Visitors Guide

Best Holiday Train Shows in NYC for Kids: Botanical Garden and Beyond

Trains are a way of life for most New Yorkers, but there's something particularly special about the little engines and cabooses that take center stage during the holiday season. The New York Botanical Garden's Holiday Train show is one of the best things to do with kids in New York City during the Christmas season, with electric model trains whizzing by more than 150 NYC landmarks made out of acorns, twigs, bark, berries, leaves, and other botanical bits and pieces. My family and I make it a point to go every year—it's truly a quintessential New York holiday experience. There's a reason it's on our list of the top 100 things to do with kids in NYC.

But the big NYBG display isn't the only holiday train show in town. Read on for more details on all the Christmas train shows the city has to offer this season (including the Botanical Garden's big spectacle). And for an extra special holiday treat, take the kids on a full-size Christmas train ride with these nearby Polar Express and Santa locomotives.

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 High Tea Spots in NYC to Enjoy a Cup with Kids

Whether you're celebrating a special occasion or just looking for a memorable experience, afternoon tea—sometimes called high tea in New York City—can be a fun outing with kids. It's an especially great winter outing and particularly fitting during the holidays.

Several places serve high tea in New York City, with varying degrees of appropriateness for children. From the fancy Eloise Tea at the Plaza Hotel to the less frilly Russian Tea Room, there are teas—and goodies—for children of all ages and parents of all budgets. Here's our take on some of the best spots for afternoon tea with kids in NYC.

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.

30 Free Holiday Events for Families and Kids in NYC

With Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Hanukkah all fast approaching, New York City is gearing up for a magical holiday season. There's something about the sheer delight and excitement in kids' faces that can make even dodging tourists and taxis fun. 

Some of the best family events in NYC happen in November and December: annual train displays, exciting holiday events, spectacular Nutcracker productions, and more. But FREE family fun is often the very best kind, especially with kids in tow. So we've rounded up 30 FREE Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Hanukkah activities for the family to enjoy now through New Year's Eve. (Consider it our holiday gift to you!) For more of the best events of the holiday season in NYC, be sure to check out our Holiday Guide.

See Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloon Inflation with Kids

Thanksgiving in New York City wouldn't be what it is without the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. If you're eager to take your kids to glimpse those giant balloons and don’t want to rise before dawn, visit the area near the American Museum of Natural History on Wednesday, November 21, 2018, to watch the giants come to life, including the brand-new balloons for 2018.

While the balloon inflation isn't crowd-free, it’s an only-in-New York event all its own—and a must-do holiday event for families. Read on for tips on when to go and where to eat dinner afterward. In need of more holiday inspiration? Visit our Thanksgiving Fun Guide.

Macy's Santaland NYC: When and How to See Santa at Herald Square

There are few places to see Santa in New York City that compare with Macy's Santaland. It's a magical experience for tourists and natives alike during the Christmas season.

'Tis the season for Macy's to open its 13,000-square-foot winter wonderland, which overflows with holiday cheer from its live "elves," to an enchanted forest, animatronic toys, and a train display. Santa holds court from Friday, November 23, 2018 (the day after Thanksgiving and the parade) through Monday, December 24, Christmas Eve.

For the second year in a row, visitors must book a FREE reservation to visit with Santa at Santaland, which requires some advance planning but does mean a much shorter wait when you get there. Read on for everything you need to know about visiting Santaland this year.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Visitors Guide