December 2014 events calendar for New York City

Plan your month with our events calendar of the very best activities, including Christmas activities and our picks from theater, the arts and music

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Soak up the holiday season in the city this December with our pick of New York events. This season's highlights include such trusty favorites as the Radio City Christmas Spectacular and American Ballet Theatre's The Nutcracker. Looking for something less festive? Head to "Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs," MoMA's survey focusing on some of the most compelling works of the painter's life. For those who just want to cut loose, Justin Timberlake hits Barclays Center, and Billy Joel offers his gigantic pop singalong at Madison Square Garden.


Featured events in December 2014

Bob Dylan and His Band

  • Price band: 4/4
  • Critics choice
  1. Beacon Theatre 2124 Broadway, at 74th St
  2. Fri Nov 28 - Wed Dec 3
More info

Winter Solstice Celebration

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice
  1. Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine 1047 Amsterdam Ave, at 112th St
  2. Thu Dec 18 - Sat Dec 20
More info

Christmas Lights and Cannoli Tour

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice
  1. Manhattan
  2. Mon Dec 1 - Wed Dec 31
More info

Macy's holiday windows

  • Critics choice
  • Free
  1. Macy's Herald Square 151 W 34th St, between Sixth and Seventh Aves
  2. Wed Dec 10 - Wed Dec 31
More info

Free events in December 2014

Winter's Eve at Lincoln Square

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Head to Lincoln Square for the largest holiday festival where there'll be stilt walkers, live music, dancing, food and tons of local holiday vendors.

  1. Dante Park W 63rd St, between Columbus Ave and Broadway
  2. Mon Dec 1
More info

Rockefeller Center Tree-Lighting Ceremony

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Proceedings start at 7pm, but you’ll want to get there as early as you can to secure a spot.

  1. Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Rockefeller Plaza, between Fifth and Sixth Aves and 48th and 49th Sts
  2. Wed Dec 3
More info

Artists & Fleas at Chelsea Market

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Brooklyn purveyors set up shop across the river at Artists & Fleas’ seasonal pop-up bazaar, situated inside Chelsea Market. Expect to find trendy and noncommercial holiday-themed gifts vetted by husband-and-wife team Amy Abrams and Ronen Glimer, who ensure that every item is locally made and well

  1. Artists & Fleas - Chelsea Market 75 Ninth Ave, between 15th and 16th Sts, 10011
  2. Until Wed Dec 24
More info

Union Square Holiday Market

  • Critics choice
  • Free

If there’s one alfresco shopping event worth braving the cold for, it’s this one. This European-style winter market boasts more than 150 local and national vendors hawking an impressive selection of handcrafted gifts, ranging from jewelry and accessories to leather goods and artwork. Check out

  1. Union Square Holiday Market 14th St to 17th St, between Broadway and Park Ave South
  2. Thu Nov 20 - Wed Dec 24
More info

Comedy at the Knitting Factory

  • Critics choice
  • Free

The smooth and delightfully understated Hannibal Buress introduces fellow stand-ups.

  1. Knitting Factory 361 Metropolitan Ave, at Havemeyer St
  2. Sun Nov 16 - Sun Dec 28
More info

Whiplash

  • Critics choice
  • Free

This wildly popular show, started by Leo Allen and adopted by Aparna Nancherla, has been running more than five years and been home to the best up-and-comers and biggest names in comedy.

  1. Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre 307 W 26th St, between Eighth and Ninth Aves
  2. Mon Nov 17 - Mon Dec 29
More info

Macy's holiday windows

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Boasting a "Dream...and Believe" theme, Macy's 2013 holiday windows depict a young boy's journey through a magical dreamland. The six windows on the Broadway side of the store—Dream, Giving & Sharing, Joy, Beauty, Magic and Believe—use technology and LED lights to tell the story. Visiting

  1. Macy's Herald Square 151 W 34th St, between Sixth and Seventh Aves
  2. Wed Dec 10 - Wed Dec 31
More info

New Year's Eve Fireworks in Prospect Park

  • Critics choice
  • Free

A firm favorite of families and house parties taking a tactical break from drinking to sober up in the night air, this hootenanny warms up with live music and hot beverages in Grand Army Plaza.

