The Top Kid-Friendly December Events in Manhattan for 2019

It’s the most wonderful time of the year decked out with ice skating rinks, Santa sightings, hot cocoa, holiday markets, and more! From Rockefeller’s tree lighting ceremony to Bryant Park’s Winter Village, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Browse through our round-up of all the ways to enjoy this month with this list of December events in Manhattan!

Petite Tea Party – Hudson Square
December 1

Dress your little ones up in their tea party attire for this creative version of a tea party at the Children’s Museum of the Arts New York. Recommended for kids ages 5 and up, kids will get to make their own table with tea, centerpieces, crumpets, and jam using clay. When they are all finished, they’ll have their very own artwork to admire and tea party to enjoy! Included with museum general admission, 10 am-5 pm. 103 Charlton St., New York, NY 10014, cmany.org

NYCRUNS Cocoa Classic 5K & 10K – Upper West Side
December 1

Get your exercise in before the delicious sweets & eats of the holiday season with this 5K and 10K. You’ll run along tree-lined paths and waterfront walkways, where you can appreciate winter’s beauty. After you cross the finish line, enjoy hot cocoa, New York’s finest bagels, and fresh fruit. All ages are welcome, so you can run the race as a family. $40 until online registration closes, $50 on race day, 9 am start time, registration opens at 7:30 am. Riverside Park, 108th Street and Riverside Drive, New York, NY 10025, nycruns.com

Winter’s Eve – Midtown
December 2

Don’t miss out on New York’s largest holiday festival, Winter’s Eve at Lincoln Square! Enjoy live entertainment by several world-class performance groups, a tree lighting ceremony, food tastings, including hot soups, drinks, and desserts from the Upper West Side’s top local kitchens. Winter’s Eve also has kid-friendly activities, music, and holiday crafts. And be sure to donate a new or lightly used coat to support Winter’s Eve’s charitable partner, New York Cares, and their winter coat drive. Free, 5:30-9 pm. Select indoor venues and along sidewalks of Lincoln Square, from The Shops at Columbus Circle to 70th Street, in and around Broadway, New York, NY, winterseve.nyc

Rockefeller Tree Lighting Ceremony – Midtown
December 4

Gather around Rockefeller Center to watch the annual lighting on the enormous and exquisite Christmas tree! For over eight decades, the Rockefeller tree and holiday decor have been an iconic symbol of the holiday season. The tree stays lit through early 2020, and on Christmas day, the lights shine for a full 24 hours. Kick off the holidays with the tree lighting, and get plenty of photos in front of the Rockefeller tree for your holiday cards. Free, 8-10 pm. 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10112, rockefellercenter.com

December 4, 2018: The Tree Lighting Ceremony takes place at Bryant Park in New York City.

Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park Tree Lighting 2019 – Midtown
December 5

Bring your family to watch the lighting of the Winter Village Tree! There will be performers including narrators and skaters. Past skaters included Olympians Johnny Weir, Nancy Kerrigan, Brian Boitano, synchronized skaters The Haydenettes, and more. Previous narrators included Alan Cumming in 2018 and Jane Krakowski in 2017. Save the date for this wintery, family-friendly event. Free, 6 pm. Bryant Park, 6th Avenue between 40th and 42nd Streets, New York, NY 10018, bryantpark.org

Beyond Chocolate: Colonial Coffee, Cacao, and Tea – Upper West Side
December 7 

All ages are welcome to join this Living History program exploring global trade and colonial silversmithing in Paul Revere’s time. Families will get to drink a variety of delicious colonial beverages, discover recipes, smell spices, and handle hot chocolate preparation tools. Afterwards, check out the exhibition Beyond Midnight: Paul Revere! Free with museum admission, 1-4 pm. New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West at Richard Gilder Way, New York, NY 10024, nyhistory.org

Holiday on the Hudson – West Harlem
December 7

You might remember the Summer on the Hudson kid-friendly programs from the warmer months. Now that we’re heading into winter, families are invited to Holiday on the Hudson! Celebrate the holiday season with a tree lighting party, live music, dancing, tree decoration making, and hot chocolate while supplies last. Free, 4:30-6:30 pm. West Harlem Piers, 125th Street and Marginal Street, New York, NY 10027, nycgovparks.org

