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Christmas for kids in New York: Xmas events and activities in NYC

From where to see Santa to the best holiday activities and Christmas shows, the city is full of festive ways to celebrate Christmas for kids.

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree 2013

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree 2013 Photograph: Filip Wolak


Christmas in New York City is truly a terrific time of year—whether you're a native or a tourist. The city is full of beautiful jumbo spruces, festive department store windows, new ice skating rinks and annual holiday traditions.

RECOMMENDED: Winter break for kids in New York City

Read on for information on the best ways to plan Christmas for kids in NYC. You'll find details on our favorite Christmas events (think the Holiday Train Show at the NYBG and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular), tree lightings ceremonies, holiday activities at museums, Santa sightings and more. Happy holidays!

When is Christmas?
Christmas Eve is on December 24, 2013; Christmas Day is on December 25, 2013.


Christmas events for kids

New York Transit Museum's Holiday Train Show

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Within Grand Central Terminal you’ll find the New York Transit

  1. New York Transit Museum Gallery Annex Grand Central Terminal, E 42nd St, between Lexington and Vanderbilt Aves
  2. Until Sun Feb 23
More info

Holiday Train Show

  • Critics choice

Some 150 landmarks featured in NYBG's popular diorama are made

  1. New York Botanical Garden Bronx River Pkwy, at Fordham Rd, 10458
  2. Until Sun Jan 12
More info

Gingerbread Lane

Looking for inspiration to build your own gingerbread house?

  1. New York Hall of Science 47-01 111th St, at 47th Ave, 11368
  2. Until Sun Jan 12
More info

A Charlie Brown Christmas

  • Price band: 1/4

Pig Brooch Theatre Company, cultivated in NYC in 2004, pays

  1. Brooklyn Lyceum 227 Fourth Ave, between President and Union Sts
  2. Until Sun Dec 22
More info
See all Christmas events

Trees and tree lighting ceremonies

Origami Holiday Tree

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

More than 500 handmade origami ornaments adorn the holiday

  1. American Museum of Natural History Central Park West, at 79th St, 10024
  2. Until Sun Jan 12
More info

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

  • Critics choice
  • Free

An annual pilgrimage here never fails to remind us why we love

  1. Rockefeller Plaza Fifth and Sixth Aves, between 48th and 49th Sts
  2. Until Tue Jan 7
More info

Madison Square Park Tree Lighting

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Don your warm winter wear and head to this green space to

  1. Madison Square Park 23rd St to 26th St, between Fifth and Madison Aves, 10010
  2. Until Tue Dec 10
More info

Washington Square Park Tree Lighting

  • Critics choice
  • Free

If your tots can't get enough of caroling, take them to this

  1. Washington Square Park W 4th St to Waverly Pl, between MacDougal St and University Pl
  2. Until Wed Dec 11
More info
See all trees and tree lighting ceremonies

Holiday activities at museums for kids

Winter Family Day

  • Price band: 1/4

Celebrate winter with the Morgan’s annual Winter Family Day!

  1. The Morgan Library & Museum 225 Madison Ave, at 36th St
  2. Sun Dec 8
More info

"The Grinch's Holiday Workshop"

At CMOM's latest interactive exhibit, kids immerse themselves in

  1. Children's Museum of Manhattan 212 W 83rd St, between Amsterdam Ave and Broadway, 10024
  2. Until Tue Dec 31
More info

Historical Train Weekend

  • Price band: 1/4

At this celebration of all things railroad, kids listen to

  1. New-York Historical Society 170 Central Park West, between 76th and 77th Sts
  2. Until Sun Dec 15
More info

ReMake the Holidays

  • Price band: 1/4

Budding scientists make their mark on the holiday season through

  1. New York Hall of Science 47-01 111th St, at 47th Ave, 11368
  2. Until Mon Dec 30
More info
See all holiday activities at museums

Christmas movies for kids

Holiday movies for kids

Holiday movies for kids

20 best Christmas movies to watch with the family

Get into the festive spirit with our list of the 20 best Christmas movies for families, including holiday classics, animated staples and new favorites.