  1. Prospect Park Prospect Park West to Flatbush Ave, between Prospect Park Southwest and Ocean Ave
  2. Wed Dec 31
More info

Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park

  • Critics choice
  • Free

After your skate, warm up at spacious rinkside restaurant Celsius. If you want to practice your lutzes and axels with ample spinning room, try visiting during off-peak hours.

  1. Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park Sixth Ave, between 40th and 42nd Sts
  2. Tue Oct 21 - Sun Jan 4
More info

"Classical Nudes and the Making of Queer History"

  • Critics choice
  • Free

In an ambitious exhibit that's as sexy as it is educational, Leslie-Lohman traces queer art from antiquity and the Renaissance (think sculptures of Sappho and muscleman drawings by Michelangelo) to the modern era (including work by boundary-pushing artists like Del LaGrace Volcano and Robert

  1. Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art 26 Wooster St, between Canal and Grand Sts
  2. Until Sun Jan 4
More info

"Picasso & Jacqueline: The Evolution of Style"

  • Critics choice
  • Free

The work of Pablo Picasso (1881–1973) represents the art-historical gift that keeps on giving, offering exhibition organizers a seemingly inexhaustible supply of periods and styles to draw upon. This show takes up the last two decades of his career, when he obsessed over the image of his second

  1. Pace Gallery 32 E 57th St, between Madison and Park Aves
  2. Until Sat Jan 10
More info

"Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs"

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

The explanatory text on the wall at the beginning of MoMA’s blockbuster of around one hundred of Henri Matisse’s cut-outs notes that these well-known works attempted to resolve the “eternal conflict of drawing and color.” Epic though that reconciliation may have been, it feels faraway and

  1. Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) 11 W 53rd St, between Fifth and Sixth Aves, 10019
  2. Until Sun Feb 8
More info

Music events in December 2014

Skinny Puppy + VNV Nation + Haujobb + Youth Code

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Industrial veterans Skinny Puppy have left a mark on many during the last three decades—for both better and worse. Goth-inspired art-pop queen Grimes cites her first time hearing the band as a revelatory experience, but earlier this year, much to the band's dismay, the U.S. government used the SP

  1. Best Buy Theater 1515 Broadway, at 44th St
  2. Tue Dec 2
More info

Cyndi Lauper and Friends: Home for the Holidays

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

The chirpy-voiced pop belter returns to the Beacon with another all-star benefit for her True Colors Fund, which assists homeless LGBT youth. Joining her onstage this year: 50 Cent, Natalie Maines, Patty Griffin, Salt-N-Pepa, Sufjan Stevens, Emily West, STRFKR, Liv Warfield, Hoda Kotb, and cohosts

  1. Beacon Theatre 2124 Broadway, at 74th St
  2. Sat Dec 6
Buy tickets

The Daptone Super Soul Revue

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

Daptone, the coolest contemporary soul label in the known universe, joins forces with the legendary Apollo to cook up a soul extravaganza worthy of the setting. Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings come off their January release, Give the People What They Want, to headline. Supporting are Southern-soul

  1. Apollo Theater 253 W 125th St, between Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd (Seventh Ave) and Frederick Douglass Blvd (Eighth Ave)
  2. Thu Dec 4 - Sat Dec 6
Buy tickets

Common + Jay Electronica

  • Critics choice

Chicago rap vet Common returns to Manhattan on the heels of his latest LP, Nobody's Smiling—a welcome comeback for the MC after a three-year hiatus. Jay Electronica, whose thoughtful rhymes and technical mastery have kept us waiting anxiously for his major label debut, supports.

  1. Irving Plaza 17 Irving Pl, at 15th St
  2. Tue Dec 9
More info

Cher + Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

The omnitalented singer-actor—a star for nearly five decades—returns to the arenas in support of last year's Auto-Tune–drenched dance-pop beltfest Closer to the Truth.

  1. Madison Square Garden 4 Pennsylvania Plaza , between 31st and 33rd Sts, 10001
  2. Mon Dec 8 - Mon Dec 15
More info

Justin Timberlake

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

A consummate pro, J.T. mixes a young Sinatra’s swagger and charisma with the airtight funk of peak Michael Jackson, making magic night after night with a crack big band.

