New York City events December 2018. Things to do in NYC.

New York City
Best events for 12 months

New York City events December 2018

Thanksgiving scavenger hunt

December 1, 2018
multiple locations
Cranksgiving is a scavenger hunt on your bicycle for Thanksgiving food that you donate to charity, plus an after party. Bring $20, a bag/pack, and a bike lock.

Formal ball

December 1, 2018 (8 p.m.)
1.5 miles south
Dress formally for The Winter Ball, which features a sextet playing jazz and holiday songs, a dance lesson at 8:30 p.m., a no-host bar, and food for sale at Spin New York, decorated as a “winter wonderland” for age 21+.

Weird holiday slideshow

December 1, 2018 (1 p.m.)
1.6 miles south
You’re welcome to dress for the holidays at Charles Phoenix: Holiday Jubilee, featuring vintage photos, quick-witted commentary, and hilarious jokes from eccentric Charles Phoenix at Grammercy Theater.

Spirits tasting

December 1, 2018
4.4 miles SE
Taste samples and meet distillers making 100 styles of rum, cognac, whiskey, vodka, gin, and tequila at Brooklyn Whiskey and Craft Spirits Fest, with live music and food for sale at Brooklyn Expo Center for age 21+.

Cheese festival

December 1, 2018 (6 to 9 p.m.)
9 miles east
Taste unlimited samples from artisanal creameries plus chef dishes, beer, and cider at The Great Northeast Cheese Fest at Flushing Town Hall.

Motorcycle show

December 1 - 2, 2018
1.5 miles SW
Find sport bikes, dirt bikes, scooters, ATVs, expert advice, live entertainment, and family activities at the New York International Motorcycle Show [sound] in the Jacob Javits Convention Center.

Weird flea market

December 1 - 2, 2018 (noon, VIP 10 a.m.)
4.1 miles SE
Feast your eyes on anatomical curiosities, skeletons, natural history items, taxidermy, obscure home decor, jewelry, and dark art sold by 60 artists and purveyors at A Holiday Oddities Flea Market in the lobby of Brooklyn Bazaar.

Christmas show

December 1 - 2, 2018
11 miles south
Cirque Dreams Holidaze features flying reindeer, jumping gingerbread men, rousing music, amazing costumes, and Santa at Kings Theatre in Brooklyn.

Pottery show

December 1 - 2, 2018
20 miles north
The Pottery Show and Sale is a famous curated event at the Art School at Old Church in Demarest, NJ.

Christmas tree lighting

December 1 - 8, 2018
Locations below
See a free tree-lighting ceremony, often with music.

Dog films

December 2, 2018
1.8 miles south
The Dog Film Festival features films about the bond between dogs and humans at School of Visual Arts. No pets in the theater.

Menorah lighting

December 2 - 9, 2018
7 miles south
Celebrate Chanukah nightly with live music and hot latkes at the Lighting of the Menorah, which is 32 feet tall, at Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn. Free.

Latke Festival

December 3, 2018
9.1 miles south
Your ticket to Latke Festival includes the potato treats made by dozens of top chefs, plus alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages at the Brooklyn Museum.

Whisky festival

December 4, 2018
0.5 miles west
Sample 400 whiskies, and learn from master distillers and blenders at $275 WhiskyFest at Marriott Marquis.

The Nutcracker

December 4 - 30, 2018
1.1 miles NW
George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker is a holiday tradition with old-fashioned costumes, a tree that grows before your eyes, crystal-shaped snowflakes, fine choreography by New York City Ballet, and Tchaikovsky’s captivating music at David H. Koch Theater.

Star-studded concert

December 7, 2018 (SOLD OUT)
1.2 miles south
Jingle Ball brings big-name music artists every December to Madison Square Garden.

Santa bar crawl

December 8, 2018 (10 a.m. to 8 p.m.)
NYC locations
Wear a Santa suit and start at one of the bars that will be listed Friday night on the Santacon website. Donation. Organizers ask you to obey all laws and be polite. You must sign into Facebook to see the official page.

Tuba concert

December 9, 2018 (3:30 p.m.)
0 miles
Hear Christmas carols and sing along at Merry Tuba Christmas at The Rink at Rockefeller Center. Free.

Prayers for pets

December 9, 2018 (2 to 3 p.m.)
0.8 miles north
Arrive early with your pet for Blessing of the Animals by a minister and a rabbi at Christ Church. Free.

