Holiday Happenings

‘Tis the season to love living in New York despite the cold weather. Here are some of our favorite NYC holiday activities (and keep checking our weekly calendar for special events).


The American Museum Of Natural History Origami Holiday Tree

Central Park West @ 79th Street Daily 10 am – 5:45 pm Through January 2 This year’s origami tree features miniature paper versions of whales, dinosaurs and other giant creatures. Volunteers will be on hand to teach visitors the art of origami. Suggested museum admission is $19 for ages 12 to 65, $10.50 for ages 2 to 12 and $14.50 for students and seniors, and kids under 2 are free. Stroller entrances are on 81st Street, just west of Central Park West, and at 79th Street east of Columbus. More info on the Origami Holiday Tree

Lincoln Square Christmas Tree

Dante Park, Broadway between 63rd and 64th Street Dante Park’s 25-foot Norway Spruce is decorated with folk-art ornaments form India made from recycled candy wrappers.

Columbus Circle Holiday Market

Central Park West @ 59th Street Daily 10 am – 8 pm Through December 24th Browse booths of handcrafted gifts, decorations, artisan truffles and other treats at this German-inspired market. More info on Columbus Circle Holiday Market

Holiday Under the Stars

The Shops at Columbus Circle, Time Warner Center Daily 5 pm – midnight Through January 3rd Suspended 14-foot stars light up in time to holiday tunes by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis. More info on Holiday Under the Stars


World’s Largest Hanukkah Menorah Lighting

December 20 – 28th 5:30 pm (3:30pm on Friday, 8:30pm on Saturday) Grand Army Plaza, Fifth Avenue @ 59th Street Every evening an electronic candle on this 32-foot tall, 4,000-pound steel Menorah will be lit. More info on World’s Largest Hanukkah Menorah Lighting


Friday – Saturday 2 – 6:30 pm Central Park Zoo, Southeast corner of Central Park (by Fifth Avenue & 64th Street) For the first three Fridays and Saturdays of December, the Central Park Zoo celebrates the holidays with extended hours. Festive activities include sparkling lights, toasted marshmallows and hot cocoa in the café and present-giving to the penguins and polar bears. Activities are free with zoo admission($12/adults, $7/children 3-12, $9/seniors, Free for kids under 3 years old and members). Tickets to screenings of The Polar Express 4-D Experience and Planet Earth: Ice Worlds are $6. More info on Winterfest

Metropolitan Museum Tree Lighting

1000 Fifth Avenue @ 82nd Street (Stroller entrance at 81st Street) Daily lighting ceremonies: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays & Sundays at 4:30 pm Fridays & Saturdays at 4:30, 5:30 & 6:30 pm Through January 8th 18th Century Baroque creche angels adorn the Met’s blue spruce; an elaborate natviity scene encircles the base. The tree is on view during museum hours with daily lighting ceremonies. Admission is pay-what-you-wish, though $25 is suggested for adults. Kids under 12-years-old are always free. More info on Metropolitan Museum Tree Lighting


Le Parker Meridien Gingerbread Display

119 West 56th Street between Sixth & Seventh Avenue Through January 3rd Admire magnificent edible architecture created by local bakeries and restaurants. This year’s theme is “Landmarks Around The World.” More info on Le Parker Meridien Gingerbread Display

Holiday Shops at Bryant Park

Fifth & Sixth Avenue, 40th to 42nd Street Monday – Friday 11 am – 8 pm Saturday 10 am – 9 pm Sunday 10 am – 6 pm Through January 8th Watch ice skaters at the Pond as you shop the more than 124 artisan booths. More info on Holiday Shops at Bryant Park

Grand Central: Fair, Light Show & Train Show

Grand Central Station, 42nd Street & Park Avenue Grand Central Holiday Fair Monday – Saturday 10 am – 8 pm Sunday 11 am – 7 pm Through December 24 The fair in historic Vanderbilt Hall features artisans selling crafts, jewelry, clothing, home furnishings, children’s gifts, and more. More info on Grand Central Holiday Fair Grand Central Light Show Daily, every half hour from 11 am – 9 pm Through January 11th Six rotating six-minute shows light up the Main Concourse’s famed Astrological Ceiling every half hour. More info on Grand Central Light Show NY Transit Museum’s 8th Annual Holiday Train Show Monday – Friday 8 am – 8 pm Saturday – Sunday 10 am – 6 pm Through January 19th Watch models of the MTA’s vintage and current trains and subway cars travel through a Manhattan cityscape towards Santa’s workshop at the North Pole. The display is small but enchanting and usually uncrowded. More info on NY Transit Museum’s Holiday Train Show


The South Street Seaport

Front Street from Fulton Street to Beekman Street Chorus Tree Schedule: Friday 6 pm & 7 pm Saturday – Sunday 3pm & 4pm Light Show: Monday-Friday 5 pm – 10pm, every hour on the hour The Seaport’s tree dazzles with a seven-minute “Sparkle at the Seaport” light show on the hour from 5 to 10 pm. Listen to strolling a cappella carolers from 1 – 3 pm daily and performances by different local choirs on the weekends. Get a photo with Santa at the South Street Seaport Mall from 11 am – 7 pm. More info on The South Street Seaport

Union Square Holiday Market

Union Square West to Union Square East, 14th Street to 17th Street Monday – Friday, 11 am – 8 pm Saturday 10 am – 8 pm Sunday 11 am – 7 pm Through December 24th Browse booths for unique gifts, nibble on sweet and savory treat and sip on cider and cappuccino. More info on Union Square Holiday Market

The Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden

Tuesday – Friday 10 am – 6 pm Saturday – Sunday 10 am – 7 pm Through January 9th 2900 Southern Boulevard, Bronx (Take the Metro-North Harlem local line to Botanical Garden Station) This holiday favorite features trains ciricling around mini-verions of New York landmarks made of natural materials such as twigs, nuts and leaves. Also admire gingerbread houses made by city bakers snd decorate your own. Admission is $20/adults, $18/students and seniors, $10/children 2-12. Children under 2 are free. More info on The Holiday Train Show


Macy’s Santaland

34th Street between Broadway & Seventh Avenue, 8th Floor Monday – Friday 9 am – 9 pm Saturday – Sunday 8 am – 9pm Through December 24 It’s always crowded and the photo packages are expensive ($19-$50), but this classic Santa experience provides lots to look at while you wait in the long line, including a North Pole village, elves, an enchanted forest with animatronic toys and a train display. Plus there’s a Miracle on 34th Street musical puppet show for an extra $5. More info on Macy’s Santaland

Bloomingdale’s Santaland

1000 Third Ave between 59th & 60th Streets, 8th Floor Monday – Friday 11 am – 6 pm Saturday – Sunday 10 am – 6 pm Through December 23 Less crowded and less elaborate than the Macy’s original, and still pricey ($20-$45). Across the street from Sprinkles, our favorite cupcake shop in NYC featuring peppermint flavors for the holidays. More info on Bloomingdale’s Santaland
What’s your favorite NYC holiday excursion? Leave a comment or email [email protected] and share the spirit.