bring your own boombox.) 

Sun., Dec. 16, 5:45 p.m.
Tickets: free
Washington Square Park 
West Village

Grab a cuppa hot chocolate

New York is full of top-notch spots for this winter treat! Click here for our favorites! 

photo: Fatherly

Stop by The Playroom for a free afternoon of holiday fun

Fatherly features the 100 Best Toys of the Year, live music and dance, arts and crafts, storytime, and a visit with Santa! The fun starts December 9 at 10 a.m.!

Take in the NYC Winter Lantern Festival at Staten Island's Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden

Spectacular light sculptures, shopping, live performances, and a "fun zone"!

photo: photo: AMNH

Pay a visit to the American Museum of Natural History and its famous 13-foot Origami Tree.

The theme this year is "Oceans of Origami", inspired by the museum's current exhibit "Unseen Oceans." 

photo: Brookfield Place

See the luminaries at Brookfield Place

Make a wish at this interactive light display!

photo: Apollo Theater

Catch a holiday show

There's lots to choose from. Click here to check out our picks of holiday theater fare for the family. 

Grab a sled and hit the hills

It's already snowed, and it will again. Here's where to head when the snow flies!

See a Nutcracker

NYC stages no fewer than a dozen versions of the classic Christmas ballet. Find the one that's right for you here!

photo: FAO Schwarz

Visit the brand-new (and improved!) FAO Schwarz in Rockefeller Center

We went to the grand opening—here's what you'll find! 

photo: via Prospect Park Facebook page/Michael Moran

Hit one on New York City's best spots for ice skating

Choose from iconic rinks in the center of Manhattan to less-crowded ones for quality skate time. 

photo: Kalahari Resorts

Need to warm up (or need a vacation week getaway?)


Check out indoor waterparks near NYC, where it's always bathing suit weather!

—Mimi O’Connor


Jolly Good! Where to Get Your Santa Photo This Year

Holiday Lights: Your Guide to NYC’s Christmas Tree Lightings

The Light Stuff: NYC’s Best Hanukkah Events for Families