It’s the most wonderful time of the year — which means Christmas lights, holiday celebrations, and warm cozy evenings are finally here. When the holidays roll around, families can take time to celebrate their love for each other and give thanks for the little things.

If your family is searching for holiday activities, we’ve put together a list of our favorite holiday lights and activities to help you start planning. For even more kids activities in NYC, check out our guide!

1. Dyker Heights Christmas Lights

Christmas aficionados, rejoice! Dyker Heights is a neighborhood in Brooklyn that goes all out for the holiday season. Dyker Homes homes begin preparing for the whimsical winter season in October. According to Mommy Poppins, the full light show turns on for Thanksgiving weekend, but many houses get a jump on it at least a week early. Lights typically go on around dusk, so families should try and get to the neighborhood between 5 and 6 pm. Lights stay on for a few hours — but we’ve found that arriving before 9 pm is the best time to catch the best views. Whether you’re an NYC native or just passing through for the holidays, a stop in Dyker Heights is a must for chasing one-of-a-kind holiday cheer. 

2. Rockefeller Center

Rockefeller Center covers over 22 acres between 48th Street and 51st Street in Midtown Manhattan. During the holiday season, the center puts up a spectacular 75-foot tall Christmas tree often illuminated with more than 50,000 lights. Spectators will delight in a trip to midtown and can take advantage of Rockefeller Center’s many restaurants, shops, and an internationally beloved ice skating rink perfect for winter memory making. For those who can’t make it to New York this holiday season, you can view the tree digitally here

3. Central Park

Central Park is a winter wonderland — with never-ending twists and turns, spectacular views of New York City, and a sense of magic that makes the park feel like a world of its own. Park lovers can head to the Harlem Meer to find Christmas lights put on by the Central Park Conservancy. In most years, these lights are accompanied by holiday programming at the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center; however, in 2020 programs and events will be taken online. For more information, head to the Central Park Conservancy website. Check out the Central Park Tree Lighting video!

4. Shine Bright at Hudson Yards

Lift your spirits by taking a trip to the Shops at Hudson Yard. New York’s latest holiday tradition features over 2 million Christmas lights and is sure to dazzle every member of your family. See twinkly lights, meet Santa and explore the North Pole with the help of augmented reality, buy presents with contactless shopping, and discover seasonal treats — hello, peppermint hot chocolate — at Hudson Yards’ many restaurants and cafes. Music lovers can also catch Juilliard performers and Broadway musicians perform on artfully decorated pianos throughout the holiday season. For more information, head to the Hudson Yards website.

If you can’t make it to Christmas lights this year, consider bringing the holiday cheer home with a few of our favorite educators leading festive programming:

Social Studio

Social Studio is the place for art excellence – the place to explore, engage, experiment, express, exchange, empower, and expand! They offer seasonal art classes perfect for the holiday session. 

Treehouse Atelier

Create beautiful holiday themed crafts with Treehouse Atelier. Children can take classes to customize gifts for loved ones, including wall hangings, ornaments, decor and handmade gifts.

Open Window Studio

Create crafts like collaged holiday cards in classes with Open Window Studio. Students can also take other seasonal activities like story exchanges to spread the holiday cheer.

Discover more activities for the holidays here.

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