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Holiday break activities for Brooklyn families

Staying local this holiday season? Our overview for families in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and the Bronx includes free and fee-based holiday and winter activities. Each listing includes program details, event dates, and recommended ages. Whether you have babies, toddlers, or teens, there are so many ways to make memories with your family this holiday break!

Free Activities

Dyker Heights Christmas Lights | Dyker Heights, Brooklyn

Program Details: To see some of the most astounding Christmas light displays in New York City, visit the residential neighborhood of Dyker Heights in Brooklyn. Families may also opt to take a guided tour of the neighborhood’s lights—check out A Slice of Brooklyn and Dyker Heights Christmas Lights.

Dates: Homeowners’ light displays typically stay up through the first week of January.

Best for ages: 3 and up

Location: From 11th to 13th Avenues (also known as Dyker Heights Blvd) to 83rd to 86th St in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn

Brooklyn Public Library Programs for Children | Various Locations

Program Details: Programming for toddlers, kids, and teens continue through the holidays! Fun offerings this year include story time for babies and toddlers, winter crafts for kids, holiday karaoke, Christmas family movies, and board games and Dungeons & Dragons for teens. There is so much happening at your local BPL branch over the holidays! Check the Events Calendar to see what’s scheduled near you. 

Dates: Open Monday-Saturday; closed Sunday

Best for ages: Babies through teens  

Location: DUMBO, Brooklyn Heights, Boerum Hill Clinton Hill, Fort Greene,
Park Slope and beyond; find your local branch here. 

Contact: Website 


Family Bowl at Brooklyn Bowl | Williamsburg

Program Details: There’s no cover for Family Bowl at Brooklyn Bowl! Doors open at 11:00am and all ages are welcome. Bowl a game and grab a bite by NYC’s Blue Ribbon.

Dates: Saturday, December 23, doors open at 11:00am

Best for ages: 6 and up 

Location: Williamsburg | 61 Wythe Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11211

Contact: Website 


Feather Bowling and Arcade Games at Randolph Beer | DUMBO

Program Details: Randolph’s been transformed into winter wonderland for the holidays! Bring the whole family for feather bowling, pinball and arcade games, and delicious drinks and food. Don’t forget to get a family holiday selfie in their photo booth! Note: Kids must always be supervised. Sundays are best for family groups; families also welcome weekdays until 6pm and Saturdays until 2pm.

Best for ages: 5 and up

Location: DUMBO | 82 Prospect Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Contact: Website 


New York Transit Museum’s Holiday Train Show | Grand Central Terminal 

Program Details: The New York Transit Museum’s Grand Central Gallery plays host to a city within a city with the display of a miniature electric railroad running over, through, and beneath some of New York’s most magnificent landmarks. Departing from a miniature replica of Grand Central Terminal, the Transit Museum’s collection of Lionel trains including Metro-North, Polar Express, and vintage subway train sets will dazzle the eyes of children and adults alike as they make their way past New York landmarks and on to the North Pole.

Dates: November 16, 2023 – early 2024

Best for ages: 2 and up 

Location: Grand Central Terminal, 89 E 42nd Street, New York, NY 10017

Contact: Website  

New Year’s Eve Fireworks | Grand Army Plaza, Prospect Park

Program Details: Join Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso and Prospect Park Alliance for Brooklyn’s most spectacular New Year’s Eve fireworks celebration at Grand Army Plaza in Prospect Park. The event will include live entertainment by Quintessential Playlist who will perform live music at 10pm before the fireworks begin.

Dates: Sunday, December 31 | 10pm-12:30am

Best for ages: 5 and up 

Location: Grand Army Plaza, Flatbush Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238

Contact: Website 


Selfies with Santa in the Winter Garden | Brookfield Place, Battery Park

Program Details: The magic of the holiday season comes alive with a complimentary Santa experience at Brookfield Place. Get your own phone or cameras ready to create photo memories with Santa Claus. There will be crafts, candy canes and lots of holiday cheer!

Dates: December 20 –24, 2023

Best for ages: All ages, babies and up

Location: Battery Park | 230 Vesey Street, New York, NY 10281

Contact: Website 


Shine Bright and Photos with Santa | Hudson Yards

Program Details: Hudson Yards is the destination for all things festive and bright. Shine Bright at Hudson Yards illuminates the neighborhood with over two million twinkling lights, setting the stage for exciting, holiday activities including ice skating at New York’s highest skating rink at Edge, FREE photo opportunities with Santa, Santa’s Secret speakeasy, holiday shopping for every budget, festive dining, and much more.

