Favorite holiday tradition are back in person! Also see our listing of all-season family-friendly shows.

The best starter shows for the littlest audience members include Mozart for Munchkins Nutcracker Concerts, My First Nutcracker, New York Ballet Theater's Nutcracker, the Radio City Christmas Spectacular and Seven in One Blow, Or The Brave Little Kid.

Also see our guides to Nutcrackers in NYC and complete NYC holiday guide, plus sign up for our email list and follow our insta for the latest.


George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker

Lincoln Center

Experience the lavish New York City Ballet Nutcracker that started it all in 1954, featuring exquisite costumes, magnificent sets and top-notch dance talent. See twirling snowflakes, leaping candy canes, waltzing flowers, and so much more to Tchaikovsky’s iconic score (played live by a full orchestra).

Pricey but priceless; wait until your kid is able to sit very still and quiet for the whole hours. Many of the audience members are grown ups who expect a quiet viewing experience.

See our complete guide to George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker.

Dances Patrelle’s The Yorkville Nutcracker

The Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College

This annual production at Hunter College’s cozy Kaye Playhouse features dance students, ages 5 to 85, alongside professional artists. The lavish Olde New York settings give this production a more local vibe. Expect ice skating in Central Park, Teddy Roosevelt at Gracie Mansion and a sleigh-ride to the New York Botanical Garden.

🎟 Save 60% at this link.

Saturday 2 pm & 7 pm
Sunday 12 pm & 5 pm

Peter & the Wolf with Isaac Mizrahi


Fabulous fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi narrates Sergei Prokofiev’s charming children’s classic accompanied by Ensemble Signal as a dancing cast costumed and directed by Mizrahi brings the lively tale of animals and instruments to quirky life. Only 30 minutes long plus funny dancing animals make it great for very wee ones (but also entertaining for grown-ups).

Sat-Sun 1 pm, 2:30 pm & 4 pm


Coca-Cola Winter Wonderland

Apollo Theater

The Apollo Theater and Coca-Cola host holiday-themed activities including picture taking with Santa Claus and performances from local choirs.

Under the twinkling lights of the famous marquee, the Apollo invites audiences to bring the family for holiday-themed activities including picture taking with Santa, a book and toy drive and amazing performances. 

Stick around after for the Apollo Amateur Night Holiday Special.

Harlem Opera Theater A Christmas Miracle

The Church of the Intercession

See a festive opera composed prominent African American composer and music educator Mark Fax and join a holiday community sing with the artists and the audience.

The Magic Flute

Lincoln Center

The Met’s English-language, abridged, family-friendly adaptation of Mozart’s sublime and mystical journey returns in Julie Taymor’s fanciful production featuring giant bear puppets, boys flying on dragons and stunning scenery. Plus grand spiral staircases and chandeliers.

* Entertaining for all but the vibe is formal and there is a lot of operatic singing in the 1 hour & 450minutes, so best for older kids who can sit still.

* $25 rush tickets sometimes available online four hours before curtain.

📚 Get this gorgeous picture book or listen to this musical audio book to get familiar with the music and characters.

New York City Ballet Family Saturday: A Nutcracker Adventure

New York City Ballet

Join Marie and the Nutcracker on their magical journey to the Land of Sweets. Experience the intricate costumes, candy-colored sets, iconic music, and beautiful choreography of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker with highlights from this holiday classic. Host and Principal Dancer Megan Fairchild introduces the joys and wonder of this beloved family favorite in this special, one-hour program perfectly suited for young audiences (who might not make it through the two-hour version).

Learn some of the show’s choreography at the Children’s Workshop afterward.

WeBop Family Jazz Party: Holiday Jazz Jam

Jazz at Lincoln Center

Sing and swing into the season with a fun and interactive show overlooking Central Park with Mr. Tim and the WeBop Family Jazz Band.

Join Ms. Goussy, Ms. Sofia, and the WeBop Family Jazz Band for a multicultural celebration to ring in the holidays. Sing and swing into the holiday season with a fun and interactive show.  Non-walking babies do not need a ticket for this concert.

Also at 1:30 pm.


The Radio City Christmas Spectacular

Radio City Music Hall

A truly spectacular show for all ages, even toddlers, with fabulous dancing by the talented Rockettes, dazzling costumes, special effects, camels, sheep and Santa Clause (many, many Santa Clauses in one of our favorite numbers). Includes a 10-minute Nutcracker section danced by giant bears that little kids love.

New this year, the Rockettes don wings to become frost fairies, with fun drones flying over the audience. Also new – an audience sing-a-long to holiday classics, Irish tap-dancing bears and snow from the ceiling.

See our complete guide to the Radio City Christmas Spectacular for tips & deals.


