We have done the research so you don’t have to! The following list contains a few of the old favorites as well as some new offerings this season, and perhaps a few off-the-radar activities that might fill a gloomy winter afternoon. Enjoy!
Lower Manhattan, Chinatown
Visit a Cat Café!
Visit New York’s first cat café! Meow Parlor
The cafe holds special kid’s sessions too – one hour costs $9 (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday 4-5pm, every first and third Sunday of the month 11am-12pm). Two locations: 46 Hester Street between Ludlow and Essex Streets AND 34 Ludlow Street between Hester and Grand Street.
Mug Painting – Color Me Mine
This cute little studio is open for drop ins. It’s a nice calm environment in which to spend an afternoon. Studio fees are $13 plus whichever ceramic you choose to paint. 123 Baxter Street, Chinatown
Museum of Chinese in America, Chinatown
MOCA offers fun, and FREE, programs for children as well as a great play space for younger children. MOCACREATE is a new craft workshop program open to the whole family – held the first and third Saturday of the month from 1pm – 4pm. Also look out for MOCAKIDS story time – English and Mandarin stories, songs and nursery rhymes plus arts and crafts - 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month –aimed at children 3-6 years old but older and younger children are also welcome.
You can also drop by the museum and play in the interactive children’s play area, as well as tour the interesting exhibits throughout the museum.
Visit before it ends on November 26th. Color Factory is a vibrant and interactive experience that celebrates everything colorful! Color Factory NYC features new collaborations with artists and partners including OH HAPPY DAY, Leah Rosenberg, Erin Jang, and Roz Chast. It’s 20,000 square feet and 16 installations of Technicolor, including floating balloons, a luminous dance floor and a very, very large ball pit. Fun for the whole family!
Tickets: $38; kids 2 and under are free (tickets must be purchased in advance)
Daily, 10 am - 11 pm; closed Wednesdays
251 Spring St, Soho
Head to Brookfield Place Ice Rink to skate on the outdoor rink, and if it gets too cold, head into Brookfield Place Shopping Centre for some food and shopping. The ice rink organizers also offer parent-child lessons and hockey classes for kids. Admission costs $15/session with a $5 skate rental: 200 Vesey Street, Battery Park City
New Rooftop Ice Rink!
Ice skate on a rooftop – looking over the East River, Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan skyline. Tickets are available to pre-book on the website. Tickets are $17 with no skate rental, $25 with, and kids five and under are free. Pier 17, 89 South Street
Just opened! Yayoi Kusama is known for creating infinity rooms, the latest of which is at Chelsea’s David Zwirner Gallery. Be prepared to be dazzled by a mirrored ceiling, mirrored walls and hundreds of dangling lights which glow and change color – creating a ‘universe that’s filled with infinite possibilities’ (New York Post). Kusama, (90) has also designed a 36-foot round balloon which will feature in Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. David Zwirner Gallery, 537 West 20th Street. FREE
Museum of Illusions
The Museum of Illusions was created in Zagreb, Croatia (with additional outposts in Vienna, Kuala Lumpur, and beyond). Visitors can explore more than 70 elements and experiences that include "illusionistic rooms", optical illusions, and puzzles. Every "piece" in the museum is accompanied by a clear and concise explanation of what is causing or creating the illusion; mathematical, biological, and psychological concepts are all touched upon, as are perception, vision, and how the human brain works. This museum is a fun way to engage kids with complex scientific principles, and help them understand through experience. Tickets: $19/adults; $15//kids. Daily, 9 am - 10 pm
77 Eighth Ave, Chelsea
Sky Rink at Chelsea Piers
If indoor skating is preferable to outdoor skating, check out the Sky Rink at Chelsea Piers. General skating is offered every day in the afternoon, except Wednesdays. The cost is $12 for skaters of all ages, $6 to rent skates, and $5 for a helmet. The Sky Rink is known for its fantastic classes so check out the Skating School, which offers classes that range from absolute beginner to professional: 61 Chelsea Piers
Needing more ice rink inspiration? New York is full of ice rinks
Located in the new development at Hudson Yards, Snark Park is a creative and artistic play space. The first installation, Lost and Found, is described as a 'modern day enchanted forest' - built from a series of massive, inhabitable columns, each offering a unique, tactile experience. A series of totems line the space, made from custom materials such as foam, mirror tiles and faux fur. Tickets $28 for adults and $22 for children. Kids four and under go free.
