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Thanksgiving weekend activities for kids in New York City 2013

Staying in town over the holiday? We've got the scoop on the best Thanksgiving weekend activities for kids of all ages.

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Best Thanksgiving weekend activities 2013: AMNH Origami Tree

  • Best Thanksgiving weekend activities 2013: George Balanchine's The Nucracker

  • Best Thanksgiving weekend activities 2013: Dinosaur Train Live

  • Photograph: Beth Levendis

    Best Thanksgiving weekend activities 2013: The Annual Post-Thanksgiving Multi-Ethnic Eating Tour

  • Courtesy The Jim Henson Company

    Best Thanksgiving weekend activities 2013: Jim Henson Favorites at the Museum of the Moving Image

  • Best Thanksgiving weekend activities 2013: BAMcinematek: Kid Stuff

  • Best Thanksgiving weekend activities 2013: The Amazing Max

     

  • Photograph: MSG Entertainment

    Best Thanksgiving weekend activities 2013: Radio City Christmas Spectacular

     

  • Courtesy the New-York Historical Society

    Best Thanksgiving weekend activities 2013: Season of Light Scavenger Hunt

     

Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

Best Thanksgiving weekend activities 2013: AMNH Origami Tree


Post–Turkey Day (and subsequent respite period for digestion), you’ve got a whole weekend worth of planning to do—especially if there are holiday visitors in the mix. Instead of braving the Black Friday crowds, head to Thanksgiving weekend activities like seasonal shows (the Nutcracker at Lincoln Center, Dinosaur Train Live and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular), family concerts (we're excited for the Laurie Berkner holiday show) or seasonal traditions such as Christmas tree lightings and outdoor skating rinks. Click through each day to see all the best Thanksgiving weekend activities that'll please both tourists and native New Yorkers of all ages.


RECOMMENDED: All Thanksgiving activities with kids in NYC

Friday, November 29

Origami Holiday Tree

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

More than 500 handmade origami ornaments adorn the holiday season's craftiest Christmas tree. This year's theme is "Museum’s Collections," so keep your eyes peeled for baubles representing exhibits and creatures from the AMNH’s trove, including lemurs, spiders, monkeys and even crows. All ages.

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

South Street Seaport Tree Lighting

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Fete the opening of the See/Change ice rink with live music and the 30th annual lighting of South Street Seaport's holiday tree. All ages.

  1. South Street Seaport 19 Fulton St, at Front St
  2. Until Fri Nov 29
More info

See/Change Unseasonably Cool

  • Critics choice

This 110-by-45-foot ice-skating rink at the intersection of Fulton and Front Streets joins the markets that debuted at South Street Seaport over the summer. Drop-in basic skills classes will be held Saturdays and Sundays from 9–9:45am ($20 including skate rental) and private lessons are also available Thursday–Sunday ($60). Ages 3 and up.

  1. South Street Seaport 19 Fulton St, at Front St
  2. Until Sat Mar 1
More info

George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

This Lincoln Center production is the one people have in mind when they ask, "Have you been to The Nutcracker?" The New York City Ballet's full roster of ballerinas, danseurs and musicians—plus children from the School of American Ballet—perform Balanchine's classic choreography. Princess-smitten tots are most likely to fall for the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Snow Queen, but all kids will get a kick out of the one-ton Christmas tree that "grows" onstage, and Mother Ginger, who hides little dancers under her nine-foot-wide skirt. Ages 5 and up.

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

Dinosaur Train Live!

  • Price band: 2/4

The prehistoric PBS Kids show comes to life via dancing puppets, a replica of the train and special effects fit for a dino-sized production. Ages 3 and up.

  1. Skirball Center for the Performing Arts 566 LaGuardia Pl, at Washington Sq South, 10012
  2. Until Sun Dec 1
More info

The Annual Post-Thanksgiving Multi-Ethnic Eating Tour

  • Price band: 2/4

Spend Black Friday explore the various cultures of the Lower East Side through a turkey-burning, tastebud-tingling tour. Tots can sample Jewish, Italian, Chinese and Dominican treats and snacks at outdoor markets while learning about different ethnicities and their histories. Meet at the southwest corner of Essex and Delancey Sts. Ages 5 and up.

