The best things to do with kids in NYC this week

Don't let the weather get you down–here are the best things to do with kids in NYC this week!

By Oliver Strand and Danielle Valente |
Photograph: Courtesy Illumination/Universal

Rain, snow, rain: It's a week for winter boots and GORE-TEX jackets. Once you get that squared away, head out for some family fun—we have all the best things to do with kids in NYC right here.

This is the season for the joyful bustle of the best holiday markets in NYC for kids and families, or setting out for one of the best places to take pictures with Santa in NYC. These Christmas events for kids are fun for everyone, and make this city feel so special this time of year.

If you want to take it easy, set out for a warm cup of some of the best hot chocolate in NYC (how many on the Top 10 have you tried?), then snuggle in and stream one of the best animated Christmas movies for kids, or one of the best Christmas movies for kids. May your week be merry, and cozy.

Best things to do with kids in NYC Dec 09–13

Photograph: Courtesy Aviator Sports + Dillon Clancy
News, Sports & Fitness

Ice bumper cars

An amusement park staple is getting a wintry makeover.  If your little ones can't find their balance while ice skating in NYC, why not give ice bumper cars a try? They're making a Kings County debut, and deserve prime-time real estate on your winter bucket list.  Venture to Aviator Sports, the gracious host of Big Bounce America, for the super-cool experience. Taking a cue from the Winter Village at Bryant Park, one of Brooklyn's most popular family attractions will offer families (with kids ages 7 and up) a chance to enjoy a 15-minute session for $13 on a first-come, first-serve basis. Time to channel those Coney Island summer days, but with a few cold-weather modifications! Before your bumper-car outing, here are a few things to note:  Sessions run on Fridays from 7:30–10:30pm, Saturdays from 2–5pm and 7:30–10:30pm and Sundays from 1–5pm. Aviator Sports states that there are 3 sessions per hour. Riders must be at least 7 years old, 36 inches tall and under 300 pounds.  Flat-toed shoes are required (no ice skates).  A parent or guardian's signature is required for riders who are under 18.  Call 718-758-7549 to learn how to add this experience onto birthday parties for kids. 

Star Wars Experience Dolby SoHo
Photograph: Courtesy Dolby SoHo
News, City Life

Star Wars Experience

You have to wait until Dec 20 to see Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the final chapter in the epic movie franchise, but you can step into the Star Wars universe right now: Star Wars Experience, an interactive exhibit featuring scenes and exhibits from all nine Skywalker saga Star Wars films opens to the public at Dolby SoHo, 477 Broadway. Even better news, the installation is free, and will be open from Dec 6–Jan 5 5 from 1-8pm, Wednesday-Sunday. (The show is closed is Mondays, Tuesdays, Christmas and New Years Day.)

Big SNOW: American Dream Opening Celebration
Photograph: Courtesy Angela Pham/
News, Sports & Fitness

Big SNOW Indoor Ski and Snowboard Park

Big SNOW, the indoor ski and snowboard center at the American Dream mega mall in New Jersey—the first of its kind in the country—is open to the public. Now you can ski or snowboard all day long, almost any day of the year and in all kinds of weather, just 30 minutes from Manhattan.  

Photograph: Courtesy of Macerich
News, Events & Festivals

Santa's HQ

Santa's workshop might be in the North Pole, but he's headquartered here in New York. Naturally. To be more precise, Santa HQ is coming to the third floor of the Queens Crossing shopping center (90-15 Queens Blvd, Elmhurst). Starting November 8, Ol' Saint Nick will be there seven days a week. (Hours vary; check the Queens Crossing website for times.) Queens Crossing and HGTV are creating an immersive experience that uses augmented reality so that visitors can join the Elf Academy, get an Elf ID and become a part of the team. Once you do, you can use your ELF-RAY vision to see who's been naughty and who's been nice. It's a technological funhouse, a 21st-century update on the classic Santa display and a cool way to kickstart Christmas for kids. 

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. 

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.  

Photograph: Courtesy Paul Martinka
Things to do


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. 

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.

Photograph: Courtesy Illumination/Universal
Movies, Family and kids

Kids' Camp at the Alamo Drafthouse

Alamo Drafthouse City Point, Downtown Brooklyn

Despite what the name suggests, Alamo Drafthouse is an ideal spot to catch a flick with your little film buff, especially during the holidays. Find a spot (and something to nibble on) in the luxury theater for the following screenings:  Kids' Camp: The Grinch (2018): Dec 13 at 10:45am, Dec 14 and 15 at 8:30am  Even better? The pick-your-price event ($1, $3 or $5) gives back during the holidays, as all proceeds go toward local nonprofit organizations. All ages. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

Photgraph: Courtesy SHOWFIELDS
Shopping, Boutiques

Holiday x House of SHOWFIELDS


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.

