December kids' events in New York City

Looking for the best kids' events this December? See our December events calendar for kids to plan your month!

Radio City Christmas Spectacular
Photograph: Gene Schiavone Radio City Christmas Spectacular

December has the most fantastic kids' events ever! And you're the first to hear about them, thanks to our December events calendar for kids. Prepare for the most wonderful time of the year with festive events (Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa) as well as wintry adventures (like these sledding hills and other outdoor activities for kids).

RECOMMENDED: Full kids' events calendar.

Don't miss out on Macy’s Santaland, the Radio City  Christmas Spectacular and our favorite  holiday train shows.

December kids' events

Photograph: Courtesy Derek Wang
Theater, Puppet shows

December Puppet Shows at Time Out Market New York

Time Out Market New York, DUMBO

Cold Sunday mornings are a great excuse to head to Time Out Market New York! Not only will you have a chance to indulge in comfort food (hello Clinton St. Baking Co. pancakes) but you can keep youngsters preoccupied with puppet shows. Join the Puppetsburg crew on our fifth floor stage as the marionette entertainment wraps up your weekend activities on a high note. All ages.

Dance, Ballet

Keith Michael’s The Nutcracker at Brookfield Place

The New York Theatre Ballet's adaptation of Tchaikovsky's classic is highly polished, with an Art Nouveau–style twist. It's abridged to an hour in length—just the right amount of time for little ones to watch the polka dot–clad mice and sugary backdrops in wonder before they get too squirmy. The show is a part of Brookfield Place's free cultural offerings. Free. All ages.

Courtesy of Viator
Things to do, Walks and tours

A Slice of Brooklyn Original Christmas Lights Tour of Dyker Heights

Union Square, Union Square

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

Photograph: Courtesy of the New York Transit Museum
Things to do, Quirky events

Holiday Nostalgia Rides

Various locations, Hell's Kitchen

The R1-9 train cars from the 1930s are rolling again: The MTA's "Holiday Nostalgia Ride" will take place every Sunday between Thanksgiving and New Year's from 10am-5pm. Board a vintage train for a rattling ride under the streets of Manhattan—the trains will run between Second Ave and 145th St on the Sixth Avenue line. (See a detailed schedule and other information here.) This is seasonal favorite is a literal nostalgia trip, but remember that the trains were at the cutting edge for their time, and so well-constructed that they remained in use until the 1970s. Best of all, there's no additional cost to ride the train: Pay your fare and you're good to go. All ages.

Photograph: Courtesy Sawyer + Union Square Play
Shopping, Pop-up shops

The Holiday Pop-Up

Union Square Play, Union Square

'Tis the season of giving! If you're shopping for your tot, look no further than Sawyer and Union Square Play's Holiday Pop-Up. The online activity marketplace and kids' play space joined forces to create a 5,000 square-foot winter wonderland complete with items from your favorite brands, like Lalo and Stride Rite. But it's not just about shopping—the Holiday Pop-Up will also include culinary events from Du’s Donuts, pictures with Santa and plenty of other festive activities. Make sure to book a visit! Note that the shop is closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. All ages. 

Photograph: Courtesy Sean Twomey
Things to do

Breakfast with Santa

Hudson Yards, Midtown West

Neiman Marcus is taking its holiday tradition to its Hudson Yards location. Families are invited to a delicious brunch (lobster eggs benedict for the adults, scrambled eggs or buttermilk pancakes for the kiddos) with Santa. Admission also includes a photo with the man in the red suit and other seasonal suprises! Enter through 375 10th Ave and make your way to the seventh floor of Neiman Marcus. All ages. 

Photograph: Courtesy LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester
Things to do

Holiday Bricktacular

Legoland Discovery Center Westchester,

Who doesn't love a LEGO winter wonderland? The Holiday Bricktacular proves just how festive your favorite building blocks can be: Attempt your own ornament during the LEGO builds, see LEGO Santa in his sleigh and catch a look at the (mini) NYC's winterized look in Winter Wonderful MINILAND. All ages. 

Photograph: Courtesy Westfield World Trade Center
Shopping, Pop-up shops

Market at Westfield

Westfield World Trade Center, Financial District

Expect a dazzling display of holiday décor. The Market at Wetfield will make the most of the season with  beautiful garlands and life-size chrome Snowmen that adorn the picture-perfect winter village display. Not only will you be able to snag great gifts for loved ones, but you can enjoy Christmas carols, seasonal treats and more! All ages. 

Photograph: Courtesy Paul Martinka
Things to do


The Paley Center for Media, Midtown West

Step into a winter wonderland at The Paley Center for Media and indulge in fun activities for the whole family. No worries if you missed your favorite holiday special when it aired on TV— catch screenings of many TV classics, including A Rugrats Chanukah, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and more. Children can check out a holiday-themed VR game, meet FAO toy soliders, enjoy crafts and much more while they await for the man in the big red suit. Santa’s hours are as follows: December 7: 1–6pm, December 8, 14, 15, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22: Noon–6pm. All ages. 

