Winter staycation? Here's what to do with kids in NYC!

Planning a staycation this winter? Here, PSP members share ideas of what to do with kids in New York City during the December school break and beyond.


Image courtesy of Tishman Speyer.


Original Poster:

"We’re staying in NYC for the holidays (first time in 4 years) and while I know there are some “must-do” types of events, I’m wondering what some of the other holiday gems there are in the 5 boroughs... WHERE SHOULD WE GO?  We have 10 whole days and while a few days watching Rudolf and hanging out at home is fine, I want to make the most of it!"



- Holiday lights in Dyker Heights and all around Brooklyn/NYC

- Holiday Lights at the Bronx Zoo

- LuminoCity Festival on Randall's Island

- Amaze Light Festival

- Looking at the holiday windows at Macy’s, Bergdorf’s, and the like

- Visiting Santa at Macy's

- Ice skating at Rockefeller CenterBryant Park, or LeFrak in Prospect Park

Governors Island Winter Village (ice skating, fire pits, bike rentals)

- "My daughter and I go to see Alvin Ailey at City Center every December. Revelations, their signature piece, is just about the most uplifting thing you can find for the holidays! If you want to make it an extra-special outing, you could couple it with afternoon tea - we used to do the Plaza but it's gotten so crowded and touristy that we tried the Lowell last year and liked that much better."

- "We recently went to the New-York Historical Society on Central Park West around 77th Street, which has cool exhibitions for older kids - my 10 year old boy really enjoyed it. Just south of museum of natural history."

- "Have you been to the new Whitney Museum yet? Even for kids who aren’t into art, the building itself and views from the terraces are amazing." 

New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show and GLOW

- It's not a holiday 'must,' but I noticed that there are some plays/shows that are still going around Christmas/NY time and you can still get tickets. Big Apple Circus is one - not sure if they are too old for it, the Elf musical and a few others. I also noticed that there are some discounted opera tickets on for some pretty impressive performances at the Met, all around Christmas."

- "Last year I took my dance-loving two-year-old daughter to the New York Theatre Ballet's version of The Nutcracker. It's just an hour long, with no intermission, and the (not enormous) audience is basically all kids and families. There are activities for kids in the lobby beforehand; and they can take pictures with the dancers afterwards.  It's a great introduction to The Nutcracker (even though true Nutcracker purists will find it a little questionable). My daughter loved it and sat through the entire thing. It's at Florence Gould Hall (part of the Alliance Francaise) on east 59th Street."

- "Getting together for a 'Faux New Year’s Eve' party can be fun. Have an afternoon NYE party and set the 'New Year' timer to go off at 6pm for the New Year. Kids get to feel what it’s like to ring in the new year but don’t have to stay up til midnight to make it happen. Heck—you can even have it on Friday night instead of Saturday night."

- "If you bundle up, a group night walk through the park with flashlights could be amazing too. My kids are hoping for snow!"


Get more ideas from these PSP articles:

Cheap and Cheerful Things to Do With Kids During the Holidays

Kid Approved Art, Museum & Music Events

Tourist Activities for Tweens & Teenagers

"Staycation" Cheats: Best Kid-Friendly Day Trips

Staycation Sensation: Ideas for All Seasons