Shows

Best Family Shows in NYC for Christmas 2018 (That Aren't "The Nutcracker")

'Tis the season to get the gang all dressed up to see some holiday shows. While there are plenty of spectacles to splurge on, like the Radio City Christmas Spectacular and all those beautiful Nutcrackers, if you've got young children you may not want to blow all of your bucks on theater tickets.

That's why our roundup of Christmas-season family theater includes a range of productions, from inexpensive, low-key offerings perfect for fidgety preschoolers, to extravaganzas that are worth the investment.

From live stage adaptations of classics such as How the Grinch Stole Christmas, to seasonal musicals based on popular picture books, to amazing circus feats and offbeat spectacles (like drag queen ballerinas and performing-arts activists), here are our top 18 holiday shows for NYC families.

Best Kid-Friendly Nutcracker and Holiday Shows for Westchester Families

The holiday season is fast upon us, and while it's good to remember to slow down and savor the season at your own pace, one bit of advance planning we recommend is to purchase tickets for holiday performances. Not only do they often sell out in advance, but claiming choice seats can avoid the familiar whines of “I can’t see!”

Fortunately for Westchester residents, there are various holiday performances to choose from. We’ve rounded up the best kid-friendly productions—from assorted interpretations of The Nutcracker to concerts and a couple productions of A Christmas Carol—to help you ring in the holiday season.

Read on and click through for details. Also be sure to visit our Event Calendar, where you’ll find an ever-growing number of other holiday events we’re curating for your family to enjoy! Looking for even more holiday options? Check out our Holiday Fun Guide.

New Trolls Experience in Midtown Is a Fun-Packed Party for Kids

What's rainbow-hued, covered with yards of soft, pettable fur, and sprinkled with just the right amount of sparkly glitter? The brand-new Trolls Experience in Midtown West.

While it's part kid-centric, photo-friendly wonderland, there's definitely more to this installation than other recent Instagram-friendly pop-ups like Candytopia, The Museum of Pizza, and others. (For starters, there's actually a coherent, kid-friendly story to help guide your visit—it doesn't feel like a random collection of rooms.) You and your family are invited to a magical, fun-filled world where energetic staff members excitedly await your arrival, and are ready to help you prep for Poppy's Best Day Ever Party.

Where to See the Nutcracker in NYC: 14 Family Shows in 2018

The Nutcracker ballet is a classic holiday experience for kids and parents, and NYC offers dozens of wonderful interpretations of this beautiful Christmas show.

While many children love the energy and drama of The Nutcracker—from the sweet Sugar Plum fairy visit to the frantic battle with the Rat King—it can be long for some. So we've rounded up more than a dozen variations of The Nutcracker playing this season in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, from the classic showing at Lincoln Center to just-for-kids versions. Many of our picks are abridged versions and inexpensive (or FREE) while still possessing the charm to keep kids wide-eyed.

Kids Wear PJs and Join the Fun at New Family Show "Pillowland"

Put on your coziest pajamas and head to Tribeca, because New York City Children’s Theater’s production of Pillowland is now showing. One of our top fall family theater picks for 2018, the city’s latest interactive family play is based on the hit song by beloved kid rocker Laurie Berkner. If you've never taken your preschooler to a show, Pillowland is a sweet introduction to the magic of live theater.

Nutcracker and Other 2018 Holiday Shows for Kids on Long Island

Ring in the holiday season by taking in a theatrical performance. Kids of all ages will enjoy the magic of music, storytelling, and dance in a classic performance of The Nutcracker or another holiday show.

Here are some amazing holiday shows for families on Long Island in 2018. Be sure to check out our events calendar for more holiday family fun.

This post is updated annually.

The Nutcracker: 28 Holiday Performances of the Classic Ballet Fit for Kids

Most of the year, most of us parents don't attempt to take our children to full-length ballet productions, but Christmas just doesn't feel like Christmas without one good Nutcracker. And if one good Nutcracker begins to make it feel a lot like Christmas, then LA, Orange, and Ventura counties are evidently hitting Uber-Christmas in the coming weeks with more than two dozen professional Nutcracker productions.

Incidentally, we've got answers to the two questions posed most often by LA parents in search of a Nutcracker Ballet for their families: Yes, there is a condensed version staged specifically for kids, offered by the Festival Ballet Theatre down in Costa Mesa or Classical Ballet Theatre in Palos Verdes; and yes, there are local productions performed with full orchestra—​at the Long Beach Terrace Theater, the Broad Stage, the Dolby Theatre, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, and the Grove of Anaheim. There is even the odd Nutcracker Tea or two—in case you were wondering.

And when you've had your fill of Sugarplum Fairies, we can direct you to some nifty Christmas train rides.

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