Christmas concert

December 9, 2018 (2:30 to 4 p.m.)
1.1 miles south
Advent Concert features sacred songs, classical music, inspirational readings, and a dance performance at Marble Collegiate Church.

Nutcracker set in New York

December 9, 2018 (5 p.m.)
1.2 miles north
The Yorkville Nutcracker is a ballet set to Tchaikovsky’s music with familiar “Old New York” backgrounds like Central Park at Kaye Playhouse.

Hip-hop holiday concert

December 13, 2018 (8 p.m.)
11 miles south
Hear R&B, hip hop, and rap at Hot 97’s Hot for the Holidays featuring Trey Songz, Tory Lanez, Lil Baby, Gunna, and Flipp Dinero at Kings Theatre in Brooklyn.

Modern Nutcracker

December 14, 2018 (7 p.m.)
11 miles south
Based on the classic story about a girl’s dreams on Christmas Eve, The Brooklyn Nutcracker fuses ballet, hip hop, and world dance genres “to represent the diverse traditions and vibrant culture of melting pot Brooklyn” at Kings Theatre.

Christmas show in Harlem

December 15 - 16, 2018
6 miles north
A Harlemettes Holiday is a song and dance show “that moves to the rhythm of jazz, blues, and hip hop” at Harlem School of the Arts.

Latino circus

December 15 - 16, 2018
7.3 miles north
Circo Hermanos Vazquez features human cannonballs, graceful dancers, daring acrobats, and crazy clowns in a heated tent in the Bronx. The show is visual, with announcements made in both English and Spanish.

Ticket deal $5 to $30

Cabaret & music theater festival

December 15 - 22, 2018
1.4 miles SW
Winter Rhythms features cabaret & theater stars in 22 shows at Urban Stages Theatre.

Holiday market - Central Park

December 15 - 24, 2018
0.5 miles north
Enjoy a hot beverage or meal, and shop for gifts from 150 vendors at the Columbus Circle Holiday Market at Central Park West and 59th Street. Free.

Holiday market - Grand Central

December 15 - 24, 2018
0.5 miles SW
Grand Central Holiday Fair is a holiday market with 40 vendors in Vanderbilt Hall. Closed on Thanksgiving Day. Free.

Holiday market - Union Square

December 15 - 24, 2018
1.8 miles south
Find handmade jewelry, fine art, clothing, ornaments, toys, food, and drink at Union Square Holiday Market in Union Square Park. Free.

Charles Dickens’ Christmas

December 15 - 29, 2018
2.5 miles south
Hear an actor dressed as Charles Dickens read in an elegant, festive parlor at A Christmas Carol at the Merchant’s House. Optional pre-show reception some nights.

A Charlie Brown Christmas

December 15 - 30, 2018
3 miles east
Based on the TV special, A Charlie Brown Christmas features the famous Peanuts cartoon characters learning the true meaning of Christmas on stage at The Secret Theatre in Long Island City.


December 15 - 31, 2018
8.9 miles south
A WinterFest ticket gets you into the North Pole Experience, which includes a tree maze, Santa house & garden, Santa outdoor museum, and the chocolate story & tasting (hot chocolate or cider plus a plate of chocolate tastes) at the Brooklyn Museum. Optional wine tasting. Closed Mondays except Dec. 24 & 31.

Winter in Bryant Park

December 15, 2018 - Jan. 2, 2019
0.5 miles south
Winter Village at Bryant Park has a free ice skating rink with skates for rent, plus 125 holiday kiosks.

Adult night - train show

December 15, 2018 - Jan. 12, 2019
12 miles north
Sip a cocktail under holiday lights, see model trains circle a miniature New York, and warm up at the fire pit during Bar Car Nights at the Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden for age 21.

Ticket deal $32

Risque Nutcracker

December 15 - 24, 2018
7.4 miles SE
Nutcracker Rouge is a glittery burlesque-inspired blend of theater, cirque, drag, and dance portraying an erotic and opulent version of the holiday ballet in Brooklyn.

Holiday Train Show

December 15, 2018 - Jan. 21, 2019
12 miles north
Watch model trains zip around miniature New York landmarks made of plant materials, and enjoy kids’ activities at the Holiday Train Show at New York Botanical Garden. Closed Dec. 3, 10, 25; Jan. 7, 14.

