New York City events December 2020. Things to do in NYC.

New York City
Best events for 12 months

New York City events December 2020

African films

December 1 - 6, 2020
(begins Nov. 27)
4 miles north
See dozens of films focused on the lives of African people during African Diaspora International Film Festival (ADIFF), with most screenings at Cinema Village & Teachers College at Columbia University.

Holiday market - Union Square

December 1 - 24, 2020
(begins Nov. 19)
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.

Holiday market - Central Park

December 2 - 24, 2020
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.

Pottery show

December 4 - 6, 2020
20 miles north
The Pottery Show and Sale is a famous curated event at the Art School at Old Church in Demarest, NJ.

Thanksgiving scavenger hunt

December 5, 2020
multiple locations
Cranksgiving is a scavenger hunt on your bicycle for Thanksgiving food that you donate to charity, plus an after party. Bring cash, a bag/pack, and a bike lock.

Craft fair

December 5 - 6, 2020
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.

Nutcracker set in New York

December 11 - 13, 2020
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.

Christmas concert

December 12, 2020
1.1 miles south
Advent Concert features music, inspirational readings, and dance at Marble Collegiate Church.

Boombox/smartphone concert

December 13, 2020
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.

Handel’s Messiah

December 16, 2020
(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.

Street music festival

December 21, 2020
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.

Handel’s Messiah

December 23, 2020
0.5 miles north
The Masterwork Chorus and Orchestra perform Handel’s Messiah with four soloists in Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall, an annual tradition since 1961.

Caroling

December 24, 2020
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, 2020
3.1 miles south
Matzoball NYC is an annual event with DJ music at Capitale for age 21+.

Gospel concert

December 24 - 25, 2020
4 miles north
Harlem Gospel Holiday Celebration promises an hour of powerful music that brings joy to your heart and soul at Mount Olivet Baptist Church.

Shred bad memories

December 28, 2020
0.5 miles west
Say goodbye to your worst memories of 2020 so you can start fresh in 2021 by tossing them into the shredder at Good Riddance Day in Times Square, on Broadway between 45th & 46th.

New Year’s Eve - biking/skating

December 31, 2020
multiple locations
New Year’s Eve Bike Ride for bikers or skaters has three starting points that all lead to an indoor dance party and potluck at Belvedere Castle. This event is run by the environmental organization Time’s Up. Free.

New Year’s Eve - restaurants

December 31, 2020
NYC locations
OpenTable lists restaurants that offer special menus and celebrations on New Year’s Eve.

New Year’s Eve fireworks cruise

December 31, 2020
multiple locations
Listed by boarding time and boat, these cruises feature views of the midnight fireworks for age 21+.

New Year’s Eve - Times Square

December 31, 2020
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 - Sony Hall

December 31, 2020
0.6 miles west
Metropolis NYE has DJ music, live performances, an open bar, and a “City of Tomorrow” theme in Sony Hall for age 21+.

New Year’s Eve - The Plaza

December 31, 2020
0.6 miles north
Spend “an unforgettable evening” at the $895 New Year’s Eve Ball, with live entertainment, dancing, passed hors d’oeuvres, a buffet, dessert, an open bar, a countdown, and champagne in The Palm Court.

New Year’s Eve - AMC

December 31, 2020
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 - show tunes

December 31, 2020
1.1 miles NW
Celebrate the new year with Broadway and film hits, Viennese waltzes, and operetta gems, featuring special guests singing with the New York Philharmonic in David Geffen Hall.

New Year’s Eve - run

December 31, 2020
1.2 miles north
Register for the NYRR Midnight Run for a four-mile run on Central Park’s inner loop, midnight fireworks, and a post-event party. Each runner is given a wristband for one guest. See the web page entry points.

Fireworks in Central Park

December 31, 2020
1.3 miles north
Fireworks are launched from Cherry Hill in Central Park at midnight. Sections of the park will be closed for the Midnight Run, but the web page says “The general public may still view fireworks from south of 72nd Street inside the park.” Expect strict security. Free.

New Year’s Eve - Webster Hall

December 31, 2020
2.2 miles south
Webster Hall New Year’s Eve has DJs on three floors, 100,000 balloons that drop at midnight, fire and aerial performers, “sexy dancers and glamorous freaks,” an open bar, and a champagne toast at midnight in Webster Hall. Age 19+ to attend, age 21+ to drink.

New Year’s Eve - peace concert

December 31, 2020
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. Free except reserved seats.

New Year’s Eve decadent party

December 31, 2020
4.2 miles south
Demimonde: New Year’s Eve Ball 2020 is an unforgettable New Year’s Eve party by Dances of Vice with “decadent performance artists” and live bands at Down Town Association, a landmarked four story, multi-room old world speakeasy for age 21+.