A Sherlock Carol

New World Stages

Two beloved classic tales come together in a holiday-themed mystery. Reunite with beloved the characters from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes and Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol in a story of intrigue and suspense, with a helping of holiday cheer. When a grown-up Tiny Tim asks Sherlock Holmes to investigate the peculiar death of Ebenezer Scrooge, the Great Detective must use his tools of deduction to get to the bottom of the crime. But it is a dark and treacherous Christmas Eve, and once again the holiday is haunted by the spirits of the past, present and future.

⏱ 2 hours and 15 minutes, with intermission
🎟 Buy tickets at the box office to save on service fees
🎟 Save 35% on select performances with code SCPBLF22

A Christmas Carol Starring Jefferson Mays

Nederlander Theatre

Dickens’ timeless tale of Ebenezer Scrooge comes to thrilling new life as talented Tony Award winner Jefferson Mays plays over 50 roles.  A magical feat of storytelling and virtuosic acting (that may be a bit spooky and intense for younger kids).

⏱ 95 minutes, no intermission

🎟 Discount tickets available at TodayTix


My First Nutcracker

Theatre Row

Join Clara and the Prince as they travel to a magical kingdom filled with delicious treats, dancing flowers and a pesky mouse king in this holiday classic reimagined by New York City Children’s Theater for theatergoers ages 3-8. Clara’s narration throughout the performance helps young theatergoers follow the classic holiday story in this interactive dance theater piece.

Stroller parking available in the lobby of the theater complex.

Wednesday-Friday 11 am
Saturday & Sunday 11 am & 2 pm
Sensory friendly: Dec 11, 2 pm & Sat Dec 17, 11 am

Fancy Nancy: Splendiferous Christmas

AMT Theater

Elegant, energetic beloved book character Fancy Nancy comes to life in an hour-long musical from Vital Theatre Company.

What could be fancier than Christmas? Presents with elegant wrapping paper, festive decorations, Christmas cookies with sprinkles – and who could forget the tree? After all, there is no such thing as too much tinsel. Ooh la la! This year, Nancy is especially excited. After selling some of her old gowns and accessories, Nancy has enough money to buy a brand-new sparkly tree topper. She can’t wait to decorate the Christmas tree. But when things don’t turn out the way Nancy planned, will Christmas still be splendiferous?

Saturday 11 am
Sunday 1 pm

Keith Michael’s The Nutcracker

Florence Gould Hall

New York Theatre Ballet performs a kid-friendly, one-hour version of the Tchaikovsky’s beloved holiday ballet set in Art Nouveau-style circa 1907 with innovative choreography by Keith Michael. Feautures clockwork imps, an owl that flies above the audience, mice dressed in polka dots, and dancers dancing with huge chopsticks. The intimate theatre providing excellent views from every seat (and sells out quickly).

Friday 6 pm
Saturday & Sunday 11 am, 1 pm & 3:30 pm

Ajkun Ballet Theatre’s The Nutcracker

Ballet Arts Center for Dance

A small local ballet company presents the classic Nutcracker story in an intimate studio setting featuring new choreography by artistic director Chiara Ajkun. Filled with funny battles with the mice and flavors from a worldwide journey to the Kingdom of Sweets.

Includes complimentary photos with the dancers.

All Proceeds benefit “A Ticket To Dream,” which offers free tickets to underprivileged community members and supports showings in children’s hospitals.

Winter Family Fair

The Morgan Library & Museum

Celebrate the holiday season with the Morgan’s annual display of the original manuscript of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol and enjoy crafts and activities themed to current exhibitions including The Little Prince: Taking Flight. Enjoy an afternoon of live music, gallery exploration, story times, prizes, and more. Enjoy magic and music with strolling characters Ebenezer Scrooge, Bob Cratchit, and the Ghost of Christmas Present, costume photo-ops2

Filmmaker Mark Osborne, director of Kung Fu Panda and many film and television shows shares the puppets from his animated film The Little Prince, screening at 12 pm.

Scandinavia House Holiday Concert

Scandinavia House

See a festive concert featuring Scandinavian and American holiday favorites as well as a traditional Saint Lucia procession, replete with traditional gowns and glowing candles.

Learn about the history of Lucia, one of the most popular holidays in Sweden, while enjoying music from members of the Swedish Church Choir in New York.

Dine before or after at the Björk Cafe & Bistro Holiday Julebord


A Christmas Carol at the Merchant’s House

Join Charles. Dickens, portrayed by John Kevin Jones, as he tells his timeless Christmas tale in the elegant intact Greek Revival double parlor of the landmark 1832 Merchant’s House Museum. Surrounded by 19th century holiday decorations, flickering candles, and richly appointed period furnishings, audiences will be transported back 150 years in this captivating one-hour performance created from Dickens’ own 1867 script.