Camp Store is a ‘family experience store’. Opened this year and offering, not only the usual toy store wares, but also interactive themed play spaces which change from season to season so it’s worth visiting again and again. 5th Avenue, between 16th and 17th Streets. FREE
Central Manhattan, Midtown to Columbus Circle
The Radio City Christmas Spectacular 2019 kicked off the holiday season in NYC on November 8th, and it's one of the most traditional NYC holiday things to do. A yearly event since 1933, this classic Christmas spectacle offers tap dancers, a flying Santa Claus and, of course, the world-famous synchronized precision dancing by the Rockettes.
Tuba Christmas at Rockefeller
This fantastic event which is in its 46th year is held on the ice rink at Rockefeller Center. Get there early to grab a good spot! Hundreds of tenor and bass tuba players will congregate on The Rink at Rockefeller Center, 49th and 50th streets between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, on Sunday, December 15, 2019 at 3:30pm to play Christmas carols and other crowd favorites. Tubists of all ages will line up under the famous Christmas tree and fill the plaza with the organ-line sound of low brass. Spectators are encouraged to sing along with the Christmas carols and holiday favorites.
This magical 1954 production, set to Tchaikovsky's infamous score, includes the full New York City Ballet company and two casts of School of American Ballet students, as well as an onstage blizzard and a Christmas tree that grows from 12 to 40 feet.
W 63rd St at Columbus Ave - $55–$295 www.nycballet.com
The Trolls Experience
This is your last chance to visit this event before it finishes on January 6th! Occupying over 12,000 square-feet of space in midtown, this colorful journey into Queen Poppy's world invites guests to the "Best Day Ever Bash." There's a host of interactive and fun activities for kids on the standard ticket but, the deluxe Trolls experience (and additional $40 fee) offers a whole lot more. Kids can get a "Troll transformation" in the "Hair We Go" salon; here, they can pick the Troll they want to be and get some face paint and the matching Troll hairdo to match. The Experience ends with a fabulous dance party and a chance to meet Poppy herself on the way out. 218 West 57th Street, Columbus Circle.
Disney’s Frozen 2 Enchanted Forest Experience at Saks
In anticipation of this month's release of Frozen 2, which hits movie theaters November 22, Saks Fifth Avenue will unveil its Elsa-and-Anna-inspired holiday windows with a special event on November 25, featuring a performance by Idina Menzel. Kids will have the opportunity to explore an Enchanted Forest on the store's ninth floor, open until Christmas Eve, with characters and experiences from the movie. Timed-entry tickets for the Enchanted Forest are $5, which supports the children's hospital at New York Presbyterian. Monday, November 25 – Tuesday, December 24
Holiday Windows Walk — Midtown East
All of the major department store holiday displays (including Macy's, Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord & Taylor, Bergdorf Goodman, and Barneys) are up by the week of Thanksgiving at the latest. Macy's holiday windows will be unveiled on November 21, and the Saks Fifth Avenue windows, inspired by the new Frozen 2 movie, light up November 25. FREE - Thursday, November 21 – New Year's Day
Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade & Balloon Inflation — Upper West Side to Midtown West
This world-famous NYC tradition speaks for itself. Unfortunately, there is no secret to finding a good viewing location unless you're willing to pay for a hotel room overlooking the route. If you want to see the balloons and avoid the crowds on Thanksgiving day, head to the balloon inflating event the night before – right next to the American Museum of Natural History.
