A Complete Guide to the Holidays in NYC

Manhattan

Fairs & Markets

  • Grand Central Holiday Fair – If you’re passing through Grand Central Terminal sometime between November 13 – December 24, you’ll find 40 booths of handcrafted products available for holiday shopping.
  • Union Square Holiday Market – Head to the heart of NYC to browse unique gifts, listen to live music, take your kids to the craft studio, and cozy up by a warming station from November 16 – December 24.
  • Columbus Circle Holiday Market – Take in gorgeous Central Park views as you enjoy booths with food, art, jewelry, and houseware from November 28 – December 24.
  • Annual Crafts at the Cathedral Fair – Celebrating the 125th anniversary of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, visit a marketplace of handmade gifts, including jewelry, pottery, clothing and more from November 30 – December 2.

Concerts & Performances

  • The Nutcracker – George Balanchine’s fantastic production plays from November 24 – December 31 at the Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater.
  • Radio City Christmas Spectacular – Watch this annual holiday stage show performed by the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall from November 10 – January 1.
  • A Christmas Carol at Merchant’s House Museum – Celebrate with a rendition of Charles Dickens’ classic holiday tale, alongside mulled wine, cider and light bites from November 30 – December 27.
  • Paul Winter’s Winter Solstice Celebration – The 38th annual music and dance performance brings the Forces of Nature Dance Theatre back to the stunning Cathedral of St. John the Divine.
  • Elf the Musical – See the stage adaptation of this funny and family-friendly film at the Theater at Madison Square Garden from December 13 – 29.
  • Handel’s Messiah – This famous holiday season tradition performed by the New York Philharmonic takes place from December 12 – 16.
  • Harlem Gospel Holiday Celebration – Feel the joy of the holiday season through uplifting gospel music at Mt. Olivet Baptist Church from December 23 – 25.
  • Cathedral Christmas Concert – Watch as a choir, soloists, and orchestra are led by a world-famous conductor to perform carols and Vivaldi’s Gloria at Cathedral of St. John the Divine from 7pm – 9pm on December 9.

Holiday Activities

  • Winter Village at Bryant Park – Enjoy free ice skating and lessons, holiday shops with food and gifts, and various dining options in Midtown from October 28 – March 4.
  • Winter’s Eve at Lincoln Square – View a tree lighting ceremony with Micky Dolenz as you enjoy music and dance performances and food tastings from local restaurants on the Upper West Side on November 27.
  • Unsilent Night – Join or listen to a massive, live orchestration of boomboxes at Washington Square Park on December 17.
  • Swedish Christmas Children’s Workshop – Create arts and crafts and take part in a traditional Scandinavian holiday procession on December 2.
  • Breakfast with Santa & Elfprov – Head to the Broadway Comedy Club for a continental breakfast, pictures with Santa, and an interactive musical comedy show starring elves on select dates from November 25 – December 23.
  • Eloise at the Plaza’s Tea with Santa – Live like this classic character at The Plaza Hotel with tea, cute snacks, storytelling, and take-home photos and favor bags on November 29.
  • 7th Annual Ugly Sweater Bar Crawl – Don a silly Christmas sweater as you take advantage of drink specials in the East Village all day on December 2.
  • Saks Holiday Breakfast – Have breakfast with Snow White and friends at Cafe SFA on the 8th floor of Saks Fifth Avenue on December 3.
  • Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting – The most iconic holiday moment in the city takes place on November 29, with live performances that evening at Rockefeller Plaza.
  • 5th Avenue Window Displays – Stroll through this world-famous shopping district to see department store windows creatively decorated with magical holiday scenes.
  • New York Stock Exchange Christmas Tree Lighting – Visit Wall Street on November 30 for live performances and a Christmas tree illumination.

 

Brooklyn

holiday guide nyc

Fairs & Markets

  • Brooklyn Holiday Bazaar – Handmade crafts, local eats, a live DJ, a photo booth, and more are in Gowanus on November 25 – 26.
  • Bust Craftacular – Holiday Edition – The Brooklyn Expo Center in Greenpoint hosts an indie craft fair on December 9 – 10.
  • Bed-Stuy Holiday Market – Shop home decor, jewelry, art, and food from Calabar Imports on weekends starting November 25 – 26 through December 23 – 24.

Concerts & Performances

  • Nutcracker Rouge – This popular burlesque take on a holiday classic plays in Bushwick from November 9 – January 14.

Holiday Activities

  • Dyker Heights Christmas Lights – Amazing displays of thousands of Christmas lights span multiple blocks during this neighborhood tradition, drawing massive crowds after Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve.
  • Brunch with Santa at Aviator Sports and Events Center – This family event offers a brunch buffet, photos, cupcaking decorating, and cocktails for parents on December 17.
  • Latke Festival – This cultural annual festival showcases creative culinary takes on potato pancakes sampled by guests and celebrity judges on December 18.
  • Sinterklass – Saint Nicholas Day – The Wyckoff House Museum celebrates a Dutch tradition where youngsters can meet St. Nick and enjoy hot cider, games, and a tree lighting ceremony on December 2.

 

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Queens

holiday guide nyc

Fairs & Markets

  • Holiday Bazaar – Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church hosts a holiday shopping event on December 9.
  • Astoria Market – Shop handmade and vintage on December 3, 10, and 17 at this popular market at Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden.

Concerts & Performances

Holiday Activities

  • Holiday Carnival –  Kids can enjoy face painting, games, and pictures with Santa at this family carnival that gives back to the community on December 24.
  • Holiday Historic House Tour – Tour seven historical sites at Queens Historical Society at Kingsland Homestead that each offer holiday crafts, musical performances, and refreshments.

 

The Bronx

holiday guide nyc
Photo Credit: New York Botanical Garden

Fairs & Markets

  • Bronx Museum Holiday Market Weekend – Gifts, crafts, baked goods, beer, jewelry, apparel, hot cider and cocoa, live music and more will be held at the Bronx Museum on December 9 – 10.

Concerts & Performances

Holiday Activities

  • DIY Holiday Gift Wrapping Paper – On Saturdays through December 30, create your own gift wrapping paper for Christmas and Hanukkah for free at Poe Park Visitor Center.
  • Holiday Train Show – This famous model train display that zips through miniature New York landmarks returns to the New York Botanical Garden from November 22 – January 15.
  • Bar Car Nights – Adults 21 and over can view NYBG’s Holiday Train Show after hours, gather around a fire pit, listen to dueling pianos, and watch dancers in the garden on select nights from November 24 – January 13.

 

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Staten Island

holiday guide nyc

Fairs & Markets

  • Christmas in Richmond Town – Stroll through the wintery landscape of this historic village with holiday gifts, decorations, ornaments, baked goods, and holiday lights on December 3.
  • Holiday Shopping at the Hilton – Shop items from 50 vendors and participate in games and raffles on November 4 at the Hilton Garden Inn.

Concerts & Performances

  • A Holiday Doo Wop Spectacular – Ronnie Spector, Jay Siegel’s Tokens, Larry Chance & The Earls, Johnny Farina of Santo & Johnny, and Cleveland Still & The Dubs perform holiday songs at St. George Theatre on December 1.

Holiday Activities

  • Winter Wonderland at Staten Island – This 70,000 square-foot attraction includes a winter village, ice skating, holiday market, light show, Santa’s Workshop, Gingerbread House bakery, igloo bar, games, and live entertainment from November 25 – December 23.

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