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 LuminoCity Festival
Courtesy: LuminoCity Festival

Christmas events near me: Festive family fun in NYC

If you're looking for NYC Christmas events near me for the kids, look no further

Written by
Time Out editors
&
Danielle Valente
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It’s that holly, jolly time of year when parents have to be on the ball when it comes to entertaining the kids. If you’re wondering “How do I find Christmas events near me?” then we’ve got you covered. These Christmas events for kids will surely get the whole family in the spirit of the holidays. If you’ve already picked out your Christmas tree at your favorite Christmas tree farm, hit up the holiday markets, gone sledding or ice skating, and checked out the best NYC Christmas lights, then you are a superhero. But buckle up, these are Christmas events your kids won’t want to miss.

From Macy’s Santaland and festive holiday window displays to holiday light spectaculars further afield, there’s still plenty of holiday cheer to be had. Once you’ve tackled everything on this list, unwind with a hot chocolate then kick back and relax with one of the best Christmas movies for kids.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Christmas for kids in New York

Christmas events near me: NYC

  • Things to do
  • Festivals

The immersive, outdoor holiday spectacular of light sculptures and art installations first touched down in 2019. Now on Long Island, visitors to the festival will take a 45-minute walking, narrative journey, with twinkling and towering LED sculptures along the way that will play to the overall theme of "Shine Again." The light art displays are inspired by the power and warmth of light overcoming the darkness and are a celebration of cultures and the world around us.

  • Things to do
  • Festivals

The Bronx Zoo’s sparkling seasonal celebration featuring animated lights and LED displays of animals from around the world is back this year. Expect the zoo to have close to 260 animal lanterns across five geographically representative lantern safaris from various corners of the world. This year are 79 new lanterns representing 30 new animal species, including an all-new walrus and guanacos! Not only that, but there will be a Forest of Color with 21 all-new larger-than-life lanterns representing toads, frogs, snails, sunbirds, turtles, moths, butterflies, and more.

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  • Attractions

The holidays might be a little lopsided this year, but we can all agree that we deserve some good cheer. Fortunately, NYC Christmas trees deliver those holly jolly vibes in spades. From the traditional attractions (we're lookin' at you, Rockefeller Center) to the more unique setups (wait until you see what's happening at Queens County Farm), these beauties will definitely give you a sentimental feeling. 

  • Things to do

Dyker Heights Christmas Lights 2020 display has definitely earned its stripes as one of the best New York attractions. What’s not to love about all that razzle-dazzle to get you in the Christmas spirit? The Brooklyn neighborhood is home to the most over-the-top Christmas light decorations with life-sized Santas, sleighs, snowmen and some houses even bump Christmas carols from loudspeakers. Crowds of all ages flock to the Kings County neighborhood to wander down the multiple blocks and avenues and experience one of the top things to do in NYC in the winter.

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  • Things to do

The beloved New York holiday train tradition at the New York Botanical Garden is back for its 30th year! The garden will become a mini-train depot with its collection of 25 G-scale model trains that'll chug along a nearly half-mile track (which is also overhead) by 175 miniature NYC landmarks like the Empire State Building, Radio City Music Hall, the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge and Rockefeller Center—all made of natural materials such as leaves, cinnamon sticks, twigs, bark and berries.

  • Things to do
  • City Life

Since 1861, families have flocked to Macy's in Herald Square to venture through the whimsical, festive Santaland, and of course, snag some one-on-one time with the man in the red suit. This year, kids (with their adults) can visit in-person or virtually from home.

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The Woodstock site is getting a yuletide makeover. From Nov 23–Jan 3, Bethel Woods Center for the Arts will host the drive-thru Peace, Love & Lights Festival, a one mile-long display of holiday lights with homage to the grounds' iconic past. Naturally, there are eye-catching Christmas displays—a 120-foot Twinkle Tunnel, an Enchanted Forest—but where else will you find Groovy Way, a lights attraction takin' you all the way back to 1969? It's a must for music lovers and the whole family! 

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  • Things to do

The Paley Center for Media is reopening in a festive way—with its classic holiday extravaganza, PaleyLand, beginning December 4. At PaleyLand, visitors can watch exclusive holiday screenings and meet beloved characters from notable holiday classics, see a live holiday-themed LEGO demo from LEGOMasters, take photos with Santa and a stunning 7-foot menorah, play their favorite video games, and enjoy the newest centerpiece, The Paley Express holiday train display, and more.

Christmas activities for kids in NYC

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