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There is sooo much going on in NYC right now! Santa sightings, tons of family-friendly shows, musical tree lightings, fabulous light shows and more

lots of other options for every type of ballet lover in our Nutcrackers for All guide.

On the Upper East Side (and beyond) great museum family programs from Peter & the Wolf with Isaac Mizrahi at the Guggenheim to Santa at the museum of the City of New York. And gallery & public art exhibits including an immersive Star Wars-themed installation in Soho my son excited about is.

See our full holiday guide for more festive fun from holiday shows to multiple train shows.

Click on the neighborhood agenda links for hyper-local itineraries with nearby playgrounds, food and more.

*Follow our Instagram for visuals and see our Westchester and beyond listings for the burbs and country.


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.

Just Kidding: Falu’s Bazaar

Join a musical journey through South Asian culture, and around the globe. With songs about animals, counting, spices, South Asian cooking, and the wide diversity of cultures in our world, learn new words in Hindi, and how to have fun as part of a human train. Part of the Just Kidding family performances series.  …

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.

Celebrating Richard Scarry and Busytown

Celebrate the Holiday Express and its special new addition— scenes from Richard Scarry’s Busytown. Create a train-inspired craft; listen to Busytown tales; have fun with Conductor Abe, New-York Historical’s resident train master; and meet Huck Scarry, son of Richard Scarry, who’ll be at the Museum to meet fans, draw beloved Busytown characters, and talk about his dad.

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…

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. Save 10% on tickets with code KID.

Season of Lights: A Winter Workshop

Brighten up winter with a reading of Nancy Luenn’s Celebrations Of Light and learn about winter festivities from around the world. After exploring the many sources of light in the Cathedral, including stained glass windows, roll beeswax candles; cut Chinese and Taiwanese paper lanterns; and sculpt clay candelabras inspired by Hindu floating lamps, Jewish menorahs, and…

March of the Penguins Screening at Lenfest Kids: H2O

Celebrates Columbia’s Year of Water with a series of aquatic-themed family films.  Watch emperor penguins of the South Pole journey to their traditional breeding grounds in a fascinating mating ritual that is captured in a fascinating nature documentary. Screenings at 11 am and 3 pm. Recommended for ages 5+.

Victorian Holiday Party

Celebrate the holidays in a historic mansion with hands-on family activities, a Victorian Christmas themed tour, a holiday reading, caroling, a holiday photo booth, and a Victorian Costume Contest with prizes for both adults and children. Light refreshments, cider and mulled wine will be served. Victorian-style dress is encouraged, but not required.

Coca-Cola Winter Wonderland

The Apollo Theater and Coca-Cola hostholiday-themed activities including picture taking with Santa Claus and performances from local choirs. Stick around after for the Apollo Amateur Night Holiday Special.

Holiday Celebration with Children’s Book Authors & Illustrators

Join a free holiday celebration with storytimes, music & art-making. Hear authors and illustrators Parker Curry and Jessica Curry (Parker Looks Up: An Extraordinary Moment), Christopher Myers (My Pen), Zetta Elliott (Milo’s Museum), Shannon Wright (My Mommy Medicine) and others read and discuss their work. Contribute to a global gingerbread village and a floor mural…

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).

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 Munchkins Piano Trio

Enjoy works from Mendelssohn, Beethoven, Mozart and more for the violin, cello and piano a relaxed, fun concert for all ages (even babies). Bring your singing voices for a few familiar holiday-inspired tunes. Includes interaction with musicians throughout the concert and trying instruments after.

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 Dec 14, an African-American Santa on Dec 21. Save 60% on tickets

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…

Shine On at Hudson Yards

Go under five suspended large-scale stars comprised of 12,000 individually controllable LED lights, creating a visual spectacle synchronized to a classical soundtrack evoking the holiday season. Artist Christopher Schardt was inspired by the similarly named constellation, itself representative of the enchanting stringed instrument of Greek mythology Warm up in the Wells Fargo’s Lodge with a…

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.

My First Nutcracker

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. Pre-show activities before every…

Saint Lucia Workshop

In a playful workshop for ages 3 and up, make St. Lucia and Star Boy costumes. Advance registration required to ensure appropriately sized costumes.

Alvin Ailey Family Matinees

See acclaimed modern dance troupe Alvin Ailey in family-friendly performances followed by question-and-answer sessions with Ailey’s phenomenal dancers. A diverse program of dances conclude with Alvin Ailey’s timeless American masterpiece Revelations – one of the most well-known and respected ballets in the history of dance, a must-see for all ages.

Morgan Library Winter Family Fair

Kick off the holiday season with the Morgan’s annual display of the original manuscript of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. Meet Dickens, Scrooge, Cratchit, and the Ghosts of Christmas Past and Present as well as strolling musicians, magicians, and other entertainers. Celebrate books with a visit to J. Pierpont Morgan’s Library, and make crafts inspired…


Lounge on rainbow colored inventive seating options on vibrantly colored painted rebar and 27,000 feet of iridescent cord in Flatiron’s annual holiday installation.


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.…

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.


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…

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,…

Peter and the Starcatcher

See artists living with neuro-diversities such as autism perform portray more than 100 unforgettable characters in an imaginative, inclusive adaptation of Peter Pan prequel Peter and the Starcatcher. When an orphan and his friends are shipped off from Victorian England to a distant island, they know nothing of the mysterious…

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 exhibits. 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. Lots of cool posters…

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…

Taste Of Christmas Cookie Walk

Take a walk through a Cookie Wonderland and fill a box with your favorites from over fifty varieties of homemade confections, including gluten free and vegan sections. Make a sweet masterpiece to take home in the free Little Elves Bakery and Workshop and visit the Tinseltown gift market. Santa will…

Holidays at Industry City

Happening, high-design Industry City hosts several free  family-friendly activities. Watch a screening of The Muppet Christmas Carol (11:30 am), meet Buddy the Elf (12-5 pm), watch illusionist and magician Jeanette Andrews (12:30 pm-2 pm), play games with Chess at Three…

A Charlie Brown Christmas Live

Join the Peanuts gang for a special word for word and gesture for gesture classic Charlie Brown Christmas with a jazz trio playing the iconic Vince Guaraldi score. Saturday & Sunday 12pm, 2pm & 5pm through December 15

Brooklyn Museum F.A.M. (Family Art Magic)

Discover the world through art, play fun gallery games, and make  masterpieces in the studio. Be inspired by art, fashion, and activism to think about the future we want to see. For ages 4–6, with an adult companion.

The Hip Hop Nutcracker

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…

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…

Owliday Jingle Mingle

Enjoy  holiday cheer and Santa photo ops at a quaint playcafe. Includes 2 hours of open-play, meet, greet & snap a pic w/ Santa, decorate a gingerbread man, write/mail letters to the North Pole, holiday-themed Arts & Crafts, story time.

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.

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