Photograph: Courtesy Bloomingdale's + Joe Schildhorn/

An Out Of This World Holiday

Bloomingdale's, Upper East Side

An out-of-this-world holiday celebration is within reach: Just hop on the subway to Bloomingdale's. The iconic department store is transforming Lexington Ave into an intergalactic, festive display complete with all-things astronauts and space ships. Aside from a stunning window display, shoppers can also expect plenty of fun seasonal activations throughout the store: 3, 2, 1 Gift Off, an immersive VR experience where kiddos race against the clock to collect gifts, an intergalactic snow globe that's perfect for a holiday photo and  GE C’ing is Believing, a debut smart light installation that blasts off into the stars. Plus, Santa Land! Let the little dress up for a meeting with the man in the red suit. St. Nick's hours are as follows: Mon-Sat from 10am-1pm and 2-5pm, Sun from 11am-1pm and 2-5pm. Learn more about the holly, jolly happenings online. All ages.

The Illusionists—Magic of the Holidays (2019)
Photograph: Courtesy the Illusionists
Theater, Circuses & magic

The Illusionists—Magic of the Holidays

Neil Simon Theatre, Midtown West

The elaborate traveling magic show returns for its fifth edition in six years. This year's international lineup features American magician Kevin James (a veteran of the production's first Broadway incarnation) along with English mentalist Chris Cox, Korean sleight-of-hand man Hyun Joon Kim, French illusionist Enzo Weyne, British entertainer Paul Dabek, Russian quick-change wizards Sos and Victoria Petrosyan and the Ukrainian troupe Verba Shadow Theatre.

Photo by Matt Carr Photography
Dance, Ballet

The Nutcracker from ALDEN MOVES Dance Theater

East Midwood Jewish Center, Brooklyn

Imagine watching your child on stage at the Nutcracker! That's exactly what happens when ALDEN MOVES Dance Theater performs the holiday favorite on December 15—children are a part of the performance, and audience members (mostly kids!) are invited to join in the production. $30 ($25 advance purchase), $20 ages 2-18 ($15 advance purchase).

Winter Wonderland La MaMa Kids
Photograph: Maya Bitan
Things to do

Winter Wonderland at la MaMa Kids

Ellen Stewart Theatre at La MaMa E.T.C., East Village

The magical Winter Wonderland punctuates the end of the year with an immersive performance at La MaMa Kids that weaves together puppetry, storytelling, dance, music and theater. The celebration includes a "Ginger House Building Extravaganza" with Vendy-winning Kim Ima. Ages 4 and up.

Photograph: Courtesy New York Historical Society/The Jerni Collection
Museums, Childhood

Holiday Express: All Aboard to Richard Scarry’s Busytown at the New York Historical Society

New-York Historical Society | Manhattan, NY, Upper West Side

The holiday model-train show at the New-York Historical Society is always a stunner, and this year celebrates Richard Scarry’s Busytown to honor the 100th anniversary of the author and illustrator’s birth. You’ll see Huckle Cat, Lowly Worm and other favorite characters, plus trains, trains and more trains. All ages. 

Photograph: Filip Wolak
Things to do

Union Square Holiday Market

Union Square, Union Square

Grab a cup of hot cocoa or cider to beat the chill as you navigate this holiday market, a favorite among shoppers looking to support local businesses. Foodies can grab a taste from  a variety of vendors here before browsing through kiosks featuring jewelry, artwork, candles, home goods, beauty products and gifts for kids. Here, you’ll find many artisanal products that are NYC-made, USA-made, Fairtrade/Organic Certified and made from recycled, reused or vintage items. All ages.

Columbus Circle Holiday Market
Photograph: Liz Rees/Urban Space
Things to do

Columbus Circle Holiday Market

Columbus Circle, Midtown West

From the Shops at Columbus Circle, cross the street to Central Park and browse through this adorable outdoor holiday market. You’ll find handmade items for babies by Lil’ New Yorker, punk rock-styled onesies, or “punksies,” by Punkster and cool marionettes from Silly Puppets. All ages.

Photograph: Courtesy Dances Patrelle
Dance, Ballet

The Yorkville Nutcracker by Dances Patrelle

Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College , Lenox Hill

The Yorkville Nutcracker transports you to New York in 1895. The story begins with a Christmas Eve party at Gracie Mansion, then swans over to Central Park for some late night ice skating–the before heading to the Grand Conservatory of the Bronx Botanical Gardens. Abi Stafford and Ask la Cour, both from the New York City Ballet, lead the Dances Patrelle cast in this magical, whimsical telling of the familiar story. Ages 5 and up.

Photograph: Courtesy JMT Media & NYC Winter Lantern Festival
Things to do, Festivals

NYC Winter Lantern Festival

Snug Harbor Cultural Center, Staten Island

After a glowing reception in 2018, the NYC Winter Lantern Festival will return to Snug Harbor Cultural Center with eight acres of LED lights that manifest an Asian flair (thin kpandas, dragons and florals). But the gorgeous showcase is about more than just photo ops: Stick around for a taste of some international fare as well as juggling, Tibetan folk dancing, hoop tumbling and other live performances. All ages. 

