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The Ultimate Kids’ Guide to the Holidays in NYC

Category Guide

|by ShowTickets Editors |

‘Tis the season for family time in the city

New York City has many playgrounds for the kids, including ice skating rinks, towering Christmas trees, extravagant stage shows and every kind of sweet treat you can imagine. Here are our favorite things to do with the kids this holiday season.

Celebrate the season with the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall (Photo: Radio City Rockettes)

Celebrate the season with the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall (Photo: Radio City Rockettes)

Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes
This beloved Christmas tradition is kicking its way across Radio City Music Hall for the annual Christmas Spectacular. Treat your kids to an evening with the Rockettes, and witness the mesmerizing updates to this year’s production. One number, called “Snow,” sees the entire auditorium transform into a giant snow globe thanks to GPS snowflakes that fly out over the audience. From classic dance numbers to the latest and greatest, the Spectacular provides festive entertainment for all ages. Radio City Music Hall, 1260 6th Ave.

SpongeBob SquarePants
Liked the TV show? You’ll love the musical, which celebrates the wonderfully weird world of SpongeBob SquarePants. Plus, there’s this big bonus: The musical features original songs by Aerosmith, The Flaming Lips, John Legend, Lady Antebellum, David Bowie, Cyndi Lauper, They Might Be Giants and more. Palace Theatre, 47th and Broadway

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree
Perhaps the most enduring symbol of the holidays in New York City is the giant Christmas tree that towers over Rockefeller Center. Topped by a Swarovski crystal star, this enormous spruce tree is filled with over 45,000 LED lights. The whole Rockefeller Plaza gets into the Christmas spirit with festive music and decorations – take the fascinating Rockefeller Center Tour to discover the art, architecture and more. Bring the kids for photos with angels in the Channel Gardens and the tree itself. Ice skating beneath the tree on the Rock Center rink is the perfect finale to a day of holiday cheer. Rockefeller Center

Holiday Lights and Movie Sites Tour
New York City is at its best and brightest during the holidays, giving kids and adults alike plenty to marvel at. This 2.5-hour tour will not only showcase Manhattan donning its holiday finest but will also bring kids straight to the settings of their favorite holiday films, including Home Alone 2. Led by New York City actors, this bus tour is an ideal way to cover lots of ground — from Columbus Circle to Rockefeller Center to Lincoln Center — without wearing out your kids’ tiny little feet. Another highlight of this tour is a cruise by the 5th Avenue Holiday windows, including Bloomingdale’s and Tiffany & Co. 10 Columbus Circle

Hot chocolate and ice cream at Serendipity 3
The holidays are not the time to say “no” to dessert. This year, treat the kids to a New York City classic, and plan a little feast at Serendipity. This local institution, home of the famous frozen hot chocolate, also has many other temptations on the menu including ice cream sundaes, an impressive selection of cakes and seasonal pies. There’s also a whole section of the menu on frozen drinks. If your kids don’t have a sweet tooth, this family-friendly spot also has burgers, hot dogs and nachos. 225 E. 60th St.,

Ice skating in Bryant Park and Bryant Park Winter Village
Celebrate the season by donning your skates and going for a spin in Bryant Park. In addition to the skating rink, Bryant Park is also home to a European-style Christmas Market or Winter Village, complete with over 125 shops selling everything from jewelry to clothing to décor to local foods. Browse before or after your ice skating excursion, and you may wind up crossing a few items off your holiday shopping list, too. Seasonal eats complete the scene, including hot chocolate, hot apple cider, and lots of sweets. Between 40th and 42nd Sts. and 5th and 6th Aves.

Holiday windows on 5th Avenue
The shopping stretch of 5th Avenue is a holiday destination whether you’re buying gifts or not. Kids will love the magical displays in department store windows, including Bloomingdale’s, Bergdorf’s, Lord & Taylor, Macy’s, Saks 5th Avenue and more. Each store has its own theme, from iconic New York at Bergdorf’s to Disney’s Snow White at Saks 5th Avenue.

The Nutcracker at the New York City Ballet
For a holiday celebration with a side of culture, head to the New York City Ballet for a performance of the Nutcracker. This elaborate production — which utilizes 90 dancers, 62 musicians and 32 stagehands — is as much fun for its music by Tschaikovsky as for its glamorous costumes. Visual effects will impress kids of all ages, including a Christmas tree that grows from 12 feet to 40 feet in height. This magical ballet captures the spirit of the holidays on stage. David H. Koch Theater, 20 Lincoln Center

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