Christmas for kids and parents in New York City

This holiday season, take part in the amazing Christmas for kids activities that make winter in NYC so magical!

Photograph: Jessica Lin

This is going to be the holliest, jolliest Christmas for kids in NYC! We tracked down all the best activities and events going on around town, and you're bound to find something that puts your family in the holiday spirit. 

After all, this is the time of year to walk the city's busy streets and visit your favorite local toy stores. When the snow comes, you can zoom down the city's best sledding hills. And if the cold is a bit much, you can keep warm in one of the best children's museums in NYC.

We love how New York glimmers during the holidays, making it one of the best Christmas spots for kids in the universe. Simply being in this magical city this time of year is special.

When is Christmas 2019?

Christmas falls on Wednesday, December 25, 2019.

Best selling Christmas events for kids

Radio City Christmas Spectacular
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Radio City Christmas Spectacular

Christmastime in NYC is a glamorous affair, and the Radio City Rockettes certainly make the season sparkle. Catch the performers in the annual Christmas Spectacular, a festive amalgamation of theater and dance that has been a tradition since 1933. It’s the perfect way to gear up for December 25. All ages.

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New York City Ballet: George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker

New York City Ballet: George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker

This magical 1954 production, set to Tchaikovsky's incredible score, includes the full New York City Ballet company and two casts of School of American Ballet students, as well as an onstage blizzard and a Christmas tree that grows from 12 to 40 feet. In the end, however, Balanchine's choreography is what holds it all together. It's enchanting.

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A Slice of Brooklyn Original Christmas Lights Tour of Dyker Heights
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A Slice of Brooklyn Original Christmas Lights Tour of Dyker Heights

The Brooklyn Christmas Lights tour of Dyker Heights is a 3.5 hour bus tour of the most extravagant Christmas light displays in the country which are located in the Dyker Heights section of Brooklyn, aka "Dyker Lights." Over 100,000 people flock to this area every year to see the most over-the-top Christmas decorations. If this tour doesn't get you in the Christmas spirit then your name is Ebeneezer Scrooge! Highlights: Informative, friendly and professional guide Ideal choice for families Seasonal Offer

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Macy's Santaland
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Macy's Santaland

This holiday season, the eighth floor of Macy’s Herald Square transforms into a 13,000-square-foot winter village that’s decked out with Christmas trees, toys from Santa’s workshop and a light display that’s just the right backdrop for a family selfie. Meet-and-greets with Kris Kringle will commence on Nov 29; starting on Nov 24, visitors can R.S.V.P. online to nab a spot. All ages.

Christmas for kids in NYC

Christmas events for kids in NYC
Things to do

Christmas events for kids in NYC

Holiday train shows for kids in NYC
Things to do

Holiday train shows for kids in NYC

Your family's guide to Macy's Santaland
Attractions

Your family's guide to Macy's Santaland

The best Christmas movies for kids
Things to do

The best Christmas movies for kids

Christmas gifts for kids of all ages
Shopping

Christmas gifts for kids of all ages

The best holiday markets in New York City
Shopping

The best holiday markets in New York City

15 awesome Elf on the Shelf ideas
Things to do

15 awesome Elf on the Shelf ideas

Best Christmas songs for kids of all ages
Things to do

Best Christmas songs for kids of all ages

Best hot chocolate in NYC to try now
Restaurants

Best hot chocolate in NYC to try now

Best Rockefeller Center activities for families
Things to do

Best Rockefeller Center activities for families

The best Nutcracker ballet shows in NYC for kids
Things to do

The best Nutcracker ballet shows in NYC for kids

Christmas tree farms for cut-your-own trees
Things to do

Christmas tree farms for cut-your-own trees

Best New York Christmas tree lightings
Things to do

Best New York Christmas tree lightings

The best animated Christmas movies for kids
Things to do

The best animated Christmas movies for kids

19 creepy Santas that will give your kids nightmares
Things to do

19 creepy Santas that will give your kids nightmares

10 times parents abused their Elf on the Shelf
Things to do

10 times parents abused their Elf on the Shelf

Where to see holiday lights in NYC
Things to do

Where to see holiday lights in NYC

RECOMMENDED: Christmas for kids in New York City Did you and the kids witness a festive tree lighting in NYC yet this season? In addition to the Rockefeller tree, there are tons of spots to see twinkling holiday lights right here in the city. If your family is looking for a bigger Yuletide adventure, head to Westchestser or New Jersey to check out their impressive displays as well! Don't forget to browse the amazing holiday windows at the city's favorite department stores.

The best Christmas books for kids
Things to do

The best Christmas books for kids

If a day spent browsing the choo-choos at a holiday train show and gazing at a twinkly tree isn't enough to get your youngsters in a festive mood, read our ranked list of fantastic Christmas books for kids before bedtime! RECOMMENDED: Christmas for kids in NYC While browsing through all of our favorite picks, you'll find great stuff like The Polar Express, where a little boy finds himself on a very special journey, or How the Grinch Stole Christmas, where you'll learn that even those with hearts three sizes too small can learn to appreciate the holidays. Don't miss Jan Brett's beautifully illustrated The Mitten or The Wild Christmas Reindeer!

The best Santa train ride close to NYC
Things to do

The best Santa train ride close to NYC

It's the most wonderful time of year, which means heading out of town to enjoy the best Santa train ride attractions near NYC! Kids will be thrilled when they that it's like a life-sized holiday train show, only they can climb aboard and go for a ride! RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Christmas for kids in New York Make your day trip merrier by playing the best Christmas songs for kids and families on your soundsystem. And if all that ho-ho-hoing gets to be too much, don't sweat it: just pop on one of the best podcasts for kids of all ages. The best podcasts are as much fun for parents as they are for those little jolly elves.

The best Christmas plays for kids in NYC
Things to do

The best Christmas plays for kids in NYC

New York offers so many wonderful Christmas plays for kids. Why not get out there and see one for yourself? Check out classics like George Balanchine's The Nutcracker at Lincoln Center or the Christmas Spectacular starring the Radio City Rockettes to start!  RECOMMENDED: All Christmas for kids in New York For more festive fun, take the kids ice skating at spectacular local rinks, grab a delicious cup of hot chocolate nearby or dive on in with these spectacular Christmas movies for kids.

Related Christmas in NYC stories

Christmas movie screenings for families in New York City
Movies

Christmas movie screenings for families in New York City

The best holiday gifts for kids of all ages
Shopping

The best holiday gifts for kids of all ages

Celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah this year with the best holiday gifts for kids! We have cool picks for every kid (big and small) in hopes of making your lives just a little bit easier. Be warned: You might be up late "test driving" them—you know, to make sure they work and stuff. We'd also recommend a visit to local holiday markets—Bryant Park Winter Village is just one of many cool places to check out. Since, well, 'tis the season, we'd also recommend taking the festivities one step further with a visit to some of the coolest local ice-skating rinks and holiday markets, a day trip to one of these Christmas tree farms or a family movie night with one of our 20 best Christmas movies for kids.  

Family restaurants open on Christmas Day in NYC
Restaurants

Family restaurants open on Christmas Day in NYC

The best holiday desserts for families from NYC bakeries
Restaurants

The best holiday desserts for families from NYC bakeries

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