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2018 List of Holiday Activities And Other Things to Enjoy in NYC this Winter


Hi everyone,

As you may know (unless you’re new to NY Nomads) I work as an Assistant to a very nice family in New York City!

Part of this position entails helping them find ways to enrich their lives, including creating a list of fun activities they can enjoy as a family. Please find below a mix of Christmas, Chanukah, and other lovely activities to enjoy in NYC this November, December, and January.

And if you’re looking for something else enriching and fun to enjoy with your children, check out some of our free learning resources at Equality.Education

Image courtesy of http://www.iammylife.org/jet-program-tips/


Activities in the Home

Courtesy of https://www.flickr.com/photos/_sk/


One-off Experiences

Image courtesy of https://www.flickr.com/photos/bartfields/

Wednesday, November 21


4:30–5:00 PM


On Thanksgiving eve, head to the areas around the American Museum of Natural History to watch the giant parade balloons—including Hello Kitty, SpongeBob SquarePants, and the Pillsbury Doughboy—come to life up close. Inflation begins at 1 PM, but the balloons really start to take shape around 4:30–5 PM.



Saturday, November 24


6:30–8:00 PM


Small Business Saturday Tree Lighting in Park Slope

Come down to 4th St at 5th Ave from 4–6 PM to enjoy stilt walkers, live music from Guitar Center, Bubbledad and Glitter Tattoos from Krazy Plus Beauty. Of course, Santa will make an appearance and carolers from Opera on Tap will be singing us to the lighting at 6 PM.


Sunday, November 25


1:00–3:00 PM, ASL Interpretation/Sensory Relaxed Performance


The Dan Zanes Trio – Holiday Sing Along @ Queens Theatre

Grammy Award winner Dan Zanes and Haitian-American jazz vocalists Claudia Eliaza and Yuriana Sobrino perform a Holiday Sing Along!. This multicultural, all-ages, wintertime celebration shares songs from a variety of traditions, from here and there, near and far. The shows are highly interactive, and the audience is invited to sing and dance along in a casual, and subversively educational, party atmosphere. The music, based in a variety of folk traditions, is home-spun, sophisticated, and artful.


Running time: 60 minutes

Recommended ages: 3 and up

Tickets: $14

Seniors: $12

Members: $12

Family Flex Pass: $10


Monday, November 26


5:30–9:00 PM


Winter’s Eve at Lincoln Square

Skip the crazy and cramped Rockefeller Center tree lighting (which you can watch much more comfortably on TV) in favor of this illumination in Dante Park, which kicks off one of the best seasonal celebrations in Manhattan.


From the Time Warner Center to 68th Street, enjoy tons of free entertainment and reasonably priced ($1-$4) food tastings from the area’s many restaurants.


This year, kid-centric attractions include live music from kindie rocker Mr. G; a Columbia University Lion Dance; seasonal craft stations; strolling circus performers; Big Apple Circus clown Joel Jeske in his solo show “Jack Frost: The Original Freezemeister”; and cool (literally!) ice sculptures by the Okamoto Studio.


Friday, November 30–Sunday, December 2

Image Courtesy of https://www.flickr.com/photos/pacificnorthwestballet/

The Nutcracker at Brookfield Place

Friday, November 30 @ 7pm
Saturday, December 1 @ 1pm and 7pm
Sunday, December 2 @ 1pm
This free one-hour version of the beloved holiday ballet, performed to Tchaikovsky’s cherished score, is set Art Nouveau-style circa 1907 with innovative choreography by long-time New York Theatre Ballet choreographer, Keith Michael. The acclaimed dance company presents four performances in the Winter Garden, one of the city’s only free opportunities to enjoy a holiday must-see performance. Perfect for ages 3 and up!

Please note, seating for these popular performances is first come, first served and early arrival is strongly suggested.

Age: 3+


Saturday, December 1


1-3:00 PM


Nordic Christmas Children’s Workshop @ Scandinavia House

Kids will learn the secrets of making traditional holiday crafts, such as woven hearts and yarn tomtar. The workshop also includes a brief candlelit Saint Lucia procession.


3:00 PM


Brooklyn Conservatory of Music Holiday Concert & Cookie Swap

Join the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music for a joyful holiday family concert and singalong with our Community Brass Band, string, and vocal jazz ensembles, plus a solo performance from rock and pop vocalist Joy Askew.


