The best Christmas events for kids in NYC

Our guide to Christmas events for kids, including GingerBread Lane and Macy's Santaland, is all you need this winter

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Photograph: Courtesy MSG

The most wonderful time of year is fast approaching, so check out these magical Christmas events for kids in NYC. 

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Christmas for kids in New York

From pictures with Santa to Macy's Santaland, Gotham is bustling with winter goodness. This year marks the return of the beloved Bronx Zoo Holiday Light Show, along with other luminous affairs, including the Hello Panda Fest and NYC Winter Lantern Fest. 

Before the man in the big red suit pulls into town, tackle all of these great seasonal happenings! Then, curl up with some hot chocolate and one of our favorite Christmas movies for kids!

Christmas events for kids 2019

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Photograph: Courtesy Mike Coppola
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.

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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.

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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.  

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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.

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Museum of the City of New York
Photograph: Presley Ann/PMC
Museums, Special interest

Celebrate the Holidays at Museum of the City of New York

Museum of the City of New York, East Harlem

There's a lot of holiday happenings going on at the Museum of the City of New York. Santa will stop by for photo ops on Saturdays (this is strictly DIY, so bring a camera if you want a Santa selfie), you can decorate cookies with Amy Scherber of Amy's bread (space is limited; free with full-price admission, which is $20 for adults, free for children ages 19 and under) and you can make your very own snow globe. Celebrate Kwanza on December 26, and celebrate Hanukkah on December 27. All ages.

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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. 

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Photograph: Courtesy Wonder Photo Shop
Things to do, Quirky events

Instax Photo Day with Santa

Wonder Photo Shop, Flatiron

Grab your holiday wish list and come visit Santa. Fujifilm's Wonder Photo Shop will be providing families with free Instax photos on December 7 with the big man in red. The earlier session (11am to noon) is pet-friendly; the second session (noon to 3pm) is humans-only. All ages.

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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.

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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Photograph: Courtesy Bloomingdale's + Joe Schildhorn/BFA.com
Shopping

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.

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Photograph: Courtesy Paul Martinka
Things to do

Paleyland

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. 

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Photograph: Courtesy Bloomingdale's + Joe Schildhorn/BFA.com
Shopping

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.

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Photograph: Courtesy Queens Botanical Garden
Things to do, Festivals

Christmas in the Garden

Queens Botanical Garden, Queens

What’s Santa up to in early December? Why, taking a trip to the Queens Botanical Garden, of course. The 39-acre oasis hosts caroling, a tree lighting, crafts, face painting, live music and other wintry staples. For an additional fee, Old Saint Nick will be available for snapshots with your crew. All ages.

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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. 

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winterfamilyday01.jpg
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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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George Balanchine's The Nutcracker at New York City Ballet
Photograph: Paul Kolnik
Things to do

George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker

David H. Koch Theater (at Lincoln Center), Upper West Side

Tchaikovsky’s gorgeous score, Balanchine’s timeless choreography and an impressive set—yes, that Christmas tree really is growing—ensure that this New York City Ballet performance will never go out of style. Ages 5 and up.

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Photograph: Courtesy Andrew Kelly
Museums

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.

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nybgholidaytrainshow01.jpg
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.

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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. 

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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

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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 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. 

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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.

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Photograph: Courtesy The Illusionists Shin Lim
Theater, Children's

The Illusionists—Magic of the Holidays

Neil Simon Theatre, Midtown West

They say Christmas is an enchanting time of year, and the Illusionists certainly prove it. Prepare for playful tricks and plenty of see-it-to-believe-it moments as the team tackles mind reading, disappearances and levitation. Ages 6 and up.  

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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.

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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. 

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

Greenwich Village Orchestra Family Holiday Concert

All Saints Church, Upper East Side

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Photgraph: Courtesy SHOWFIELDS
Shopping, Boutiques

Holiday x House of SHOWFIELDS

SHOWFIELDS, Downtown

Why bring your kids to SHOWFIELDS, a permanent pop-up for obscure and interesting retailers that calls itself "the most interesting store in the world?" Because you can check out Holiday x House of SHOWFIELDS, an immersive theater experience that's part art gallery, part funhouse–and that includes a twisty slide. The Holiday x House is free, but you need to make a reservation here.

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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.

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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.

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A Christmas Carol in Harlem from Classical Theatre of Harlem
Photograph: Jill Jones
Theater, Drama

"A Christmas Carol in Harlem" by the Classical Theatre of Harlem

Aaron Davis Hall (at City College), Harlem

"A Christmas Carol in Harlem" is a 21st-century take on the classic tale, with the olde English story set in Upper Manhatten. This family-friendly production from the Classical Theater of Harlem runs 80 minutes, with gospel, hip-hop and pop music brining the flavors of Harlem to the stage, and lifting the spirit of the story. All ages.

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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.

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Theater, Broadway

A Christmas Carol

Lyceum Theatre, Midtown West

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas on the Great White Way: After a run at London’s Old Vic, Charles Dickens’s famed tale will come to life on the Lyceum Theatre stage. Playwright Jack Thorne (the mastermind behind Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) and Tony Award–winning actors Andrea Martin and LaChanze will join forces to put crowds in a holiday state of mind— even if Scrooge is not. Ages 8 and up. 

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Things to do

City Harvest Daily News Food Drive

Various locations, Hell's Kitchen

Give back this season by participating in the 37th annual Daily New Food Drive. Non-perishable food donations are needed to keep NYC food pantries and programs across the city well stocked. Drop off goods from Oct 31–Jan 17 at City Harvest’s Manhattan office (6 E 32nd St, fifth floor), any FDNY or NYPD station and Apple Bank locations throughout the five boroughs. Learn more about donations and how to participate on the City Harvest website. All ages. 

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Photograph: Courtesy Astoria Market
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.

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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.

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gctholidaymkt.jpg
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.

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BLDG 92
Photograph: Tom Olcott
Things to do, Markets and fairs

Holiday Market at the Brooklyn Navy Yard

Multiple venues

The Holiday Market at the Brooklyn Navy Yard is a two-day affair with more than 40 vendors. It's a chance to browse the goods produced by some of the best artisans in Brooklyn, and it's a good excuse to explore the vast complex of new and ancient buildings in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. All ages.

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Things to do, Festivals

Morningside Park Tree Lighting

Morningside Park, Morningside Heights

Join the Friends of Morningside Park as they light the park's giant sequoia for the holidays. The lighting will take place on the Winter Solstice, December 21, at 5pm. All ages.

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Shopping, Pop-up shops

Strasbourg & Alsace Christmas Market

Bowling Green Park, Financial District

No passport required for this wintertime celebration. For a holiday experience with French flair, venture to Bowling Green for a taste of Europe's oldest Christmas market in NYC's oldest park. A tree lighting ceremony will kickstart the festivities on Dec 5 at 6pm, but there's so much more to look forward to: traditional décor, light displays (a popular trend for 2019) and wooden chalets holding French knick-knacks and delicacies. Oui, oui! All ages.

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Things to do

City Harvest Daily News Food Drive

Various locations, Hell's Kitchen

Give back this season by participating in the 37th annual Daily New Food Drive. Non-perishable food donations are needed to keep NYC food pantries and programs across the city well stocked. Drop off goods from Oct 31–Jan 17 at City Harvest’s Manhattan office (6 E 32nd St, fifth floor), any FDNY or NYPD station and Apple Bank locations throughout the five boroughs. Learn more about donations and how to participate on the City Harvest website. All ages. 

Christmas activities for kids in NYC

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