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Park Avenue/Lafayette is the place to be Saturdays in August at car-free Summer Streets. Whatever neighborhood you end up in, explore cool pop-ups, see some free music and dance around town, or cool off in an air-conditioned family-friendly museum exhibit followed by a splash in the playground

To minimize time on sweaty subways and sidewalks, these neighborhood agendas feature full days of fun within a few blocks. Plus necessary ice cream stops. Click on the '**All Upper West Side... etc' links for handy maps.

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Nicolas Holiber: Birds on Broadway, the Audubon Sculpture Project

Ten oversized sculptures of New York City birds in danger of extinction roost on the UWS Broadway malls. Brookyln-based artist Nicolas Holiber painted but did not weatherproof reclaimed lumber, allowing for the city’s natural forces to affect it, highlighting the environmental challenges faced by each species.

Big Apple Circus

Local troupe Big Apple Circus presents intimate family-friendly shows with clowns, horse-riding dogs, horizontal juggling, aerial duo, flying trapeze and more in a one-ring Big Top tent with comfortable arena style tiered seating. It’s a small venue so pretty much any seat location is great, and there are fun photo ops in the lobby. Schedule…

Holiday Under The Stars

14-foot stars hanging from the 150-foot tall ceiling light up in an array of colors in time to holiday tunes by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. Peek into the festively decorated Williams-Sonoma for free samples of holiday candy and hot apple cider. See cast members of Broadway shows perform on Mondays 5-6 pm.

WeBop Family Jazz Party: Holiday Jazz Jam

Sing and swing into the season with a fun and interactive show overlooking Central Park with Mr. Tim and the WeBop Family Jazz Band. Appropriate for children 8-months to 8-years. Shows at 11am, 1 pm & 3 pm.    

The Knickerbocker Suite

A New York City themed 70-minute Nutcracker features famous landmarks woven into the time-honored tale. Based on the jocular story by artist Elliott Arkin, the first act opens with a satirical animated film narrated by Tony award winner Michael Cerveris with imaginative contemporary visual scenarios and characters inspired by the Nutcracker story. In the second…

Judy & the Maccabees: A Family Hanukkah Musical

In a delightful family musical that re-imagines the ancient Hanukkah story, Judy is a feisty young girl who leaves her father to help the Maccabees in their fight for religious freedom. Audience members can participate in an interactive Hanukkah musical piece featuring an ensemble from Kaufman Music Center’s Face the Music teen new music program. A…

Yeti, Set, Snow!

An original production from the historic, cozy Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre features a young girl who teaches a sweet, snow-hating yeti with a sparkly silver cat the value of snow and friendship. A fun musical with clever staging in a magical Central Park setting. Short and sweet and a good starter shows for toddlers (though…

Holiday Express: All Aboard to Richard Scarry’s Busytown

Celebrate the 100th birthday of Busytown author and illustrator Richard Scarry with artwork and graphics of Scarry’s characters (like Huckle Cat and Lowly Worm) alongside historical model trains, scenic elements and toys. Dynamic displays explore the workings of the railroad, the services it provides, and the jobs required to keep people and goods moving. Hop…

The Amazing Max

Enjoy a zany magic show with cool tricks and giant taco costumes. Magician Max Darwin makes objects appear out of thin air and defies the laws of physics inches from spectators’ faces. We’ve seen him perform a few times and he always leaves us laughing and marveling.

By the Way Bakery

A small cute bakery with muffins, cakes, cookies, cupcakes and more tasty treats, all of which happen to be gluten free.

Orwashers UWS

Choose from salads, sandwiches, amazing healthy artisanal bread and not-so-healthy pastries at the new UWS outpost of the 100+-year-old Orwashers Bakery with counter service and seating.

Flavors of the Season: Cocoa

Join seasonal cooking workshops and food inspired programs. Discover creative ways to use cocoa and make Cocoa Avocado Chia Pudding, create a gigantic marshmallow-inspired sculpture using only packing peanuts and  paint a mug for sipping cocoa.

Holiday Train Show at Grand Central Terminal

Watch models of the MTA’s vintage and current trains and subway cars travel depart from a miniature replica of Grand Central Terminal to Santa’s workshop at the North Pole in this small yet charming display full of delightful details. This year’s exhibition showcases Lionel Metro-North, Polar Express, and vintage subway train set against a mural…

Winter Village at Bryant Park

* Watch skaters – or skate yourself on the city’s only free rink ($18-33/skate rentals – varies by day, free lockers available, $10/lock or bing you own). Penguin and snowmen skate aids available for wee learners ($22/hour). New this season, reserve your skate time online. * Shop over 100 boutique-style booths offering a wide array…

42FT – A Menagerie of Mechanical Marvels

With a brilliant blur of sequined stilts, feathered frocks and flashing circus stripes, the endlessly inventive Cirque Mechanics upends expectations in a dizzying, dazzling array of acts.

