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Best Family Shows in NYC for Christmas 2018 (That Aren't "The Nutcracker")

'Tis the season to get the gang all dressed up to see some holiday shows. While there are plenty of spectacles to splurge on, like the Radio City Christmas Spectacular and all those beautiful Nutcrackers, if you've got young children you may not want to blow all of your bucks on theater tickets.

That's why our roundup of Christmas-season family theater includes a range of productions, from inexpensive, low-key offerings perfect for fidgety preschoolers, to extravaganzas that are worth the investment.

From live stage adaptations of classics such as How the Grinch Stole Christmas, to seasonal musicals based on popular picture books, to amazing circus feats and offbeat spectacles (like drag queen ballerinas and performing-arts activists), here are our top 18 holiday shows for NYC families.

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

Whether you're celebrating a special occasion or just looking for a memorable experience, afternoon tea—sometimes called high tea in New York City—can be a fun outing with kids. It's an especially great winter outing and particularly fitting during the holidays.

Several places serve high tea in New York City, with varying degrees of appropriateness for children. From the fancy Eloise Tea at the Plaza Hotel to the less frilly Russian Tea Room, there are teas—and goodies—for children of all ages and parents of all budgets. Here's our take on some of the best spots for afternoon tea with kids in NYC.

Where to See the Nutcracker in NYC: 14 Family Shows in 2018

The Nutcracker ballet is a classic holiday experience for kids and parents, and NYC offers dozens of wonderful interpretations of this beautiful Christmas show.

While many children love the energy and drama of The Nutcracker—from the sweet Sugar Plum fairy visit to the frantic battle with the Rat King—it can be long for some. So we've rounded up more than a dozen variations of The Nutcracker playing this season in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, from the classic showing at Lincoln Center to just-for-kids versions. Many of our picks are abridged versions and inexpensive (or FREE) while still possessing the charm to keep kids wide-eyed.

Kids Wear PJs and Join the Fun at New Family Show "Pillowland"

Put on your coziest pajamas and head to Tribeca, because New York City Children’s Theater’s production of Pillowland is now showing. One of our top fall family theater picks for 2018, the city’s latest interactive family play is based on the hit song by beloved kid rocker Laurie Berkner. If you've never taken your preschooler to a show, Pillowland is a sweet introduction to the magic of live theater.

30 Free Holiday Events for Families and Kids in NYC

With Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Hanukkah all fast approaching, New York City is gearing up for a magical holiday season. There's something about the sheer delight and excitement in kids' faces that can make even dodging tourists and taxis fun. 

Some of the best family events in NYC happen in November and December: annual train displays, exciting holiday events, spectacular Nutcracker productions, and more. But FREE family fun is often the very best kind, especially with kids in tow. So we've rounded up 30 FREE Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Hanukkah activities for the family to enjoy now through New Year's Eve. (Consider it our holiday gift to you!) For more of the best events of the holiday season in NYC, be sure to check out our Holiday Guide.

10 Things to Do on Thanksgiving Day With NYC Kids

Other than the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, is there really anything else to do in New York City on Thursday, November 22? You bet! We found fun ways to spend Thanksgiving Day in NYC with kids that don't involve eating turkey or watching giant balloons. Many of these events are FREE, and some of them occur only this year. Some, like the public art exhibit B. Wurtz: Kitchen Trees, are both free and here only in 2018.

Read on for our picks, from zoos to bowling alleys to movies, and even a super fun exhibit dedicated to Trolls. Got a car? Loads of events right outside New York City are open on Thanksgiving. See our guide to 10 picture-perfect holiday day-trips near NYC. In town for the whole holiday weekend? Here are 16 fun things to do in NYC over Thanksgiving break.

And finally, a very Happy Thanksgiving to your family from everyone at Mommy Poppins NYC. Here's to a festive holiday season.

For more events happening over Thanksgiving weekend, check out our Event Calendar and November GoList.

Tribeca with Kids: Top 30 Things to Do for NYC Families

One of New York City's original residential neighborhoods, Tribeca was initially settled back in the 1700s. The area has undergone several transformations since then. In the 19th century, it became an industrial and commercial hub, By post-World War II, it was a ghost town with only a few hundred residents, and block after block of empty warehouses. Thanks to all of that affordable loft space, artists and bohemians flocked to Tribeca in the 1980s and by the 2000s it had been reinvented once again as one of Manhattan's most affluent and amenity-filled areas.

Today, this unique neighborhood is in high demand with families thanks to its great public schools, the beautiful waterfront Hudson River Park, thriving locally owned businesses, kid-friendly restaurants, and a funky downtown vibe that is quickly disappearing from NYC. Here's a look at everything Tribeca has to offer families, including our favorites spots to eat, play, and shop, and our top things to do with kids in the neighborhood.

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.

Four New Indoor Play Spaces to Try This Season in NYC

You’re faced with another chilly, dreary, rainy day and your kids are climbing the apartment walls. You’ve done all of the fun seasonal activities and the playgrounds are out of the question. That's when NYC's indoor play spaces can be real lifesavers. We're always on the hunt for the latest and greatest indoor play spaces, and a handful of new spots have opened up this year that are definitely worth the trip. Pack your socks, because here's the scoop on four new spots where the kids can get all of their energy out—and you can regain your sanity (and even have a cup of coffee).

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