Radio City Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall
Things to do

Radio City Christmas Spectacular

Radio City Music Hall, Midtown West

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.

Things to do

New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show

New York Botanical Garden | Bronx, NY, The Bronx

Fans of locomotives will delight in the New York Botanical Garden’s annual tradition. Take in the model trains as they loop through teensy versions of famous New York landmarks like the Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty. This year’s focus is on the abundant greenery and historic locales of NYC’s communal backyard: Central Park (expect a baby Belvedere Castle). Plus, Thomas the Tank Engine is making an appearance, so you know your moppets are onboard! All ages.

Photograph: Courtesy Brooklyn Holiday Bazaar
Shopping, Markets and fairs

Brooklyn Holiday Bazaar

501 Union,

More than 60 makers will help shoppers usher in the holiday season at this special weekend market at 452 and 501 Union Street in Gowanus, Brooklyn. The curated market will feature food and drink vendors, a live DJ, photo booth, kids’ crafts and more. But while you’re having all that fun, don’t forget to shop from the selection of local and indie makers. All ages.

Museums, History

Winter Family Fair

The Morgan Library & Museum, Murray Hill

Every year,the Morgan Library & Museum rings in the season by displaying the original manuscript of A Christmas Carol. It’s not just an exhibit—it’s also a party: Charles Dickens, Scrooge, Bob Cratchit and the Ghosts of Christmas Past and Christmas Present roam the galleries as musicians and magicians stroll alongside them. It’s a wee glimpse of Olde London right here in Manhattan. Ages 3–14.

American Museum of Natural History's Holiday Origami Tree
Things to do

Origami Holiday Tree

American Museum of Natural History, Upper West Side

For a creative take on holiday decorations, look no further than the American Museum of Natural History. To celebrate this year’s theme—“T.rex and Friends: History in the Making”— the museum decks a 13-foot tree with origami ornaments made by artists from around the world. If you’re curious about how to fold a piece of paper into a mini masterpiece, the institution’s experts will be on hand throughout the season to give you tips! All ages.

Photograph: Courtesy Magical Winter Light
Things to do, Festivals

LuminoCity Festival

Randalls Island Park, Randall's Island

Twelve acres of radiant art will take over Randalls Island with three fairy-tale themes: Winter Fantasy, Wild Adventure and Sweet Dream. You can wander through the colorful LED arches of the Donut Tunnel and get lost in the snow-covered trees of the Frosted Forest for an electrifying experience that is the epitome of merry and bright. Be sure to explore the children’s printmaking workshop (various dates, walk-ins available; $29) and other activities,then refuel with snacks from Nathan’s Famous, Baked in Color and other eateries.

Photograph: Courtesy Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group
Theater, Experimental

Cirque du Soleil: ’Twas the Night Before...

Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, Midtown West

Cirque du Soleil is rolling out an all-new holiday show that is sure to knock your Christmas stockings off. ’Twas the Night Before... features reimagined carols, creative stunts (like a mind-blowing hula-hoop act) and chic costumes. The performance will definitely put you in a festive mind-set, but the young protagonist, Isabella, is the one who needs convincing. When all is said and done, we’re certain she’ll realize the beauty of the season, too. All ages. 

Photograph: Courtesy Wildlife Conservation Society
Things to do, Festivals

Bronx Zoo Holiday Light Show

Bronx Zoo Wildlife Conservation Society | Bronx, NY, The Bronx

This year, the Bronx Zoo has decided to reinstate its beloved holiday light show, and the grand spectacle promises to be bigger—and greener—than ever. The celebration of Christmastime and conservationism will feature animated lights, Chinese lanterns and LED displays that depict species from around the globe—lions and elephants from Africa and pandas from Asia and more. All ages.  

Charlie Brown Christmas Special Live
Photograph: Courtesy Pig Brooch Theater Company
Theater, Musicals

A Charlie Brown Christmas Live

ShapeShifter Lab, Gowanus

After many years at the Brooklyn Lyceum, Pig Brooch Theatre Company's annual Christmas show has spent the last several yuletides roving among different venues in Gowanus. This year the scrappy show plants its Peanuts at ShapeShifter Lab, with a live jazz trio playing Vince Guaraldi's beloved music.

Ghost of Marley in A Christmas Carol at the Old Vic
Photograph: Courtesy Manuel Harlan
Theater, Drama

A Christmas Carol

Campbell Scott plays Scrooge in the latest stage version of Charles Dickens's classic yuletide story about a miser forcibly unclenched by visions of his own grinchiness. Matthew Warchus directs this 2017 adaptation by Jack Thorne (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child); the lively production, which has been well-reviewed in two runs at London's Old Vic, includes several visually arresting sequences and a dozen Christmas carols.

Shopping, Pop-up shops

Astoria Holiday Market at Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden

Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden, Astoria

The holiday edition of the Astoria Market takes over the main space in the Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden the first three Sundays in December. This NYC-centric artisan market is chock-full of handmade and vintage merchandise. Eggnog, hot cider and roasted chestnuts are available for the peckish, and the beer hall will offer special dishes from "Grandmas Kitchen." All ages.