Billy Johnson Playground

This rustic playground hosts an amazing 45-foot granite slide nestled into a rocky hill, bucket and tire swings, and an amphitheater and miniature stone bridge made of natural materials like plants, stone, and wood at a child’s scale.

Vija Celmins

Soak in the peaceful magic on over 114 paintings, drawings, prints and sculptures by American artist Vija Celmins. Paintings that look like photographs of Pacific Ocean, star-studded night skies, the surface of  moon’s surface, a spider’s web, the craters inside a seashell and more natural wonders invite closer looks and lots of questions.

Family Tour at The Met Breuer

Share ideas and enjoy stories, sketching, and other gallery activities that bring works of art to life the Met’s striking modern art outpost. For families with children ages 3–11. Space is limited to 25; first come, first served.

The Last Knight: The Art, Armor, and Ambition of Maximilian I

See all sorts of cool European armor  through the lens of Emperor Maximilian I’s (1459–1519) remarkable life. With 180 objects from some thirty public and private collections in Europe, the Middle East, and the United States, the most ambitious North American loan exhibition of European arms and armor in decades explore how Maximilian’s unparalleled passion for…

Ancient Playground

This big playground invokes Egyptian themes with climbable pyramids, a large sand lot and a spray shower that represents Egypt’s Nile River in reference to the ancient Temple of Dendur at the Metropolitan Museum of Art next door.  Lots of slides, tunnels and concrete bridges plus bucket, tire and strap swings are perfect for adventurous…

Start with Art at the Met/Art Trek

Fabulous museum educators engage children in conversations and activities related to a few works in the vast collection. Share ideas and enjoy stories, sketching, singing, and other gallery activities that bring works of art to life. The first Thursday of the month features music in the galleries.

Nature—Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial

Explore nature-inspired experimental prototypes, consumer products, immersive installations and architectural constructions by sixty-two international design teams. Collaborations by scientists, engineers, advocates for social and environmental justice, artists, and philosophers engage with nature in innovative and ground-breaking ways, driven by a profound awareness of climate change and ecological crises as much as advances in science and…

Santa at the Museum

Take your photo with Santa with a side of NYC history. Bring your own camera. Reserve time slots in advance online. Different Santas available on different dates- a caucasian Santa on Nov 30 & Dec 14, an African-American Santa on Dec 7 & 21.

Tales from the Shed

Children take the lead in this vibrant, interactive theatre shows. Performers and audience share the same space – children are always encouraged to participate and their imaginations help the story unfold. Sing, dance and laugh with colorful puppets and live music. Reserve tickets for 3 shows in advance and get a $5 discount for the…

Hanukkah Family Day

Celebrate the festival of lights as a family at the Jewish Museum. Build a sculptural Hanukkah lamp with funky found objects — a Jewish Museum tradition. Dance to the pop-rock tunes of Joanie Leeds & The Nightlights, sketch Hanukkah lamps from around the globe on a gallery tour, and watch a unique Hanukkah story come…

Citycakes Bakery

Get some of city’s best cookies – signature half pound size treats can be covered in frostings with sprinkles, halved and filled with two scoops of gelato for an amazing ice cream sandwich, or stacked 3x high to make a unique little cookie cake. No on-site seating available. ⁣


Enter  two-floor exhibition of entirely new work by 90-year-old Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama—including paintings, sculptures, an immersive installation, and the debut of a new infinity room. Lots of polka dots, eyeballs and reflective surfaces make it fun for all ages. You can just walk in to most of the show, but the Infinity Room is…

December Family Sundays: Petalled Power Lanterns

Reflect on ideas of shared power, inspired by artist Kimsooja’s Lotus: Zone of Zero in the exhibition Clapping With Stones: Art and Acts of Resistance. Explore ollective power through collaborative lantern making. Also join family tours in the gallery.

Rachel Harrison Life Hack

See room-size installations, autonomous sculpture, photography, and drawing in Rachel Harrison’s first full-scale survey. Her complex works—in which readymades collude with invented forms—bring together the breadth of art history, the impurities of politics, and the artifacts of pop and celebrity culture.