Hot Cocoa Mug Painting – Upper West Side
December 7-8

Get crafty and creative at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan and paint a mug for sipping hot cocoa this winter. Art, Artists & You invites kids ages 6 and up to this family craft to get ready for the exciting holiday season. Due to limited space, the event requires that you sign-up in the lobby one hour before. Free with museum admission, 2 pm and 3 pm. 212 West 83rd St., New York, NY 10024, cmom.org

Because I Say So – Midtown
December 12-22

Calling all little ones ages 3 to 5 for an exciting theater performance that gets kids thinking! Colorfully-clad performers in tracksuits ask the question: What if kids had absolute agency? This Swedish theater company, through creativity and imagination, will see and move through the world as little ones do. $20, various times at 10 am, 1 pm, and 4 pm, 35-minute show. 229 West 42nd St., New York, NY 10036, newvictory.org

Jingle Ball – Chelsea
December 13

This year’s Jingle Ball lineup is not one to be missed. The annual holiday pop celebration brings together multiple singers: Taylor Swift, Jonas Brothers, Camila Cabello, Halsey, 5SOS, Niall Horan, Lizzo, Dan + Shay, and more. If your little ones are not so little anymore and are fans of these pop icons, head to Jingle Ball this holiday season for live music, dancing, and holiday cheer. Ticket prices vary per seat, 7 pm. Madison Square Garden, 4 Pennsylvania Plaza, New York, NY 10001, iheart.com

St. Nicholas Church Cookie Walk – East Village
December 14-15

Browse 75 cookie varieties at the Annual St. Nicholas Cookie Walk! Take a stroll through the tables of over 70,000 cookies, baked by the Cookie Walk Team, and select your favorites to fill your box. Afterwards, kids can create their own sweets at the Little Elves Bakery & Workshop, meet Santa Claus, and sip hot chocolate. Cookie flavors include Macadamia Dreams, Lemon Ricotta, Rugelach, Hunka Hunka Chocolate, and so many more. Two sizes of boxes: $20 and $35, photo booth with Santa $5, 11 am-4 pm on Dec. 14 and 12-3 pm on Dec. 15. 288 East 10th St., New York, NY 10009, stnicholascookiewalk.com

Origami Folding Fun Sessions – Upper West Side
December 15 

In theme with the Origami Holiday Tree, the American Museum of Natural History hosts origami folding workshops for all ages. These special origami classes come in all levels and are taught by highly skilled teachers. We recommend the Family Fun: Holiday Models session for kids ages 5 and up. Museum members $20 per class or $35 for two classes, non-Members $35 per class, morning classes 10:30 am-12:30 pm, afternoon classes 2:30-4:30 pm. 200 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024-5102, amnh.org

Photo by Emily Korn

Winter Family Fair – Murray Hill
December 15

Check out the original manuscript of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol at the museum’s Winter Family Fair! Kids ages 3 to 14 will meet Dickens, Scrooge, Cratchit, and the Ghosts of Christmas Past and Present. There will also be magicians, musicians, and kid-friendly arts and crafts inspired by the museum’s exhibits. Pop into J. Pierpont Morgan’s Library for more literary inspiration and fun. Free with museum admission, 2-4:30 pm. The Morgan Library & Museum, 225 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10016, themorgan.org

Milk and cookies for Santa Claus and Santa’s hat over wooden background. Xmas concept, greeting card. Toned image.

Cookies & Milk for Santa Workshop – Chelsea
December 23

Celebrate Christmas Eve by baking cookies for Santa Claus and his reindeer at Taste Buds Kitchen. Mini chefs, ages 5 to 8, and their caregivers will bake Taste Buds Kitchen’s signature cookies with their own holiday twist and a milkshake with fresh whipped cream on the side. You’ll leave with a box of custom cookies ready for Santa’s arrival! $45 per child with one caregiver, 4:30-5:30 pm. 109 West 27th St., New York, NY 10001, tastebudskitchen.com 

Star Stories – Hell’s Kitchen
December 28-29

Kids ages 5 to 12 and their siblings and parents are invited to this enrichment program to learn together. Explore the Intrepid Museum’s planetarium to learn the myths from around the world that explain the patterns of stars in the sky. Then create your own constellation and myth in a storytelling activity. Free with museum admission, 12-1 pm. Intrepid Museum, Pier 86 West 46th Street, New York, NY 10036, intrepidmuseum.org

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