Photograph: Courtesy Brooklyn Children’s Museum/Justin Hennings
Things to do

Celebrate Kwanzaa!

Brooklyn Children’s Museum, Crown Heights

This five-day festival celebrates Kwanzaa’s seven principles: unity, self-determination, cooperation, purpose, faith, creativity, and collective work and responsibility. There will be storytelling, live music, dance and theater as well as all the other engaging displays and activities that make the Brooklyn Children’s Museum so special. All ages. 

Photograph: Courtesy NY Hall of Science/Ann-Sophie Fjelloe-Jensen
Things to do

GingerBread Lane

New York Hall of Science | Queens, NY, Queens

Each winter, chef Jon Lovitch expertly crafts an adorable (and completely edible) gingerbread village at the New York Hall of Science. It takes the Queens food artist an entire year to whip up the charmingly detailed miniature homes and storefronts. In true New York fashion, Lovitch’s impressive handiwork has held the Guinness World Record title for the largest gingerbread village for four years in a row. On Jan 12 from 2 to 5pm, visitors can snag a piece of the tasty town on a first-come, first-served basis. If you want to construct a cookie city of your very own, you and your child (ages 4 and up) can attend the nifty $15 workshop on various days throughout the season. All ages.

Macy's Santaland
Photograph: John Minchillo
Things to do, Exhibitions

Macy's Santaland

Macy’s Herald Square | Midtown West, NY, Midtown West

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.

Photograph: Courtesy Great Performances
Things to do, Festivals

Latke Festival

Brooklyn Museum | Brooklyn, NY, Prospect Park

The city’s best latke makers land in the Brooklyn Museum for this annual benefit. The celeb judges will crown a new champion, but you and your family are the real winners—after all, you get to devour plate after delicious plate of potato pancakes. Some are traditional, others less so—Okinawa-style sweet- potato latkes with duck fat, anyone? You can also expect music, grown-up drinks for the parents and a good time to be had by all.

Things to do, Classes and workshops

Winter Recess at Prospect Park

Prospect Park | Brooklyn, NY, Prospect Park

The Prospect Park Alliance's family-friendly programming will keep your little one active and engaged during the winter break December26-29. There is an animal encounter, a winter wilderness walk and a "Bird Nerd Game Hour," among other activities—check the Prospect Park Alliance's website for a full schedule. All ages.

Greenwich Village Orchestra
Photograph: Courtesy of Greenwich Village Orchestra
Things to do, Concerts

Greenwich Village Orchestra Family Holiday Concert

The Greenwich Village Orchestra is a community organization with world-class performers and concerts geared for kids: Your budding musicians will get to try their hands at a musical instrument during the orchestra's instrumental "petting zoo." The orchestra's annual family-friendly holiday concert will include Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto featuring teenage soloist Ben Lerman, and students from the Third Street Music School Settlement will play with the orchestra. All ages.

Photograph: Grand Central Holiday Fair
Things to do

Grand Central Terminal Holiday Fair

Grand Central Terminal, Vanderbilt Hall, Midtown East

Forty unique vendors come together in one of NYC's most gorgeous architectural attractions to provide a can't-miss holiday experience. If your daily commute's got you down, the Grand Central Holiday Fair is surely one way to make you feel merry and bright. Explore the wide array of handmade goods—toys, games, accessories and more—before boarding your train home. Chances are, you're bound to find some great gifts for loved ones in this set up in Vanderbilt Hall. Note that the market won't be open on Thanksgiving or Christmas Eve, so plan your shopping ahead of time. All ages.

Photograph: Courtesy Pixabay + lizawin
Things to do, Classes and workshops

Sunday Morning Art Making with Private Picassos

Time Out Market New York, DUMBO

While you grab a bite to eat at Time Out Market New York, your little ones will be fully engrossed in Sunday Morning Artmaking Classes with Private Picassos. These creative workshops let youngsters put their imaginations to work with a variety of themes. Ages 3 and up. Nov 17: Leaf Exploration allows participants to work with leaf tracing oil pastel and watercolor resists; a leaf faux stained glass creation will follow. Dec 1: Gingerbread House Creations gets youngsters in the holiday spirit! Attendees will decorate pre-made gingerbread walls with frosting, candy and other sweets.  Dec 15: DIY Ornament Creations is the perfect workshop if the kiddos want to decorate the tree with something new. They'll receive clear plastic ornaments that they can decorate with pom poms, tinsel, feathers and other objects.

Photograph courtesy Rockefeller Center
Things to do, Quirky events

Merry Tuba Christmas at Rockefeller Center

The Rink at Rockefeller Center, Midtown West

Every year hundreds of tuba players of all ages descend upon the Rink at Rock Center, where they belt out holiday tunes with a merry oom-pah-pah! The annual tradition started in 1974. All ages.

