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The best Christmas events for kids in New York City

These Christmas events are the best! Take the kids to see cool holiday markets, see amazing Christmas plays and more.

Avi Gerver
November 5, 2014: Tech rehearsal for the 2014 Radio City Christmas Spectacular starring the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall.

RECOMMENDED: Christmas for kids in New York

Want to find the best Christmas events in town? These kid-friendly picks will have 'em out ice skating, snowman-building and even catching snowflakes on their tongues. Take a trip to see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular (our Radio City Christmas Spectacular guide can help), stop by one of many amazing holiday train shows, see the Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting and more this season. Oh, and don't forget to top it off with a cup of the best hot chocolate and a trip to one of the city's coolest ice-skating rinks

Christmas events for kids

Radio City Christmas Spectacular

Critics' pick

Every year, this holiday stalwart gets families in the spirit with Santa appearances, colorful sets and, of course, one-of-a-kind dance numbers from the impressive Rockettes. Enjoy classic routines like New York at Christmas, in which dancers journey through the city on a double-decker bus, and keep an eye out for exciting new additions as well. The show now incorporates advanced technology throughout, taking the audience on a wild ride via 3D glasses and a flying LED screen, and one number even sends a host of helium-filled, GPS-enabled iridescent snowflakes floating high above the audience, transforming Radio City into a sparkling winter wonderland! All ages.

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Radio City Music Hall , Midtown West Until Sunday January 3 2016

Fancy Nancy: Splendiferous Christmas

Based on the children’s book series by Jane O’Connor, this new holiday musical tells the story of Nancy, who loves all things posh and glamorous. When her plan to decorate the Christmas tree with her brand-new sparkly tree topper doesn't exactly work out as planned, she has to find a way to accept that Christmas can still be splendiferous. Ages 3 to 10. 

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The Theater at St. Jean (at St. Jean Baptiste Catholic Church) , Lenox Hill Saturday November 28 2015 - Sunday December 27 2015

Artists & Fleas Holiday Market

Critics' pick

You're sure to find something for everyone on your list at one of Artists & Fleas' two holiday markets. Weekends through the end of the year, they'll cram nearly 100 vendors into their expanded Williamsburg warehouse space. Head to their location at Chelsea Market, open seven days a week (Mon–Sat 10am–9pm, Sun 10am–8pm), to browse wares from 30 independent sellers. Peruse kid-friendly items like hip onesies from Twinko and adorable baby bow ties from Dap Kitsch, plus music, art, snacks and more. Save time (and your sanity) by getting your gift-buying and gift-wrapping done in one place—in mid-December, both market locations will feature gift-wrapping stations. All ages.

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Artists & Fleas , Williamsburg Friday December 11 2015 - Thursday December 31 2015

Union Square Holiday Market

Critics' pick

It's worth braving the cold to peruse items from more than 100 vendors at Union Square's annual mazelike fair. Nosh on a seasonal snack, like traditional German gingerbread from Leckerlee, then browse kid-friendly items like locally-made clothing from Lil' Fishy ($20–$70), Gotham-themed puzzles from New York Puzzle Company ($16–$30), quirky puppets from Nhocchi ($25) and stuffed animals from Hazel Village ($40 and up). The sprawling market also includes art, bath and body products, home goods, jewlery and clothing for men and women. All ages.

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Union Square Holiday Market , Union Square Until Thursday December 24 2015

Macy's Santaland

Head up to the eighth floor of the Herald Square behemoth for 13,000 square feet of holiday cheer, igloos, an enchanted forest, ice-skating penguins, a chorus of teddy bears and of course, Santa Claus' abode, where his elves will escort little ones up to the man in red. Though visiting this Christmas wonderland won't cost you much, the trip will be a time commitment. Families can expect to wait 90 minutes or more on a weekend afternoon to visit with old Saint Nick—just enough time for your little one to make his own list and check it twice (or a few more times). All ages.

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Macy's Herald Square , Midtown West Friday November 27 2015 - Thursday December 24 2015

Christmas Lights Tour

Critics' pick

More than 100,000 visitors make the pilgrimage to this south Brooklyn nabe every December to see larger-than-life Christmas displays, which in past years have included massive nutcrackers, silicone Santas and hundreds of thousands of sparkling holiday lights. The three-and-half-hour bus jaunt takes you through the ’hood’s best spectacles. Meet in Union Square. All ages.

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Manhattan Tuesday December 1 2015 - Thursday December 31 2015

Origami Holiday Tree

Critics' pick

What if we said you could see an ultracool holiday tree inside your kids’ favorite museum? You’d say, “Heck, yeah!” The ornate 13-footer at the American Museum of Natural History makes a statement with a great theme every year, this season’s being “Mighty and Microscopic Life.” Check out 1,000 handmade ornaments inspired by the museum’s upcoming exhibitions “The Secret World Inside You” and “Dinosaurs Among Us,” plus try your hand at the art of paper folding with on-site volunteers. All ages.

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American Museum of Natural History , Upper West Side Until Sunday January 10 2016

Breakfast with Santa Cruise

What better way to ring in the holiday season than with Santa and a tasty breakfast at sea? Tots can play festive games, watch Christmas movies, dance with St. Nick and gape at the wintry city skyline from the comfort of a heated cabin. Then, when they're ready to refuel, Santa's will serve a breakfast buffet extravaganza with something to please even the pickiest eaters. Stay tuned for announcements about special guests who will be onboard to say hello! All ages.

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South Street Seaport, Pier 16 , Financial District Saturday December 12 2015 - Saturday December 19 2015

Grand Central Terminal Annual Holiday Fair

For once, take a leisurely stroll through Grand Central instead of rushing for a train. The annual Holiday Fair will take over the majestic Vanderbilt Hall for six weeks this year, letting New Yorkers browse an array of holiday wares like jewelry, toys and bath products while staying warm and toasty. Many of the fair's 76 vendors offer handcrafted, American-made products from locally sourced materials. The market will close at 6PM on Christmas Eve, and is closed on Thanksgiving Day. All ages.

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Grand Central Terminal, Vanderbilt Hall , Midtown West Until Thursday December 24 2015

Kids 'N Comedy: Christmakwanzukah

In this all-teen stand-up show, holiday cheer is spread in the form of goofy monologues and witty sarcasm. Try to hold back your laughter as Gen Y-ers discuss unpleasant Christmas gifts, itchy sweaters and other not-so-joyful joys of the holiday season. Ages 9 and up.

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Gotham Comedy Club , Chelsea Sunday December 20 2015