  1. Barclays Center 620 Atlantic Ave, at Flatbush Ave, 11217
  2. Sun Dec 14
Buy tickets

Mariah Carey

  • Critics choice

This year, Mariah Carey's seasonal smash, Merry Christmas, turns 20. Mimi celebrates the anniversary with a series of dates at the Beacon, giving fans who still can't get enough of "All I Want for Christmas Is You," a very special present.

  1. Beacon Theatre 2124 Broadway, at 74th St
  2. Mon Dec 15 - Sat Dec 20
More info

Westgay

  • Price band: 1/4

A cute crowd flocks to this weekly party, presided over by Frankie Sharp along with resident DJs Jonjon Battles and Nita Aviance.

  1. The Westway 75 Clarkson St, between Washington and West Sts
  2. Tue Sep 23 - Tue Dec 30
More info

Disclosure + Claude Vonstroke + Dusky + Ten Walls + Kyle Hall + Isaac Tichauer

  • Critics choice

Disclosure is riding high: Critics and consumers reached a rare consensus in pegging the duo's debut, Settle, as the best dance record of 2013. The British brothers, currently on a massive world tour, have decided to ring in 2015 by bringing their sleek, soulful garage-house tracks to Pier 94. The

  1. Pier 94 Hudson River, at 55th St
  2. Wed Dec 31
Buy tickets

Elton John and His Band

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

While we reveled in the unexpected delights of his reflective 2013 solo release, The Diving Board, we're sure glad to see Sir Elton ushering in the New Year on Brooklyn's biggest stage: Swoon along to "Tiny Dancer," make juvenile hand gestures to "Crocodile Rock," smile meaningfully at your folks

  1. Barclays Center 620 Atlantic Ave, at Flatbush Ave, 11217
  2. Wed Dec 31
Buy tickets

Arts events in December 2014

"Behind the Screen"

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

At the museum’s core exhibit (which was completely updated during renovations), you can put sound effects into film scenes, insert your voice into a part of The Wizard of Oz, or even make a short animated film and e-mail it to yourself. Learn about live video editing in the TV control room, where

  1. Museum of the Moving Image 36-01 35th Ave, at 37th St, 11106
  2. Wed Sep 24 - Wed Dec 31
More info

Hedwig and the Angry Inch

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Belasco Theatre (see Broadway). Book by John Cameron Mitchell. Music and lyrics by Stephen Trask. Directed by Michael Mayer. With Neil Patrick Harris, Lena Hall. Running time: 1hr 40mins. No intermission. Hedwig and the Angry Inch: In brief The omnitalented Neil Patrick

  1. Belasco Theatre 111 W 44th St, between Broadway and Sixth Ave
  2. Wed Nov 12 - Wed Dec 31
Buy tickets

"Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe"

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

People—women and men alike—can't seem to get enough of high heels, and the higher the heel, the more likely that it will attract attention. That ability to captivate is the driving principle behind this show, which argues that, whatever the sexual connotations of high heels, they are also art

  1. Brooklyn Museum 200 Eastern Pkwy, at Washington Ave
  2. Wed Sep 24 - Wed Dec 31
More info

Nutcracker Rouge

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 4/4
  • Critics choice

[Note: The review below is from a previous run of Nutcracker Rouge. The revived production is at XIV, Company XIV's new home in the East Village, and the current cast does not include Marisol Cabrera and Jeff Takacs.) Nutcracker Rouge. Minetta Lane Theatre (see Off Broadway). Directed and

  1. XIV 428 Lafayette St, between Astor Pl and E 4th St
  2. Thu Nov 13 - Sat Jan 31
Buy tickets

"The Paris of Toulouse-Lautrec: Prints and Posters"

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

MoMA takes viewers back to the belle epoque in this survey of the graphic art of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864–1901), surely one of the best-known and beloved names in art history. All of his iconic images are here, along with the landmarks of late-19th-century Parisian nightlife referenced

