Bronx

The Most Spectacular Holiday Light Displays in NYC

Every year it seems holiday light installations in New York City get more elaborate, making a visit to the top displays a must-do seasonal activity. These days there are even tour buses that will take you to some of the neighborhoods decked out for the season.

We've rounded up some of the best holiday displays in NYC. Some of these attractions are in the more far-flung stretches of the city such as Pelham Gardens in the Bronx, Dyker Heights in Brooklyn and Jamaica Estates in Queens, and there's even one spot on Staten Island. All are definitely worth the trip. We can vouch for it!

So start your own holiday tradition this year by checking out these spectacular sights when dusk hits. Find more seasonal fun, including more holiday lights, such as Midtown's holiday store windows, in our NYC Holiday Fun Guide.

Santa Claus Photo Spots in NYC for Christmas 2018

Santa Claus is coming to town, and he’s not camera shy. New York City parents have a host of options for where to see and pose with Santa, from the popular Santaland at Macy's to more casual events, where you can take your own festive photos of the kids while visiting Jolly Old St. Nick.

We’ve rounded up over a dozen of our favorite options for photos with Santa from across the five boroughs, including options for those who want to splurge, bring their pets, or just get it over with, as well as those with special needs. With so many alternatives, chances are, wherever you are, your kids won’t be far from Santa.

Find more seasonal fun, including a Santa brunch or tea, in our NYC Holiday Guide.

Christmas Tree Lightings in New York City This Holiday Season

Good news for the crowd-averse: You don't have to brave the commotion at Rockefeller Center to witness a fabulous Christmas tree lighting in New York City.

We've rounded up some tree lightings that are much less crowded and every bit as lovely, from Brooklyn and Queens to the Bronx and everywhere in between. These community holiday celebrations are festive and (mostly) FREE, and there’s no need to stand on your car to glimpse the goings-on. So grab that cup of hot chocolate and cozy up to one of these holiday illuminations in New York City. Find even more seasonal fun in our Holiday Guide.

Click through to our listings for all the details, including addresses, times, recommended ages, and rain (or snow!) dates. Note: Tree lightings are organized by date.

20 Best Holiday Events in NYC for Toddlers and Preschoolers

New York City's annual transformation into a wonderland of holiday magic never gets old, especially with kids in tow. For younger kids, however, the Christmas crowds can be daunting—and the average toddler or preschooler tends to have limited patience for lines and lots of noise.

But there are still plenty of amazing seasonal spectacles just right for the 2-to-5 year-old set—including holiday lights, Christmas trains, and Santa visits. We've rounded up some stellar events that cater to toddlers and preschoolers, from abridged performances of holiday shows to gingerbread mania, plus interactive events and workshops, there's plenty of holiday wonder to go around.

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.

19 Indoor Party Spots with Mega Playgrounds for NYC Kids' Birthdays

For parents of winter babies, we feel your pain when it comes to birthday party options. While summer baby parents have both indoor and outdoor options (the park! the pool!), those of us with children born in colder months (or even fall and early spring), need to find a space where kids can run off all that pizza-and-cake energy. Enter: mega play spaces.

From bounce houses and trampolines to arcade-packed game spaces, these wide-open spaces give all pint-sized guests a chance to run free. Check out our top picks below—and start booking now.

15 Must-Do 2018 Holiday Events in NYC for Kids

There may be a week of Kwanzaa, eight nights of Hanukkah, and 12 days of Christmas, but as the festive displays popping up all over town attest, the holiday season really lasts from early November through New Year's Eve. That's almost two months jam-packed with a certain Thanksgiving parade, tree and menorah lightings, train shows, department store windows, and Nutcrackers.

Of course, not all holiday activities are created equal. That's why we've rounded up the absolute best ways to get into the spirit of the season, regardless of what you celebrate. From splurge-worthy, once-in-a-lifetime experiences to annual favorites worth revisiting to a few fabulous FREE options, here are 15 super-outstanding events where you can give your kid the best gift of all: happy family memories.

35 Free Family Events in New York City This November

As we usher in the holiday season in New York City, it can also seem like we're entering the spend-and-splurge time of year. Thankfully, this month also ushers in some of our favorite FREE annual events for families in NYC, such as the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade and Macy's Santaland. You'll also find plenty of non-holiday (and non-Macy's) fun for the kids, or even visiting families, such as Pumpkin Smash 2018 and the Commemoration of the Battle of Fort Washington.

Read on for more of our top FREE event picks for the month, and don't forget to hop over to our just-released November GoList, featuring the very best of the month, including those with an admission fee. You can always find more freebies in our FREE NYC Guide, from play spaces and gratis admission hours at museums to birthday perks.

Note: Each event is listed by the week it falls in, and roughly in calendar order. Everything listed is FREE, but some events may require tickets or other advance planning. Click through to the event listings for details.

Best Places to Trick-or-Treat on Halloween with NYC Kids

One of my favorite childhood memories from growing up in NYC was Halloween in Greenwich Village. Back then, the Village Halloween Parade was just a couple hundred artists and others who marched through the neighborhood. Afterward, we would trick-or-treat up and down the brownstone blocks. Everyone was friendly, and we would come home with our shopping bags completely filled. It was magical.

Although the parade and Greenwich Village have changed a lot since then, your kids can still enjoy that kind of thrilling trick-or-treat experience in many New York City neighborhoods. Which neighborhood is the best for Halloween trick-or-treating depends on who you ask. New Yorkers love to bicker over the best coffee shops, the best (and worst) train lines, and yes, the best places to take their kids on Halloween. We also love to find that secret gem.

So we asked our astute readers and collected recommendations from our parent-driven NYC staff over many, many years to bring you a list of our favorite trick-or-treating spots so you'll know where to bring your kids this October 31.

Join one of the local Halloween parades and then go trick-or-treating throughout the community with local families. Or hit one of the neighborhoods or streets listed below: We have a slew of spots to try in all five boroughs. For more seasonal fun, check out our jam-packed Halloween Guide, showcasing FREE events, haunted houses, pumpkin patches, and more.

The NYBG Holiday Train Show: What's New in 2018

The towering skyscrapers of Lower Manhattan are ready for their star turn in this year's Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden, opening November 17, 2018 and running through January 21, 2019. We may still be a few weeks from Halloween, but the annual train show is a NYC Christmas tradition worth looking forward to.

New York old and new takes center stage as replicas of the Woolworth Building, completed in 1913, and the soaring One World Trade Center, opened in 2014, highlight the new additions. Read on for a peek at what else is new, plus everything you need to know about visiting this popular holiday attraction with kids.

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