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Five things to do in New York City this holiday season

Already skated the Roc, enjoyed a carriage ride around Central Park and fought the crowds at Macy’s Herald Square? Here are more ways to celebrate the festive season in the Big Apple. 

  • Published Dec 15, 2017
  • Updated Apr 06, 2023
  • 541 words
  • 3 minutes
Christmas cheer in NYC Expand Image

Almost any millennial can recall in detail scenes from Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. Many credit the film as their first introduction to Christmas in “The City That Never Sleeps,” and some even visit the Big Apple with hopes of retracing Kevin McCallister’s steps.

For those not on the hunt for the archway McCallister ran through in Central Park, or for his uncle’s Upper West Side townhouse, New York still has plenty to offer in the way of holiday magic. This year, venture beyond Manhattan’s traditional draws (think skating at Rockefeller Center and battling the crowds of shoppers at Macy’s) and check out these other festive activities across the six boroughs.

Celebrate Kwanzaa in Harlem

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Harlem’s renowned Apollo Theater. (Photo: K Glicksberg)

Visit Harlem’s storied Apollo Theater and experience the annual Kwanzaa celebration on December 30. Now in its 11th year, the Apollo’s Kwanzaa celebration offers guests an immersive evening complete with dance and musical performances. Also on December 30, the American Museum of Natural History will hold its 39th annual Kwanzaa celebration.

Snap a photo of the 10-metre-tall menorah in Park Slope

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The giant menorah at Grand Army Plaza. (Photo: Julienne Schaer)

Park Slope, Brooklyn might be known among locals for being home to sidewalks filled with strollers, semi-affordable brownstones and comfortable New York living, but in the holiday season it’s also home to the largest menorah you’ll likely ever see. Stop by Grand Army Plaza to see it lit up during Hanukkah.

Get in touch with your inner Hansel and Gretel

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Gingerbread Lane at the New York Hall of Science. (Photo courtesy NY Hall of Science)

From November 11 to January 14 the New York Hall of Science in Queens will once again host its famed Gingerbread Lane exhibit. With over 1,000 handmade gingerbread houses, the Hall is hoping to secure its fifth consecutive Guinness World Record title for Largest Gingerbread Village.

Wander around Staten Island’s Winter Wonderland

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A digital rendering of the first annual Winter Wonderland SI on Staten Island. (Photo courtesy NYC & Company)

Held at Richmond County Bank Ballpark on Staten Island, the first-ever Winter Wonderland SI will be home to a 34-vendor holiday market, ice-skating, rides and more. Conveniently located next to the Staten Island ferry, it’s a fun way to spend the day with the family. 

See ELF The Musical at Madison Square Garden

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ELF The Musical on stage at MSG. (Photo: Joan Marcus)

Back for a second year after a great reception in 2016, ELF The Musical will be entertaining visitors — and New York locals — at Madison Square Garden from December 13-29.

And of course, don’t miss the traditional holiday hoots in New York. Scroll down for photos of the famed Rockefeller Center skating rink and other places to snap the perfect #CanGeoTravel Instagram photo!

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Skating at the Rockefeller Center. (Photo: Will Steacy)
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Radio City Music Hall decked out for the holidays. (Photo: Joe Buglewicz)
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The holiday fair at Grand Central Station. (Photo: Will Steacy)

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