NYC events in December 2018

Plan your month with our NYC events in December 2018 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 2018. 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 2018

Check out our Winter Village video

Featured NYC events in December 2018

Cynthia King Dance Studio
Photograph: Courtesy Cynthia King
Dance, Ballet

Micro-Nutcracker

icon-location-pin Cynthia King Dance Studio, Brooklyn
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If you are growing tired of more-is-more Christmas spectaculars, Cynthia King's 16-minute version of The Nutcracker might be just your size. Featuring dancers of all ages and abilities—the youngest is 3 years old!—the show takes a modern crack at the old holiday story, with an eye toward the dangers of consumerism.

LGBT

The Day I Should Have: Been Proud

icon-location-pin The Tank, Hell's Kitchen
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Storytelling phenom Danny Artese gathers an all-star lineup of queer performers to talk about coming out, evolving their identities and celebrating Pride (even on its half birthday). He's joined by Elana Lancaster, David Lawson, Julie Threlkeld, Miko Cho and Rebecca Marquardt.

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Lena Einbinder, Sam Taggart and George Civeris
Photograph: Courtesy Andrew Werner
Comedy

Brooklyn Queer Comedy Festival

icon-location-pin 3 Dollar Bill, Bushwick
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New York's surging queer comedy scene gets its due at this epic showcase. Grab a drink at the spectacular queer bar 3 Dollar Bill, all while witnessing some of the city's fiercest drag and comedy performers go at it. The second edition boasts founder Ryan McLendon, along with Samantha Ruddy, Mini Horrorwitz, David Goldberg, Dylan Adler, Jon Wan, Veronica Garza, Elsa Waithe and Chris Murphy. 

A Dancer's Christmas
Photograph: Courtesy JA Loftus
Dance, Ballet

A Dancer's Christmas

icon-location-pin Ailey Citigroup Theater, Hell's Kitchen
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Choreographed by longtime Jesuit pastor Robert VerEecke, this liturgical dance piece is aimed at those who want a little más Christ in their Christmas shows. Steven Cornwall and Maresa D'Amore Morrison play Joseph and Mary, joined by members of the Chevalier Ballet Company, 10 Hairy Legs and other groups. A Boston holiday tradition for decades, the show is only now making its New York debut.

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The Bang Group: Nut/Cracked
Photograph: Courtesy Sally Cohn
Dance, Contemporary and experimental

The Bang Group: Nut/Cracked

icon-location-pin The Flea Theater, Tribeca
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Choreographer David Parker and his Bang Group reprise their neovaudevillian version of The Nutcracker, a comedic deconstruction of the holiday classic that mixes tap, ballet, contemporary dance and disco. The cast includes teen dancers from the Dalton School and the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts.

Courtney Maginnis and Chris Calogero
Photograph: Courtesy Mindy Tucker
Comedy

Not Quite Midnight

icon-location-pin Littlefield, Gowanus
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Chris Calogero and Courtney Maginnis welcome comedians to show off their best sets, then join them at the hot seat for a delightfully-off talk show. And the Holiday X-travaganza promises to be a legendary banger, with sets from Kate Willett, Josh Gondelman, Casey James Salengo, Emily Winter, Carmen Lagala, Sam Evans, Max Wittert, Ethan Simmons Patterson, Ayo Edibiri, Joe Rumrill, Julia Shiplett and Sam Taggart. 

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Arti Gollapudi
Photograph: Courtesy Dee Guerreros
Comedy

Yourself, Your Body

icon-location-pin Union Hall, Park Slope
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Poet and comedic maverick Arti Gollapudi takes aim at societal norms and body standards at her riotous monthly show. The December edition boasts Sydnee Washington, Pooja Reddy, Jeena Bloom, Alex Song, Karolena Theresa, Mary Kate Heggety and Amanda Justice. 

The Hip Hop Nutcracker
Photograph: Courtesy Hip Hop Nutcracker
Dance, Hip-hop

The Hip Hop Nutcracker

icon-location-pin Kings Theatre, Brooklyn
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Tchaikovsky's ballet gets a facelift as rap icon Kurtis Blow MCs a ferocious contemporary reimagining with hip-hop dancers, digital projection and a beat-driven score. 