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.  

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.

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. 

Jane's Carousel
Photograph: Shutterstock
News, City Life

Time Out Market New York

Prepare your taste buds: DUMBO's new, out-of-this-world food hall with spectacular views, created by Time Out Group, is officially open! How cool is that? Time Out Market New York is located at 55 Water St (within Empire Stores), a charming pre Civil War-era building. The new space boasts 21,000 square feet across two floors and includes three bars plus a scenic fifth floor outdoor roof deck. Say hello to views of the East River, Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge and Lower Manhattan skyline—and our future-favorite spot to grab a cocktail and a bite with friends at sunset. Grab a bite to eat from Juliana's, Clinton Street Bakery, Mr. Taka Ramen and much more!

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. 

Photograph: Courtesy Maike Schulz
Theater, Children's

42FT by Cirque Mechanics at the New Victory Theater

New Victory Theater, Midtown West

Imagine an old-school circus that pulses with energy: The tumbles, dips and aerial flips in this wildly entertaining show will have you and yours on the edge of your seats. Hailing from Las Vegas, the Cirque Mechanics take the stunts up a notch, and you won't want to miss a single act. Ages 5 and up. 

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 

Mozart for Munchkins Cello Toddler
Photograph: Courtesy of Brian Hatton for Mozart for Munchkins
Music, Classical and opera

Mozart in the Classroom from Mozart for Munchkins

Introduce your littlest ones to the wonders of music with Mozart in the Classroom, a weekly class for toddlers. An offshoot of Mozart for Munchkins, Mozart in the Classroom is a new program that introduces tykes to everything from Bach to bluegrass, Tchaikovsky to Thelonious Monk. Each week features a new professional musician who will play a new instrument, and bring new sounds. $35 per class. Ages 4 and under. • Mondays 9:30-10:15am until Dec 9 at Manhattan Youth (, 120 Warren St, Tribeca  • Wednesdays 10:30-11:15am until Dec 11 at Goddard Riverside’s Bernie Wohl Center (, 647 Columbus Avenue, Upper West Side  • Wednesdays 2:30-3:15pm until Dec 11 at Ballet Academy East (, 1651 3rd Av, Upper East Side •Thursdays 10-10:45am at Greenwich House Music School (, 46 Barrow Street, West Village

Photograph: Courtesy Shutterstock
Shopping, Pop-up shops

Hello Kitty Pop-Up

Cost Plus World Market, Flatiron

Our favorite feline (Hello Kitty) is celebrating a milestone: her 45th anniversary. To mark the momentous occasion, New Yorkers can enjoy a Chelsea pop-up (18th St and Sixth Ave) dedicated to the super-adorable advocate of kindness and friendship. Until Dec 24, shoppers will be able to visit Cost Plus World Market to stock up on exclusive merch (toys, accessories, kitchen goods) in honor of our leading lady. Snag Hello Kitty pasta sauce for dinner, sip on Hello Kitty soda, find a cute plush and of course, strike a pose in the Instagrammable spot while you're there! Learn more about the event and items at or 

Photograph: Danielle Valente
Things to do

DreamWorks Trolls the Experience

DreamWorks Trolls the Experience, Midtown West

New York City is going to be treated to a dose of color thanks to "DreamWorks Trolls the Experience." When little visitors enter the 90-minute walkthrough exhibit, located at 218 W 57th St, they'll fall in love with a bunch of exciting features. Poppy's Party Room will include augmented reality and 3D technology in the midst of musical fun. Before getting wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of Troll Village and playing in the life-size Caterbus, youngsters will want to hit the bright, imaginative Hair-We-Go Salon and Barbershop—which is sure to be an Instagram hit for moms and dads. This will be open until Nov 3, 2019! All ages. 

Photograph: Danielle Valente
News, City Life

Sloomoo Institute

The slime attraction, which makes its grand debut into the pop-up scene on Oct 25, welcomes youngsters who want to get their hands dirty and millennials who want to relive Nickelodeon's golden days. Regardless of age, visitors will probably not want to wear fancy clothes to this attraction. From pop-up kiosks to a DIY station, the experience offers plenty of photo-worthy moments...and sticky fingers. 

