25 Free Holiday Events for Families and Kids in NYC

It's the most wonderful time of the year and New York City is gearing up for a magical holiday season. There's just something about the sheer delight and excitement in kids' faces that can make even dodging tourists and taxis fun.

While there's no shortage of things to do around the holidays in the Big Apple—annual train displays have begun and we're looking forward to exciting holiday events, cozy brunches with Santa, spectacular Nutcracker productions, and more—we know FREE fun can often be the best kind, especially with kids in tow. So we've rounded up 25 holiday activities for the family to enjoy gratis now through New Year's Eve. Consider it our holiday gift to you. For more seasonal fun, be sure to check out our Holiday Guide.

All Aboard! LI Holiday Model Train Exhibits

If watching a miniature train make its way around a tiny Christmas village isn’t on your family’s list of holiday traditions, why not make it one this year?

We guarantee children and adults alike will gaze with wide-eyed wonder at the sights and sounds of the trains and the holiday-themed decorations of the towns through which they travel at one of the many model train exhibits on Long Island this holiday season. To get you going, we’ve put together a list of some of the best displays, sure to delight the entire family.

And if all this train watching makes your family eager to climb aboard a real caboose, check out our roundup of Polar Expresses and Santa Trains near NYC.

All aboard!

Connecticut's Christmas Light Dispays

There is something magical about a holiday light display. Generation after generation have made a ritual of going to see the displays each season. I have so many fun memories of bundling up in the backseat and driving around town searching for the best Christmas lights in town. New Haven has its Fantasy of Lights, Fairfield has several houses that make the holidays special, and Hartford has a huge list of special places to visit.

Where To See Holiday Lights In and Around Boston

Sure, not everyone goes in for all the traditions and tchotchkes that are associated with the holiday season. But we don't know anyone—young or old—who isn't delighted by winter wonderlands filled with lighted displays, twinkling trees, and sparkling scenes. We've rounded up some of the best light displays in or around Boston, from newer sensations like Blink!, downtown, to the storied La Salette Shrine, south of the city. Set aside an evening, bring a thermos of cocoa, and experience some magic as a family.

Amazing, Kid-friendly Features at these Airports Make Family Travel Suck Less

There are all sorts of things to look forward to when we travel, but the airport is not generally one of them. If flying with kids conjures up images of agonizing lines, stressful bathroom visits, and long walks down grimy hallways with cranky toddlers, maybe for your next trip you should try rerouting through one of the airports below. These 10 US hubs have all gone the extra mile to make an airport into a destination kids will remember as part of the adventure. If your trip starts, finishes, or lays over at one of our favorite kid-friendly terminals, you can look forward to play areas, interactive exhibits, rides, and more to keep ahead of the turbulence.

The Best Kid-Friendly Nutcracker and Holiday Shows for Westchester Families

The holiday season is fast upon us, and while there are some ways we can self-pace how we savor the season, one recommendation for advance planning 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 traditional concerts and new musical theater—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

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