American Museum of Natural History's Holiday Origami Tree
Things to do

Origami Holiday Tree

American Museum of Natural History, Upper West Side

For a creative take on holiday decorations, look no further than the American Museum of Natural History. To celebrate this year’s theme—“T.rex and Friends: History in the Making”— the museum decks a 13-foot tree with origami ornaments made by artists from around the world. If you’re curious about how to fold a piece of paper into a mini masterpiece, the institution’s experts will be on hand throughout the season to give you tips! All ages.

Photogrpah: Courtesy the Center for Architecture
Things to do, Classes and workshops

Family Day: Gingerbread Architecture at the Center for Architecture

The Center for Architecture, Greenwich Village

Design it, build it, eat it: The Center for Architecture needs your help to create a skyline of gingerbread buildings. The $50 fee accommodates two children and two adults, and covers all the materials you will need to create your towering masterpiece. Ages 5–13.

Gingerbread Monarch Lounge
Photograph: Gleb Perevertailo
Things to do, Classes and workshops

Gingerbread House & Cookie Decorating Contest at Monarch Rooftop & Indoor Lounge

Monarch Rooftop Lounge, Midtown West

The Monarch Rooftop has been transformed into a cozy winter wonderland—it's the perfect setting for competitive cookie decorating and gingerbread house design. On December 14 from noon to 3 pm, the lounge will hold its annual contest and supply participants with all the baked goods and frosting they'll need to create edible masterpieces, and beat the others. Did we mention there are prizes? Tickets are available here. $15, $10 ages 18 and under. All ages. 

Seven in One Blow, or the Brave Little Kid from Axis Theatre Company
Theater, Comedy

"Seven in One Blow, or the Brave Little Kid" at Axis Theater Company

Axis Theatre, West Village

Adapted from the Brothers Grimm, Seven in One Blow, or the Brave Little Kid tells the story of a young boy who learns important lessons from the most unlikely of creatures. This popular family show has become a holiday classic, and is back for its 18th year. Ages 4 and up.  

Photograph: Courtesy CPAA
Things to do, Festivals

Hello Panda Festival

Citi Field, Queens

The Hello Panda Festival features more than 120 enormous lanterns that will dazzle the whole family. At this holiday home run at Citi Field, attendees can also take part in various cultural traditions (think paper cutting, dough sculpting and other Chinese crafts), taste-test dishes from 60 international vendors, and pick up trinkets and gifts at the market. All ages. 

Photograph: Courtesy 92Y
Things to do

Glow-in-the-Dark Chanukah Dinner

92nd Street Y, Upper East Side

Call it the Festival of Light Sticks: Kids—particularly those ages seven and under—will love playing luminous games after munching on a delectable Hanukkah dinner. Led by the always entertaining Rebecca Schoffer, this evening at the 92nd Street Y includes blessings, dancing, music and scrumptious food. All ages.

Merkin Concert Hall
Photograph: Albert Vecerka
Things to do, Performances

Judy and the Maccabees: A Family Hanukkah Musical from the Kaufman Music Center

Merkin Concert Hall, Upper West Side

It's the story of Hanukkah, girl power style. In this musical, a feisty young girl named Judy joins forces with the Maccabees to fight for her family's religious freedom. Leader, Judas Maccabeus doesn't take Judy seriously, but his spunky kid may just be the army's ticket home to Jerusalem. Through catchy songs and silly scenes, youngsters will experience the miracle of the Temple Menorah and learn about the key players in the Hanukkah miracle. Ages 4–10.

Photograph: Courtesy Elizabeth Shrier
Things to do

Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park

Bryant Park, Midtown West

Every year, Bryant Park transforms into a winter village complete with an outdoor ice skating rink right at the center. Shop from local vendors selling food and drinks and get an early start on those holiday wish lists. Wonderful pop-up shops for kids and families abound, as well as eateries with sweet and savory cusines from around the globe. Holiday festivities are scheduled from the opening day, as Oct 31 will welcome kiddos for Tricks and Treats from 4–6:30pm. Later in the season, little ones can visit Santa from Dec 14–22, so tell your crew to start brainstorming! All ages.

Photograph: Courtesy Andrew Kelly

ReMake the Holidays at NYSCI

New York Hall of Science | Queens, NY, Queens

This event is a response to consumption and waste during the holiday season: Little scientists will bend, sculpt and animate their own holiday projects with reused and repurposed materials. It's a festive and positive approach that will inspire your family to appraoch things differently, and have fun doing it. All ages.

Photograph: Courtesy Shutterstock
Shopping, Pop-up shops

Hello Kitty Pop-Up

Cost Plus World Market, Flatiron

Our favorite feline (Hello Kitty) is celebrating a milestone: her 45th anniversary. To mark the momentous occasion, New Yorkers can enjoy a Chelsea pop-up (18th St and Sixth Ave) dedicated to the super-adorable advocate of kindness and friendship. Until Dec 24, shoppers will be able to visit Cost Plus World Market to stock up on exclusive merch (toys, accessories, kitchen goods) in honor of our leading lady. Snag Hello Kitty pasta sauce for dinner, sip on Hello Kitty soda, find a cute plush and of course, strike a pose in the Instagrammable spot while you're there! Learn more about the event and items at or 

Photograph: Courtesy Classic Harbor Line
Things to do, Walks and tours

Cocoa and Carols Holiday Cruise

Pier 62, Chelsea

Cozy up in a 1920s-style yacht—all varnished wood and comfy banquettes—for a 90-minute cruise that stars cocoa, cookies and caroling. Spruced up for the season, the boat sails through New York Harbor to give you million-dollar viewsoftheStatueofLiberty, Governors Island and the Brooklyn Bridge. This time of year, the Manhattan skyline shimmers just like a Christmas tree. All ages.

