Events for the Holidays in NYC

By Alison Durkee

The holiday season is in full swing in New York City, and while New Yorkers may get plenty of holiday cheer from decorations and celebrations, institutions around the city are also offering plenty of holiday events to get you into a festive mood. Celebrate the season through performances, walking tours, talks, and more at these upcoming holiday events.

Photo by Richard Termine

Arts lovers have plenty of festive holiday performances to take in this December. While New York City Ballet’s Nutcracker and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular may be the hottest tickets in town, those seeking some holiday fare can also discover other productions of the Nutcracker, such as New York Theatre Ballet’s Art Nouveau-styled production above (December 14-16) and the Bang Group’s Nut/Cracked (December 20-22), a witty “neo-vaudevillian” take on the classic combining different dance forms. Those wanting a more cultural take on the holidays can enjoy NAVIDAD: A Mexican-American Christmas’s blend of Mexican and American holiday traditions through December 16, while New Yorkers looking for a more interactive time can enjoy the holiday-themed murder mystery show The Most Wonderful Crime of the Year on December 16.

Irene Rinaldi/Supertitles for Winterreise

Music lovers can head to the Guggenheim Museum for their annual holiday concert in their famed Rotunda December 16-17, or take part in a participatory Wandering Winter Solstice Concert featuring Franz Schubert’s 1828 song cycle Winterreise December 21, which will see performances across the city as part of Make Music New York. On December 16, National Sawdust will screen rare silent films created by Thomas Edison’s own studio between 1905-1910, paired with readings and a live scoring. Those wanting to skip the performing arts and instead enjoy the work of local visual artisans, meanwhile, can browse through Harlem for the Holidays (weekends through December 23), which showcases collectable works by artists and artisans of the African Diaspora.

Festive partying will take place this holiday season at MoMA PS1’s Artist Holiday Party December 14, which will include after-hours exhibition viewing, seasonal treats, and cocktails. New Yorkers can also travel back to Victorian times as the Morris-Jumel Mansion presents their annual Victorian Holiday Party December 16. To learn more about the city’s history of holiday celebrations, head to a special talk December 15 on New York’s Holiday History.

Image: gigi_nyc/Flickr

The city’s holiday history and festive decorations will also be the focus of several upcoming holiday-themed walking tours. Get a new look at Midtown on walking tours exploring the history of Fifth Avenue’s famed department stores (various dates) and 34th Street (December 23), before spending your Christmas morning under one of the most famous Christmas trees in the world on a tour of Rockefeller Center. Head uptown for the Annual Uptown Trinity Church Cemetery Holiday Tour December 16, or go even further up to see the Christmas decorations on the Bronx’s Arthur Avenue December 22. On December 29, New Yorkers can test their eye for photography on a winter wonderland photo walk through Bryant Park, which will focus on shooting people in the holiday environment using a Sony camera.

Eldridge Street, image: Jeff Rosen–Flickr

While many of the city’s holiday celebrations have a Christmas focus, those celebrating other holidays also have events to enjoy. Jewish New Yorkers can follow up their Hanukkah celebrations with a special look at the link between Jewish culture and Chinese food on Christmas at an event December 21, which will include talks, tastings, and a Kosher Chinese night market. Jewish families can then spend their December 25 at the Museum of Eldridge Street, which will offer a special Klez for Kids! performance of klezmer music.

The American Museum of Natural History will offer a celebration of Kwanzaa December 29, which will include performances and a local artisan marketplace. Those wanting something truly non-denominational can also head to the AMNH, where they’ll be celebrating the winter solstice with a look at the cosmic year ahead at an astronomy talk December 20.

The city will also offer celebrations as the year comes to an end and 2019 begins. Have a peaceful New Year’s Eve at the New Years Eve Concert for Peace, an annual concert at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine that was founded by Leonard Bernstein in 1984. More athletic types–and those wanting to cheer them on–can kick off the New Year at NYRR’s Midnight Run, a four-mile run that begins at the stroke of midnight as fireworks light up Central Park. On January 1, start 2019 on a poetic note at the 45th Annual New Year’s Day Marathon Benefit Reading, a poetry marathon featuring 140 different poets.


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