Santa Claus Brunches, Teas, and Cruises for NYC Kids

A picture with Santa can be thrilling for a little kid. But if your child wants a heartier visit with the big red guy, a tasty breakfast, brunch, or tea might be in order.

We've found eight spots in New York City where families can enjoy a special holiday meal with Old St. Nick. These range from inexpensive pancake brunches hosted by local organizations to lavish spreads at Rockefeller Center and the Plaza Hotel. You can even hop on a cruise with Santa.

All require advance reservations and sell out quickly. Whichever one you choose, bring your camera—and your appetite—and for more seasonal family fun check out our Holiday Guide.

Eataly LA: A Taste of Italy without the Airfare

For those who pine for fresh pasta, Neopolitan pizzas, and every Italian delicacy that never pops up at Trader Joe's, there's good news. Eataly L.A., the latest outpost of what has been called the Disneyland for Italian food (and has become a New York institution), opened its first North American location west of Chicago last week in the newly redone Westfield Century City shopping center. Eataly now has 39 locations throughout Italy and around the world, and just five of those can be found in the US. Eataly L.A. has three floors (the third is an as-yet unopened restaurant) and offers a little bit of everything: a grocery store, sit-down restaurants, prepared food counters, cafes, and fresh food for home preparation. There's even a cooking school (La Scuola), and foodies who don't want to cook for themselves can watch fresh food being made as well as sample olive oils, balsamic vinegars, and pestos.

So what should kids try? Even picky eaters who hesitate to try Italy's more adventurous fare will be able to find some satisfying pizza and gelato to excite their palates, whether you want to eat in-house, grab a quick bite, or purchase food to make at home.

American Girl Debuts a Sparkling New Store at Rockefeller Center

Just in time for the holiday season, American Girl gave fans citywide a shiny new gift with the opening of its brand-new mega store in Rockefeller Plaza.

The 38,000-square-foot, two-story store opened November 11, replacing its old digs on Fifth Avenue, and is sure to be a destination for lovers of these iconic dolls for years to come. While the original location offered shopping, dining, and salon services, the upgraded spot serves up even more treats for kids (matching makeovers!) and adults (plush benches!) alike.

Weekend Fun for CT Kids: Penguins, Turkeys, and Holiday Lights, November 18 & 19

It's the last weekend before Black Friday and the official start of the Holiday Season. But before you begin your annual gift-shopping in earnest, make sure to take some time out for family fun. This weekend there are turkey-themed health runs in New Canaan and New Fairfield. Show the kids what it was like in the olden days by attending a demonstration of Colonial Thanksgiving cooking, or for the animal lover, learn about how animals adapt to the changing seasons. If you simply can't wait to start getting into the Christmas spirit, check out the annual Fantasy of Lights, with 60 animated displays containing over 100,000 lights in a mile-long display. You'll find all sorts of holiday fun recommendations in our Holiday Fun Guide.

This busy time of year, make sure that you subscribe to our weekly newsletters and follow us on FacebookTwitter, Pinterest, and Instagram so that you won't miss any of the fun. Have a great weekend!

10 Picture-Perfect Holiday Day Trips Near NYC

New York City is magical during the holiday season. However, if you're looking to experience some holiday happenings not too far from home, we've rounded up great options for family day trips, where kids can see Santa, dazzling holiday lights, and even a North Pole village.

From right-in-our-backyard picks to rustic Christmas fun in Mystic, Connecticut and Hudson Valley, here are 10 holiday outings—listed from nearest to farthest from Midtown—worth a drive or train trek.

Upcoming Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremonies Around Boston

Boston lights it up with dazzling Christmas tree lighting ceremonies in and around town. By late November lights are aglow in Faneuil Hall (pictured) and Christopher Columbus Park, and the festivities continue through early December with tree lighting ceremonies in neighborhoods throughout the city.

It's not only about flipping the switch, of course. Tree lighting ceremonies are treasured annual community celebrations with live performances, activities for kids, holiday giving, and appearances by Santa (and sometimes even Mayor Walsh).

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