Photograph: Robert Altman

Peter and the Wolf at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Upper East Side

The Guggenheim Museum rotunda becomes a stage when fabulous fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi and a cast of dancers bring Peter and the Wolf to life. The Ensemble Signal plays Sergey Prokofiev’s gorgeous score, filling the building with music. Ages 3 and up.  

The Magic Flute
Photo courtesy Richard Termine/Metropolitan Opera
Things to do, Performances

The Magic Flute

Metropolitan Opera House (at Lincoln Center), Upper West Side

Kids are welcome at this staging of the Mozart classic. It’s the perfect starter opera: Performed in English, this abridged version clocks in at less than two hours and features delightful costumes and sets,but it’s still a Met production with some of the world’s finest performers. (“The Queen of the Night” aria will give you chills.) Ages 5 and up.

Penguin at the Central Park Zoo
Things to do, Classes and workshops

Toddler Time at Central Park Zoo

Central Park Zoo, Central Park

Tiny tots can have early-morning access to the zoo and its inhabitants. During this weekly series, your little animals will enjoy animal encounters, hands-on activities and guided tours throughout the grounds. A parent or guardian should be present throughout the duration of the program, as it is a "caregiver and me" series. The Friday and Saturday programs this November and December will focus on animal senses. Ages 2–3.  

Music from the Sole
Photograph: Jesse Itskowitz
Dance, Tap

Music from the Sole at Lincoln Center Kids

A tap performance fused with a big band concert, Music from the Sole brings together Brazilian and Afro-Cuban music with funk, house and jazz—you don't just watch this concert, you feel it. $25. Ages 5-11.

Photograph: Courtesy 12th Night Klezmer
Things to do, Performances

Hanukkah on the Roof

Kingsborough Community College, Brooklyn

Join Elad Kabilio, the Israeli ensemble 12th Night Klezmer and Yiddish theatre star Daniella Rabbani for Hanukkah on the Roof, an afternoon of the music–and the humor–that makes the Shtetl a joyful place. Special guest vocalist Michael Einav, who was in the original cast of Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish, will take part in the celebration. All ages.

Photograph: Courtesy Squish Marshmallows
Things to do, Classes and workshops

Squish Marshmallows Decorating Class

Squish Marshmallows, East Village

During Squish’s one-hour baking class, a delicious sundae topping takes center stage. After making custom take-home aprons, participants cut their very own 4.3” x 9” marshmallow sheet into cool shapes, then paint and decorate them with bright colors, sprinkles and glitter. For those who can resist nibbling during the event, the creative confections are boxed up for at-home snacking, and all the marshmallows are gluten, dairy and nut-free. Ages 4–12 with a caregiver.

Photograph: Courtesy Disney
Movies, Family and kids

Playtime: Family Matinees at Metrograph

Metrograph, Chinatown

'Tis the season at Playtime, the Metrograph series of family-friendly Weekend matinees for the budding cineaste in your life—you get to watch good films in a fantastic venue, while your little one is exposed to terrific movies and won't be shhh'd by your neighbors. First up is Raiders of the Lost Arc (1981), followed by the fabulous Gremlins (1984) and Little Women (1933). Christmas kicks in with Miracle on 34th Street (1947), the ghoulishly fun Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) and the super-silly Muppet Christmas Carrol (1992)—which stars a very game Michael Caine. The holiday wraps up with It's a Wonderful Life (1946) and Where the Wild Things Are (2009).

Photograph: Courtesy Lola Star
Sports and fitness

Lola Star’s Dreamland Roller Rink at City Point

City Point, Downtown Brooklyn

Prepare for a lively celebration! Lola Star’s Dreamland Roller Rink will welcome the holiday season with its beloved roller disco events at City Point, and kids can get in the action! Lace up and enjoy. The schedule, which will run until Feb 15, 2020, is as follows:  Learn to Skate for Kids: Thursdays 5–5:45pm (7+) Holiday Themed Dress-up Skate Party for Families: Fridays 3–5pm (7+) Toddler Skate: Saturdays 10–11am (6 and under)  Learn to Skate for Kids: Saturdays 11–11:45am (7+) Santa Skate: Holiday Themed Dress-up Skate Party for Families: Saturdays noon–2pm (7+) Dazzle Disco Dress-up Skate Party for Families: Saturdays 2:30–5:30pm 

Photograph: Courtesy Maike Schulz
Theater, Children's

Cirque Mechanics' 42FT

New Victory Theater, Midtown West

Imagine an old-school circus that pulses with energy: The tumbles, dips and aerial flips in this wildly entertaining show will have you and yours on the edge of your seats. Hailing from Las Vegas, the Cirque Mechanics take the stunts up a notch, and you won't want to miss a single act. Ages 5 and up. 