Photograph: Courtesy Brooklyn Children's Museum
News, Art

"Survival of the Slowest"

Perhaps New Yorkers can take a few cues from Roger.  The super-slow (yet super-cute) sloth is subletting a space at the Brooklyn Children's Museum, and he doesn't appear to be in any rush. What a feeling! So few urbanites can relate.  In the new exhibit, "Survival of the Slowest," one of your favorite kids' museums examines evolutionary science in a unique way: from the perspective of nature's slowest creatures, like Roger and his pals, including a blood python and a roughneck monitor. Until Feb 2, visitors can learn about 19 various habitats and how being a tad lethargic can work to creatures' advantages. If only this was the case for New Yorkers when trying to catch a rush-hour subway.  

Photograph: Courtesy of The Art of the Brick
Museums, Special interest

"The Art of the Brick"

New York Hall of Science | Queens, NY, Queens

Budding engineers and artists will be equally enthralled by the masterpieces Nathan Sawaya has intricately crafted with over 1,000,000 toy blocks. (No, that number is not a typo.) Visitors who love dinosaur activities will gawk at the artist's 20-foot t. rex, which is comprised of over 80,000 pieces alone. Creative youngsters who participate in fun art classes for kids will enjoy Sawaya's recreation of Van Gogh’s Starry Night and Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. Additionally, photographer Dean West partnered with Sawaya to produce a multimedia collection of LEGO brick-infused photos. Make sure to participate in the exhibit's interactive elements as well! All ages. 

Photograph: Bruce White
Museums, Military and maritime

"The Last Knight"

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Central Park

The armor of Emperor Maximilian I, who ruled the Holy Roman Empire until 1519, was made for battle, and for showing off—just look at that lacy metalwork and exquisite details. There are over 180 items are in the exhibit, including the childhood armor of Maximilian's son, the future Philip I, King of Castile: This knight at the museum is sure to get the imaginations of your young ones racing. Mark your calendar for a special family afternoon on Nov 10 from 1pm–4pm that will include story time, a shadow puppet performance by Caroline Borderies and a chance for your young knights to embellish their custom armor. All Ages.

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.

Butterfly Conservatory at AMNH

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.

Tyrannosaurus Rex, 4th floor halls
Photograph: Courtesy Craig Chesek
Museums, Natural history

“T. rex: The Ultimate Predator”

American Museum of Natural History, Upper West Side

Prepare to dig deep like a true paleontologist thanks to "T. Rex: The Ultimate Predator." The Museum of Natural History's new exhibit will give visitors a peek into how the massive creatures came to be. Patrons will get a good look at the new findings about the tyrannosaurs genus, with a special focus on our main man, the T. rex. Unlike what people may think—and what movies led us to believe—T. rex is simply one part of the species' 100-million-year evolution. Who knew that tyrannosaurs species actually include small, agile creatures? For real! All ages. 

Photograph: Courtesy David Mitchel + Arcadia Earth
Things to do, Exhibitions

Arcadia Earth

718 Broadway, Downtown

This is planet Earth like you've never seen her before. NYC's latest immersive installation—located at 718 Broadway—is photo-worthy for a cause: While venturing through 15 rooms of underwater realms and fictional landscapes, "Arcadia Earth" visitors will be able to participate in virtual and augmented reality offerings while learning how our lifestyle choices will impact the future of our planet. Proceeds from all ticket sales will also directly support Arcadia’s educational and charity partner, Oceanic Global. All ages. 

The Intrepid
Photograph: Courtesy Shutterstock
Museums, Science and technology

Discover Exoplanets: The Search for Alien Worlds at the Intrepid Air & Space Museum

Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, Hell's Kitchen

Is there life out there? (The correct answer is "yes.") You'll be better prepared to answer that eternal question after exploring Discover Exoplanets: The Search for Alien Worlds, a traveling exhibition that lands at the Intrepid Air & Space Museum. The show looks at the pursuit of habitable worlds beyond our solar system, and how NASA scientists is a part of that search. Intrepid Air & Space Museum, Hell's Kitchen (, Free with museum entry. All ages.

Photograph: New York Historical Society
Museums, History

Beyond Midnight: Paul Revere at the New York Historical Society

New-York Historical Society | Manhattan, NY, Upper West Side

Paul Revere was more than the country's most famous patriot, he was a master silversmith, engraver and printmaker who was one of the premier artisans of his age. This show includes more than 150 objects from his life and times—including some of the tea that Revere and others tossed into Boston Harbor. Be sure to check the New York Historical Society website for special events. $22, $6 ages 5-13, free ages 4 and under.