Before select performances,  join a Christmas Reception with Mr. Dickens ($30). Toast the season with a cup of “Smoking Bishop” (mulled wine) and enjoy a special performance of “A Visit from St. Nicholas” by Mr. Dickens himself. The 19th century family room, kitchen, and garden (weather permitting) will be open to guests.

Tues 7:30 pm
Thurs-Fri 7 pm
Sat 6 & 8 pm
Sun 6 pm
Through Dec 29


Seven in One Blow, or the Brave Little Kid

Axis Theatre

Axis Company’s interactive play with music, adapted from the classic fairy tale by The Brothers Grimm, features Axis’ signature blend of advanced technology and live performance. Though the poignant tale was created for kids, the Axis production—which teases out some plausible subtexts and includes timely pop cultural references—resonates equally well for adults.

Children in the audience are encouraged to participate in many of the kid’s challenges with singing and organized “shout outs.” Actors pass out candy at the end.

Tickets are free for veterans & active U.S. service members and their families. All proceeds for the performance on Saturday, December 10 at 3pm will be donated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Fri 7 pm
Sat-Sun 3 pm

New York Theatre Ballet Nutcracker

Brookfield Place

See a ticketed performance of New York Theatre Ballet’s kid-friendly, one-hour version of the Tchaikovsky’s beloved holiday ballet The Nutcracker in the Winter Garden benefitting Brookfield Place’s charitable partner, City Harvest. Set in Art Nouveau-style circa 1907 with innovative choreography by Keith Michael, this production features clockwork imps, an owl that flies above the audience, mice dressed in polka dots, and dancers dancing with huge chopsticks.

The advance tix are sold out,  but walk-ins are usually accommodated; check-in up to an hour before the performance. Seating is first come, first served. Or watch from the un-ticketed upper levels.  The stunning Luminaries are up to admire.

Guaranteed seating at ticketed performances the following weekend.

Friday 7 pm
Saturday 1 pm & 7 pm
Sunday 1 pm

Mozart For Munchkins: Nutcracker & Jingles

Greenwich House Music School

Join a unique (all-ages) Nutcracker experience with tap dance virtuoso Demi Remick, the sweet tones of Steve Whipple on the upright bass & Blanca González and Jesse Elder of Musiquita on violin and piano. The ensemble will also perform some holiday favorites, some Latin folk music & and a handful of children’s classics. An interactive, relaxed experience for all.



The Flea Theater

The Bang Group’s beloved, witty response to The Nutcracker  takes inspiration from all corners of the dance canon, from tap riffs to en pointe ballet, by way of bubble wrap, disco, and Chinese take-out noodles.

Choreographer David Parker finds beauty in the ridiculous, waltzing through many incarnations of Tchaikovsky’s score, including versions by Duke Ellington and Glenn Miller, as well as the traditional orchestral suite. Sets and costumes are minimal, instead props like bubble wrap, sunglasses and a long stemmed red rose provide comic inspiration.


A Very Electric Christmas

Queens Theatre

Queens Theatre audience favorite Lightwire Theater returns for one performance of their holiday show.

Follow the story of a young bird, named Max and his family, as they begin their journey south for the winter. When Max gets blown off course and ends up at the North Pole…his adventure begins. Dancing toy soldiers, caroling worms and performing poinsettias, light up the stage in a tale of family, friendship and hope set to timeless holiday hits, including Nat King Cole, Mariah Carey and Tchaikovsky. Lightwire Theater is internationally recognized for their electroluminescent artistry, poignant story telling and performs in complete darkness.

Navidad: A Mexican-American Christmas

Queens Theatre

Calpulli Mexican Dance Company presents Christmas traditions from both sides of the Rio Grande in a dance musical about a young person caught between two worlds—their family’s past in Mexico and their present life in New York City. Through a dream, this youngster attempts to bring the two cultures together where Aztec-inspired dance is performed to Christmas carols, and Mariachi music melds with Tschaikowsky.

The Muppet Christmas Carol: 30th Anniversary Screening

Museum of the Moving Image

In this beloved staple of many a childhood, the Charles Dickens classic is recast with the classic Muppet characters, including Gonzo as Charles Dickens, Kermit at Bob Cratchit, and Fozzie Bear as Fozziwig. This faithful adaptation is as full of Christmas spirit and imagination as any of the various film adaptations of the novel, and features a towering performance by Caine as the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge and a splendid musical score by Paul Williams.

Jim Henson Legacy President Craig Shemin will introduce the screening and present rare photos and clips from the making of the film. 

Visit more Muppets in Jim Henson’s World and explore other interactive exhibits on film, TV and video games. See our guide to the Museum of the Moving Image.


