Weekend Fun for Philly Kids: Performances, Museums, Santa December 16-17

While Philly kids are on their best behavior dreaming of receiving the latest gaming system, must-have sweater, or classic toy train, take a moment to redirect their focus from acquiring things to sharing experiences together.

Take the family to see a show such as My Very Own Polar Bear at Act II Playhouse, Annie at Walnut Street Theatre, or Shrek the Musical at Delaware Children's Theater. Experience the classic nutcracker ballet at The Academy of Music, Emilie K. Asplundh Concert Hall, or Mandell Theater at Drexel University. Or, check out a different version at Painted Art Center.  Explore an interactive exhibit at a local museum like Franklin Institute's Terracotta Warriors, Mercer Museum's Centuries of Childhood: An American Story, or Center for Architecture + Design's Constructing Play: Classic + Modern Building Toys Exhibit.

Of course, nothing says togetherness like trying to capture the perfect family picture with Santa. This weekend, he can be found on a train in West Chester, New Hope, or Strasburg, underwater at the aquarium, or among the butterflies at the Insectarium.

Whatever they may be asking for this year, there is nothing better than making family memories together. Read on for our top picks for the weekend.

Weekend Fun for Boston Kids: Snowmazing, Gingerbread, and Lasers ; Dec 16-17

'Tis the season of giving! And what better way to help a cause than by visiting an indoor winter-themed amusement park (where ticket proceeds go to the Christmas in the City organization) or by building a lightsaber (to support one of our area's coolest nonprofits)? For those looking for some cultural holiday experiences, discover the meaning of Kwanzaa, re-enact the Boston Tea Party, take a great big (Chanukah) jump, and celebrate Posada Navideña with a live mariachi band.

Weekend Fun for Houston Kids: Handel's "Messiah," Kids & Christmas Pops Concert, Dec 16-17

Let it snow, let it snow! With our unexpected snowfall that transformed most of the city into a short-lived winter wonderland, it finally feels like the holidays here in Houston, and we are ready to barrel full speed ahead into the celebrations! 

We've compiled an ultimate Winter Bucket List of 45 different things to do with the kids during the holiday to make planning your events a snap, and found a lot of free indoor activities just in case the weather takes another turn for the worse. And remember all the Bestie voting that was happening? The conclusion of the voting means that we now have your 2017 Houston Bestie Guide, your resource parenting, family fun, and enrichment.  

As if that weren't enough, we also have an exhaustive event calendar that covers Houston and the surrounding areas, 26 FREE Christmas and holiday events that are nearby, and our December GoList with the month's best family-friendly events. To have posts like this delivered straight to your inbox, be sure to sign up for our free weekly newsletter

For any events you want shared with the community, be sure to submit your event to our calendar. We'll take care of the rest!

Now, onward to this weekend's events!

Weekend Fun: Hanukkah, Hip Hop, and Hungry Caterpillars

This weekend, New York City kids can help close out the Eight Crazy Nights, Hanukkah having kicked off on Tuesday, December 12. The Children's Museum of Manhattan hosts dreidel-making fun all weekend, while over in Chelsea, on Sunday, December 17, the High Line lights their first-ever menorah. See our full roundup of Hanukkah celebrations and menorah lightings around New York, many of them this weekend before Hanukkah ends December 20.  

This weekend also features a load of cool Christmas and holiday events mostly known only to insider residents, like Carnival of the Animals at Columbia University on Saturday, or the La Mama Kids Winter Wonderland, also on Saturday. On Sunday, there's nothing more unique than the 44th Annual Tuba Christmas at Rockefeller Center, or the village-to-village Unsilent Night parade. If you can't make the latter, and you're reading this on or before Thursday, December 21, don't miss one of the many and one-of-a-kind, free Make Music Winter events across New York City.

There's more than tubas in Rockefeller Center this holiday—see our list of 14 fun things to do there besides Christmas events. Already worried about aimless kids with school closed? Our guide to 35 things to do over the break has you covered. If you're looking to escape this city, see our selection of excellent winter day trips.

As always, our December GoList, our Holiday Fun Guide, and our Event Calendar are standing by, overstuffed with holiday fun.

