Festive Season in NYC with Kids

Written by Nakia Gordon

Who doesn’t love Christmas or “The Holidays”, as it is commonly known in our adopted nation.  New York City offers many great attractions and activities during the festive season, appropriate for singles, couples and families, so while you may be missing the beach and summer in Oz, you can distract yourself with one of these great activities:

Ice skating: Wollman Skating Rink in Central Park is probably the most famous of the NYC ice rinks and the most photographed. Other great options are Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park, The Rink at Brookfield Place, Standard Hotel in the Meatpacking District, LeFrak Center Prospect Park & Trump Lasker Rink.

Polar Express: On the Hudson Valley train ride set to the soundtrack from the movie, passengers will relive the magic of the story on a round trip to the ‘North Pole.’ The trip takes about 90 minutes and includes hot chocolate, a sing along time and a visit from Santa. Cost is $48 per adult, $38 per child.


The Rockettes: What would the holiday season in NYC be without a visit to see the world famous Rockettes at Radio City Hall.  I took my kids last year and from the moment we walked into the foyer of the theatre they were already mesmerized by all the lights, glitter and Christmas charm. You can also see Santa and have your photo taken before or after the show. The actual show is not just The Rockettes dancing around, but tells a child friendly Christmas story.

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree: It’s so great to see the iconic Rockefeller Christmas Tree but always sooooo busy!! I usually take the kids in for a look at the tree at night (all lit up) and wander across to Saks for the amazing window light display with accompanying music.  You can be in and out in 20 minutes…but if I was kid free, I would take advantage of the great atmosphere and head for a glass of wine or bubbles at a nearby bar or restaurant..including The Rainbow Room and Polo Bar.

Holiday Window Displays: At Saks, Tiffany’s, Bergdorf & Goodman &, Macy’s and Bloomingdales, on and around 5th Ave.


Santa Meet ‘n Greet: Santaland at Macy’s is great, but always busy. Macy’s Santaland is a 13,000-square-foot holiday display that makes your kids feel like they’ve entered the North Pole. You’ll find caroling snowmen, reindeer, twinkling lights, trees, elves – the whole shebang. The winter wonderland path to Santa is worth it: Kiddos can sit on his lap, share their Christmas wishes and get a photo from a professional photographer. They do have an online reservation system which can help with the big queues and from this year 2017, you must make a reservation in advance.

Less crowded Santa alternatives: Other less crowded options to visit Santa include Bloomingdales, ABC Carpet & Home store in Flatiron, and the food court of the Plaza Hotel which is never busy! 

Holiday Markets: A must-do holiday event is a visit to the amazing Urbanspace Holiday Markets at Union Square, Bryant Park and Columbus Circle. These markets actually sell quality gifts and are a perfect way to spend an afternoon strolling around with a cup of hot chocolate. They do have a few food stands as well.

Nutcracker Ballet: Take a waltz through a blizzard of ballerinas for an irresistible treat for all ages. The Nutcracker at Lincoln Center is the perfect holiday show, open from Nov 24-Dec 31.

Holiday Train Show: The New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx showcases more than 150 landmark replicas like Grand Central Terminal and The Statue of Liberty made of plant materials such as bark. The Holiday Train Show runs from November 19 until January 14.

I hope you enjoy the festive season in New York City and as we say over here, “Happy Holidays”.

Author: Nakia Gordon

Nakia is a busy mum of two kids. Originally from Sydney, Spent a few years in London and now calls New York City home. Nakia writes a blog in her spare time to help newcomers navigate life in this great city - www.aussiemumsnyc.com.

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