  1. Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) 11 W 53rd St, between Fifth and Sixth Aves, 10019
  2. Until Wed Dec 31
More info

Cabaret

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

Originally staged in 1966, then brought to a sordid cinematic life in Bob Fosse’s (heavily adapted) 1972 film, the Kander and Ebb classic was revived and reconfigured anew in Roundabout Theatre Company’s triumphant 1998 account. Now that version has returned with its original star: the supreme

  1. Studio 54 254 W 54th St, between Broadway and Eighth Ave
  2. Tue Sep 23 - Sun Jan 4
Buy tickets

Pippin

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

Theater review by Adam Feldman. Music Box Theatre (Broadway). Book by Roger O. Hirson. Music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz. Dir. Diane Paulus. With Matthew James Thomas, Patina Miller, Rachel Bay Jones. 2hrs 30mins. One intermission. [Note: Kyle Dean Massey, Ciara Renée and Annie Potts,

  1. Music Box Theatre 239 W 45th St, between Broadway and Eighth Ave
  2. Until Sun Jan 4
Buy tickets

"Picasso & Jacqueline: The Evolution of Style"

  • Critics choice
  • Free

The work of Pablo Picasso (1881–1973) represents the art-historical gift that keeps on giving, offering exhibition organizers a seemingly inexhaustible supply of periods and styles to draw upon. This show takes up the last two decades of his career, when he obsessed over the image of his second

  1. Pace Gallery 32 E 57th St, between Madison and Park Aves
  2. Until Sat Jan 10
More info

"Classical Nudes and the Making of Queer History"

  • Critics choice
  • Free

In an ambitious exhibit that's as sexy as it is educational, Leslie-Lohman traces queer art from antiquity and the Renaissance (think sculptures of Sappho and muscleman drawings by Michelangelo) to the modern era (including work by boundary-pushing artists like Del LaGrace Volcano and Robert

  1. Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art 26 Wooster St, between Canal and Grand Sts
  2. Until Sun Jan 4
More info

"El Greco in New York"

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

This year marks the 400th anniversary of the death of El Greco (1541–1614), surely one of the most popular of the Old Masters, not only due to the devotional nature of his work, but also because much of it anticipated modern Expressionism (or, more accurately, influenced it). To mark the

  1. The Metropolitan Museum of Art 1000 Fifth Ave, at 82nd St, 10028
  2. Until Sun Feb 1
More info

"Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs"

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

The explanatory text on the wall at the beginning of MoMA’s blockbuster of around one hundred of Henri Matisse’s cut-outs notes that these well-known works attempted to resolve the “eternal conflict of drawing and color.” Epic though that reconciliation may have been, it feels faraway and

  1. Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) 11 W 53rd St, between Fifth and Sixth Aves, 10019
  2. Until Sun Feb 8
More info

More events in December 2014

Winter's Eve at Lincoln Square

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Head to Lincoln Square for the largest holiday festival where there'll be stilt walkers, live music, dancing, food and tons of local holiday vendors.

  1. Dante Park W 63rd St, between Columbus Ave and Broadway
  2. Mon Dec 1
More info

"Early American Guitars: The Instruments of C.F. Martin”

  • Critics choice

With all due respect to Les Paul, few names loom larger in American luthier lore than Christian Frederick Martin. The German immigrant crossed the Atlantic in the 1830s and began fashioning six-strings in the Spanish style (figure-eights with super pretty rosewood inlays), but with sturdier and

  1. The Metropolitan Museum of Art 1000 Fifth Ave, at 82nd St, 10028
  2. Until Sun Dec 7
More info

GingerBread Lane

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Chef Jon Lovitch spent a year creating the miniature homes in this edible display, using an estimated 500 pounds of gingerbread dough and more than 1,000 pounds of icing. Last year, the village won (and currently holds) the Guinness World Record as the largest gingerbread exhibit on earth. Feast

  1. New York Hall of Science 47-01 111th St, at 47th Ave, 11368
  2. Thu Nov 13 - Thu Dec 11
More info

Harlem Gospel Choir Brunch

  • Critics choice

Brunch and gospel music is the best combination since chicken and waffles, so get thee to Harlem and watch a gospel choir sing about the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost as you tuck into a brunch so good it can only be the work of the Lord himself. Praise bacon, folks.