Followed by our third-annual COOKIE SWAP! Bring a batch of your favorite cookies to exchange, and get one FREE ticket! Ticket includes cookies, cider, and photo op with SANTA!


Cookie Swap Instructions:


Bake or buy a batch of cookies, brownies, or bars. Label them and include any special details we should know (Gluten-Free, Vegan, My Nana’s Recipe, etc.). Leave them with a staff member at concert check-in, and afterward we’ll lay them all out and provide containers so guests can sample and take home a variety. If you don’t have time to bring anything, no problem–you’re still welcome to partake in the swap!!


Sunday, December 2


11:00–4:00 PM


Hanukkah Family Day @ the Jewish Museum

Celebrate the festival of lights as a family at the Jewish Museum! Build a sculptural Hanukkah lamp with funky found objects, dance to the pop-rock tunes of Josh & The Jamtones, and sketch Hanukkah lamps from around the globe on a gallery tour. Watch a unique Hanukkah story come to life through a drawing performance by Jeff Hopkins and collaborate on a giant work of art.

Ages 3 & up


11:00–4:00 PM


Hanukkah Playhouse @ Kaufman Music Center

The Broadway Playhouse cast takes families on a music and comedy-filled celebration of Hanukkah, with songs, stories, sing-alongs, and audience participation games. Some children will be invited to the stage to join the performance. This festive musical revue will get families into the spirit of Hanukkah with rousing musical numbers like, “Thomas the Shammus” and “Latkes & Applesauce”, and a musical adaptation of the children’s book “In the Month of Kislev” by award-winning author, folklorist, and storyteller Nina Jaffe. The Hanukkah Playhouse cast includes host Sean Hartley, Kathryn Markey, Jason Robinson, Gabrielle Stravelli, and Martin Landry, and features the Kaufman Kids, young performers from Kaufman Music Center’s Special Music School and Lucy Moses School.  


4:30 PM


The Largest Menorah Lighting: Brooklyn

Chabad of Park Slope hosts the 32-foot “Largest Menorah” (The World’s Largest is in Manhattan) in Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza. There’s a kickoff concert on December 2, and each subsequent night of Chanukah is celebrated with music, latkes and gifts.


Lightings will take place at the following times:

1st Night of Chanukah, Sunday, December 2 LIVE KICKOFF CONCERT begins at 4:30 PM

2nd Night of Chanukah, Monday, December 3 at 6:00 PM

3rd Night Of Chanukah, Tuesday, December 4 at 6:00 PM

4th Night Of Chanukah, Wednesday, December 5 at 6:0 PM

5th Night Of Chanukah, Thursday, December 6 at 6:00 PM

6th Night Of Chanukah, Friday, December 7, at 3:30 PM

7th Night Of Chanukah, Saturday, December 8 at 7:00 PM

8th Night Of Chanukah, Sunday, December 9 at 6:00 PM


Monday, December 3


6:00–9:00 PM


Chanukah on Ice — Central Park
Live music, kosher food, and a giant hand-carved ice menorah. What’s not to love? This annual celebration on Wollman Rink is a prime example of a holiday season event you need to sign up for ASAP, as it always sells out.

$28 with skate rental


Saturday, December 8

11:00 AM

Image from http://www.scandinaviahouse.org

Hans Christian Andersen Storytelling Center @ Scandinavia House

In this popular ongoing children’s series, some of New York’s most famous storytellers from the Hans Christian Andersen Storytelling Center present exciting fairy and folk tales and fantastic adventures from Scandinavia and the far north. In “Santa’s Toy Maker and Other Scandinavian Tales of Christmas,” Julie Della Torre and Rolf Stang  join forces to bring their delightful basket of delicious seasonal stories to Scandinavia House. Join us for this fun-filled and joyous start to December’s holidays! All families are welcome; however, the stories are original folk tales with narratives more suited for children ages 5 and up.

11-4:00 PM (Saturday) and 12-3:00 PM (Sunday)

10th Annual St. Nicholas Cookie Walk

Our Cookie Team bakes over 70,000 holiday confections – about 75 varieties. What makes the Cookie Walk unique is that you are in charge. You “take a walk” around tables ladened with cookies and hand-pick your favorites to fill an empty box.

