Merry & Bright: Every Holiday Event Happening in NYC This Season

The Plaza Hotel Christmas Tree


Special Spotlight: The Plaza Holiday Tree

The classic holiday hot spot right off 5th Avenue offers visitors an elegant holiday experience with extravagant lights, décor, and their annual Christmas tree. This year, the hotel is hosting an event in honor of the 25th anniversary of “Home Alone 2,” where fans of the movie are able to “live like Kevin.” Guests will journey through moments of the movie including dining in the Food Hall with upscale 90s foods, having an interactive photo session, and get a 3-scoop ice cream sundae delivered right to their room, all while enjoying taking in their iconic holiday tree!

Cathedral of St. John The Divine Peace Tree, throughout December,
Christmas Tree at the Met, 11/21-1/7,
Holiday Tree in Bryant Park, “Tree Lighting Skate-tacular,” 12/2 at 6pm,
Lincoln Square Christmas Tree, Tree Lighting Concert, 11/27 at 5:30pm,
New York Botanical Garden Trees, Tree Lighting, 12/3 at 4pm,
New York Public Library Christmas Tree, TBD,
NYSE Christmas Tree, Tree Lighting, 11/30 from 2:30-6pm,
Origami Holiday Tree at AMNH, 11/20-1/7,
Park Avenue Christmas Tree, 12/3 at 6:30pm,
Rockefeller Christmas Trees, Tree Lighting 11/29 from 7-9pm, will remain through 1/7,
Washington Square Park Tree, TBD,

Holiday Under the Stars at Time Warner Center. Photo by Lauren Elle


Special Spotlight: Holiday Under the Stars at Time Warner Center

Every year the high ceilings of Time Warner Center dazzle as the hanging stars light up the room. This year, they are hosting a “Broadway Under the Stars” event, where every Monday at 5pm, Broadway stars will be performing songs from some of your favorite musicals under the holiday lights. The shows run from November 11-December 11, and TWC will have an arrangement of shows and events throughout the holiday season with something everyone can enjoy.

Dyker Heights Christmas Lights, Thanksgiving through Christmas
New York Botanical Garden Train Show, 11/22-1/15,
Radio City Music Hall, Thanksgiving through Christmas,
Saks Fifth Avenue Light Show, 12/4-1/10,
Winter Village at Bryant Park, 10/28-3/4,

Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park. Photo by Colin Miller

Holiday Markets

Special Spotlight: Astoria Holiday Markets

Held on the three Sundays before Christmas, the Queens Bohemian Beer Gardens turns into the Astoria Holiday Market, showcasing merchandise from a variety of vendors. The seasonal market offers jewelry, clothing, and all things holiday, plus baked goods and treats are also available for purchase. Grab a cup of eggnog or hot cider to sip on while your browse through the market.

Artists & Fleas at Chelsea Market, open year round,
Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park, 10/28-3/4,
Bulletin Holiday Market, 12/3-4 & 12/10-11,
Columbus Circle Holiday Market, 11/28-12/24,
Etsy Handmade Cavalcade, 11/27-12/3 & 12/8-10,
Grand Central Holiday Fair, 11/13-12/24,
Renegade Craft Fair, 11/18-19, 12/2-3, 12/9-10 & 12/16-17,
Union Square Holiday Market, 11/16-12/24,

“Christmas Spectacular Starring Radio City Rockettes” at Radio City Music Hall. Photo courtesy of MSG

Holiday Shows

Special Spotlight: A Christmas Carol at The Players Theatre

The Players Theatre is performing the classic story of Old Man Scrooge fighting off the holiday spirit while being visited by ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future for the ninth year in a row. A familiar show both kids and parents can enjoy, children are invited to join the actors on stage for a pre-show workshop an hour before the 11am Sunday shows, where they will learn how the theatre brings the show to life!

“Christmas Spectacular Starring Radio City Rockettes” at Radio City Music Hall, 11/10-1/1,
“ELF” at Madison Square Garden, 12/13-29,
“A Garfield Christmas” at NYCB Theatre at Westbury, 12/27, 12pm & 4pm,
“The Nutcracker” by New York City Ballet, 11/24-12/31,
“The Nutcracker” by New York Theatre Ballet, 12/15-17,
“Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer: The Musical” at Count Basie Theatre, 11/24 at 4pm & 7:30pm,
Trans-Siberian Orchestra at Prudential Center, 12/21 at 3pm & 8pm,

Henri Bendel. Photo courtesy of Henri Bendel

Window Displays

Special Spotlight: 5th Avenue between Herald Square & 56th Street

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A Holiday “must-do” event for every New Yorker, or visitor, is to stroll along 5th Avenue (with a hot chocolate in hand) and gaze at the incredible holiday window displays the timeless department stores put up. The masterpieces, featuring holiday themes including winter, Christmas, and Hanukkah, are works of art the whole family can enjoy. We recommend seeing the windows at night when the lights are their brightest.

Henri Bendel
Bergdorf Goodman
Saks Fifth Avenue

Editor’s Note: At the time of publication, many stores did not have information on their holiday window displays, but start strolling up and down 5th Avenue during the month of December, and we are sure you and your family will find plenty of windows to enjoy!