Photograph: Courtesy World Science Festival
Things to do

City of Science

Park Slope Armory YMCA, Park Slope

Science can be fun, if by “science” you mean tug-of-war contests, smashing cinder blocks with sledgehammers and powering lights with bicycles. These hands-on activities and others aren’t so much experiments as they are experiences that make science come alive. R.S.V.P. online for the traveling expo. All ages.

Photograph: Briana Elledge for Jazz at Lincoln Center
Things to do, Concerts

We Bop Family Jazz Party at Jazz at Lincoln Center

Ertegun Atrium at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Upper West Side

Get ready for a swinging good time when  Mr. Tim and the WeBop Family Jazz Band leads the annual Holiday Jazz Jam at Jazz at Lincoln Center. The interactive swing session will get you and yours bouncing and moving. Jazz at Lincoln Center ( $25. Ages 8 years and under.

Photograph: Courtesy Sony Square NYC
Things to do

Jumanji: The Next Level Experience

Sony Square, Midtown West

You and your kiddos can experience Jumanji’s desert, jungle, and snowy mountain top for yourselves. In celebration of the film's Dec 13 release, Sony Square NYC will invite visitors to test out a sonic surf VR experience. Think you can handle the challenges this 26-foot-wide screen throws your way? All ages.   

Photograph: Courtesy Shutterstock
Things to do, Classes and workshops

Bronx Zoo Mornings

Bronx Zoo Wildlife Conservation Society | Bronx, NY, The Bronx

Kickstart the day with a lesson on your favorite creatures! Bronx Zoo Mornings is a program that includes cool activities, an animal guest and discussions with a zookeeper, all with a special focus on a particular creature. See below for the 2019-2020 schedule. All ages.   Bronx Zoo Mornings: Bears (Dec 21)  Bronx Zoo Mornings: Jungle World (Jan 18) 

Queens Zoo Toddler Time Camp
Photograph: Julie Larsen Maher
Things to do

FREE Nature Play Club

Queens Zoo, Queens

On the third Sunday of every month, the Queen Zoo will host the FREE Nature Play Club, which brings kids back in touch with the environment around them. Youngsters can enjoy free play and "unstructured" exploration. Ages 0–8. 

Photograph: Courtesy THEGINGERB3ARDMEN
Things to do, Quirky events

Big Apple Circus

Lincoln Center, Hearst Plaza, Upper West Side

The 42nd season of the Big Apple Circus is officially underway! Brooklyn-born singer and Ringmaster Storm Marrero will lead the way as the show celebrates all-things NYC. There are plenty of acts that'll make your jaw drop, including the Dupla Mão na Roda hand-balancing duo, performances from International Juggling Association Gold Medalist Kyle Driggs, aerial acrobatics with Aliev Troupe and so much more. All ages. 


Jazz for Kids

Jazz Standard, Flatiron

Introduce your kids to the joys of jazz at the Jazz Standard's weekly Sunday brunch program. The Jazz Standard Youth Orchestra, made up of talented youngsters between the ages of 11 and 18, provides the music including big band classics like “Cherokee” and “Billie’s Bounce." While your family taps their toes, chow down on a barbecue brunch from Blue Smoke. Doors open at 1pm. All ages.

Seven in One Blow, or the Brave Little Kid from Axis Theatre Company
Theater, Comedy

"Seven in One Blow, or the Brave Little Kid" at Axis Theater Company

Axis Theatre, West Village

Adapted from the Brothers Grimm, Seven in One Blow, or the Brave Little Kid tells the story of a young boy who learns important lessons from the most unlikely of creatures. This popular family show has become a holiday classic, and is back for its 18th year. Ages 4 and up.  

Story Pirates
Photograph: Nicole Brodeur
Theater, Children's

Story Pirates Family Flagship Show

The Flea Theater, Tribeca

The Story Pirates don't want your treasure, they want the wildest, most imaginative ideas that come out of kids. This staged event will bring to life stories from the audience—the Story Pirates cast is an improv group that will turn your tyke's nuttiest suggestions into sketch comedy gold. Now a super-popular podcast, here's your chance to see Story Pirates live. $37. All ages. 

Photograph: Courtesy Books Are Magic

Story Time at Books Are Magic

Books Are Magic, Carroll Gardens

Each Saturday and Sunday, this enchanting independant kids bookstore in Cobble Hill hosts a story time. Authors read from their dazzling picture books, that can be incredibly funny, heart-warming, educational or all of the above. Be sure to check out all of the store's unique special events for children and young adult readers, too. Check out the lineup here. All ages.

