Timeout New York Kids

Make the most of your city

Christmas events for NYC kids

Celebrate the season at these festive Big Apple offerings.

  • Photograph: Cinzia Reale-Castello

    Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden

  • Photo: Kirby Tidwell

    NYBG Gingerbread Adventures: House by Sugar and Spice Bake Shop

  • Photograph courtesy of Madison Square Park

    AudraRox at Madison Square Holiday

  • click here for more

    Madison Square Holiday

  • Photograph: Courtesy Scandinavia House/The American-Scandinavian Foundation

    Swedish Christmas Children's Workshop at the Scandanavian House

  • Photograph: Jeffrey D.G. Cavorley

  • Photograph: Courtesy Flushing Town Hall

    Holiday Card Making with Collage

  • Photo: Rob Reynolds

    The Colonial Nutcracker

  • Santa Rescue

  • Photograph courtesy of Photofest

    "Miracle on 34th Street" at Film Forum's Madcap Manhattan

  • Photograph by Richard Termine

    New York Theatre Ballet's "The Nutcracker"

  • Photograph by Richard Termine

    New York Theatre Ballet's "The Nutcracker"

  • Handel's Messiah Sing-in

  • Eglevsky Ballet

  • The Nutcracker Sweets and The Steadfast Tin Soldier

Photograph: Cinzia Reale-Castello

Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden

Find events the week of...

December 1--4 | December 5--11| December 12-18
December 19-25 | December 26-31

December 1--4

Flushing Historic Holiday House Tour
Thu Dec 1 at 1pm. Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Blvd at Main St (718-463-7700, flushingtownhall.org). Subway: 7 to Flushing--Main St. $10, children under 12 free.
Tour Flushing's most historic sites, including the Kingsland Homestead, the Quaker Meeting House and the Voelker Orth Museum. As your brood travels from site-to-site, snack on holiday refreshments and get hands-on with themed activities. Advance tickets available at queenshistoricalsociety.org. Ages 5 and up.

Holiday Train Show
Thu Dec 1, Fri Dec 2, Sat Dec 3, Sun Dec 4 10am--7pm. New York Botanical Garden, Bronx River Pkwy at Fordham Rd (718-817-8700, nybg.org). Travel: B, D to Bedford Park Blvd or 4 to Bedford Park Blvd--Lehman College, then take the Bx26 bus; or Metro-North to Botanical Garden. Admission varies; see nybg.org for details on prices and discounts.
Some 140 landmarks featured in NYBG's wildly popular diorama are made entirely out of plant-based materials such as twigs, acorns and berries. Little locomotives zip along their tracks against a backdrop of small sights that kids should recognize, the Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty among them. Tickets must be purchased in advance. All ages.

The Three Bears Holiday Bash
Thu Dec 1, Fri Dec 2 at 10:30am, noon; Sat Dec 3 at 1pm. Central Park Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre, west side at 79th St (212-988-9093, cityparksfoundation.com). Subway: B, C to 81st St--Museum of Natural History. $8, children under 12 $5.
This seasonal offering of song, dance and, of course, puppetry comes from the talented folks at the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre. Tots will see a mix of Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Christmas themes incorporated into the company's take on "Goldilocks and the Three Bears." The plot snowballs after Baby Bear invites St. Nick to star in Mama and Papa Bear's festive spectacular. All ages.

Gingerbread Adventures
Thu Dec 1, Fri Dec 2 1:30--5:30pm; Sat Dec 3 Sun Dec 4 10am--5:30pm. New York Botanical Garden, Bronx River Pkwy at Fordham Rd (718-817-8700, nybg.org). Travel: B, D to Bedford Park Blvd or 4 to Bedford Park Blvd--Lehman College, then take the Bx26 bus; or Metro-North to Botanical Garden. Admission varies; see nybg.org for details on prices and discounts. Visions of gingerbread will dance in your little one's head when she enters the Everett Children's Adventure Garden, which transforms into a gingerbread town for the holidays. Families can check out gingerbread houses designed by city bakers, then decorate their own festive version. All ages.

Literally Alive Presents A Christmas Carol
Thu Dec 1, Fri Dec 2 at 7pm; Sat Dec 3 at 11am, 3pm. Players Theatre, 115 MacDougal St at Minetta Ln (212-352-3101, literallyalive.com). Subway: A, C, E, B, D, F, M to W 4th St. $25--$40. Literally Alive Children's Theatre presents a musical twist on the classic holiday tale about a Christmas-hating grouch whose bah-humbug life is transformed by a visit from three Christmas ghosts. During Saturday and Sunday matinees, arrive an hour early for a free preshow art workshop. Ages 5 and up.

