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Winter break activities for New York City kids

Your guide to winter break including free activities for kids, special museum events, winter break camps and other holiday activities.



This year, winter break for New York City public school students runs from Saturday, December 21 through Wednesday, January 1—that's 12 days off from school! Thankfully, we've got you covered with tons of ideas for how to keep little ones busy during the winter break, including free activities for kids, special museum events, winter break camps and other holiday activities. It's also the perfect time to check out a city ice-skating rink (the LeFrak Center at Lakeside opens on December 20) or head to the movies for one of the season's newest family flicks.

RECOMMENDED: Winter day trips for NYC families

When is winter break?

Winter break runs for New York City public school students is from Saturday, December 21 to Wednesday, January 1. Kids go back to class on Thursday, January 2.

Holiday activities

"The Grinch's Holiday Workshop"

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

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

Holiday Train Show

  • Critics choice

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

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

Radio City Christmas Spectacular

  • Price band: 3/4

You'll get a kick out of this holiday stalwart, which still features

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

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

  • Critics choice
  • Free

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

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

Free activities for kids

Make Music Winter

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Make Music New York, which inundates public spaces with live music every

  1. Various locations
  2. Until Sat Dec 21
More info

City Harvest Gingerbread Extravaganza

  • Free

While New York City put on its festive holiday decor for the season, local

  1. Le Parker Meridien 119 W 56th St, between Sixth and Seventh Aves
  2. Until Mon Jan 6
More info

New York Transit Museum's Holiday Train Show

  • Critics choice
  • Free

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

  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

Super Sábado!: Super Holidays

  • Free

During this monthly celebration, El Museo del Barrio opens its doors to

  1. El Museo del Barrio 1230 Fifth Ave, between 104th and 105th Sts
  2. Until Sat Dec 21
More info

31st Annual Wreath Exhibition

  • Critics choice
  • Free

This multifaceted display of door hangings features 46 unconventional

  1. Arsenal Gallery in Central Park 830 Fifth Ave, at 64th St, third floor
  2. Thu Jan 9
More info

Holiday Under the Stars

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Take a break from Christmas shopping and check out Time Warner Center’s

  1. Time Warner Center 10 Columbus Circle, at Broadway
  2. Until Sat Jan 4
More info

23 Days of Flatiron Cheer

  • Free

23rd St between Broadway and Fifth Ave. For the second year, holiday

  1. Manhattan
  2. Until Mon Dec 23
More info

PowerHouse on 8th Kids Readings 2013

  • Free

This winter, the bookshop powerHouse on 8th welcomes children's book

  1. powerHouse on 8th 1111 Eighth Ave, between 11th and 12th Sts
  2. Until Sun Jun 15
More info
More free activities over winter break

Christmas in New York

Christmas in New York

Holiday train shows, tree lightings, winter festivals, annual shows and more!

Santa sightings in NYC

Head to a tree lighting, a department store or a holiday concert for Santa sightings this Christmas.

Holiday windows and displays

Take a virtual tour of the city's most festive department store windows.

Holiday trees

Enjo entertainment at a tree lighting celebration or wait till the crowds die down to check out some dazzlingly decorated boughs.

More Christmas in New York

Museum events

ReMake the Holidays

  • Price band: 1/4

Budding scientists make their mark on the holiday season through hands-on

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

12 Days of Science

  • Price band: 1/4

Just because school's out doesn't mean you need to stay bored. Curious

  1. Liberty Science Center 222 Jersey City Blvd, between Philip and Wilson Sts
  2. Wed Jan 1
More info

Family Day at Eldridge Street

  • Price band: 1/4

The Museum at Eldridge Street opens its doors to families all day long for

  1. Museum at Eldridge Street 12 Eldridge St, between Canal and Division Sts, 10002
  2. Tue Dec 24
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

  1. Museum of the Moving Image 36-01 35th Ave, at 37th St, 11106
  2. Sat Dec 21 - Wed Jan 1
More info
More museum events for kids over winter break

Winter break camps

Winter break camps

From chess workshops to hockey clinics, we've rounded up 10 great holiday camps to keep your kids busy over the break.


December in New York

Kwanzaa 2013: 35th Anniversary Celebration

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

For the 35th year in a row, families can take in the sights and sounds of

  1. American Museum of Natural History Central Park West, at 79th St, 10024
  2. Until Sat Dec 28
More info

3, 2, 1...Happy New Year!

  • Price band: 1/4

So long, 2013! At this New Year's Eve workshop, little ones will craft

  1. Brooklyn Children’s Museum 145 Brooklyn Ave, at St. Marks Ave
  2. Until Tue Dec 31
More info

Cirkopolis

  • Price band: 3/4

Montreal-based troupe Cirque Eloize will rendezvous in the Big Apple for a

  1. Skirball Center for the Performing Arts 566 La Guardia Pl, at Washington Sq South, 10012
  2. Until Sun Jan 5
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

  1. David H. Koch Theater (at Lincoln Center) 20 Lincoln Center Plaza, at 63rd St
  2. Tue Dec 17 - Sat Jan 4
More info
More December activities


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