Photogrpah: Courtesy of Boogie Down Books
Things to do, Literary events

Storytime with Boogie Down Books at Sugar Hill Creamery

Sugar Hill Creamery, Harlem

Sugar Hill Creamery on Lenox Ave is more than a small-batch ice cream store, it's a community space with a full schedule of events. We particularly like Saturday afternoon storytime that starts on Oct 26 with Boogie Down Books, a self-described "bookstore-without-walls for kids, teens, families, and educators in the Bronx and beyond." Come for for a slice of mud pie, a scoop of "Gone Till November," an ice cream sandwich dipped in chocolate; stay for the storytelling. Ages 11 and under.

Photgraph: Courtesy Diana Mangaser
Art, Arts centers

Family Hours at the Swiss Institute

Swiss Institute, East Village

On the second Saturday of every month, the Swiss Institute holds Family Hours from 10am-11:30am and becomes a families-only scene. Never mind that it's really Family Ninety Minutes: you and yours have the run of the place during this time. Children are invited to take part in hands-on activities led by an artist, and you're free to wander the galleries of the recently-opened modernist jewel box of a building—the midcentury structure was renovated by Seldorf Architects. How nice to chat about art without the worry of disturbing your more grownup neighbors. Free. Ages 4-12.

Photograph: New York Historical Society
Museums, History

Beyond Midnight: Paul Revere at the New York Historical Society

New-York Historical Society | Manhattan, NY, Upper West Side

Paul Revere was more than the country's most famous patriot, he was a master silversmith, engraver and printmaker who was one of the premier artisans of his age. This show includes more than 150 objects from his life and times—including some of the tea that Revere and others tossed into Boston Harbor. Be sure to check the New York Historical Society website for special events. $22, $6 ages 5-13, free ages 4 and under.

Butterfly Conservatory at AMNH

The Butterfly Conservatory: Tropical Butterflies Alive in Winter

American Museum of Natural History, Upper West Side

It's a balmy 80 degrees in the museum's 1,200-square-foot vivarium, which houses up to 500 butterflies living among tropical flowers. The free-flying butterflies often land on the shoulders of visitors, allowing tykes to come into direct contact with monarchs, zebra longwings, paper kites other species as they emerge from their chrysalises. Outside the vivarium, youngsters can watch a short film and read displays on the life cycle of butterflies, how to protect their habitats and what kinds of adaptations certain species have. All ages.

The Intrepid
Photograph: Courtesy Shutterstock
Museums, Science and technology

Discover Exoplanets: The Search for Alien Worlds at the Intrepid Air & Space Museum

Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, Hell's Kitchen

Is there life out there? (The answer is "yes!") You'll be better prepared to answer that eternal question after exploring Discover Exoplanets: The Search for Alien Worlds, a traveling exhibition that lands at the Intrepid Air & Space Museum. The show looks at the pursuit of habitable worlds beyond our solar system, and how NASA scientists is a part of that search. Intrepid Air & Space Museum, Hell's Kitchen (, Free with museum entry. All ages.

Crickets Children's Museum of the Arts
Photograph: Courtesy Children's Museum of the Arts
Museums, Art and design

Love Crickets, Save the Planet at CMA

Children's Museum of the Arts, West Village

Love Crickets, Save the Planet is like an art farm only with crickets, which makes it way cooler than an art farm. (Not to bag on ant farms, which are pretty great.) This site-specific installation by artists Jude Tallichet and Adam Chad Brody gives kids an intimate look at these amazing insects—a bug-eye's view of the world you don't always see. $13, pay-what-you-wish Thursdays from 4-6pm. All ages. 

Photograph: Courtesy Nancy Adler

Kids 'N Comedy Live

Gotham Comedy Club, Chelsea

Prepare to shed a few tears...of joy! Teen jokesters from Kids 'N Comedy perform family-friendly acts on a monthly basis with new themes for each show. Come experience laugh-out-loud moments and rid the Sunday scaries with a few giggles. The 2019–2020 schedule is as follows. Ages 9 and up.  Nov 24: "The Pre-Turkey Show?"  Dec 15: "Christmaskwanzukah" Jan 19 Feb 23 Mar 29 Apr 26 May 17

Photograph: Courtesy Jeremy Daniel
Theater, Children's

New Victory Theater's 2019-2020 Season

New Victory Theater, Midtown West

The NYC theater scene is gearing up for a kid-friendly lineup. During the 2019-2020 season at the New Victory Theater, families will be able to hang with their favorite picture-book fishes, listen to Aesop's fables and much more. The schedule, which is available on the theater's website, is as follows:   The Pout-Pout Fish: Oct 12–20 for ages 4–7 Aesop's Fables: Nov 1–2 for ages 7 and up  RE:PLAY: Nov 15–Dec 1 for ages 6 and up  42 FT–A Menagerie of Mechanical Marvels: Dec 6–Jan 5 for ages 5 and up  Cartography: Jan 10–19 for ages 10 and up Riddle of the Trilobites: Feb 7–23 for ages 6 and up  Drumfolk: Feb 28–Mar 15 for ages 7 and up  Treasure Island: Mar 20–29 for ages 8 and up  Magic Shadows: Apr 3–19 for ages 5 and up  Snow White: Apr 24–May 4 for ages 7 and up  Jabberbabble: May 9–17 for ages 4–7 Fierce 5: May 30–June 14 for ages 9 and up