Photograph: Courtesy Courtesy of the National Museum of Mathematics
Museums, Special interest

“Math Unfolded”

Museum of Mathematics (MoMath), Flatiron
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. 

Photograph courtesy of MacGillivrary Freeman Films.
Movies, Documentary

Apollo 11: First Steps

New York Hall of Science | Queens, NY, Queens

Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing with a screening of this 20 minute movie. The whole family will be amazed by the Apollo 11's story, as the filmmakers reconstruct the vessel's preparation, launch and return using never-before-seen footage. After the film, take your future astronauts to check out the museum's Search for Life Beyond Earth exhibition. All ages.

Photograph: Courtesy Alex Vail copyright BBC NHU 2017
Things to do, Film events

"Oceans: Our Blue Planet"

American Museum of Natural History, Upper West Side

Although the spotlight is oftentimes on the dinosaurs, the Museum of Natural History wants to give patrons a chance to experience life under the waves, too, not just on land during prehistoric times. Thanks to the new film, Oceans: Our Blue Planet, musumer-goers can journey with the OceanX research vessel Alucia as it uncovers what's lurking beneath the sea. This film will be shown daily in the Museum’s Samuel J. and Ethel LeFrak Theater in 2D at 11:30am and 4:30pm, and in 3D at 10:30am and 12:30, 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30pm. The schedule is subject to change. All ages. 

Photo Courtesy Cosmic Picture, Ltd.
Movies, Family and kids

'Superpower Dogs 3D'

New York Hall of Science | Queens, NY, Queens

The amazing life-saving dogs in this immersive 3D movie are like real-life PAW Patrol pups. Find out the remarkable stories of canines and their human companions who work hard everyday to rescue people in snowy avalanches and off the coasts of warm beaches. There's even a pair of Bloodhound brothers who are helping save endangered species in Africa. 45 minutes. All ages  

Photograph: Courtesy Scott Frances for SPYSCAPE
Museums, Special interest


Spyscape, Midtown West

Think your kid has what it takes to crack the code? Thanks to SPYSCAPE's newly opened Spy School, you'll have a budding FBI agent on your hands. Students in middle school through college are invited to the afternoon program that allows them to make and break WWII codes in themed Encryption mission, detect lies in Deception booths and much more. “We’re thrilled by the success of SPYSCAPE in New York City, and delighted to be able to offer this experience for free to students,” Ian Oldaker, COO of SPYSCAPE New York said in a statement. “We have had a lot of requests for this kind of program and we’re excited about creating new educational offerings as we continue to grow.” Spy School is free with a valid student ID, but attendees t must be accompanied by a paid ticket holder. We'll catch you there...or will we? Middle school–college.   

Photograph: Courtesy Scott Frances
Museums, Special interest


Spyscape, Midtown West

NYC's museum dedicated to all-things espionage will soon shed some light on 007. The first James Bond exhibit in New York examines the creativity that went into bringing the movies to life. Car aficionados: You'll be pleased to know that Bond's Aston Martin DB5 will on display. There are also many interactive components to the exhibit: You can check out gadgets and gizmos in the Q's lab, get a behind-the-scenes look at how the Skyfall finale came to be and so much more. All ages. 

Photograph: Courtesy Sony Square NYC
Things to do

Jumanji: The Next Level Experience

Sony Square, Midtown West

You and your kiddos can experience Jumanji’s desert, jungle, and snowy mountain top for yourselves from Nov 26–Jan 5. In celebration of the film's Dec 13 release, Sony Square NYC will invite visitors to test out a sonic surf VR experience. Think you can handle the challenges this 26-foot-wide screen throws your way? All ages.   

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. 

Photograph: Courtesy Russ Rowland
Theater, Children's

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show Experience

South Street Seaport Museum, Financial District

Experience puppetry magic as Eric Carle’s beloved story comes to life on stage at the South Street Seaport Museum. The production will also feature one of three of Carle’s other children’s books, 10 Little Rubber Ducks, The Very Lonely Firefly, 10 Little Rubber Ducks and Brown Bear, Brown Bear—check the schedule to see when each is performed. Little bibliophiles will love seeing their favorite stories unfold before their eyes. All ages.