  1. B.B. King Blues Club & Grill 237 W 42nd St, between Seventh and Eighth Aves, 10036
  2. Sun Nov 16 - Sun Dec 14
More info

Spoons, Toons and Booze Specials

  • Critics choice

Remember those childhood Saturdays when you’d wake up early just to catch your favorite cartoons? This nostalgic occasion is like that, only all grown up. You’ll have cereal, of course, but there’ll also be delicious cocktails. Just like at home, you get to choose what to watch, but with a

  1. Nitehawk Cinema 136 Metropolitan Ave, between Berry St and Wythe Ave, 11249
  2. Sat Nov 15 - Sun Dec 14
More info

Artists & Fleas at Chelsea Market

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Brooklyn purveyors set up shop across the river at Artists & Fleas’ seasonal pop-up bazaar, situated inside Chelsea Market. Expect to find trendy and noncommercial holiday-themed gifts vetted by husband-and-wife team Amy Abrams and Ronen Glimer, who ensure that every item is locally made and well

  1. Artists & Fleas - Chelsea Market 75 Ninth Ave, between 15th and 16th Sts, 10011
  2. Until Wed Dec 24
More info

Union Square Holiday Market

  • Critics choice
  • Free

If there’s one alfresco shopping event worth braving the cold for, it’s this one. This European-style winter market boasts more than 150 local and national vendors hawking an impressive selection of handcrafted gifts, ranging from jewelry and accessories to leather goods and artwork. Check out

  1. Union Square Holiday Market 14th St to 17th St, between Broadway and Park Ave South
  2. Thu Nov 20 - Wed Dec 24
More info

Floating Kabarette

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Galapagos hosts this long-running, crowd-pleasing cabaret night, featuring a rotating cast of amazing artists, including resident dance troupe Jenny Rocha and Her Painted Ladies—expect burlesque, magic, trapeze and much more. After the show, a dance party keeps the fun coming till 1am. Check the

  1. Galapagos Art Space 16 Main St, at Water St
  2. Sat Sep 27 - Sat Dec 27
Buy tickets

Comedy at the Knitting Factory

  • Critics choice
  • Free

The smooth and delightfully understated Hannibal Buress introduces fellow stand-ups.

  1. Knitting Factory 361 Metropolitan Ave, at Havemeyer St
  2. Sun Nov 16 - Sun Dec 28
More info

Whiplash

  • Critics choice
  • Free

This wildly popular show, started by Leo Allen and adopted by Aparna Nancherla, has been running more than five years and been home to the best up-and-comers and biggest names in comedy.

  1. Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre 307 W 26th St, between Eighth and Ninth Aves
  2. Mon Nov 17 - Mon Dec 29
More info

Christmas Lights and Cannoli Tour

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

The maxim a little bit goes a long way is not one residents of Dyker Heights adhere to: Each year, various homeowners in the South Brooklyn ’hood trick out their abodes with thousands of twinkly lights, as well as oversize decorations (illuminated Nativity scenes, animatronic snowmen, giant

  1. Manhattan
  2. Mon Dec 1 - Wed Dec 31
More info

The Rink at Rockefeller Center

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Even if the sidewalks are overrun with tourists, you’ll have ample room to skate at the city’s most iconic rink; only 150 people are allowed on the ice at once and given an hour and a half to glide. Through April. RECOMMENDED: More rinks for ice skating in NYC

  1. The Rink at Rockefeller Center 30 Rockefeller Plaza, between 49th and 50th Sts
  2. Until Wed Dec 31
More info

SantaCon

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Divisive, charity-focused bar crawl SantaCon is going ahead this year, despite rumors of cancellation and entreaties from the NYPD that publicans refuse to serve participants. As a result, some of us will be avoiding the mayhem in our quiet, vomit-free homes, while others will dust off the old Kris

  1. Location TBA
  2. Sat Dec 13
More info


Users say

2 comments
jeannie spikes
jeannie spikes

i would like to go to new york city. for christmas.me and my family.. would like to go and have some fun.