Dates: Photos with Santa through December 22; Shine Bright light display through early January 

Best for ages: All ages, babies and up

Location: Hudson Yards | New York, NY 10001

Contact: Website 


Fee-Based Activities

Astra Lumina | Queens Botanical Garden

Program Details: Astra Lumina at Queens Botanical Garden is a one-mile long enchanted night walk through the Garden that guides visitors on a journey to discover the wonder of visiting stars. Through the magic of projections, lighting, and music, astral energy transforms the Garden into a celestial pathway, connecting visitors to the stars and the vast world around them.

Dates: Through mid-February 

Best for ages: Babies and up 

Costs: $35/Adult (13+); $25/Child (4–12); $32/Senior (65+); family and group bundles available. 

Location: 43-50 Main Street, Flushing, NY 11355

Contact: Website | Tickets


Balloon Museum | Pier 36

Program Details: Following acclaimed runs in Rome, Paris, Milan and Madrid, the Balloon Museum makes its highly anticipated North American debut at Pier 36 in New York City. Featuring mind-blowing inflatable installations created by 18 renowned international artists, the museum immerses visitors into a world of contemporary art that is meant to be touched, moved, and felt.

Dates: Through mid-January 

Best for ages: 4 and up  

Costs: $67.92 per adult; $56.71 per child (4-15 years); family packs available. 

Location: Pier 36 | 299 South St, New York, NY 10002

Contact: Website 


Bronx Zoo Lights Holiday Lights | Bronx Zoo

Program Details: Join us for a family holiday festival at the Bronx Zoo. During the evenings, the park comes to life with holiday cheer as immersive light displays, custom-designed animal lanterns and animated light shows sparkle across the zoo. This year, you’ll experience new lantern displays showcasing the wildlife of New York’s ocean waters and wetlands, plus a new interactive experience celebrating bioluminescent creatures. 

Dates: Through January 7

Best for ages: Babies and up

Costs: Date-Specific Tickets—Adult $41.95; Child (3-12) $26.95; Seniors $36.95. Any-Night Tickets—Adult 56.95; Child (3-12) 41.94; Senior $51.95. (Any-Night Tickets allow you one visit on any of the public event dates. No need to reschedule or pinpoint your arrival time.) Children under 2 are free!

Location: 2300 Southern Boulevard , Bronx, New York 10460 

Contact: Website 


Celebrate Kwanzaa | Brooklyn Children’s Museum 

Program Details: Celebrate the traditions of Kwanzaa at New York City’s largest family Kwanzaa event, presented in partnership with Brooklyn-based Asase Yaa Cultural Arts Foundation. Explore the seven principles of Kwanzaa through interactive workshops, dynamic live performances, and engaging art projects that honor heritage, community, and culture. This year, we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Hip-Hop with special activities and tributes that showcase its enduring impact.

Dates: Tuesday, December 26 through Saturday, December 30.

Best for ages: Programs designed for all ages—bring the whole family!

Costs: Admission starts at $15; children under 1 are free.

Location: Crown Heights | Brooklyn Children’s Museum, 145 Brooklyn Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11213

Contact: Website 


Disney’s The Santa Clauses’ Winter Wonderland | South Street Seaport

Program Details: Visit Pier 17 to experience Disney’s The Santa Clauses’ Winter Wonderland—a 65,000 square foot winter wonderland with rooftop skating on a synthetic rink, dining cabins, breathtaking views & more! Santa Claus will be visiting Pier 17 from 11am-7pm, Friday-Sundays in December. 

Dates: November 22, 2023 – January 7, 2024

Best for ages: All ages, from kids to adults! Holiday cocktails available for adults. 

Costs: Starting at $15; choose General Admission, VIP tickets, or Private Dining Cabins. Kids 4 and under receive free General Admission entry. Note: skating is only included with VIP admission; otherwise, it is $5/person.

Location: South Street Seaport | The Rooftop at Pier 17, 89 South Street, New York, NY, 10038

Contact: Website | Tickets

Frost Fest at Luna Park | Coney Island

Program Details: Immerse yourself in holiday magic sprinkled throughout the park and experience Winter themed activities at our 1st annual Frost Fest! Visitors will experience a thrilling winter destination boasting a skating rink, select rides and attractions, holiday lights & décor, photos with Santa, holiday shopping, and festive food options. 

