A Guide to New York Holiday Events: Trains, Nutcracker and a & 9-Feet Tree


The wait is nearly over. Not only is the Christmas season back in full swing, but due to immunizations and booster doses, New Yorkers may (safely) resume most of their favorite festive customs this year. Most venues demand documentation of Covid-19 immunization or a negative test within the past 72 hours, as well as mask use, so double-check guidelines ahead of time. And keep reading for a variety of seasonal treats from throughout town.


Nothing screams Christmas in New York quite like “The Nutcracker,” especially George Balanchine’s version, which is now being presented by the New York City Ballet through January 2. Onstage, the legendary one-ton Christmas tree grows from 12 to 41 feet. On December 11, “The Brooklyn Nutcracker” will be performed at the Kings Theater; enjoy a blend of ballet, hip-hop, and dance genres from throughout the world.

Carnegie Hall

The spectacular music hall will offer holiday-themed performances this month, beginning on December 16 with “Sing! An Irish Christmas” with Keith and Kristyn Getty. The next day, Tony Award winner Laura Benanti will perform with the New York Pops in their annual “Back Home for the Holidays” concert. Then, on December 20, the Oratorio Society of New York will perform Handel’s “Messiah,” Musica Sacra will perform the next day, and the Masterwork Chorus and Orchestra will perform on December 23. On December 27, Russian pianist Katya Grineva will perform a selection of Bach, Tchaikovsky, and other greats in “A Classical Holiday.”


Outdroos in Midtown

Bloomingdale’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, and Macy’s windows are once again adorned with glistening holiday lights and snow-filled displays. A T. rex wearing a Christmas tree decked with dinosaur decorations and an owl teaching reindeer how to fly are among the highlights. (Check out the front yard displays in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, for homemade but equally stunning mechanical Santas.)

Take time to appreciate Rockefeller Center’s 79-foot-tall Norway spruce, which is now illuminated until at least New Year’s Eve. The Rockefeller Center ice rink costs $20-$54 per person, plus a $10 skate rental fee. Bryant Park, the city’s only free ice skating rink, allows you to bring your own skates or rent them there. In addition, its Winter Village, an open-air market modeled by Europe, sells local crafts, artisan items, and foreign gifts.

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