Family fun! Children 12 & under can create their own sweet masterpiece at our Little Elves Bakery & Workshop.

Santa will also visit through the day for pictures at our Photo Booth.

288 E. 10th Street, Corner of 10th St. & Ave. A, East Village

Image Courtesy of https://www.flickr.com/photos/_sk/

3:30 PM


Klezmer Hanukkah Party

Celebrate the holidays with Brooklyn Conservatory of Music’s Community Klezmer Band, featuring renowned klezmer artists, in partnership with Congregation Beth Elohim.

Warm up with latkes, Hanukkah crafts, and more!


Sunday, December 9

11:00 AM

Family Acro

Develop classic partner acrobatic skills with your family using balance, strength, and flexibility. Family Acro is inspired by Circus Abyssinia: Ethiopian Dreams and teaches performance skills that are used in the show!

No previous experience necessary.

Runtime: 90 minutes


11:00 AM

MusicTalks – Hanukkah Concert for Families

Who says the seventh day of Hanukkah is less exciting than the first? Not us! Bring your children, bring your grandchildren, and join us for holiday family fun — and some chocolate gelt, too!

Kids create Hanukkah gelt pouches and explore our Hey, Wow! art exhibition on a special holiday-themed gallery hunt.

At noon: don’t be late for the show! Enjoy Hanukkah music from around the world with Elad Kabilio and the musicians from MusicTalks. Hear Maoz Tzur in a whole new way, along with Hanukkah songs from Israel, Yemen, Spain, and Ukraine. Sing along with all the familiar favorites, too. But that’s not all! After the concert, kids meet the musicians and try out their instruments in Elad’s musical petting zoo!

This multi-sensory program is suitable for children aged 4 and above, with their adult family and friends, including those who are blind or who have low vision.

Presented by Yeshiva University Museum & Center for Jewish History


12:00–3:00 PM


10th Annual St. Nicholas Cookie Walk

Our Cookie Team bakes over 70,000 holiday confections – about 75 varieties. What makes the Cookie Walk unique is that you are in charge. You “take a walk” around tables ladened with cookies and hand-pick your favorites to fill an empty box.

Family fun! Children 12 & under can create their own sweet masterpiece at our Little Elves Bakery & Workshop.

Santa will also visit through the day for pictures at our Photo Booth.

288 E. 10th Street, Corner of 10th St. & Ave. A, East Village

2:00–4:30 PM


Winter Family Fair— Murray Hill @ Morgan Library & Museum

Enjoy an old-fashioned celebration at the Morgan’s Victorian era-style holiday fete for families in conjunction with its annual display of Charles Dickens’ original “A Christmas Carol” manuscript. Meet Scrooge, Bob Cratchit, the famous ghosts, and the author himself as portrayed by members of the Grand Falloons troupe. The afternoon closes with a festive concert of Christmas carols.

Free with museum admission.


Saturday, December 15


12:30–2:30 PM


Williamsbridge Oval Recreation Center Wonderland

Join us for winter arts and crafts, carnival games, and pictures with Santa!

Celebrating all Winter holidays including Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Christmas, Eid, and New Years!


2:30 PM


Skoppa and Skrítla & Iceland’s Santa Claus

Entertainers Skoppa and Skrítla return to Scandinavia House with Iceland’s Santa Claus to introduce the Icelandic advent to NYC kids! These two creatures from the land of adventure will be joining us with a screening of the first episode of their new television series for Iceland’s Channel 2, which focuses on the search for Santa Claus. Following the screening, we’ll sing traditional Icelandic holiday songs and dance around the Christmas tree.


Sunday, February 24


1 & 3 PM

The Beauty of Ballet

Presented by the School of American Ballet


Ever wonder how ballerinas dance on their toes? Or how do dancers spin and turn without getting dizzy? These questions and more will be answered through the performance of favorite ballet moments from The Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker and Swan Lake.

School of American Ballet faculty member Katrina Killian and advanced students are featured in this enchanting introductions to the art of classical ballet.

Running Time: 60 minutes, with audience talkback

Recommended ages: 4 and up

Free event, but reservations are strongly suggested.