Dates: Select Weekdays & Holidays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through January 7. 

Best for ages: All ages; little ones can meet Santa, and older kids can enjoy rides, arcade, skating, and more. 

Costs: Purchase tickets separately for Rudolph’s Rink Skating Experience ($24.99), Santa’s Wonderland Experience ($24.99), and North Pole Experience ($44.99). Skate rental is $5/person. 

Location: Coney Island | 1000 Surf Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11224

Contact: Website | Tickets 


The Gingerbread City at the Seaport | South Street Seaport Museum

Program Details: Discover a whole city constructed entirely from gingerbread, candy, and frosting! The Gingerbread City offers a magical metropolis made from cookies, candy, and frosting. In addition to the Seaport Museum’s lightship, more than 50 architects and designers contributed to this scrumptious fantasy skyline of ginger buildings, moving trains, and twirling parts that will wow visitors of all ages. Daily house-making workshops are offered, with gingerbread made by Balthazar!

Dates: Through January 7

Best for ages: This event is appropriate for all ages, including little ones. 

Costs: Starting at $18; children 3-12 years old are $10/person.

Location: South Street Seaport | 25 Fulton Street, New York, NY 10038

Contact: Website | Tickets


Gingerbread House Decorating | The Brooklyn Studio Kitchen, DUMBO

Note: Use exclusive discount code BBPARENTS20 for 20% off!

Program Details: Dive into the holiday spirit with our Gingerbread House Decorating Event! Let your kids’ creativity flourish as they design and decorate their very own gingerbread houses in our cozy studio. Each child will receive and decorate their own Gingerbread House with festive decorations and colorful candies. There is also a hot chocolate bar with all the fixings, and participants will receive a souvenir apron! A friendly culinary crew will assist, and participants will be provided with beautiful take-home wrapping.

Dates: Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays throughout December 23

Best for ages: 2 to teens

Costs: $75 for one-hour class; a spot for the caregiver is included in the price. One adult is permitted per child. One parent can sign up and attend with multiple children. Each child requires paid admission.

Location: DUMBO | 18 Bridge Street, Ste 4I, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Contact: Website

Gingerbread NYC: The Great Borough Bake-Off | The Museum of the City of New York 

Program Details: Welcome to a snowy wonderland, where famous landmarks and icons of New York City are lovingly recreated in gingerbread! This year, the Museum invited 23 bakers from across the five boroughs to create gingerbread displays on the theme of “Iconic New York”—creating distinctive buildings, places, or things that represent their neighborhood, community, or borough. A panel of prominent New York City-based bakers, curators, and restaurant owners awarded prizes in a variety of categories, and you’re invited to help select the final award by voting for the “People’s Choice.” There will also be a holiday-themed makerspace with crafts for kids!

Dates: Thursdays-Mondays through January 15, 2024

Best for ages: Kids, teens and adults 

Costs: Adult admission is $20; free for under age 20. Pay-what-you-wish admission is available at ticket counters. 

Location: East Harlem | 1220 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10029

Contact: Website  


Glide Ice Skating Rink | Brooklyn Bridge Park 

Program Details: Tucked under the famed Brooklyn Bridge and nestled in the historic DUMBO neighborhood, Glide at Brooklyn Bridge Park is a winter wonderland for all ages. Work up an appetite on the ice and then enjoy hot chocolate or s’mores in the café! 

Dates: Through March 1 

Best for ages: Toddlers and up; parents of young children may rent a “skate aid,” which allows them to push children on the ice. 

Costs: Adult admission starts at $15. Note: Glide offers FREE weekly sessions for NYC residents on Saturday mornings and Tuesday afternoons. You must show a driver’s license, IDNYC, or an NYC public library card. More information here and on their website. Admission does not include skate rental; skates must be rented separately.

Location: Emily Warren Roebling Plaza at Brooklyn Bridge Park, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Contact: Website 

NYBG GLOW | New York Botanical Garden

Program Details: NYBG GLOW is New York Botanical Garden’s outdoor holiday light experience!  During New York’s biggest holiday celebration, the Garden’s iconic sights and buildings become dramatic, glittering canvases. Thousands of dazzling, energy-efficient choreographed lights and sound and picture-perfect installations create a spectacle not to be missed. Note: Combine with your visit to the NYBG Holiday Train Show (read on for more details!).

Dates: Through January 13

Best for ages: Babies and up

Costs: For admission to BOTH NYBG Glow AND the NYBG Holiday Train Show—$54/adult; $39/child (2-12 years); children under 2 are free.

