What's Open on Christmas Day in NYC: 15 Things To Do with Kids

The centerpiece of Bryant Park's Winter Village is its FREE admission ice rink! Photo courtesy of Bryant Park
The centerpiece of Bryant Park's Winter Village is its FREE admission ice rink! Photo courtesy of Bryant Park

The presents have been ripped open, the plastic packaging dismantled, and the batteries installed. Dinner won't be ready for hours and the kids are stir-crazy. What is open on Christmas Day in New York City?

Those who don't celebrate the holiday have asked that question for years, and the answer is traditionally Chinese food and a movie. But there are options, whether you celebrate Christmas or not. Here are 15 fun things to do Sunday, December 25, 2022, in NYC. You can find even more seasonal activities in our Holiday Fun Guide or Family Activity Calendar.

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1. Winter Village at Bryant Park

This outdoor winter wonderland is open on Christmas Day. Go ice skating, sip on hot chocolate, and take in the magical decorations.

2. Catch a Show

A handful of Broadway shows play on Christmas Day, including family-friendly options such as Wicked, Chicago, and The Music Man.

3. Attend a Religious Service

If you weren't able to go on Christmas Eve, churches are, of course, open on Christmas Day.

RELATED: 49 NYC Holiday Activities Every Kid Should Try Once

Open on Christmas Day in NYC: Summit One Vanderbilt
Experience the immersive observation deck at Summit One Vanderbilt. Photo by Jody Mercier

4. Play Tourist

Times Square's Madame Tussauds is open on Christmas Day. If you'd rather play games, the arcade/restaurant Dave & Buster's is open, too. You can also take in the stunning views from the Empire State Building, Top of the Rock, One World Observatory, Edge, and Summit One Vanderbilt.

5. Go to the Circus

The Big Apple Circus has returned to Lincoln Center and plays two Christmas Day performances, featuring Guinness world record-holder Nik Wallenda and his fearless family of high-wire walkers, along with an international cast of award-winning, world-class circus artists.

RELATED: Restaurants Open on Christmas in NYC

Open on Christmas in NYC: A Chirstmas Story
Make time for a family movie at home with around-the-clock showings of A Christmas Story on TBS. Photo courtesy of Warner Brothers

6. See a Movie

Many movie theaters are open on Christmas Day so you can catch highly anticipated releases like Avatar: The Way of Water. Prefer to stay home? We've got picks for tons of family-friendly movies. Of course, TBS returns with its 24-hour A Christmas Story marathon.

7. Hang with the Animals

Although the Bronx Zoo is closed for the holiday, the Prospect Park, Queens, and Central Park zoos are open, along with the New York Aquarium at Coney Island.

RELATED: 35 Things To Do Over Holiday Break in NYC​​

Open on Christmas Day in NYC: Rink at Rockefeller Center
Gaze at the iconic Christmas tree as you glide around the Rockefeller Center Ice Skating Rink. Photo courtesy of Rockefeller Center

8. Hit the Ice

The rinks at Bryant Park, Rockefeller Center, Prospect Park, Brookfield Place, Manhattan West, Central Park's Wollman Rink, and Governors Island's Winter Village are all open for skating on Christmas Day, weather permitting. The indoor rink at World Ice Arena in Queens also has public skating on Christmas Day.

9. See Spectacular Holiday Houses

Take a drive through some of the outer boroughs to see magnificent light displays.

RELATED: See the Stunning Christmas Window Displays in NYC

Open on Christmas in NYC: MoMath
Head to MoMath for lots of interactive and engaging exhibits. Photo courtesy of the museum

10. Explore the Museum of Mathematics

Almost all NYC museums are closed on Christmas Day. However, the interactive MoMath in the Flatiron District is an exception.

11. Go Bowling

Several of the city's bowling lanes are open on Christmas, including Bowlero Chelsea Piers and Bowlero Times Square. Abbreviated hours apply, so call ahead.

RELATED: Best High Tea Spots in NYC to Enjoy a Cup with Kids

Open on Christmas in NYC: Bergdorf's holiday window display
Bergdorf's ode to makers offers an eye-popping array of intricately detailed Christmas window displays.

12. Gawk at the Holiday Windows

We make our annual trek to see the holiday windows right after Thanksgiving. But time is swiftly running out to see these awe-inspiring displays before they come down for the season.

13. Snap a Picture in Front of the Tree

It might be crowded, but why not begin a unique family tradition with a photo in front of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree? The atmosphere is guaranteed to be festive.

RELATED: 12 Must-Do Holiday Activities and Christmas Events in NYC for Kids in 2022

Open on Christmas in NYC: Museum at Eldridge Street
Celebrate the last night of Hanukkah with a concert at the Museum at Eldridge Street. Photo courtesy of the museum

14. Celebrate Hanukkah

Mark the final night of Hanukkah with the Litvakus Collective at the Museum at Eldridge Street as it performs lively Jewish tunes and Hanukkah songs. This program is offered in collaboration with Broadway and National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene actor and singer Maya Jacobson.

15. Take a Stroll

Enjoy a quiet Christmas stroll through one of the city's green spaces. Central Park, Prospect Park, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Van Cortlandt Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park, and all other NYC parks are open on Christmas. The Sea Glass Carousel in Battery Park is also open from 11am-7pm, and bonus: You can check out the Battery Playscape, a destination-worthy playground next door!

This post, originally published in December 2009, is updated annually.

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