The Big Apple is known for its food, theatre and music, and this weekend is no exception. Watch the Nutcracker with a New York twist, take a stroll through a cookie wonderland, or sing-along with hundreds of tubas in Rockefeller Center. We’ve got a full list of fun activities for your family this weekend, so get out there and enjoy your city!

yorkville nutcracker

Photo: The Yorkville Nutcracker 


The Nutcracker with a New York Twist   
There are plenty of chances to the see the Nutcracker during the holidays, but at the Yorkville Nutcracker production, we’re sure your little theatre goers will recognize, and probably have visited themselves, many of the locations. This ballet, set in 1895, includes lavish sets and costumes and takes the audience on a tour through Olde New York’s most beloved landmarks, including a holiday party at Gracie Mansion, dancing at the Crystal Palace in the New York Botanical Garden, and skating in Central Park. Thurs.-Sun. Various times. Upper East Side. $45-$85/person. All ages. Event details.

Glow in the Dark Chanukah Dinner   
The lights might be out, but the party is just getting started at this Chanukah dinner. Bring a flashlight and the whole family for music, glow sticks, latkes, and the lighting of the menorah. Fri. 6 p.m. Upper East Side. $30/adult; $15/child. All ages. Event details.

All Aboard the Holiday Express
Calling all train lovers! Chug on over to the special Holiday Express exhibit to check out model trains, go on a train scavenger hunt, and make your very own train car to take home. Conductor Abe will be making the rounds telling stories and taking pics. Sat. & Sun. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Upper West Side. Free with museum admission ($20/adult; $6/child; children under 4 are free). Ages 3-6. Event details.


Get Fancy with Champagne, Tea and Gingerbread
If you feel like splurging and getting a little fancy, spend an afternoon at the Peninsula Hotel getting in the holiday spirit. Your little New Yorkers will decorate their very own gingerbread houses with the help of the hotel’s executive pastry team. Did we mention you get to sip champagne while your little ones are hard at work? After the decorating, enjoy an afternoon tea and story time with Mrs. Claus. Sat. Noon-2 p.m. Midtown. $98/child or adult (includes one glass of champagne). Ages 3 and up. Event details.

Carnegie Kids: My City, My Song
Bring your kiddos to this interactive concert just for the little ones, put on by three New York based artists. Your little New Yorkers will learn all about their very own city’s diverse musical and cultural traditions. Athens-born pianist, accordionist, and singer Magda Giannikou will perform exuberant music rooted in Greek traditions. Indian singer Falu Shah blends Eastern and Western music into a unique “Indie-Hindi” style. Kora player and singer Yacouba Sissoko will share stories and songs from his native Mali. Sat. Noon. Midtown. Free. All ages. Event details

Have a Merry Tuba Christmas
This year marks the 42nd anniversary of Tuba Christmas. As always, hundreds of tuba and euphonium players wil gather on the Rockefeller Center Ice Rink to play holiday classic songs for you. Singing along is encouraged, so warm up your vocals and teach your kiddos some classics! It’s a site to see and something special to hear, too. Sun. 3:30 p.m. Rockefeller Center. Free. All ages. Event details.


Take a Walk… a Delicious Cookie Walk
Take a stroll through a cookie wonderland, filled with tens of thousands of fresh-baked cookies, and pick out your favorites to fill up a box or two to take home (or eat on the subway, we realize it may be hard to wait). Sip on some homemade, hand stirred hot chocolate while you shop, you won’t be disappointed! And after you’ve made your final cookie selection, swing by the Little Elves Bakery and Workshop and let your little ones try decorating a few delicious cookies themselves. Santa will be hanging around the bakery and ready for pictures too. Sat. & Sun. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on Sat.; 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on Sun. West Village. $15-$25/box of cookies. All ages. Event details.

Quiet Clubbing Dance Party
So a loud night club is no place for your little ones, but how about a volume controlled day time dance party? Dance the afternoon away to three different DJs spinning kid-friendly favorites. Everyone gets a special pair of wireless headphones that you control the volume and DJ you’re listening to. Your kiddos will dance themselves silly and you just may get an early bedtime out of it. Sun. 1-5 p.m. Financial District. Free. All ages. Event details


Opening Weekend: Take Your Little Nuts to See the Hard Nut
If you’ve already seen the Nutcracker, try taking your little ones to see The Hard Nut, a cheeky homage to the original. Your little theatre goers will be on the edge of their seats watching this updated fairytale set in the 1970s, complete with dancing G.I. Joes, whimsical costumes, gender-bending casting, and a Waltz of the Snowflakes. Dec. 12th-20th. Various times. Downtown Brooklyn. $25/person and up. Ages 4 and up. Event details


Made in Queens Festival
Escape the winter cold and celebrate the holiday at the Queens Museum with live musical performances, puppets, art making workshops, and a book sale. And if you have some last-minute shopping to do, swing by the market filled with local arts and crafts, you’re bound to find something creative for even the hardest to shop for people on your list. Sun. 1-5 p.m. Flushing. Free. All ages. Event details

Where will your family rock the weekend? Share with us in the comment section below.

—Caitlin Dowling