Rink at Bryant Park. Photo by Colin Miller

Ice Skating

Special Spotlight: Rink at Bryant Park

In the heart of Bryant Park during the winter lies their ice skating rink where families can show off their figure 8s, or beginners can use supports to learn how to glide on the ice. Under the lights of the Christmas tree and right next to the market, guests can enjoy the free admission rink and skate all day. The rink offers quality skate rentals, or visitors are welcome to bring their own. Put and your skates and hop on the ice this winter at Bryant Park.

Lasker Rink, late October through mid-March,
Lefrak Center at Lakeside, 10/29-4/3,
The Rink at Brookfield Place, late November through mid-March,
The Rink At Bryant Park, 10/28-3/4,
The Rink at Rockefeller Center, early October through mid-April,
Sky Rink Chelsea Piers, open year round,
Wollman Rink Central Park, late October through early April,

West Village Unsilent Night. Photo by Taylor Davidson


Special Spotlight: West Village Unsilent Night

All is still calm and bright in the West Village, just not so silent. Meet up with fellow lovers of music on Sunday December 17 at 5:45pm under the Arch in Washington Square Park. Featuring the composition “Unsilent Night” by Phil Kline, participants will start at the park and make their way through the East Village with boom-boxes, playing music for all to hear. This joyous winter evening is an event for all to join.

Cathedral of St. John the Divine, 12/24 from 4-5pm,
St. Bartholomew’s, TBD,
St. Patrick’s Cathedral, 12/21 from 7-9pm,
Washington Square Park, 12/24 at 5pm,

Breakfast with Santa at Rock Center Cafe. Photo by Michael Marquand

Santa Sightings

Special Spotlight: Breakfast with Santa at Rock Center Cafe

Eat your eggs with Jolly Saint Nick himself at the Rock Center Café this winter. Families can enjoy a scrumptious breakfast with incredible views of the infamous Rink at Rockefeller Plaza. Santa will be there to visit the children as they eat their meals. Afterwards, he welcomes everyone to put on their skates and join him on the rink. This breakfast is open to the public from November 24-December 14.

Brookfield Place, 11/24-12/24,
Macy’s Santaland, 11/24-12/24,
New York City Fire Museum Santa Rescue, 12/3 at 11am,
The Plaza, 11/24-12/24,
Spirit Cruises, 12/10 from 12-2pm,

Grasshopper Cake and Cake Truffles at Momofuku Milk Bar


Special Spotlight: Grasshopper Cake and Cake Truffles at Momofuku Milk Bar

Debuting last holiday season, Momofuku Milk Bar is bringing back their mouthwatering winter treats this winter. Their grasshopper cake and bite-sized cake truffles are a layering mix of chocolate chip cake, chocolate malt cake, and mint cheesecake. Featuring chocolate crumbs and topped with rich cookies and cream frosting. Take a snack break after a day roaming the city streets and visit Milk Bar to try out their delicious holiday goodies!

Buches de noel at Lafayette,
Butterscotch Gingerbread Cookies at Billy’s Bakery,
Candy Cane Treats at Ample Hills Cremery,
Cookie Shots at Dominique Ansel’s,
Holiday Doughnuts at Doughnut Plant,

Hanukkah Family Day at the Jewish Museum. Photo by Matthew Carasella

Hanukkah Happenings

Special Spotlight: Hanukkah Family Day at the Jewish Museum

The much anticipated annual family event at the Jewish Museum celebrates the festival of lights with a multitude of activities for children to enjoy. The day will include music, building of Hanukkah lamps, drawing sessions, and a Hanukkah Story in a drawn out performance by Jeff Hopkins. Children can learn more about the religious holiday while having a fun-filled day with other kids on December 10 from 12-4pm.

9th Annual Latke Festival at Brooklyn Museum, 12/18 from 6-9pm,
Chanukah Festival at 92 Street Y, 12/10 at 11am,
Chanukah on Ice at Wollman Rink, 12/12 from 6-9pm,
Grand Army Plaza Menorah Lighting, 12/12-20,
Hanukah Gala at Museum of Jewish Heritage, 12/14 from 8pm-12am,
World’s Largest Menorah Lighting at Central Park, 12/12-20,

Kwanzaa Spectacular at American Museum of Natural History. Photo by AMNH/R. Mickens

Even More Seasonal Fun

Special Spotlight: Kwanzaa Spectacular at American Museum of Natural History

Celebrating the week-long African-American heritage holiday, the American Museum of Natural History is offering their yearly Kwanzaa Spectacular. The event features musical performances, markets with artists from the African-American community, and an overview of the seven principles known as Nguzo Saba. The Museum honors the holiday and invites people to join in on the celebration on Saturday December 30.

18th Annual Winter’s Eve at Lincoln Square, 11/27 from 5:30-9pm,
Ball Drop in Time’s Square, 12/31,
Kwanzaa Celebration: Regeneration Night at Apollo Theater, 12/30 at 9pm,
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, 11/23 from 9am-12pm,
New Year’s Eve in Prospect Park, 12/31 at 11pm,

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