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Can't-Miss Events in New York This December


Hi, I'm Peter!

Peter Neely is a Brooklyn-based writer and poet who's been bounding between cities for a decade, with stops in San Francisco, Budapest, Montreal, and Lyon. Changing NYC apartments like socks, Peter has lived in Harlem, Greenpoint, Sunnyside, and Crown Heights, though Coney Island is his spiritual homeland. Spot him reading on the subway, or complaining about the slice at your favorite pizzeria.

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Head to Brooklyn for artsy gifts

When: ​Dec. 7–15, 2019

With an emphasis on local fashion, art, and design, Brooklyn's FAD popup market draws shoppers in search of high-end, handmade gifts. The market has two locations in Downtown Brooklyn.

Find gifts at the Union Square Holiday Market

When: Through Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2019

Full of hand-crafted goods, local vendors, and cheer, this seasonal market in Union Square Park is the perfect place to snag holiday gifts. Find dozens of vendors, a lounge area, and even an arts space for kids.

Dine on dim sum

When: ​Dec. 24–25, 2019

Though many NYC restaurants are closed on Christmas, that’s not the case in Chinatown. Dim sum serves as a holiday treat at the popular Nom Wah Tea Parlor, open Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Celebrate Kwanzaa at the Apollo Theater

A hotbed of talent during the Harlem Renaissance, the Apollo Theater helped launch the careers of legendary African American performers like Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin. Photo Credit: Lee Hoagland

When: ​Saturday, Dec. 28, 2019

Theatergoers hoping for a culturally rich performance shouldn't miss the Apollo Theater's Kwanzaa Celebration. Set in Harlem’s legendary jazz venue, this one-night-only show packs in jazz, dance, and stellar costumes.

Check out the decorations in Dyker Heights

When: ​Until Monday, Dec. 30, 2019

This south Brooklyn neighborhood has become a popular destination to see Christmas lights, thanks to the residents’ tradition of creating some of the borough's most extravagant displays. Book a guided tour, or take the subway to find your own way.

See a film at the Metrograph

When: Through Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019

For a cozy evening in Lower Manhattan, head to the Metrograph. In December, the movie house screens archival holiday films including It’s a Wonderful Life, Billy Wilder's The Apartment, and the cult classic, The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Sip holiday cocktails

When: Through Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019

Part tiki bar, part Christmas decoration disaster, the Sippin’ Santa holiday pop-up at Boilermaker is an East Village gem. With signature drinks like the “Christmas Eve of Destruction,” expect a late night.

Learn about Parisian fashion

When: Through Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020

With more than 100 ensembles on display, the Fashion Institute of Technology’s Paris, Capital of Fashion exhibit showcases couture over the centuries in Chelsea.

See the Radio City Christmas Spectacular

The Radio City Rockettes rehearse for their iconic holiday show. Photo Credit: Xinhua / eyevine

When: Through Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020

More than 100 high-kicking Rockettes dance to original holiday music at this knockout show, hosted at the famed Radio City Music Hall in New York’s Theater District. If you can, book tickets in advance to secure your seats.

Treat yourself to the ballet

When: Through Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020

Every holiday season, the New York City Ballet stages Balanchine's The Nutcracker at the Lincoln Center, on the Upper West Side. The holiday classic features a Tschaikovsky score and 90 of the company's top dancers.

Visit The Met's Medieval Sculpture Hall

When: Through Monday, Jan. 6, 2020

This Upper East Side museum draws art lovers year-round, but there’s an extra reason to visit The Met this season. Stop by the Medieval Sculpture Hall to see a holiday tableau in full artistic style, complete with an adorned tree, Neapolitan nativity scene, and hundreds of antique figures.

Wander past over-the-top department store holiday displays

When: Through Monday, Jan. 6, 2020

Fifth Avenue is famous for its high-end retail, but even if you don't shop for couture, you can still enjoy the decked-out window displays at Bergdorf Goodman, Tiffany & Co., and Saks Fifth Avenue.

See the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree

Stop by the Rockefeller Center at night for the full effect.

When: Until Friday, Jan. 17, 2020

A Norway spruce topped with Swarovski crystals, this famous Christmas tree is an NYC tradition and a must-see for holiday visitors. Even if you can't make the lighting ceremony on December 4, the tree is up through mid-January.

Watch trains at the New York Botanical Garden

When: Through Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020

See model trains chugging through small-scale replicas of New York City landmarks at the Bronx garden’s Holiday Train Show. Bring the kids to check out the trains, or join for an adults-only evening.

Attend a marionette show in Central Park

Central Park after a snowstorm

When: Through Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020

Head to the heart of Central Park to enjoy the seasonal Yeti, Set, Snow! show at the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre. The original production tells a tale of discovery and friendship that kids will love.

Hi, I'm Peter!

Peter Neely is a Brooklyn-based writer and poet who's been bounding between cities for a decade, with stops in San Francisco, Budapest, Montreal, and Lyon. Changing NYC apartments like socks, Peter has lived in Harlem, Greenpoint, Sunnyside, and Crown Heights, though Coney Island is his spiritual homeland. Spot him reading on the subway, or complaining about the slice at your favorite pizzeria.

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See all New York City tours
1,428 tours & tickets
Things to do in New York City
See all things to do in New York City
7 Quintessential NYC Movies to Stream Right Now