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Bring the Kids to these Glimmering Light Displays in NYC

December 02 2019 | Arts & Culture

There is no place that does the holidays like New York City. Light displays, holiday markets, ice skating rinks and piping hot cocoa add to the feeling of being in a Christmas movie. If you want to take the kiddos out to marvel at holiday lights, you have a great variety of options – whether you want to catch some lights while holiday shopping or make an evening out of it.

Midtown Manhattan

Rockefeller Plaza

Watch this year’s tree lights up with 3,000 Swarovski crystals and thousands of LED lights in the center of NYC. The 87th annual tree lighting at Rockefeller Plaza will take place Wednesday, Dec. 4 from 8-10 pm. If that’s a little too late for a weeknight, you can tune into the spectacle on television and visit the shops and ice rink throughout December.

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Bryant Park Winter Village

Featuring the only ice rink with free admission and hundreds of outdoor vendors, Bryant Park is an exciting place for all ages. Take in the scene with kids over hot chocolate and holiday shopping through Jan. 5. The ice rink will stay open until March.

Central Park

Charles A. Dana Discovery Center

Head to Central Park on 110th Street between Fifth and Lenox avenues on the evening of Dec. 5 for the annual holiday lightning in Central Park, which features Christmas carols, pictures with Santa, and hot chocolate. The evening will end with the lightning of a flotilla of Christmas trees on the Harlem Meer. The event is set for Dec. 5 from 5:30 to 6:30 pm.

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Tavern on the Green

Plan a special dinner date with the kids at the Tavern on the Green in Central Park, which features impressive Christmas light displays in the evenings. Your kids will be surprised to know that the building was a former sheepfold!

Upper West Side

Holiday Under the Stars at the Shops at Columbus Circle

Whether you’re at the Shops at Columbus Circle or the outdoor holiday market, kids will love this unexpected light show. Head to the main lobby of the mall to watch the color-changing light display set to holiday music.

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Lincoln Square

Lincoln Square knows how to deck the halls for the holidays. Every year it hosts the annual Winter’s Eve holiday festival, which features free entertainment, outdoor food tastings and other family fun. Start with Lincoln Square's Upper West Side tree lighting ceremony at Dante Park. This year’s event is set for Monday, Dec. 2 from 5:30pm to 9pm, rain or shine. Winter’s Eve at Lincoln Square takes place in public spaces, select indoor venues and along the sidewalks of Lincoln Square, from The Shops at Columbus Circle to 70th Street - on and around Broadway.

Queens

Hello Panda Festival at Citi Field

For a festival of lights, the Hello Panda Festival has it all. Featuring light sculptures, lantern artistry, kid rides, food vendors, a beer garden and holiday shops, this light festival will delight kids of all ages. It runs Dec. 6-Jan. 26 from 5pm to 10pm. See more information on the Hello Panda Festival website.

Randall’s Island Park

Lumino City Festival

Take a journey through light at this year’s Lumino City Festival on Randall’s Island. Tour 12 acres of light exhibits with a bit of winter fantasy and sweet confectionary delights. Lumino City is great for all ages, with discounted tickets for kids. The island is accessible by shuttle, bus, subway, car, or by foot. Get all your info on the Lumino City website. Runs Nov. 23 through Jan. 5, 4-11pm.

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