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!

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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

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Photograph: Courtesy Derek Wang
Time Out Market

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.

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Photograph: Courtesy of Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park
News, Events & Festivals

Miracle on 42nd Street: Santa is coming to Bryant Park

Santa will set up shop at the Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park when the jolly old elf takes up his annual residency at Santa's Corner. Starting Dec 14 and ending Dec 22, Santa will pose for photos, listen to Christmas wishes and bring some seasonal cheer to Midtown every day from 1–3pm.  Take note: Visiting Saint Nick at Santa's Corner is free!  This is definitely one of the best places to take pictures with Santa in NYC—you can either bring your own camera, or let one of the elves take a portrait that will be uploaded to the Santa's Corner Flickr page. Photograph: Courtesy Bank of America Winter Garden at Bryant Park Those of you in search of a more red-and-white velvet rope experience should consider Mornings with Santa, with includes an hour-long session with Kris Kringle in the Polar Lounge. Mornings with Santa take place every day at 8am and 11am, and cost $125 per person. The visit includes snacky treats, warm drinks, a gift bag with crafts and a pass to go skating on the ice rink at Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park. Space is limited; tickets can be booked online. While you're at Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park, be sure to check out one of the  best holiday train show for kids in NYC. There's a reason why this is one of the greatest holiday markets in NYC for kids and families.   Some advice: Weekends are prime time, when you'll need to arrive early and expect a wait. Try to visit midweek if you can, and you'll have

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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. 

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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.

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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 

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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. 

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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. 

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Music

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.

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Butterfly Conservatory at AMNH
Museums

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.

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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. 

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Photograph: Courtesy Nancy Adler
Comedy

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

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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 

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Photograph: Courtesy Justina Wong
Theater, Puppet shows

Yeti, Set, Snow

Central Park Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre, Central Park

Who can resist a snow day? Looks like Widget and Twig found someone who would rather take a pass. In Yeti, Set, Snow!, an original play from City Parks Foundation, a dynamic duo stumbles upon a yeti, Pascetti, who would rather not deal with flurries and the cold. Time will tell if Pascetti’s new friends will have him singing “Let It Snow.” Ages 3–8. Note: There are no performances on: Nov 28, Dec 24, Dec 25, Jan 1, Jan 2 and Jan 3. Note that showtimes on Nov 29 are: 11am, 1pm and 3pm. 

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Photograph: Courtesy Evan Joseph Images
Things to do

Empire State Building's Reimagined Observatory Experience

Empire State Building | Manhattan, NY, Midtown West

NYC's most popular Instagram landmark underwent a renovation that is practically as breathtaking as its views of Manhattan. The $165 million reimagined Observatory Experience at the Empire State Building allows visitors to learn about all aspects of the iconic building: from the moment it was built to its place in pop culture today. Galleries focus on the construction, opening day and everything in between. Catch 70+ screens depicting the building's place in the NYC skyline, see if your favorite celebrity has made a visit and, of course, get a taste of King Kong! Giant ape fingers pierce the wall of a 1930s-themed office. Yikes! All ages. 

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Photograph: Courtesy Joshua Bright
Things to do, Classes and workshops

Wave Hill's Family Art Project

Wave Hill, The Bronx

Every weekend, Wave Hill hosts an art workshop class catered to toddlers and families. Using the seasons, holidays and—of course— Riverdale's gorgeous grounds as a muse, the morning workshop tackles a variety of DIY projects. From painting and planting to coloring and sculpting, this offering is perfect for the creative kiddos in your crew. On Saturdays, arrive before noon to score free access to the venue. All ages. 

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kids.dough02 copy.jpg
Photograph: Melissa Sinclair
Things to do

Smorgasburg

25 Kent, Greenpoint

The venerable epicurean extravaganza spends Saturdays in Williamsburg and Sundays in Prospect Park. No matter your preference, there's a little something for everyone. While kids can delight in sweets like fried cookie dough, those with a more expansive palate can opt for offerings such as seafood from Lobsterdamus, Boutros' pork shawarma tacos or PopdUp brewed teas, among seemingly hundreds of other dishes. This year, the new Pizza Cupcake and Fluffies Soufflé Pancakes (available Saturdays and Sundays) will be on hand to wow visitors! Note that admission to the food fest is free, but each vendor charges various prices. All ages. 

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Photograph: Courtesy Rockefeller Productions
Theater, Children's

Paddington Gets in a Jam

DR2 Theatre, Gramercy

The U.K.'s most popular marmalade-loving bear is making his way to NYC this winter. Catch Paddington in a Jam, a production from Jonathan Rockefeller, in Union Square. The creator of The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show brings Paddington's journey to life on stage—which is perfect for those who can't resist the famed character's movies and stories. Although audiences might be inclined to have some jam during the performance, note that food is prohibited in the theater! Ages 3–8. 

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Photograph: courtesy New York Transit Museum
Museums, Special interest

Reign of the Redbirds at the New York Transit Museum

New York Transit Museum, Boerum Hill

Reign of the Redbirds looks at the iconic subway cars that came to be known as Redbirds that first appeared in New York in 1959, and that were in kept in service until 2003. These workhorses evoke an era of great transformation in New York, and many of them met a poetic ending: decommissioned red cars were scuttled off the coast and helped anchor an artificial reef. Reign of the Redbirds is in the museum's atmospheric home in a decommissioned subway station under the streets of Downtown Brooklyn. Note: Museum is closed major holidays. $10, $5 ages 2-17, free 2 and under.

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Photograph: Courtesy Pixabay + LAWJR
Things to do, Walks and tours

Sugartooth Tours

Various locations, Hell's Kitchen

Get the scoop on all-things sweet. Sugartooth Tours, a local dessert tour company, explores different neighborhoods to uncover the tastiest treats throughout NYC, so bring your appetite. You'll want to explore the newest offering, Village to Village Cupcake and Cookie Crawl (Fridays, Saturdays at 3pm) but don't miss out on favorites like Bright Lights & Broadway Bites Dessert Tour (Saturdays at 11am, Sundays at noon), Sweeter Than Sugar Chelsea & West Village Dessert Tour (Saturdays and Sundays at 4pm) and more. Learn more online. All ages.  

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