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Family Events for the Holidays in NYC

In New York with kids this holiday season? Here are some performances and activities that’ll captivate their imaginations. They can ask for last-minute presents from Santa too!

Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes®

Christmas Spectacular Rockettes

See Santa and the high-kicking Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall this holiday season! With performances seven days a week, you can see the show any day you like until January 1. 1260 Avenue of the Americas, 1-866-858-0007,

Holiday Train Show at New York Botanical Garden 

New York Botanical Garden

See the half-mile track winding through intricate recreations of New York landmarks at the famous Holiday Train Show at the Bronx’s New York Botanical Garden. Enjoy the magical trains running through the space until January 15, and see special kids programs like “All Aboard with Thomas and Friends” and holiday movie screenings. 2900 Southern Blvd., 718-817-8700,

Grand Central Holiday Train Show

A more centrally located—but no less magical—train show has set up shop in the city’s epicenter of trains, Grand Central Terminal. You can see this two-level track running through a miniature model of the city for free until February 4, 2018. New York Transit Museum Gallery Annex and Store, Main Concourse, Grand Central Terminal,

George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker® at Lincoln Center

NYCB Nutcracker

Photo credit: © Paul Kolnik

Bring your ballerinas to New York City Ballet’s performance of The Nutcracker. With music by Tchaikovsky and choreography by George Balanchine, this two-hour show with dazzling sets and world-class dancing will be serving up sugar plums until December 31. David H. Koch Theater, 20 Lincoln Center Plaza, 

Macy’s Santaland 

Sign up for a coveted spot on Santa’s lap at Macy’s before Christmas! He’s hearing present requests on the 8th floor of Macy’s Herald Square until Christmas Eve, then he’s off to deliver gifts. 151 W 34th St., 212-695-4400,

Santa’s Corner at Bryant Park’s Winter Village 

Santa’s got another slot at Bryant Park’s Winter Village this year! Line up after your ice-skating fun and get a picture that a helpful elf will take for you. Bryant Park, 212-768-4242, 

ELF the Musical

Elf the Musical

Check out the musical version of the 2003 movie Elf, with performances at The Theater at Madison Square Garden until December 29. ELF the Musical follows Buddy, a human elf raised in Santa’s workshop who journeys to New York City as an adult to find his father. Funny, fast-paced, and silly, ELF the Musical is perfect for kids this Christmas! 4 Penn Plaza,

Origami Holiday Tree at American Museum of Natural History

'Til January 7, see the 13-foot tree covered with origami ornaments at the American Museum of Natural History. With pieces modeled after dinosaurs and other animals featured in the museum, see if you can spot the saber-tooth tiger and pterosaur among the beautiful menagerie of paper creations. Central Park West at W 79th St., 212-769-5100,

Holiday Tea with American Girl

American Girl

At the American Girl Store, come have tea and make a headband for your doll at teatime on December 22. Don’t forget to bring your doll! Also check out American Girl’s special collaboration with the Radio City Christmas Spectacular and the unveiling of Girl of the Year on January 1, 2018! Holiday Tea on Dec. 22, 3-4 p.m. 75 Rockefeller Plaza, 877-247-5223,

Gingerbread Lane at NY Hall of Science

Winner of a Guinness World Record for 4 years in a row, the Gingerbread Lane at New York Hall of Science in Queens is a spectacle worth the trip to Corona. After all, it’s made of real gingerbread! Come see the wonder of this edible village, and visit the Queens Museum while you’re at it. 47-01 111th St., 718-699-0005,

About the Author

Merrill Lee Girardeau grew up in Birmingham, Alabama. The recipient of a BA in English and an MFA in Writing, Merrill Lee teaches English to college students and lives in Brooklyn.

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