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Comedy

Steven Markow: Words in Concert

icon-location-pin Pine Box Rock Shop, Bushwick
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The dashing Steven Markow brings his vast skill set—directing, podcasting, sound design, stand-up, characters and photography, to name a few—to this eclectic showcase night. Join the renaissance man as he directs a crew of performers in a live reading of a hilarious radio play. 

Things to do, Exhibitions

Holiday Train Show

icon-location-pin New York Botanical Garden | Bronx, NY, The Bronx
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The garden lights up with its collection of trains that chug along a nearly half-mile track by 150 miniature NYC landmarks like the Empire State Building and Radio City Music Hall, all made of natural materials such as leaves, twigs, bark and berries.  

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Find out what's happening in January

Music events in December 2018

Mitski
Photograph: courtesy of the artist
Music, Rock and indie

Mitski + Downtown Boys + Sasami

Mitski Miyawaki has a talent for swift transformation. Over the past several years, she's rocketed from self-releasing her first two albums and playing DIY gigs to selling out New York's biggest rock venues months in advance. Her latest collection, Be The Cowboy, continues that hunger for growth, veering from her recent penchant for dreamily yearning indie rock in favor of a multi-faceted synth pop that recalls her early-career experimental tendencies.

Photograph: Courtesy John Russo
Music

Lindsey Buckingham

The tea spills, the cheekbones get sharper, the lightning guitar skills faster still: Fleetwood Mac icon Lindsey Buckingham returns with Solo Anthology, an outstanding "Best Of" album that includes cuts from some of the three-time Grammy winner's best solo records—Law and Order, Seeds We Sow, Out of the Cradle—and includes tracks from his recent collaboration with fellow Fleetwood Mac member Christine McVie. 

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J Mascis
Photograph: Timothy Herzog
Music, Rock and indie

J Mascis + Luluc

This indie vet has always seemed inseparable from his trademark electric-guitar supernovas, so it's a pleasant surprise to hear Mascis sounding so comfy on his acoustic solo discs, such as 2011's Several Shades of Why and 2014's LP, Tied to a Star. It turns out that the Dino Jr. frontman's mumbly, achy emoting translates quite well in unplugged mode.

Parquet Courts
Photograph: Ben Rayner
Music, Rock and indie

Parquet Courts + Sun Ra Arkestra

Brothers Max and Andrew Savage, along with their bandmates, are doing the once-a-generation job of stripping rock & roll back to something tight, primal and brilliant. The local outfit quickly sold out its tiny run of album-release shows this summer. This much-larger Manhattan gig offers another crack at hearing the invigorating postpunk bops of its latest, Wide Awake! The enduring, always-captivating space-jazz ensemble Sun Ra Arkestra opens.

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Photograph: Courtesy Anna Webber
Music

David Crosby

David Crosby, co-founder of the Byrds as well as Crosby, Stills & Nash, is a national treasure. That's why you shouldn't miss the two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Famer when he graces the stage of The Capitol Theatre backed by The Lighthouse Band (comprising Becca Stevens, Michelle Willis and Michael League) to reinterpret the legend’s best tracks as well as his latest LP Here If You Listen. Oh, and if you're not already following the musician on Twitter, you should be.

Stars
Photograph: Courtesy the artist
Music, Rock and indie

Stars

Though this atmospheric Canadian indie-rock combo started out making whispery drum machine ditties on its 2001 debut Nightsongs, the crew has since asserted increasingly grandiose aspirations. More than 15 years later, Stars is turning out celestial, big-room synth-pop, as heard on 2017's There Is No Love in Fluorescent Light. Expect to hear selections from both the album and the band's back catalogue at this south-of-the-border gig.

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Manchester Orchestra
Photograph: Courtesy the artist
Music, Rock and indie

Manchester Orchestra

This American band, which is neither from Manchester nor an orchestra, plays swelling rock songs with dramatic shades of Built to Spill. The group hits Brooklyn behind the new A Black Mile to the Surface, which features a nearly total turnover of the group's original members aside from guitarist and singer Andy Hull.

See more NYC concerts in December

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