Jason Moran

Boundary-bursting artist Jason Moran grounds his practice in the composition of jazz, bridging the visual and performing arts through spellbinding stagecraft. See the range of work Moran has explored, from his own sculptures and drawings to collaborations with visual artists to performances. Three mixed-media “set sculptures” pay homage to an iconic New York jazz venue.…

Jazz on a High Floor in the Afternoon

Curated by celebrated jazz pianist, composer, and visual artist Jason Moran and Whitney performance curator Adrienne Edwards, this series of live in-gallery performances presented over nine weekends features cross-generational artists performing within Moran’s three mixed-media “set sculptures” paying homage to an iconic New York jazz venue. Get tickets online in advance. Includes museum admission.

Holiday x House of SHOWFIELDS

Experiential retail store SHOWFIELDS’ immersive experience gets a holiday update. Find a hidden slide, then touch smell, eat, and test products and artwork led by actots with a story. Book (free) timed slots in advance online.

The Muppet Christmas Carol

Swanky cinema Metrograph screens this 1992 Muppet take on Charles Dickens’s classic tale.  See the most emotionally rich Muppet movie with Michael Caine as a superb Scrooge, Kermit as Bob Cratchit, and a host of fantastic new creations, including the big, bumptious bonhomie-prone Ghost of Christmas Present (“Come in, and know me better, man!”).  

Sloomoo Institute

Explore a sensory playground centered around slime. Play with beautiful and seemingly endless vats full of slime, relax in an immersive tunnel, enter a glow-in-the-dark cove,  and create at a 150-foot long DIY bar Wear clothes that can get messy. Every ticket comes with an 8-oz. custom slime and other surprises.

Star Wars at Dolby Soho

Take an epic journey to a galaxy far, far away and discover the legacy of Star Wars through 11 immersive exhibit. Travel through hyperspace and relive epic lightsaber battles while exploring the iconic sights and sounds of the Star Wars universe in immersive video and sound. The first 100 guests to arrive each day will…


Dance on giant stairs underneath a canopy of 650 ever changing rainbow hanging lantern in the Winter Garden at Brookfield Place. Cool choreographed light shows occur every two hours. Also skate on a small ice skating rink featuring pushable sit-down sleighs for small pre-skaters, take a photo with Santa in his sleigh, look for disco…

Imagination Playground

This magical interactive, transformable playground lets kids create their own play space with sand, water, giant foam blocks, mats, wagons, fabric, and crates at their fingertips. Great view of the East River and bathrooms.

10 Corso Como

Find striking modern design among historic cobblestones at former editor and publisher Carla Sozanni’s visionary concept store. Atriking interiors designed by American artist Kris Ruhs, host a quirky store, gallery, bar and Italian restaurant.

Winterland Rink

Ice skate atop The Rooftop at Pier 17 with spectacular views of the East River, the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan skyline. Skate aids available for $20 before 5 pm weekdays and 12 pm weekends and holidays. Unlimited season passes available. Discounts for residents of zip codes 10002, 10004, 10005, 10006, 10007, 10038, or 10280.

The Art of the Brick

See more than 100 pieces made by artist Nathan Sawaya with more than one million LEGO bricks. The collection features original pieces, a 20-foot Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton (comprised of over 80,000 LEGO bricks) and re-imagined versions of some of the world’s most famous art masterpieces. Includes an interactive section called “The Science of the Brick”…

Hello Panda Lantern Festival

This worldwide winter festival celebrates the holiday season with giant lantern displays, cultural arts and handicrafts, entertainment, food, modern art exhibits, interactive games, a holiday market, and live stage performances. Displays of light and color, handcrafted by world-class artisans. honor the traditional Chinese art of lantern-making. Over 120 lantern sets under 6 giant tentss. Take…

New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show

Marvel at model trains zipping around stunning New York landmark replicas made of plant parts such as nuts, bark, and leaves, and enjoy hands-on holiday fun for the entire family (most of it in the climate-controlled indoors).

Holiday Lights at the Bronx Zoo

Embark on an illuminated safari with animal lanterns, animated sculptures, and colorful designs throughout the spacious Bronx Zoo and take in the musical light show. Also enjoy costumed carolers, ice sculpting demonstrations , train rides ($3), hot cocoa, roasted marshmallows and photo ops with favorite characters.

Bronx Zoo Family Nature Club

Join Bronx Zoo educators for free monthly sessions along the lovely River Walk that connect families to the local environment through unstructured free-play exploration and investigation. Online registration required. Includes free Zoo parking but not admission to the Zoo gates.