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NYC events in December 2019

Plan your month with our NYC events in December 2019 guide including holiday markets and shows like The Nutcracker

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree 2013
Photograph: Filip Wolak
By Jennifer Picht and Time Out contributors |
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Get ready for the most wonderful time of the year with the best NYC events in December 2019. This season's highlights include, well, you already know what they are. But you’ll only find out how to get Radio City Christmas Spectacular tickets and where to see The Nutcracker Ballet in NYC here! You can really get into the spirit when you visit one of New York's many holiday markets boasting great gifts for your friends and family as well as tasty provisions. Looking for something less festive? Check out terrific art shows and concerts.

RECOMMENDED: Full NYC events calendar for 2019

Check out our Winter Village video

Featured NYC events in December 2019

Things to do, Festivals

Christmas in New York

It’s the most wonderful time of the year—and by “it” we mean Christmas. New York lights up into a winter wonderland each year with Christmas trees, holiday window displays and Christmas lights. Even the most tourist-averse New Yorkers have to admit that it’s a pretty spectacular sight. Get the most out of the holidays with our guide to the best holiday sales and holiday gift ideas, Christmas movies to watch with the family and plenty of festive things to do including Bryant Park ice skating, the Radio City Christmas Spectacular and more.

Things to do

Hanukkah in New York

Gear up for eight days of celebration! Time to nosh on latkes (and other delicious fried food), which you can sample at the annual latke festival. Or you can say l’chaim and warm up with winter cocktails. Check out our events celebrating the Festival of Lights.

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Bryant Park Winter Village
Photograph: Courtesy Angelito Jusay
Things to do, Markets and fairs

Bryant Park Winter Village

Not only is there free ice-skating on Bryant Park’s 17,000-square-foot outdoor rink (bring your own skates!), but also more than 120 holiday shops, including a bunch of new kiosks and eateries. And after you shop and skate, you can warm up at spacious rinkside restaurant Celsius. FYI: The vendors are only there until the first week of January, but If you want to practice your lutzes and axels with ample spinning room, try visiting during off-peak hours (open through the beginning of March).

Radio City Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall
Photograph: MSG Entertainment
Things to do

The Radio City Christmas Spectacular

The Radio City Christmas Spectacular celebrates its 89th year of precision dancing and high kicks this holiday season. Along with George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker from the New York City Ballet, the Spectacular has become one of NYC’s most hallowed holiday traditions, drawing tourists and locals alike. Unlike The Nutcracker, however, there’s nothing highbrow about Radio City Music Hall’s pageant of glitz. It celebrates classic holiday values—peace! Love! Consumer confidence!—by deploying a flying Santa, a massive LED screen, and the sea of legs known as the Rockettes, all kicking in fabulous unison.

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Photograph: Filip Wolak
Things to do

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree lighting

Lost in New York? Every Christmas, thousands of New Yorkers (and tourists) find their way to the bright and brilliant nexus of town, the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. Whether you’re stopping by the tree for ice-skating, the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, or to see the Lighting Ceremony, you’re certain to feel the magic when you witness the wonder of the Norway Spruce illuminated with more than 45,000 LED lights.

Things to do

Holiday windows in New York City

Half the fun of holiday shopping in New York is ogling the tricked-out window displays along Fifth Avenue that pop up to coincide with the merriest, spendiest time of the year. In between picking out sweaters and great presents from our holiday gift guide, stop outside Macy’s, Barneys and other classic department stores to take in holiday windows that feature famous cartoonists, iconic New York attractions and more.

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Things to do

NYC New Year’s Eve

The pressure is always immense to have a good time on New Year’s Eve—and have a good time you will. Ring in 2019 with an all-night party, a raucous concert, dinner and a show, an open bar with a champagne toast, or a New Year’s Eve fireworks display. You’ll find these celebrations and more with our essential guide to New Year’s Eve in New York. Keep checking back for ticket announcements—we’ll be updating this page with new events from now through December 31.

Find out what's happening in January

Music events in December 2019

Bela Fleck and the Flecktones
Photograph: Courtesy BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival
Music

Béla Fleck and the Flecktones

icon-location-pin The Town Hall, Midtown West
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The virtuosic banjo player is a staple on the jam-band circuit, but even those who don't live for perfectly executed impromptu fusion wizardry might know Fleck's work—he and his Flecktones composed incidental music for the Weather Channel.

Le Poisson Rouge, The Freedom Party
Photograph: Courtesy Joonbug.com
Music, Rock and indie

Thurston Moore Group

icon-location-pin Le Poisson Rouge, Greenwich Village
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Sure, we're still bummed about the demise of Sonic Youth—and let's face it, Kim Gordon and Moore's sad, sordid split—but both artists have been doing great work on their own, releasing new albums this year within a month of one another: Gordon with her upcoming No Home Record, and Moore with his new Spirit Counsel. Like much of the lanky frontman's recent solo output, the album plays like a suppler yet no less spellbinding Sonic Youth.

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Lucy Dacus
Photograph: Courtesy Dustin Condren
Music, Rock and indie

Lucy Dacus + Haley Heyndrickx

icon-location-pin Webster Hall, East Village
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Within months of releasing her 2016 debut, No Burden, Lucy Dacus had signed to Matador Records, adding her name to an artist roster including Yo La Tengo, Cat Power and Perfume Genius. The fast-rising Virginia songsmith trades in country-inflected indie rock, which provides a warm backdrop for a voice that shines on its own as well as it spins divine harmonies with others (see her 2018 collaborative project Boygenius with Phoebe Bridgers and Julien Baker).

Music, Rock and indie

Battles

icon-location-pin Music Hall of Williamsburg, Williamsburg
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Battles' greatest achievement has been taking the listener-friendly experimentalism of ’90s post-rock (Tortoise, etc.) and grafting on a dance-floor-commanding pulse. The band plays behind its fourth full-length, Juice B Crypts, which like the band's previous albums, continues to push the limits of innovative rock futurism even after the departure of longtime member Tyondai Braxton. Hopefully Williamsburg's spacious Music Hall will accommodate drummer John Stanier's borderline-overwhelming energy better than the band's DIY gigs of yore.

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Webster Hall, 2011. Webster Hall New Years Eve Ball
Photograph: Noah Devereaux
Music

Pixies

icon-location-pin Webster Hall, East Village
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Catch these pioneering alt-rockers on the heels of Beneath the Eyrie, the newly releaseed third record in the band's recent wave of comeback albums. Neither Kim (Deal or Shattuck) is with the band anymore, so the lineup looks like this: Black Francis, David Lovering, Joey Santiago and Paz Lenchantin. Tonight you'll surely ye olde classics alongside the new tunes.

Mount Eerie
Photograph: Courtesy Phil Elverum
Music, Rock and indie

Mount Eerie + Julie Doiron

icon-location-pin St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church, Brooklyn Heights
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Phil Elverum's most recent albums may be his most deeply personal. For such a poignant songwriter, that's saying a lot, but it makes sense in context: the records document the aftermath of his wife's death from cancer in 2016. However, his new collaborative album with Canadian singer Julie Doiron, Lost Wisdom Pt. 2 (a follow-up to their 2008 release of the same name), seeks the opposite: Elverum tries here to write songs that don't rely whatsoever on his personal life. Grab your tickets soon because the twosome say this might be the only time they play these songs live.

See more NYC concerts in December

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