Ticket deal $7 - $25 (Dec. 16+)

Train show at Grand Central

December 15, 2018 - Feb. 24, 2019
0.6 miles south
The Holiday Train Show features a 34-foot-long model train layout (O gauge) with trains and subways that run on eight loops of track inside the New York Transit Museum Store. Closed Nov. 22, Dec. 25, Jan. 1. Free.

Boombox/smartphone concert

December 16, 2018 (6 p.m.)
2.1 miles south
Download the music, and then play it on cue with the crowd at Unsilent Night, which goes from Washington Square Park to Tompkins Square Park. Free.

Tea dance

December 16, 2018 (2 to 6 p.m.)
9.7 miles south
The Jazz Age Tea Dance features a live orchestra, a dance lesson at 3 p.m., exotic teas, a cash bar, and “complimentary holiday sweets and lights treats” with other food for sale at The Bell House in Brooklyn.

Music in the Guggenheim

December 16 - 17, 2018
2.4 miles north
Stand on the spiral staircase of the Guggenheim Museum to watch the Rotunda Holiday Concert featuring Vox Vocal Ensemble. Consider making a dinner reservation at their restaurant beforehand.

Mad scientist

December 16 - 29, 2018
0.4 miles west
A chemistry professor performs amazing feats in That Chemistry Show, which “combines the worlds of chemistry and show business” to surprise and entertain you at The Playroom Theater.

Ticket deal $32 (weekends)

Dr. Seuss musical

December 16 - 30, 2018
1.2 miles SW
How The Grinch Stole Christmas is a live family musical about a grumpy grinch who tries to deny the people of Whoville their holiday cheer but can’t dent their Christmas spirit at Madison Square Garden.

Ticket deal $35 to $82

Christmas play

December 16 - 30, 2018
2.4 miles south
A Christmas Carol is Charles Dickens’ classic story of Ebenezer Scrooge, Christmas ghosts, and Tiny Tim at Players Theatre in Greenwich Village.

Ticket deal $24

Christmas spectacular

December 17, 2018 - Jan. 1, 2019
0 miles
Radio City Christmas Spectacular features dancers, drones, fireworks, and a flying Santa at Radio City Music Hall. Pre-show, meet a Rockette or Santa, and admire 10,000 crystals hanging in the Grand Foyer.

Ticket deal $49 to $85

Handel’s Messiah

December 19, 2018 (7:30 p.m.)
0.6 miles north
The Musica Sacra Chorus and Orchestra performs Handel’s Messiah with a 30-member chorus and 20-player orchestra at Carnegie Hall.

Big-band holiday concert

December 19 - 23, 2018
1 mile NW
Big Band Holidays features the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis playing swinging and soulful renditions of your favorite holiday music, plus a vocalist.

Women in song

December 19, 2018 - Jan. 5, 2019 (2 p.m.)
0.6 miles west
This One’s for the Girls is a high-energy celebration of women featuring popular songs like I am Woman, Respect, and I Will Survive at cozy St. Luke’s Theatre.

Ticket deal $34

Opera by Mozart

December 19, 2018 - Jan. 5, 2019
1.1 miles NW
The Magic Flute is an adventure-filled tale of good versus evil in which love conquers all, performed in English at the Metropolitan Opera House.

Ticket deal $50 to $95

Winter solstice concert

December 20 - 22, 2018
3.6 miles north
Celebrate the darkest night of the year at the secular Winter Solstice Celebration featuring musicians, vocalists, and the 25 dancers and drummers of the Forces of Nature Dance Theatre in The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine.

Street music festival

December 21, 2018
NYC locations
Make Music Winter is a dozen musical parades on the streets and sidewalks on the first day of winter. Come watch, or join in as described for each event. A similar event is held in June. Free.

Caribbean musical

December 22, 2018 (3 p.m.)
4.5 miles north
Citizens of Jamaica fight the overreach of American commercialism in a show full of surprising sets, colorful costumes, and Calypso-inspired songs at Harlem Repertory Theatre.

Ticket deal $13 to $25

Classic drama about prejudice

December 22, 2018 (7 p.m.)
4.5 miles north
A black family moves to the white side of Chicago in A Raisin in the Sun, a groundbreaking classic that became a movie starring Sidney Poitier, live at Harlem Repertory Theatre.

