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christmas present
Photograph: Courtesy Shutterstock

December events calendar for kids in NYC

Scan our December events calendar for kids and make a plan! Drive-thru holiday shows, digital classes—they're all here!

By Danielle Valente and Allie Early
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Wondering how to spend the most wonderful time of the year? Our December events calendar would be more than happy to help. 

We'll be honest: The holidays this year are definitely looking different, and traditions are likely to be altered in some way. However, New Yorkers are still looking for safe ways to enjoy the festive season.

RECOMMENDED: Full kids' events calendar.

From light show attractions to socially distanced Christmas events (many of which are outdoors), this lineup will help you stay in the loop of holiday happenings. Plus, there are plenty of other cool things to look forward to, like new exhibits and virtual performances.

Whether you're going out or feel more comfortable staying in, one thing's for certain: You need a cup of hot chocolate, no matter what.

December kids' events

funnel cake county fair
funnel cake county fair
Photograph: Shutterstock/Anna Ee

1. The Orange County Fair's Holiday Lights Spectacular

News City Life

This year has not been kind to street fairs. To fill the void, the debut Orange County Drive-Thru Fair Food Festival allowed visitors to get their funnel cake and fried Oreo fix in a socially distanced manner. Now, visitors can expect the same delights—with a holiday twist. The Orange County Fair's Holiday Lights Spectacular is not only a great drive-thru Christmas event with stunning light displays—featuring a multimedia show with accompaniment from Christmas carols—it's the perfect place for those with a sweet tooth. What can hungry visitors expect? Funnel cake, zeppoles, freshly-squeezed lemonade and cotton candy. Consider it a dose of summertime in the winter! The event will run from Nov 27 to Jan 3 in Middletown, New York at 239 Wisner Ave. Snag $20 tickets online and explore other Christmas events in NYC and the surrounding area.  

ice skating at industry city
ice skating at industry city
Photograph: Courtesy Industry City

2. Where to go ice skating this winter in NYC

Things to do

Update: New rules and regulations are in place for 2020. Always call ahead before making a visit. 

'Tis the season to skate! Grab those warm winter coats and get ready to visit the best ice skating rinks in New York City. 

Although things look a little different this year—new health requirements, reduced capacity, etc.—the season can go on safely. Your favorite family attractions like Bryant Park and Rockefeller Center are back and ready to welcome winter athletes who want to perfect their moves. 

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Christmas for kids in New York

After a few loops around the rink, be sure to snag a cup of hot chocolate. (It's the best way to refuel, if you ask us.) Then peruse our December events calendar for other fun, socially distanced Christmas events taking place throughout the city. 

See you on the ice. 

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Bar Pisellino Hot Chocolate
Bar Pisellino Hot Chocolate
Photograph: Oliver Strand

3. The best hot chocolate in NYC

Restaurants

When the temperature dips, we can't help but search for a cup of the best hot chocolate in NYC. 

Whether we're off to fun Christmas events or just staying in with a few good family movies, delicious cocoa in the winter is a necessity—much like a big helping (or two) of whipped cream. 

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Christmas for kids in NYC

 

Instagrammable dessert spots like Max Brenner are famous for their renditions of the winter drink of choice while shops like Dylan's Candy Bar offer kits that allow you to bring the sweetness home. 

While you're out and about, be sure to check out fun ice skating spots and peruse our December events calendar for fun, socially distanced seasonal events.

LuminoCity Festival
LuminoCity Festival
Courtesy: LuminoCity Festival

4. Where to find a holiday light show in NYC and beyond

Things to do Festivals

'Tis the season to be jolly and visit a holiday light show or two! Fortunately for you, we've rounded up the coolest Christmas events in and near NYC that are totally illuminating—literally! 

From the visiting LuminoCity Festival at Randall's Island to Sesame Place's brand-new drive-thru experience, these events allow visitors to enjoy the best of the season while staying socially distanced. Bundle up, grab a mug of cocoa and enjoy the gorgeous scenery. 

Be sure to also check out our favorite Christmas songs for kids while you're en route to your destination and call it an evening with one or two Christmas movies for kids when you get home from the Christmas light shows!

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six flags
six flags
Photograph: Courtesy Six Flags

5. The coolest drive-thru Christmas lights near NYC

Things to do

The season of lights is getting even brighter: Drive-thru Christmas lights have popped up around NYC, and they're the perfect way to celebrate the holidays at a distance. 

Drive through Christmas lights, twinkling tunnels, larger-than-life seasonal displays—they're all ready to wow your little elves! We suggest you bring along some hot chocolate and crank up the Christmas songs for kids while out on your adventure. 

Although this December is looking a lot different than what we're used to, there are still ways to take advantage of Christmas events in NYC safely. It's been a difficult time, but we'll help you make the most of it. 

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