Ongoing Experiences


16 Broadway Shows for Kids in 2018




Best Window Displays


Winter Village at Bryant Park

Present – Xmas 2018

Between 40th and 42nd Streets & Fifth and Sixth A

  • 150 vendors at the Holiday Shops
  • An exciting new addition at this year’s Winter Village will be The Lodge, a food hall operated by Urbanspace located rinkside near the Upper Terrace.
  • The skating rink will be open daily until March 4, 2019.
  • The Tree Lighting Skate-Tacular is on Tuesday, December 4.




Radio City Christmas Spectacular



NY Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show



How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical



Yeti, Set, Snow at Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre in Central Park

Present – end of February

Follow the story of a young girl named Widget, and her friend, Twig, who encounter a Yeti named Pascetti on the first snow day of the winter season. Pascetti, who lives on a mountain top nearby, dislikes the snow. Through songs and snow day activities, Pascetti discovers not only that snow can be fun but also the value of friendship.


Trolls: The Experience

Present – Sunday, January 6, 10:00–7:00 PM

10:00am to 7:00pm

Step inside the extremely colorful world of DreamWorks Trolls. Become an honorary Troll in the Hair We Go Experience, journey through the Critter Creek, find a gem inside the Caterbus, and mash-up your favorite Dreamworks Trolls music. And don’t miss the After Party, where you can start your very own scrapbook.


The Hair We Go Experience! has limited availability and adds another $30 to the price tag.

It includes: Deluxe makeup design – a “full-face” makeup application by a professional makeup artist. A premium “Troll Hair” wig of your favorite DreamWorks Trolls character: Poppy, Branch, or Guy Diamond. And/or opt for a Personalized Keepsake Scrapbook (also $30) – a premium paper scrapbook album with a printed, padded cover and a clear plastic book jacket. The Scrapbook includes DreamWorks Trolls scrapbooking stickers, printed and also with glitter, activity pages, clear plastic insets, DreamWorks Trolls art and patterns pages, and more!

Age: 3-8

Price: $25/person; extra for premium experiences


GingerBread Lane @ New York Hall of Science in Queens

Present – January 21, 2018

The record-breaking display features an entire edible village made from gingerbread, icing and candy.


Big Apple Circus

Present – Sunday, January 7, 2018

Stephanie Monseu, the fabulous new female ringmaster, keeps the show moving at an exhilarating clip alongside two wonderful clowns

The show has a wisp of a story: An everyman (Gindick) accidentally wanders into the ring and, immediately dazzled, decides he wants to join the troupe. With Kuchler as his guide, he attempts to learn the ways of the circus throughout the evening, often with hilarious results.

the metropolitan opera

60 Lincoln Center Plaza Damrosch Park
New York, NY 10023


TapeScape @ Brooklyn Children’s Museum’s

Present – December 30

TapeScape is a landscape/terrain made entirely out of tens of thousands of feet of clear tape, intricately woven around a metal frame to form an unearthly mesh of tunnels and passageways. Made of almost 15 miles of tape, TapeScape is part museum exhibit, part playground. Climbable tunnels in the installation will pulse with spirals of LED lights in homage to Brooklyn Children’s Museum’s iconic neon-lit tunnel.


Thursday, 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Friday, 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Saturday, 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Sunday, 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

TapeScape is on view October 20 through December 30, 2018.


Warhol Retrospective @ Whitney Museum of American Art

Present – Friday, March 22, 2019


Santaland at Macy’s Herald Square

Friday, November 23–Monday, December 24

Yes, there are lots of places to hang with Kris Kringle in the Big Apple. But for an immersive seasonal spectacle, you can’t beat Macy’s Santaland. The famed store mounts a 13,000-square-foot North Pole Christmas village complete with live elves, an enchanted forest featuring animatronic toys, and a train display, and at the end, you get to visit with the one true Santa.

Visits with the big red guy are by reservation only, so be sure to go online to choose a time slot between 30 minutes and five days in advance of your visit.

