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Ready for a New York City Christmas?
Christmas in New York City is a magical time of the year, especially with kids. There is something that comes alive in the city during the holidays, and it is truly magical to experience with kids of all ages.
New York City Christmas with Kids
From holiday shows, to dazzling window displays, and special events each weekend, Christmas is the best time to visit New York City with kids.
It can get crowded, and be a little overwhelming but if you try not to do it all in one day you will have a truly memorable experience.
With hundreds of activities to choose from when you visit New York City at Christmas I have narrowed down my top activities to enjoy with kids in the Big Apple.
This is truly a winter wonderland! Head to the eighth floor of the Herald Square department store for 13,000 square feet of holiday cheer. Here you will experience the Domino Sugar Bake Shoppe to see cute gingerbread men, the Aflac Ducks putting on their ice skates for the ice rink, igloos, ice sculptures, a rainbow bridge and Lionel Trains Industrial City, where you’ll see six complete sets of trains surrounding a six-foot-tall Christmas Tree.
You’ll even get a glimpse of Santa’s Sleigh, Santa’s reindeer and the toy shop packed with trinkets and gadgets. Finally, you’ll be escorted by elves up to Santa himself.
Radio City Christmas Spectacular
Every year, this holiday classic gets families in the spirit with Santa appearances, colorful sets and, of course, one-of-a-kind dance numbers from the impressive Rockettes. The Radio City Christmas Spectacular is held in Manhattan at the Radio City Music Hall.
The Rockettes perform classic routines like “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” and “New York at Christmas”.
New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show
Whatever holiday you celebrate, this beautifully lit exhibition makes a festive excursion for the whole family. Families can navigate 3,000 square feet of space that contains more than 25 G-scale model trains and trolleys zipping over a quarter mile of track.
Elaborate displays composed of moss, twigs and leaves are anchored by 150 New York City landmarks, each reconstructed painstakingly using natural materials.
Holiday Train Show at Grand Central Terminal
The New York Transit Museum’s enchanting model train exhibition is back at the museum’s Grand Central Gallery Annex & Store. The 16th annual show features a 34-foot-long, two-level, “O” gauge model train layout. Vintage Lionel model trains that zip through Grand Central Terminal, around skyscrapers and to the North Pole.
Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree
Every year, the Norway Spruce beckons revelers from near and far to bask underneath its 30,000 twinkling lights and a dazzling Swarovski crystal star in Rockefeller Plaza.
We love this tree lighting ceremony. This is always a popular holiday season activity in New York City.
Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park
Every year, Bryant Park transforms into a winter village. You will find holiday markets and even an outdoor ice skating rink. Shop from local vendors selling food and drinks and get an early start on those holiday wish lists.
The Ride NYC, Holiday Special
Families can witness New York City’s holiday festivities and cheer through floor-to-ceiling windows from the comfort of a multi-million dollar motor coach. The experience is hosted by two on-board New York City experts and features live street performers.
The Nutcracker, New York City Ballet
One of the season’s favorite annual productions, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker is a holiday feast complete with marching toy soldiers, a one-ton Christmas tree that grows before the audience’s eyes and crystalline snowflakes.
Visit Flagship Toy Stores
Kids can visit the ultimate toy stores in New York City, and find almost anything on their lists. New York City has tons of amazing holiday shopping. We like to visit toy story and their holiday window displays and storefronts during a New York City Christmas. We love seeing all of the Christmas decorations.
Here are a few you won’t want to miss:
- Nintendo World
- Lego Store NYC
- American Girl Place
Slice of Brooklyn’s Christmas Lights
Looking for epic holiday lights? You can hop on a bus tour that takes you to see the famed Dyker Heights Christmas lights. You may have seen this light display on TLC’s Crazy Christmas Lights.
Every year the neighborhood is ablaze with illuminating exhibitions complete with 30-foot toy soldiers and nativity scenes. The bus also offers festive holiday music and old-time Christmas television variety specials, topped off with a taste of Brooklyn’s best cannolis and hot chocolate.
ELF The Musical
Do you love Christmas movies? Elf is one of our favorite Christmas movies in our house. Bring this movie to life with the broadway show called Elf The Musical. The humorous holiday tale comes to life in this blockbuster musical production at The Theater at Madison Square Garden.
It’s not on the list, but no trip to New York City during Christmas is complete without a stroll down Madison Avenue to see all of the beautiful window displays. Be sure to stop by Saks Fifth Avenue once nightfall comes, for a dazzling display on the historic store.
A New York City Christmas is such a wonderful time of the year. What is your favorite New York City Christmas time activity?