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

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

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.

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.

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 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 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 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. 

Christmas activities for kids in NYC