FREE unless you buy a photo package


Most Authentic Santa

November 24 and December 22

Visit the big guy in red at ABC Carpet & Home, where he’ll be fulfilling kids’ wishes between


Circus Abyssinia: Ethiopian Dreams @ The New Victory Theater

November 30, 2018–December 30, 2018

Growing up, real-life brothers Bibi and Bichu wanted one thing: to someday join the circus. Now they’re here to share their dream with you and your family. Everyone will be grinning from ear to ear as agile tumblers ricochet around the stage, elastic contortionists twist into unfathomable shapes and expert jugglers exchange an endless array of objects. Let the infectious joy and effervescent energy of Ethiopia’s astonishing circus artists warm your heart and inspire you to dream big.

Runtime: 1 hour and 50 minutes including one intermission


The Original Christmas Lights Tour of Dyker Heights

December 1-31, except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

The most extravagant Christmas light displays in the country are located in the Dyker Heights section of Brooklyn, aka “Dyker Lights.” Over 100,000 people flock to this area every year to see the most over-the-top decorations. Now in its 10th year, this is the original and most authentic tour of the area. Don’t settle for cheap imitations. We don’t just drop you off in the area. We know the homeowners personally and escort you around like you’re family.
Tour Length: 3.5 hours
Meeting Place: Union Square area of Manhattan (exact details provided upon purchase)
Our Buses:
Relax on our comfortable buses for your multimedia tour. Best of all, our air conditioned and heated buses are enclosed so you’re never exposed to the elements


Winterfest @ Brooklyn Museum

Friday, November 23–Monday, December 31 (closed December 7, 14 and 21)
Want to walk through a giant snowglobe? Commune with the world’s largest snowman? Slide down a giant inflatable slide dubbed “Snowzilla”? The Brooklyn Museum’s new Winterfest promises all that and more, including a winter market, daily live performances, an enchanted tree maze, facetime with Mr. and Mrs. Santa, and a giant menorah. This is the first year for this holiday treat, but it sounds like a tradition in the making.


Church Street School For Music And Art Gingerbread House Workshops

Weekends December 1-16

Acclaimed by the New York Times, CSSMA Gingerbread House Workshops have been a Downtown tradition for over 28 years. Proceeds from the Gingerbread Workshops, Parties & Kits support Church Street School for Music & Art’s outreach programs, free community classes and scholarships.


Boing! – New Victory Theatre’s Holiday Production

Friday, December 7 – Sunday, December 23

From Travelling Light Theatre Company of Bristol, England

If you want Santa to come, you have to go to sleep…” But Joêl and Wilkie are way too excited for snoozing! Rambunctious pillow fights, robot dance battles and silly sibling shenanigans do nothing to tucker out the two bouncy brothers in this playfully imaginative, award-winning, dance theater production. So brush your teeth, grab your teddy bear and join in the giddy bedtime fun!

Morning and afternoon showtimes


Roller Skating @ Dreamland Roller Disco

Starting 12/7

Roll-a-Rama Family Skate Extravaganzas Saturdays & Sundays from 1-4p

  • Ages 7 and up

Adults – Fridays 7:30-10:30p

Day Trips to See Santa


Bergen County’s Winter Wonderland at Van Saun Park

Paramus, New Jersey

Fridays–Sundays, November 23–December 23;

Daily from Monday, December 24–January 1; Closed Christmas Day

30 minutes to 1 hour from Midtown, depending on traffic


Van Saun Park, already a favorite destination for New Jersey families, will once again be turned into a Winter Wonderland for the holidays. For the price of one general admission ticket, visitors can enjoy open-air ice skating, a mini train ride, Santa visits, admission to the zoo, unlimited carousel rides, and more family activities. There’s also a synthetic skating rink for kids, which is great for beginners because it has more friction than regular ice. Adults might enjoy the food trucks and beer tent! Kids 3 and under are FREE.


Westchester’s Winter Wonderland

Valhalla, New York

Friday, November 23–Monday, December 31

45 minutes from Midtown by car, or 1 hour via Metro-North’s Harlem Line to the Valhalla station (11-minute walk from the park)

Westchester’s Kensico Dam Plaza Park comes alive with holiday happenings at this aptly named attraction. Visitors can enjoy carnival rides, an ice skating rink, holiday circus, face time with Santa, twinkling holiday lights at Candy Cane Lane, as well as light shows choreographed to holiday music. New in 2018: FUNderland Village, where families can enjoy a bigger and brighter light show, six new rides, and nightly magic performances. The best part: All this fun (skate rentals, too!) is included in the price of admission.