• Free Family Events This Weekend! (December 15-17)

    By New York Family

    Christmas Bird Counts will take place this weekend in Prospect Park and Central Park! Photo by Jennifer Jewett/USFWS via Flickr.

    Have an amazing weekend without opening your wallet! For even more activity inspiration, check out our Weekend Planner.

    Through Tuesday, December 19

    Lighting the World’s Largest Hanukkah Menorahs
    Various times
    Grand Army Plaza (Manhattan & Brooklyn)
    All Ages
    Get ready to celebrate the Jewish Festival of Lights this year with multiple menorah lightings in Manhattan and Brooklyn for families to attend this Hanukkah season. This menorah-off kicks off on December 12 at the Manhattan Grand Army Plaza across the street from The Plaza Hotel as families can watch the massive 4,000 pound, 32-ft gold menorah get lit at 5:30pm for weekdays, followed by a lighting on Friday at 3:30pm and an 8pm lighting on Saturday. During the first night of Hanukkah in Brooklyn, there will be a themed concert and a menorah lighting at Prospect Park. Families can view the luminous menorah while munching on complimentary potato pancakes. The Prospect Park menorah lightings will be lit most evenings at 6pm, Friday at 3:30pm and Saturday at 7pm.

    Beginning Saturday, December 16

    Santa’s Corner
    1pm
    Bryant Park
    All Ages
    Take advantage of this free Santa photo-op! Santa will be stationed in his corner of Bryant Park’s Winter Village at 1pm every day from December 16-23. Get your kids, friends, and family together for a pic with jolly ole’ Saint Nick!

    Saturday, December 16

    Christmas Bird Count
    12pm
    Prospect Park, Brooklyn
    All Ages
    Join the Prospect Park Alliance in a tradition spanning over 100 years. The Christmas Bird Count invites nature-loving kiddos to tour the park and tally up the various bird species they identify. Binoculars and bird guides will be provided.

    Sunday, December 17

    Central Park Christmas Bird Count
    8am-12pm
    Central Park
    All Ages
    Calling all budding birdwatchers and naturalists! Here’s your chance to help conservation researchers keep track of different bird populations in Central Park, which is home to more than 250 bird species. With your assistance, checklists submitted will help researchers learn about the birds’ health and how to best protect them. Pre-registration is encouraged.

    Reading of “Twas the Night Before Christmas”
    3:30-6pm
    Church of the Intercession
    All Ages
    Bring the family to listen to Joy Reid read “A Visit from Saint Nicholas,” the cherished holiday poem by Clement Clarke Moore. Before heading to a festive reception, families can join a lantern procession led by “St. Nicholas” and view the laying of a wreath on Moore’s tomb at Trinity Church Cemetery & Mausoleum. This holiday reading, which is New York’s oldest Christmas tradition, is sure to create wonderful memories for all.

    Light Up NYC: Menorah Lighting Festival
    5-6pm
    Madison Square Park
    All Ages
    Light up the night in Madison Square Park this Hanukkah season. The Menorah festival will include latkes, donuts, and many more traditional treats. The Giant Menorah will illuminate the park between 5-6pm on December 17!

    Unsilent Night
    6pm
    Washington Square Park
    All Ages
    Bring your boom box or portable speakers to participate in Unsilent Night, the one-of-a-kind music parade that runs from Washington Square Park to Tompkins Square Park. Each participant will play one of four original tracks by composer and organizer Phil Kline that, when played together, create an original “sound sculpture.” Kline, who has been leading the event in multiple cities annually for the past 26 years, will also be handing out a limited number of vintage boom boxes, cassettes, and CDs prior to the start of the event. Participants should arrive at the park by 5:45pm.

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