Happy December, everyone! I don’t need to break the news to you- it is officially the holiday season. I wanted to do a round-up of things to do with the kids this holiday season in NYC that are a little less traditional. Sure, you can always go see the tree and go ice skating in Bryant Park. But here are some ideas if you are looking to do something new or just go off the beaten path a bit. As always, let me know what you think!

NYC Winter Lantern Festival

Located at Staten Island’s Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden, this event is as bright and festive as you can imagine. Really such a great opportunity for family photos. A true family experience, there will be live performances by dancers, magicians, and more. Not to mention, there will also be food.  

Find out more about this event and ticket pricing here.

Luminaries Interactive Exhibit

Inside Brookfield Place Mall (which is a gorgeous mall, by the way) is a canopy of lights that you can interact with. This is free and open daily December 4 thru through January 3 from 8 am to 10 pm. At the top of every hour is a light show set to classic and modern Christmas music. 

Right outside the mall is waterfront ice skating. There are also opportunities to take photos with Santa. You can click here to check out Santa’s schedule.

Holiday Train Show at Grand Central Terminal

The New York Transit Museum will be having its annual Holiday Train Show in Grand Central. From now until February 2020, you can see trains traveling through a two-level, 34-foot-long miniature New York City and countryside scene. The scene even includes vintage trains for viewing. I recommend checking out Grand Central’s event calendar here for a list of really cool events going on all season long. They have everything from scavenger hunts to a holiday fair.

Holiday Fun at The Paley Center’s Annual PaleyLand

From December 7 to January 5, The Paley Center for Media is hosting a Holiday fun land the whole family can enjoy. For just $10 you can get a souvenir photo and digital file with Santa or their Menorah. Not to mention, the whole place will have wonderful photo opportunities throughout. There will be games, crafts, and holiday-themed activities- plus free hot chocolate. Check out their schedule for holiday movie showings here.