Radio City Christmas Spectacular
Thu Dec 1 at 11am, 2, 5, 8pm; Fri Dec 2 at 10am, 1, 4, 7, 9:30pm; Sat Dec 3 at 9, 11:30am, 2, 4:30, 7:30, 10pm; Sun Dec 4 at 9, 11:30am, 2, 5, 8pm. Radio City Music Hall, 1260 Sixth Ave at 50th St (866-858-0007, radiocitychristmas.com). Subway: B, D, F, M to 47--50th Sts--Rockefeller Ctr; 1 to 50th St. $45--$125.
You'll get a kick out of this holiday stalwart, which—after 79 years—still features Santa, wooden soldiers and the leggy, spunky Rockettes. Expect plenty of transformations this year including six new scenes, new music, more eye-catching costumes, and advanced technology to bring audience members even closer to the performance. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, indeed. All ages.

FREE Scotch Most Gifted Wrapper Contest
Fri Dec 2 8:30am--10:30am. Rockefeller Center, 48th to 51st Sts between Fifth and Sixth Aves (212-332-6868, mostgiftedwrapper.com). Subway: B, D, F, M to 47--50th Sts--Rockefeller Ctr. America's best—and fastest—gift wrappers transform oddly shaped items (an old-fashioned sled, a six-foot-tall backyard play set and a gumball machine) into appealing presents, complete with ribbons and bows. Doesn't sound exciting? Trust us: These people have mesmerizing talent. The competition takes place in the Rockefeller Center Concourse by Cucina & Co. All ages.

Holiday Candlelight First Friday

Fri Dec 2 5:30--8:30pm. Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum, 895 Shore Rd at Pelham Bay Park (718-885-1461, bartowpellmansionmuseum.org). Travel: 6 to Pelham Station, transfer to Westchester Bee-Line 45 to Pelham Rd. $8, students free. The Bartow-Pell Mansion gets even more magical at night, as visitors will see for themselves at this cool event. Kids will love gazing at trees adorned with storybook-themed decorations, listening to music from a cappella group the MetropoliTones and snacking on seasonal refreshments. Hop aboard the complimentary Bronx Seaside Trolley at the Pelham Bay Park 6 train station to get to there. Registration requested. All ages.

Fri Dec 2, Sat Dec 3 10am--6:30pm. Central Park Zoo, Southeast corner of Central Park, enter at Fifth Ave at 64th St (212-439-6500, centralparkzoo.com). Subway: N, R to Fifth Ave--59th St. Free with zoo admission.
It's beginning to look a lot like the holidays in the animal kingdom. For the first three weekends of December, the zoo gets a seasonally appropriate makeover. Creature sounds are met with holiday music, the grounds are lit with white lights, and the caf serves up toasted marshmallows and hot cocoa. Plus, families can catch animal enrichment activities with a penguin (3:15pm), a polar bear (5:30pm) and a snow leopard (4:45pm). For those seeking more chilly thrills, the 4-D theater will be screening Polar Express in addition to its traditional showing, Ice Worlds. All ages.

St. Nicholas Day
Sat Dec 3 noon--2pm. Wyckoff Farmhouse Museum, 5816 Clarendon Rd at Ralph Ave, Flatbush, Brooklyn (718-629-5400, wyckoffassociation.org). Travel: 2, 5 to Newkirk Ave, then take the B8 bus to the corner of Clarendon Rd and Kings Hwy. $5, seniors and students $3, children 10 and under free.
Head to Flatbush to learn about St. Nicholas, the man who inspired North America's Santa Claus. The man in red will arrive on horseback at 2pm. Until then, visitors can snack on Dutch ginger cookies and listen as musician Linda Russell performs 18th-century tunes. All ages.

Swedish Christmas Children's Workshop
Sat Dec 3 at 1pm. Scandinavia House, 58 Park Ave between 37th and 38th Sts (212-779-3587, scandinaviahouse.org). Subway: 6 to 33rd St. $10.
Prep for the holiday season the Swedish way during this julpysseldag or "Christmas craft day." Projects include woven hearts, yarn tomtar (benevolent elves) and paper angels. Reservations recommended. Ages 5 to 10.

Symphony Space Presents The Nutcracker

Sat Dec 3 at 5pm. Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway at 95th St (212-864-5400, symphonyspace.org). Subway: 1, 2, 3 to 96th St. $30, children under 12 $20.
The Valentina Kozlova Dance Conservatory presents this timeless story of magical dolls and the Land of Sweets. All ages.

Family Art Project: Seasons Greetings
Sat Dec 3, Sun Dec 4 10am--1pm. Wave Hill, W 249th St at Independence Ave, Bronx (718-549-3200, wavehill.org). Travel: 1 to 242nd St or Metro-North's Hudson Line local to Riverdale, then take the free hourly shuttle to Wave Hill. Free with garden admission.
Using the garden as seasonal inspiration, chidlren craft pop-up and slider holiday cards for family and friends. Ages 5 and up.