Weekend Fun for Westchester Kids: Laurie Berkner, Hanukkah Celebrations

The holidays are closing in, and Westchester and Hudson Valley families are scrambling to soak up all the fun! This weekend, the festivities are ratcheted up, so put on your jingle bells, light those lights and don’t miss these highlights!

The big holiday events happening throughout December are still in full gear. Adding to the various iterations this month of the Tchaikovsky classic, this weekend showcases The Westchester Ballet Company’s The Nutcracker, and The Laurie Berkner Band's Holiday Celebration is another hot ticket. For holiday theater in a historic setting decked out for the holidays, try Mr. Dickens Tells A Christmas Carol. The Festival of Lights is celebrated with the Hanukkah Magical Spectacular and the return of Hanukkah Village, to name a couple.

These are just a few of the many happenings we’ve culled from our Event Calendar. Read on for our top picks and also consult our Holiday Fun Guide we’ve worked hard to identify for you. Enjoy it all!

Weekend Fun: A Charlie Brown Christmas, Hanukkah Celebrations

Holiday shows are on stage across Long Island. Catch Mooseltoe in Bellport or 101 Dalmatians in Merrick. Get crafty at Old Westbury Gardens, Not Just ArtPicasso Kidz, Key to My Art or As You Wish.

On the East End, light up Hanukkah at Temple Adas Israel or follow the MenorahCade in East Hampton.

Create a Google map and zigzag your way around Long Island, checking out these Long Island homes with spectacular light displays. Or hit the rails to peep these holiday train displays.

With the ho-ho-holidays swiftly approaching, take a gander at our Long Island Holiday Guide. And don't forget, our Event Calendar is loaded with fun, daily happenings for Long Island kids. Our December GoList offers more great family events through the rest of the month. Don't see a great event here? Add it to our calendar yourself.

25 Things To Do in Newport Beach and Costa Mesa with Kids

Newport Beach may be synonymous with surf, sun, and sand, but there's plenty more to do in this scenic community beyond lying on the (admittedly inviting) beach. From sports fishing to skate parks and petting zoos, there are countless kid-friendly activities to engage a family in the heart of Newport Beach—plus a wide variety of enriching options in adjoining Costa Mesa as well. And when SoCal's version of winter rolls around, some of the season's most memorable events take place in these two communities, including one of the oldest holiday traditions in the country.

Things to Do with Train-Loving Kids in New Jersey

If Thomas, Percy, and James are a part of your daily conversations, take advantage of the many train and railroad attractions throughout New Jersey. Each one offers a different experience that will surely put a smile on any train lover's face. From model trains to railroad museums, zoo and amusement park rides to North Pole excursions, the Garden State has it all—even the world's largest model railroad!

Read on for a list of places where you can ride the rails with your little one, check out amazing displays, and more. 

Weekend Fun for CT Kids: Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides, Ice Carving, and Jedi Lightsaber-Making, December 16 & 17

Oh, the weather outside is ... just perfect for outdoor winter activities, which abound around Connecticut this weekend. With sunny skies and daytime highs expected to be in the upper 30s, Jack Frost may nip a bit at your nose but everything else should be just fine.

This weekend it's a celebration of all things Christmas (mostly). Snuggle up under a blanket and take a ride back to the Victorian era with a horse drawn carriage ride in downtown New Haven. Then take a short walk down Chapel Street to take in some ice carving demonstrations or warm up with milk and cookies while listening to Christmas and Chanukah stories. In the mood to laugh? Check out a family-friendly improv performance of A Christmas Carol, where the story is limited only by your imagination.

Best Hot Chocolate Spots Around Manhattan

A cup of molten chocolaty goodness is one of the best ways to thaw out and warm up—in fact, it's one of the best things about winter and the holiday season.

We took on the heinous job of running around Manhattan taste-testing hot chocolate (don't say we've never done anything for you) and narrowed it down to nearly two dozen of our favorites. These spots are definitely worth the brief trip out into the cold, so read on for our recommendations for cafes and restaurants that have turned drinking hot cocoa into an experience not to be missed.

By the way, we've also rounded up our favorite Brooklyn hot cocoa cafes and those in Queens. Find more great eats in our NYC Restaurant Guide for Families.


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