  1. Manhattan
  2. Until Fri Nov 29
More info

Jim Henson Favorites at the Museum of the Moving Image

The Museum of the Moving Image has decided to count down to the 2015 opening of its permanent Jim Henson exhibition by offering a Henson screening once a month until opening day. The November program, A Dog's Life: A Rowlf Retrospective (Nov 29–Dec 1 at 1pm), marks the 50th anniversary of The Jimmy Dean Show, the show that launched Jim Henson's Rowlf the Dog, with snippets of Rowlf's "greatest moments" in commercials, variety shows and, you guessed it: The Muppet Show. On tap for December is a showing of Emmet Otter's Jugband Christmas (Dec 8, Dec 21–Jan 1 at 1pm; no screening Dec 24 or 25), a TV special about Ma Otter and her son Emmet, both of whom enter a talent contest to earn enough cash to buy the other a Christmas present. The event on Dec 8 includes rare outtakes, plus a tribute to two of Henson's colleagues who passed away this year. All ages.

  1. Museum of the Moving Image 36-01 35th Ave, at 37th St, 11106
  2. Until Wed Jan 1
More info

BAMcinématek: Kid Stuff

  • Price band: 2/4

Introduce little cinephiles to art house films that explore the concept of childhood (and show them all they have to be grateful for—is is Thanksgiving weekend, after all). Each day, catch a different film: Bicycle Thieves (11/28), The Spirit of the Beehive (11/29), The River (11/30), Fanny and Alexander (12/1) and Kes (12/2). Ages 7 and up.

  1. BAM Rose Cinemas 30 Lafayette Ave, between Ashland Pl and St. Felix St, 11217
  2. Until Mon Dec 2
More info

The Amazing Max and The Box of Interesting Things

  • Price band: 2/4

During this family magic show (which is back for a six-week run!), the Amazing Max—who began training as a magician when he was just five months old—wows audiences with science-defying tricks, comedy, and juggling. A handful of kids are even called onstage to assist during the show. Ages 3 and up.

  1. Manhattan Movement & Arts Center 248 W 60th St, between Amsterdam and West End Aves
  2. Until Sat Apr 19
More info

Radio City Christmas Spectacular

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

You'll get a kick out of this holiday stalwart, which—after 85 years—still features Santa, wooden soldiers and the leggy, spunky Rockettes. In recent years, new music, more eye-catching costumes, and advanced technology were introduced to bring audience members closer to the performance, including this year's debut, a new number called "Snow", in which the decor, costumes and technology transform the stage into a white wonderland. All ages.

  1. Radio City Music Hall 1260 Sixth Ave, at 50th St
  2. Fri Nov 7 - Wed Dec 31
Buy tickets

Season of Light Scavenger Hunt

  • Price band: 1/4

Kids and their parents can take on the challenge of tracking down images of light, from Tiffany lamps to artifacts from the first Jewish synagogue in NYC, Shearith Israel, in this seasonal scavenger hunt at the New-York Historical Society. All ages.

  1. New-York Historical Society 170 Central Park West, between 76th and 77th Sts
  2. Wed Jan 1
More info

World's Largest Menorah Lighting

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Fifth Avenue at 59th St. This 32-ft menorah requires a crane to light its eight oil lamps, which makes for a monumental Hanukkah spectacle. Follow up a visit to the Jewish Museum (or a carriage ride around Central Park—hey, it's the holidays!) with nightly lightings beginning at 5:30pm, with the exception of Friday's, which will be at 3:45pm and Saturday's, which is at 8:30pm in accordance with Jewish tradition. All ages.

  1. Manhattan
  2. Until Thu Dec 5
More info
See all Friday events

  1. Friday, November 29
  2. Saturday, November 30
  3. Sunday, December 1

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