A wise elf once said, “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loudly for all to hear,” and you should certainly follow his advice during these fun Christmas caroling events in NYC. Some of the best NYC parks and New York attractions are welcoming carolers to partake in festive (and free!) merriment. If your American Idol audition was a total fail, don’t fret—not all of these caroling events require you to sing. But you should still feel comfortable belting classics such as “Silent Night” and “Jingle Bell Rock” in the company of your New York peers. Make sure to take a moment to enjoy all the pretty Christmas lights during caroling processions such as Unsilent Night.
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Best Christmas caroling events
Croon “Silent Night” under the arch at Washington Square Park on the night before Christmas. The Rob Susman Brass Quartet will provide the melodies while you and revelers from all over the city sing in perfect (er, sort of) harmony. Don’t fret if you can’t remember all the words to “Peace on Earth, Good Will to Men”—there will be songbooks provided by the Washington Square Association.
This trippy musical performance piece, dreamed up by composer Phil Kline, is downtown’s decidedly arty, secular answer to Christmas caroling. Boom-box–toting participants gather under the Washington Square arch, where they are given a cassette or CD of one of four different atmospheric tracks; you can also download the Unsilent Night app and sync up via smartphone. Everyone presses play at the same time and marches through the streets of New York together, blending their music and filling the air with a beautiful, echoing 45-minute piece.
Now in its 44th year, this massive musical gathering invites hundreds of tuba players to perform classic Christmas carols and crowd-pleasing songs on the ice. If you’re not a pro at circular breathing, join in on the fun by singing along to the deep horns. Though the event has spread to more than 200 cities worldwide, there’s nothing like seeing it at its home: 30 Rockefeller Plaza.
Housing Works welcomes musicians, writers and performers to invoke Ebenezer Scrooge and his ghosts. Before the performers dig into Dickens, the New York City Master Chorale stops by for some ace caroling. Then the reading begins, with writers lgiving their take on the infamous miser. All store items are 10 percent off, so bring your holiday list. Bah, humbug!
This ninth annual, outdoor caroling procession is for those who aren’t afraid to battle the earth’s elements. That’s right—if it snows, the show still goes on, so dress accordingly! Meet at the corner of 31st Avenue and 75th St in Brooklyn before embarking on a magical night of song and peeping at holiday lights. Carolers are encouraged to bring flashlights and well-protected candles as well as any small, acoustic instruments—that is, if you can keep up with the beat!
According to the New York Times, all are welcome to wander inside this exclusive, hidden park during Christmas Eve. Why? Because the operators of the park open up the gates so you can join the Parish of Calvary St. George's for some festive caroling. It’s a Christmas miracle!