Location: 2900 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, NY 10458-5126

Contact: Website

Holiday Train Show | New York Botanical Garden 

Program Details: The Holiday Train Show returns bigger than ever with more trains and an all-new, outdoor train display. Start on the lawn to capture your perfect holiday photos at our outdoor mountainscapes and then watch trains zip past nearly 200 iconic New York landmarks under the warmth of the Conservatory. 

Dates: Through January 15

Best for ages: All ages! Little ones will love the trains, and adults will appreciate the artfully crafted New York City landmarks.

Costs: For admission to BOTH the the Holiday Train Show and NYBG Glow—$54/adult; $39/child (2-12 years). For admission to Holiday Train Show ONLY—$35/adult, $31/senior; $31/student; $20 child (2-12 years); children under 2 are free. 

Location: 2900 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, NY 10458-5126 

Contact: Website 


Holiday Nostalgia Rides | New York Transit Museum 

Program Details: This holiday season, the annual NYTM tradition of Holiday Nostalgia Rides continues on the Museum’s 1930s R1/9 train cars! Departing from the F line’s 2nd Avenue station in lower Manhattan, the Holiday Nostalgia Train will transport straphangers back in time every Saturday in December.

Dates: Saturdays in December through December 30

Best for ages: All ages, babies and up!

Costs: The cost of one subway ride

Location: Manhattan | The Holiday Nostalgia Train will operate between 2nd Avenue on the uptown F line platform and 145th on the downtown D line platform. Passengers can board the train at stations noted on their website. 

Contact: Website 


Lightscape | Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Program Details: Experience the magic of Lightscape! The after-dark, illuminated trail returns to Brooklyn with brand new works of art and promises an even more immersive and magical experience for visitors of all ages. Explore the beauty of the Garden under moonlight while enjoying seasonal treats and festive music. There is no better way to celebrate winter and the holiday season with friends and family!

Dates: Through January 1 

Best for ages: Babies and up

Costs: Adult tickets start at $34; Children’s tickets start at $17; children under 2 are free. 

Location: Entrances at 150 Eastern Parkway, 455 Flatbush Avenue, and 990 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11225

Contact: Website 


Winter Lantern Festival | Queens County Farm Museum

Program Details: Join us as Winter Lantern Festival lights up the holiday season with over 1500 lights and 80 lanterns at the Queens Farm! Illuminate the Farm features a stunning array of hand-crafted lanterns creating an unforgettable immersive experience across 6 acres of our historic farmland. This experience will feature a dazzling display of lights and illuminated Chinese lanterns, all handmade by artisans with decades of dedication to their craft.

Dates: Through January 7

Best for ages: Babies and up 

Costs: $25.99/Adult (13+); $17.99/Child (4–13); $20.99/Senior (65+), Student, or Military; family and group bundles available. 

Location: 73-50 Little Neck Parkway, Queens, NY 11004

Contact: Website | Tickets


Winter Recess Family Activities | The Museum of the City of New York 

Program Details: The Museum of the City of New York welcomes children of all ages and their families to join us this holiday season for winter-inspired activities for all to enjoy! This Winter Recess, the Museum will come alive with activities for children and families to enjoy! We’ll celebrate the season with art activities, musical performances, and holiday film screenings, including Elf! 

Dates: Tuesday, December 26th through Saturday, December 30th

Best for ages: 4 and up 

Costs: All activities are free with museum admission (Adult admission is $20; free for under age 20.) Pay-what-you-wish admission is available at ticket counters.

Location: East Harlem | 1220 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10029

Contact: Website 


Winter Putterland | Shipwrecked, Red Hook

Program Details: Bring the whole family to Winter Putterland, a holiday mini golf pop-up in Red Hook! Shipwrecked has been transformed for the holidays, with decorations, lights, and special effects. It’s winter wonderland fun for everyone! Enjoy mini golf, the arcade, and mini escape room. The event is complete with themed drinks and holiday treats.

Dates: Thursdays-Sundays through January 1 

Best for ages: 3 and up; strollers are permitted, and staff will assist in storing strollers while you enjoy the course. You are also welcome to take strollers onto the course.

Costs: $21.99; $16.99 for guests 12 and younger. 

Location: Red Hook | 621 Court Street 2nd FL, Brooklyn, NY 11231

Contact: Website

Main image: Dyker Heights Christmas Lights

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