Wednesday, November 27 and Thursday, November 28 - FREE
Santaland at Macy's Herald Square — Midtown West
Meet Santa by (FREE) reservation only. Head online or visit in-store to book a pre-selected time slot between 30 minutes and five days in advance of your visit. During popular times, lines can take over half an hour but there's plenty of fun, seasonal displays for the kids to look at while they wait. Friday, November 29 until Tuesday, December 24
Madison Square Gardens
Cirque du Soleil is putting on a Christmas show starting December 12th called “ Twas The Night Before New York” – ticket prices start at $55. Knowing Cirque du Soleil, it promises to be an exciting show!
Loot - part shop part activity center - is a cool place to hang out with your children on a cold, dreary day. Sign up and you will receive unlimited access to over 3000 comics ($30/month). They also run classes for young comic enthusiasts. The coolest thing they offer is a chance for budding writers to sell their own comics and the store only takes 10% of sales expenses). Court Street, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn
Prospect Park Track Club Turkey Trot
Prospect Park Carousel, Prospect Park – 28 November 2019
Burn off a few calories in advance of your turkey dinner by running through Prospect Park. If you can race to be the top of the pack at this 5K, you win a "great winter hat" as well as a pie! There will be bagels, fruit and hot chocolate waiting for you once you pass the finish line.
Dyker Lights — Dyker Heights, Brooklyn
Thanksgiving–New Year's Day
Another seasonal sight that goes up around Thanksgiving is the over-the-top holiday displays in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn. While paying to go on a guided bus tour may be most convenient if you live outside of Brooklyn, the neighborhood is accessible via public transportation, just be prepared to walk a bit. FREE if you go on a do-it-yourself tour.
New Statue of Liberty Museum
The brand new purpose built museum is based on Ellis Island. Opened in May, the museum allows visitors to understand Lady Liberty, her significance and her history on a deeper level. Consisting of three gallery spaces, the museum aims to inspire visitors and educate them about the Statue of Liberty in interactive and thought-provoking ways. Click on the link to the museum website.
From the organizers of Houston's Magical Winter Lights, LuminoCity is a brand-new holiday lantern show in NYC for 2019, with 12 acres of illuminated lanterns, plus a holiday market, food vendors, and live performances. The experience is organized into three sections: Winter Fantasy (an arctic wonderland), Wild Adventure (rain forests and jungles), and Sweet Dream (holiday desserts and tasty fantasies). Randall's Island, Randall's Island Park
Weekends November 23–December 15, daily Friday, December 20–Sunday, January 5, 2020
$9 for children ages 3-12, $38 and up for adults. Children under 3 go FREE.
Hello Panda Festival
Head over to the Hello Panda Festival for the largest lantern festival in North America! Giant light structures and never-seen-before lantern artistry, entertainment, food, modern art exhibitions, interactive games, cultural handcrafts, cultural heritage experiences, and live stage performances
Citi Field, 123-01 Roosevelt Avenue, Queens
Gingerbread Lane, New York Hall of Science
Stroll through the award-winning Gingerbread Lane when it opens for the holiday season at the New York Hall of Science, Saturday, November 23. Corona Park, Queens
The Bronx Zoo
The Bronx Zoo's Holiday Lights display return this year after a ten year absence. Animal lanterns, animated sculptures, and colorful designs will light your way throughout the park.
New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show — Bronx Park, the Bronx
While there are other holiday train displays in and near NYC, none compare to the NYBG's annual show, which celebrates its 28th anniversary this year. More than 25 model trains (including Thomas the Tank Engine) travel round a mini NYC featuring 150 famous New York landmarks crafted from acorns, twigs, bark, berries, and leaves. Warning: Even though timed advance tickets are required, it gets super crowded. If at all possible, go early or late in the season on a weekday.
Saturday, November 23, 2019–Sunday, January 26, 2020
Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving, and a wonderful holiday season! If you are looking for events in January, our school will be hosting a community-wide event for local families. There will be fun, games, face painting and more and the event will be FREE! Follow us on social media to keep in the loop and we look forward to seeing you there!