Photo: Courtesy Deen van Meer
Theater, Broadway

Frozen: The Broadway Musical

St. James Theatre, Midtown West

For the first time in forever, Disney's "Snow Queen"-inspired movie about sisterly love and a talking snowman is coming to Broadway. Elsa, Anna, Kristoff and the whole gang will turn the St. James Theater into a winter wonderland full of songs from the original soundtrack. Expect phenomenal sets and stage-magic, plus a certain Oscar-winning song to get stuck in your head.

Photograph courtesy Sarah Todes
Things to do, Performances


Multiple venues

In the span of 45 minutes, little ones are exposed to a world of music, dancing, bubbles and puppets. This troupe of "puppsters" promises to bring young audience members an interactive show each week, exploring important topics for little ones like counting, hygiene, and vocabulary. Expect zany characters (like a puppet RuPaul and Bob Dylan), plenty of laughs and a large helping of originality. Ages 0 to 4.

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. 

Photograph: Courtesy Jeremy Daniel
Theater, Broadway

The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical

Longacre Theatre, Midtown West

This YA Greeky mythology mashup is perfect for the whole family. The performance brings Rick Riordian’s popular novel to life in musical form as we follow 12-year-old Percy Jackson as he tracks down who stole the god Zeus’ lightning bolt. Along the way, the brave one must figure out how to control his new powers, solve an Oracle’s riddle, escape from monsters and restore peace between the Greek gods. Ages 8 and up. 

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 

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. 

Photograph: Courtesy NYC GO and Off Broadway Week

Blue Man Group

Astor Place Theatre, Downtown
4 out of 5 stars

  A sea of toilet paper, neon paint splashes and three blue men have kept audiences laughing and amazed in this long-running Off-Broadway hit. Stand by as these other-worldly fellows learn about the environment around them...and make a bit of noise in the process (largely thanks to the large tubs of paint). You'll laugh, you'll catch one of the group members in the audience and you'll love the wonky happenings throughout the performance. If you catch a show in the first row, wear the poncho—chances are you're going to get splattered with something! Ages 5 and up. 

Photograph: Courtesy + Michelle D
Theater, Musicals


Orpheum Theater, East Village
3 out of 5 stars

Stomp takes percussion to a whole new level. A small cast of characters makes use of atypical objects—wooden polls, push brooms—to create a unique musical experience. A catchy rhythm, impressive dance moves and laugh-out-loud moments prove why this Off-Broadway show is such a crowd pleaser, even if there isn't any dialogue. Your kiddos might be inspired to take household items and start a jam session of their own! Ages 4 and up.

Gazillion Bubble Show
Photograph: Courtesy Gazillion Bubble Show

Gazillion Bubble Show

New World Stages, Hell's Kitchen
Open run
4 out of 5 stars

Self-described “bubble scientist” Fan Yang's blissfully disarming act (now performed in New York by his son Deni, daughter Melody and wife Ana) consists mainly of generating a dazzling succession of bubbles in mind-blowing configurations, filling them with smoke or linking them into long chains. Lasers and flashing colored lights add to the trippy visuals.—David Cote   TIME OUT DISCOUNT TICKET OFFER:THE GAZILLION BUBBLE SHOW It will blow you away!!!Tickets as low as $49 (regular price $79) Promotional description: After twenty years as a Master of Bubbles, Fan Yang brought his unique brand of artistry to the Big Apple in 2007 and has since wowed bubble lovers of all ages. The Gazillion Bubble Show truly is a family affair for Fan: His wife Ana, son Deni, daughter Melody and brother Jano all can be found on stage in New York and around the world performing their bubble magic. Audiences are delighted with an unbubblievable experience and washed with a bubble tide; some even find themselves inside a bubble. Mind-blowing bubble magic, spectacular laser lighting effects and momentary soapy masterpieces will make you smile, laugh and feel like a kid again.THREE WAYS TO BUY  TICKETS:1. Online: Click here to buy tickets through Telecharge2. By phone: Call 212-947-8844 and mention code: GBTONYF453. In person: Print this offer and bring it to the New World Stages box officePerformance schedule: Friday at 7pm; Saturday at 11am, 2pm and 4:30pm; Sunday at 12pm and 3pm Running time: 1h

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.  

Penguin at the Central Park Zoo
Things to do, Classes and workshops

Toddler Time at Central Park Zoo

Central Park Zoo, Central Park

Tiny tots can have early-morning access to the zoo and its inhabitants. During this weekly series, your little animals will enjoy animal encounters, hands-on activities and guided tours throughout the grounds. A parent or guardian should be present throughout the duration of the program, as it is a "caregiver and me" series. The Friday and Saturday programs this November and December will focus on animal senses. Ages 2–3.  

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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