Santa sightings

New York City Fire Museum's Annual Santa Rescue

  • Price band: 1/4

Kris Kringle makes an early appearance—and gets stranded on the

  1. New York City Fire Museum 278 Spring St, between Hudson and Varick Sts
  2. Until Sun Dec 8
More info

Macy's Santaland

  • Price band: 1/4

Head up to the eighth floor of the Herald Square behemoth for

  1. Macy's Herald Square 151 W 34th St, between Sixth and Seventh Aves
  2. Until Tue Dec 24
More info

Rawther Fancy Tea with Santa

  • Price band: 3/4

Little ones should don their best tea-time garb for this stylish

  1. Eloise at the Plaza One W 58th St, at Fifth Ave
  2. Fri Dec 20
More info

Santa's Winter Garden: Photos with Old St. Nick

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Get ready to hear a few "ho ho ho"s as you and your youngsters

  1. Brookfield Place Winter Garden 220 Vesey St, at West St, 10281
  2. Until Sun Dec 15
More info
See more places to see Santa

Christmas shows for kids

Radio City Christmas Spectacular

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

You'll get a kick out of this holiday stalwart, which—after 85

  1. Radio City Music Hall 1260 Sixth Ave, at 50th St
  2. Until Mon Dec 30
Buy tickets

A Christmas Story, The Musical

  • Rated as: 3/5
  • Price band: 3/4

Will nine-year-old Ralphie receive his dream Christmas present,

  1. Theater at Madison Square Garden 4 Pennsylvania Plaza (Seventh Ave), between 31st and 33rd Sts
  2. Until Sun Dec 29
More info

Angelina Ballerina: The Very Merry Holiday Musical

  • Price band: 2/4

Katherine Holabird's lovable, rosy-hued mouse dances into the

  1. McGinn/Cazale Theatre 2162 Broadway, at 76th St, fourth floor
  2. Until Sun Jan 5
More info

The Three Bears Holiday Bash

  • Price band: 1/4

This seasonal offering of song, dance and, of course, puppetry

  1. Central Park Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre west side, at 79th St
  2. Until Mon Dec 30
More info

A Christmas Carol

  • Price band: 2/4

Literally Alive Children's Theatre presents a musical twist on

  1. Players Theatre 115 MacDougal St, at Minetta Ln
  2. Until Mon Dec 30
More info

George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

This Lincoln Center production is the one people have in mind

  1. David H. Koch Theater (at Lincoln Center) 20 Lincoln Center Plaza, at 63rd St
  2. Until Sat Jan 4
More info

Seven in One Blow, or the Brave Little Kid

  • Price band: 1/4

The popular family show is back for its twelfth year. Adapted

  1. Axis Theatre 1 Sheridan Sq, between Washington Pl and W 4th St
  2. Until Sun Dec 22
More info

A Very Awesome Yo Gabba Gabba! LIVE! Holiday Show

  • Price band: 2/4

The wildly popular and awesomely bizarre children's television

  1. Beacon Theatre 2124 Broadway, at 74th St
  2. Until Sun Dec 22
More info

Skating rinks

The Rink at Rockefeller Center

  • Price band: 2/4

The most famous of rinks is still as cramped as ever. Unless you

  1. 30 Rockefeller Plaza, (between 49th and 50th Sts)
More info

Van Cortlandt Park Ice Skating Rink

The long-awaited uptown rink boasts lengthy public skating

  1. Van Cortlandt Park, (Broadway at 242nd St)
More info

Trump Lasker Rink

  • Price band: 1/4

This rink is less crowded than Wollman, but go for the hockey:

  1. Central Park, (enter at W 110th and Malcolm X Blvd (Lenox Ave)), 10026
More info

Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park

  • Free

During the winter months, Bryant Park opens a no-charge

  1. Sixth Ave, (between 40th and 42nd Sts)
More info
See all skating rinks

Holiday windows and displays

Macy's

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Boasting a "Dream...and Believe" theme, Macy's 2013 holiday windows depict a young boy's journey through a magical dreamland.

  1. Macy's Herald Square 151 W 34th St, between Sixth and Seventh Aves
  2. Sat Dec 7 - Thu Jan 2
More info

Saks Fifth Avenue

  • Critics choice
  • Free

See the new Snowflake Spectacular, a 3-D light show that plays out across the department store's exterior each evening.

  1. Saks Fifth Avenue 611 Fifth Ave, at 49th St
  2. Sat Dec 7 - Thu Jan 2
More info
See all holiday windows and displays


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