The Life and Adventure of Santa Claus
Sat Dec 3 at 1:30pm. Tribeca Performing Arts Center at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, 199 Chambers St between Greenwich and West Sts (212-220-1460, tribecapac.org). Subway: A, C, 1, 2, 3 to Chambers St. $25.
Curious kids get their Christmas questions answered during this performance based on the story by L. Frank Baum. Reindeers Glossie and Flossie and Jack Frost explain the story behind stockings, tree decorations and more in a show packed with puppets, jokes and holiday tunes. Ages 5 to 10.

Annual Holiday Family Day: A Storybook Christmas
Sat Dec 3 10am--1pm. 895 Shore Rd at Pelham Bay Park, Bronx (718-885-1461, bartowpellmansionmuseum.org). Travel: 6 to Pelham Station, transfer to Westchester Bee-Line 45 to Pelham Rd. $20 ages 1--12, adults and children under 1 free. Additional fee for Santa photo. Carolers sing Christmas tunes, storytellers spin yarns (10:30 and 11:30am), and kids work on holiday crafts at this holiday affair. Little ones also get the chance to have their photo taken with Santa. Ages 1 to 12.

Wreath-Making Workshops
Sat Dec 3, Sun Dec 4 at 10am, noon, 2pm. Queens County Farm Museum, 73-50 Little Neck Pkwy between 73rd Rd and 74th Ave (718-347-3276, queensfarm.org). Travel: E, F to Kew Gardens--Union Tpke, then take the Q46 bus to Little Neck Pkwy. $20 per person, per wreath.
Grab a pair of garden shears (that's the only tool you'll need to bring from home) and head to the farm to decorate a custom evergreen hanging. Registration required. Ages 5 and up.

Angelina Ballerina: The Very Merry Holiday Musical

Sat Dec 3, Sun Dec 4 at 11am, 1pm. McGinn/Cazale Theatre, 2162 Broadway at 76th St, third floor (angelinaballerinathemusical.com). Subway: 1 to 79th St. $29.50.
Katherine Holabird's lovable, rosy-hued mouse dances into the holiday season in this new take on the original play. When faced with a cancelled holiday dance pageant, Angelina and her friends must get creative to save the show. All ages.

Christmas in Richmond Town
Sun Dec 4 10am--5pm. Historic Richmond Town, 441 Clarke Ave at St. Patricks Pl, Staten Island (718-351-1611, historicrichmondtown.org). Travel: From the Staten Island Ferry, take the S74 bus to St. Patricks Pl. Activity prices vary.
Celebrate the holidays 17th-century style in Staten Island's historic village. Kids can hop on a horse-drawn carriage, watch a tinsmith craft ornaments, listen to seasonal tales and carolers performing songs, taste holiday treats, and stick around for the parade and tree-lighting ceremony (5pm), complete with cider warmed over a campfire. All ages.

St. Nicholas Day

Sun Dec 4 1--4pm. Onderdonk House, 1820 Flushing Ave at Onderdonk Ave, Ridgewood, Queens (718-456-1776, onderdonkhouse.org). Subway: L to Jefferson St. $3, children under 12 free. Celebrate the Christmas season with the jolly North Pole resident. Kids listen to St. Nicholas as he tells his story, then have the chance to take a picture with him. For some extra holiday cheer, families can munch on traditional sweets, listen to classic carols and create seasonal crafts. All ages.

FREE Christmas in Ireland
Sun Dec 4 at 2pm. Winter Garden at the World Financial Center, 220 Vesey St at West St (212-945-0505, artsworldfinancialcenter.com). Subway: A, C, 1, 2, 3 to Chambers St; E to World Trade Center.
See how the Irish celebrate Christmas when the accomplished Celtic ensemble Dan, accompanied by vocalist Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh, brings the country's traditional sounds to the city. All ages.

FREE powerHouse Kids Holiday Party
Sun Dec 4 4--5pm. The powerHouse Arena, 37 Main St at Water St, Dumbo, Brooklyn (718-666-3049, powerhousearena.com). Subway: A, C to High St; F to York St.
This annual bash is littered with exciting literary guests for little ones. In addition to checking out artwork on display from children's book illustrators, kids can hear the same heavyweights Oliver Jeffers (Stuck), Masha D'yans (Razzle Dazzle Ruby) and Emily Jenkins (Toys Come Home) read tales from their most recent books. A visit from Santa seals the deal. Ages 4 to 8.

FREE Central Park Holiday Lighting
Sun Dec 4 4--5:30pm. Central Park, Charles A. Dana Discovery Center, enter at E 110th St and Fifth Ave (212-860-1370, centralparknyc.org). Subway: 2, 3 to 110th St--Central Park North; 6 to 110th St. Central Park invites families to kick off the holiday season with a tree lighting ceremony. Although the tree won't be lit until dusk, families can enjoy prelighting fun by decorating cookies, making ornaments and meeting Santa. All ages.

See all events the week of December 1--4

Share your thoughts
  1. * mandatory fields