A Dozen Christmas Day Activities to Do with Kids in NYC After Opening Gifts

Things to Do on Christmas Day in New York City | What's Open?

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

Those who don't celebrate the holiday have asked that question for years, and the answer is often Chinese food and a movie. But there are other options, whether or not you celebrate Christmas. Here are 12 fun things to do on December 25 in NYC. You can find even more seasonal activities in our Holiday Fun Guide or Event Calendar.

Sign up for our FREE newsletters to get posts like this delivered to your inbox.

1. Catch a festive show. A handful of Broadway shows play on Christmas Day, including family-friendly options like School of Rock and Wicked. The Radio City Christmas Spectacular and Big Apple Circus: The Grand Tour also perform.

2. Play tourist. Times Square's Madame Tussauds, Ripley's Believe it or Not! Odditorium and Discovery Times Square (featuring Star Wars and the Power of the Costume) are open on Christmas Day. If you'd rather play games, arcade-restaurant Dave & Buster's is open, too. Other tourist spots with December 25 hours include the Empire State Building, Top of the Rock and One World Observatory.

3. See a movie. Many movie theaters are open on Christmas Day, so you can catch the recently released blockbuster Star Wars: The Force Awakens or older family-friendly releases such as The Good Dinosaur and The Peanuts Movie. If you've got older kids, check out the latest installment of The Hunger Games. Prefer to stay home? TBS is showing A Christmas Story all day.

4. 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 in Coney Island.

5. Hit the ice. The rinks at Bryant Park, Central Park's Wollman and Lasker rinks, Riverbank State Park, Rockefeller Center, Prospect Park and Brookfield Place are all open for skating on Christmas Day, weather permitting. Too rainy? The indoor rinks at Chelsea Piers, Brooklyn's Aviator Sports and the World Ice Arena in Queens also have public skating on December 25.

RELATED: 35 Things to Do Over Holiday Break in NYC

Try your hand playing Schroeder's piano at the interactive Charlie Brown Christmas windows display at Macy's. 

6. Take a stroll. Walk up Fifth Avenue to see the stunning department store holiday windows. The forecast is calling for drizzle but unseasonably warm temps! Grab an umbrella and 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. Central Park is even hosting a FREE Heart of the Park tour at 2pm.

7. Party at a Jewish museum. Many Jewish cultural institutions stay open on December 25 and host special family activities. Hit the Museum at Eldridge Street on the Lower East Side to groove to Klez for Kids or catch a family concert by Oran Etkin at the Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth Avenue, at 92nd Street.

RELATED: The Best NYC Kid Destinations of 2015

8. Explore the Museum of Mathematics. Almost all NYC museums are closed on Christmas Day. However, the interactive MoMath (11 East 26th Street) in the Flatiron District is an exception. Check out this funky, outdoor public art across from Madison Square Park while you're in the neighborhood.

9. Pamper yourself. If all that shopping and reveling has you wiped out, take a dip in the rejuvenating waters of the family-friendly Spa Castle, in College Point, Queens, which welcomes visitors on Christmas Day.

10. Attend a religious service. If you weren't able to go on Christmas Eve, churches are, of course, open on Christmas Day, too. The five spots we mentioned for midnight services plus plenty more of all Christian denominations across the city welcome families on the 25th.

11. Indulge in Christmas tea. Tis the season for high tea. The Plaza hosts a special Christmas version of its popular Eloise Tea between noon and 5pm, so put those frilly Christmas frocks to good use with a fancy outing.

12. Snap a picture in front of the tree. It might be insanely crowded, but why not begin a unique family tradition with a photo in front of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. My family treks to the tree each Christmas Eve. It's an ideal way to reflect on how your family has changed, and the atmosphere is always festive.

All photos by Mommy Poppins unless otherwise noted.

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