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11 epic things to do with kids before the New Year!

Allie Early
Written by
Allie Early

With Thanksgiving, Christmas for kids and Hanukkah on the horizon, it sure seems like 2017 is in a hurry to end—and 2018 is soon to arrive! While that's all well and good, and we're certainly looking forward to all of the awesomeness the New Year has to offer, there's still a ton to enjoy as a family before January 1st rolls around. See below for our favorite picks to explore with the kids!

1. See The Plaza's tree lighting and get in on a Home Alone look-alike contest (Nov 27 time TBA)

Does your kid look like Kevin McAllister? Bring 'em to The Plaza on November 27! You could win a complimentary night's stay to experience the Home Alone 2: 25th Anniversary Package and the chance to light the Plaza's Christmas tree at 7pm. If you make a reservation at The Palm Court, The Rose Club or The Champagne Bar on the same evening, you'll also get to enjoy the Tree Lighting Ceremony.

2. Catch The Magic Flute at The Met (Through Dec 9 at various times)

Get cultured with an enchanting performance of Mozart's timeless The Magic Flute, which runs for one hour and 44 minutes. More info here.

3. Ride a Santa train near NYC (Various dates and times)

Meet the big man in red with the help of steam trains and other historic trains near the city. In most experiences, kids get to go on a one or two-hour train ride, sip hot cocoa and meet the most famous family in the North Pole. Some events even invite kids to attend in their jammies! More info here.

4. Explore City of Science Festival (Dec 10)

If your tykes love all things science, get tickets to City of Science and partake in zany activities for all ages. Walk on water, create an orbiting universe a the Warped Space Gravity Simulator, use a seismic accelerator to launch objects 20 feet into the air and topple seven-foot-tall dominoes all in the name of science! More info here.

5. Drop by the MasterChef Junior open call (Dec 16 9am–5pm)

Does your kid think he/she has what it takes to make the cut on MasterChef Junior? There's an open call for the show right here in NYC that's open to children ages 8–13, (Stewart Hotel, 371 7th Ave at 31st St). Don't miss your shot to compete. More info here.

6. Attend the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloon Inflation (Dec 22 1–8pm)

Forgo crushing crowds at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade for its chiller (and equally cool) counterpart, the balloon inflation. Stop by to see these babies come to life just in time for their annual debut the next morning. *Please note that the times of the Balloon Inflation have changed from 1–8pm and that backpacks are not allowed in the area. More info here.

7. Make a (delightful) racket with Make Music Winter (Dec 21 times TBA)

Every year, families are invited to participate in a jubilant procession through the city streets. Grab an instrument and join in on parades focused on fiddlers/pickers, bells, kalimba and caroling, to name a few. More info here (coming soon).

8. See a Playtime screening at Metrograph (Through Dec 23 at various times)

If the winter blues have you cooped up and cruising Netflix, you might want to consider venturing out (if only for a few hours!) to partake in Playtime, Metrograph's winter children's series that includes The Princess Bride and That Darn Cat! to name a few. More info here.

9. Grab a one-of-a-kind gift at Bryant Park's holiday shops (Through Jan 2)

There are so many cute pop-ups at Bryant Park this year, and we've called out some of the best for families and kids. More info here.

10. Check out "Our Senses" at the American Museum of Natural History (Through Jan 6)

Whoa! This wild new exhibit offers 11 fun house-like experiences that mess with your senses (and demonstrate how your brain influences perception). More info here.

11. Venture into a real winter wonderland at One World Observatory (Through Jan 7)

Want to experience a stunning snow globe-like landscape at One World Observatory? From now through early January, you'll get to walk through a dazzling "Winter Onederland" and explore the wonders of the world with the help of an owl named Ollie. Families can also meet Santa himself and get professional photos taken. More info here.

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