Christmas In New York City With Kids

Christmas in New York City is a magical time, especially with kids. There is something that comes alive in the city during the holiday season, and it is truly exciting to experience it through the eyes of kids. 

christmas in new york city

Christmas In New York City 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 or without kids. It can get crowded, and 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.  

christmas in new york city

Macy’s Santaland

Head to the eighth floor of the Herald Square flagship Macy’s for 13,000 square feet of holiday cheer. Here you will experience the Domino Sugar Bake Shop 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. Enjoy classic routines like “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” and “New York at Christmas”. The show runs daily through January 1, 2018.

new york city 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 NYC landmarks, each reconstructed painstakingly using natural materials. Classic visitor favorites include icons like Grand Central Terminal, Yankee Stadium and the Statue of Liberty. This year the show runs from, Saturday, November 17, 2018 – Monday, January 21, 2019. This is a ticketed event, be sure to visit their website for advanced sales. 

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. This year’s pick hails from Pennsylvania and will come to life at the tree lighting ceremony on November 28th.

christmas in nyc with kids

Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park

Bryant Park transforms into a winter village complete with an outdoor ice skating rink right at the center. Shop from local vendors selling everything from one of a kind creations, to fantastic food and drinks.  

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. The show runs from November 12 – December 30, 2018. 


Visit Flagship Toy Stores

Kids can visit the ultimate toy stores in New York City, and find almost anything on their lists.

Here are a few you won’t want to miss:

  • Nintendo World
  • Lego Store NYC
  • American Girl Place

christmas in nyc with kids

Slice of Brooklyn’s Christmas Lights

This holiday bus tour offers families the opportunity to see the famed Dyker Heights Christmas lights, as seen 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. 

Window Displays

Last but certainly not least, 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 this historic flagship store. 

christmas in new york city with kids

As you can see there is no shortage of holiday offerings in New York City at Christmas with kids. What is your must-do NYC holiday event?



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Mom, Writer, Lover of all things Social Media. Trying to make it all happen one day at a time! I'm a city girl stuck in a country world in Maryland. Loves Pugs and Designer Handbags. Hates working out, red wine and slow drivers.

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