The Brooklyn Nutcracker

Kings Theatre

A culturally inclusive production of the beloved holiday ballet fuses ballet, hip-hop and a myriad of world dance genres to create a new tradition for today’s audience in a gorgeous landmark theater. From the landscape of the old Dutch Brooklyn to the iconic Flatbush Avenue, familiar Nutcracker characters and scenes transform to represent the diverse traditions and vibrant culture of melting pot Brooklyn.

Also at 7 pm.

Holiday Family Fun with Suzi Shelton

Jalopy Theatre and School of Music

See multi-award winning NYC singer/songwriter Suzi Shelton in a fun family holiday-themed concert with musician Jeff Kerestes and many special guests performing joyful songs of the season. Shake some jingle bells and sing along!.

Enjoy a coffee, mimosa or juice box during the show, and then head next door to the Jalopy Tavern for some yummy lunch after the concert.

Holiday Family Movies at Skyline Drive-In

Skyline Drive-In

Watch favorite family movies including Elf, The Grinch and The Polar Express from your car in Greenpoint with killer views of the Manhattan Skyline.

Parking spaces are first-come-first-serve basis so come early. Bring chairs/blankets etc if you want to sit outside your car (outdoor seating for those without cars also available). Indoor bathrooms and concessions available.

Baby Shark Live!: The Christmas Show

Kings Theatre

See a live holiday show based on Pinkfong’s viral earworm and global dance phenomenon,‘Baby Shark’.  Baby Shark joins up with his friend Pinkfong to take an adventure into the sea, singing and dancing through new and classic songs including Five Little Monkeys, Wheels on the Bus, Jungle BoogieMonkey Banana Dance and of course, Baby Shark! as well as
holiday classics such as Jingle Bells. 


A New Elf For Christmas

SOOP Theatre Company

See a new funny, warm, musical holiday journey with some familiar Christmas melodies in an intimate theater.

Young Lizzie McDermott only wants to help, but feels like she just isn’t appreciated at home. Her siblings are always doing things better or faster than her, and her parents and grandparents don’t seem to understand why her nickname is too babyish. When a rag-tag bunch of well-meaning elves come and whisk her away to be one of Santa’s helpers for one night only, Lizzie learns that maybe she was too quick to judge her family and that “fitting in” is a whole lot trickier than she thought it was.

Mr. Dickens Tells A Christmas Carol

Lyndhurst Mansion

Experience a recreation of the famous performance tour by Charles Dickens in 1867 with his classic tale bringing the travails of Ebenezer Scrooge, Bob Cratchit, and Tiny Tim to life. Taken from the original script, actor Mikel Von Brodbeck plays Charles Dickens and tells the well-loved tale as guests journey through the main floor of the beautifully decorated Lyndhurst mansion, meeting the different spirits and characters along the way.

Showings at 5 pm and 7 pm. About one hour without an intermission, but plan on 90 minutes including check-in at the Welcome Center.

Masks required.

All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914

Sacred Heart University Community Theatre

New York City Opera celebrates the holidays with the true story of the first Christmas Eve of World War I, when soldiers across the Western Front laid down their weapons to celebrate Christmas together. For 48 hours, to more than a week on some battlefronts, soldiers on all sides declared a truce and ate and drank together, played soccer, and sang carols.

This family-friendly retelling, based on the firsthand accounts of soldiers who lived it, weaves together traditional carols like Silent Night, Auld Lang Syne, The First Noel, O Tannenbaum, and Angels We Have Heard on High, with traditional patriotic songs, sung a cappella in various languages, including English, German, and French — celebrating the unique way that the holiday season can bring us all together.

⏱ 75 minutes; no intermission

The Nutcracker Wonderland Party

Scarsdale Ballet Studio

Join Clara and her guests at a magical holiday party. Watch as Uncle Drosselymeyer performs magic tricks and brings the toys to life. Help defeat the Rat King, and ride Clara’s sleigh through swirling snowflakes to the Land of the Sweets. Watch ballerinas dance and meet the Sugar Plum Fairy, and then join in the dancing fun.

Scarsdale Ballet Studio will be magically transformed with scenery, decorations, and dancers in professional costumes to create a fully immersive experience.

Children ages 3-7 are invited to participate (no previous dance experience necessary). Parents/guardians must stay at the studio during the event. Includes a goody bag, and gift certificate.

4 time slots available: 10 am, 12 pm, 2 pm & 4 pm.


The Hip Hop Nutcracker

New Jersey Performing Arts Center

Virtuosic break dancing tells an uplifting, family-friendly story set in the 1980s and today. The music is still mostly Tchaikovsky’s classic score, though some songs are sonically updated with live electric violin.

This version of the Nutcracker is much louder than its traditional counterparts with a pre-show by hip-hop legend Kurtis Blow. For families with younger children, consider seats further back for less of an auditory overload.

Also at 5 pm.