Ticket deal $7.50

Craft fair

December 22 - 23, 2018
4.4 miles SE
Shop from 200 artisans, chefs, and vintage vendors at Renegade Craft Fair, which also offers food trucks and cocktails at Brooklyn Expo Center. Free.

Hip Nutcracker

December 23, 2018 (6 p.m.)
11 miles south
The Hip Hop Nutcracker gives Tchaikovsky’s score a modern twist with 12 hip-hop dancers (including “King of Rap” Kurtis Blow), an on-stage DJ, an electric violinist, and a digital background with an urban vibe, at Kings Theatre in Brooklyn.


December 24, 2018 (5 to 6 p.m.)
2.1 miles south
Join the carolers and brass quartet at Christmas Eve Caroling at the arch in Washington Square Park. Free.

Jewish party

December 24, 2018 (10 p.m.)
3.1 miles south
Matzoball NYC is an annual event with DJ music at Capitale for age 21+.


December 26 - 30, 2018
1.2 miles west
Emmy-nominated magician Matt Roberts brings his humorous and astounding interactive magic show for all ages to The Green Room 42.

Ticket deal $20 to $35

Shred bad memories

December 28, 2018
0.5 miles west
Say goodbye to your worst memories of 2018 so you can start fresh in 2019 by tossing them into the shredder at Good Riddance Day in Times Square.

Holiday Jazz Cruise

December 28 - 30, 2018
2.4 miles SW
Enjoy skyline views, holiday jazz performed by a trio, and a complimentary drink on the Holiday Jazz Cruise aboard a decorated 1920s-style yacht departing from Pier 62 at Chelsea Piers.

Ticket deal $64

New Year’s Eve - restaurants

December 31, 2018
NYC locations
OpenTable lists restaurants that offer special menus and celebrations on New Year’s Eve.

New Year’s Eve - Times Square

December 31, 2018
0.5 miles west
New Year’s Eve in Times Square has dazzling lights, big-name music, balloons, confetti, fireworks, and a crystal ball that drops at midnight. To join the crowd seeing it live, read the FAQ and arrive early. Free.

New Year’s Eve - AMC

December 31, 2018
0.7 miles SW
Watch movies or dance all night at New Year’s Eve on adult floors with open bars and mini buffets, or get tickets for the Family Fun New Year’s Eve without alcohol at AMC Theater on West 42nd Street.

New Year’s Eve - Midtown

December 31, 2018 (9 p.m.)
1 mile SW
Ring in the New Year at District Social NYC, a newer bar in Midtown West that offers two floors to roam, retro decor, an open bar, and a complimentary champagne toast at midnight for age 21+.

Ticket deal $45

New Year’s Eve - show tunes

December 31, 2018 (7:30 to 9:30 p.m.)
1.1 miles NW
Celebrate the new year with Broadway and film hits, Viennese waltzes, and operetta gems at Bernstein on Broadway, featuring soprano Renée Fleming and the New York Philharmonic in David Geffen Hall.

New Year’s Eve - run

December 31, 2018
1.2 miles north
Free music and dancing begin at 10 p.m., fireworks at midnight, plus a 4-mile NYRR Midnight Run that requires registration, all at Central Park Bandshell.

New Year’s Eve - peace concert

December 31, 2018 (7 to 9 p.m.)
3.6 miles north
Uplifting New Year’s Eve Concert for Peace offers choir and orchestra music, solo singers, and bright candles in The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine.

New Year’s Eve - fireworks

December 31, 2018 (10:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.)
7 miles south
Enjoy entertainment and hot chocolate, and then watch the New Year’s Eve Fireworks at midnight at Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn. Free.

New Year’s Eve dance party

December 31, 2018 (9 p.m.)
location uncertain
New Year’s Eve in Brooklyn, NY features David Guetta in a Brooklyn warehouse for age 18+.

New Year’s Eve decadent party

December 31, 2018 (9 p.m.)
10.2 miles south
The Celestial Ball is an unforgettable New Year’s Eve party by Dances of Vice with exotic acts and live bands at India House.

New Year’s Eve with knights

December 31, 2018
10.7 miles NE
Ring in the New Year with the lords and ladies of Medieval Times. Ticket includes admission to the Museum of Torture, a two-hour live tournament, a four-course meal, party favors, DJ dancing, and champagne at midnight (or kids’ beverage) in Lyndhurst, NJ.

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