Decadent New Year’s Eve show

December 31, 2020
7 miles SE
“The most sensual, decadent troupe in New York City,” Company XIV performs a special performance of its burlesque Nutcracker Rouge with complimentary hors d’oeuvres, a cocktail, a midnight toast, and an after-party with the cast at Théâtre XIV in Bushwick for age 21+.

Fireworks in Prospect Park

December 31, 2020
7 miles south
Enjoy live entertainment followed at midnight by New Year’s Eve Fireworks at Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn. Free.

New Year’s Eve with knights

December 31, 2020
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.

Holiday market - Grand Central

December 2020
(undated)
0.5 miles SW
Grand Central Holiday Fair is a holiday market with 40 vendors in Vanderbilt Hall. Closed on Thanksgiving Day. Free.

Winter in Bryant Park

December 2020
(undated)
0.5 miles south
Winter Village at Bryant Park has a free ice skating rink with skates for rent, plus 125 holiday kiosks. Minors require an adult to skate.

Train show at Grand Central

December 2020
(undated)
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 the New York Transit Museum’s Grand Central Gallery. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. Free.

Prayers for pets

December 2020
(undated)
0.8 miles north
Arrive early with your pet for Blessing of the Animals by a minister and a rabbi at Christ Church. Free.

Tasting in Chelsea

December 2020
(undated)
1.1 miles south
Enjoy tastes from “60 breweries, cideries, and distilleries” from New York state, plus food for sale at Fruit and Grain: a Beer and Cider Festival in Eventi Hotel.

The Nutcracker

December 2020
(undated)
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 2020
(undated)
1.2 miles south
Jingle Ball brings big-name music artists every December to Madison Square Garden.

Cabaret & music theater festival

December 2020
(undated)
1.4 miles SW
Winter Rhythms features cabaret & theater stars in 18 shows at Urban Stages Theatre.

Motorcycle show

December 2020
(undated)
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 in the Jacob Javits Convention Center.

Music in the Guggenheim

December 2020
(undated)
2.4 miles north
Stand on the spiral staircase of the Guggenheim Museum, or sit in its rotunda, to watch the Rotunda Holiday Concert with “joyous sounds of holiday music.”

Formal ball

December 2020
(undated)
3.4 miles south
Dress formally for the Winter Ball Speakeasy, which features a sextet playing jazz and holiday songs, hors d’oeuvres, and a complimentary cocktail at 1803 NYC for age 21+.

Breakdancing finals

December 2020
(undated)
3.6 miles south
Watch the world’s best compete at World Bboy Battle Championships at Tribeca Performing Arts Center in Manhattan.

Winter solstice concert

December 2020
(undated)
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.

Spirits tasting

December 2020
(undated)
4.4 miles SE
Taste samples of 100 styles of whiskey, vodka, gin, and tequila, and meet the makers at Brooklyn Whiskey and Spirits Fest, with live music and food for sale at Brooklyn Expo Center for age 21+.

Weird flea market

December 2020
(undated)
6 miles SE
Feast your eyes on anatomical curiosities, skeletons, natural history items, taxidermy, obscure home decor, jewelry, and dark art sold by 75 artists and purveyors at A Holiday Oddities Flea Market at Villain.

Menorah lighting

December 2020
(undated)
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.

Lights at the zoo

December 2020
(undated)
9 miles north
See animal lanterns, animated sculptures, and colorful designs lit by LEDs during Holiday Lights at the Bronx Zoo, with a holiday train, roaming carolers, and ice carvers.

Latke Festival

December 2020
(undated)
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.

Chinese lantern festival + market

December 2020
(undated)
10.2 miles east
See 120 lantern exhibits, watch cultural performances, browse the marketplace, and shop at food vendors during Hello Panda Festival at Citi Field. Free to age 3.

Nutcracker in Queens

December 2020
(undated)
10.5 miles east
The Nutcracker is a family-friendly show that “follows a little girl’s journey through a fantasy world of fairies, princes, toy soldiers, and an army of mice, set to Tchaikovsky’s beloved music” at Kupferberg Center for the Arts in Flushing.

Hip Nutcracker

December 2020
(undated)
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.

Modern Nutcracker

December 2020
(undated)
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.

Staten Island lantern festival

December 2020
(undated)
11.6 miles south via ferry
NYC Winter Lantern Festival has “1,000 lanterns sculpted into magnificent figures of luminescent art” on eight acres at Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden, with live cultural shows and interactive exhibits. Skating for an extra fee. Follow directions for free Staten Island ferry and shuttle bus.

Holiday Train Show

December 2020
(undated)
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.

Science day in Brooklyn

December 2020
(undated)
12 miles south
City of Science offers interactive demonstrations and hands-on activities about science, technology, math, and engineering indoors at Park Slope Armory YMCA. Free.

Adult night - train show

December 2020
(undated)
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.

Nutcracker in New Jersey

December 2020
(undated)
36 miles west
The Nutcracker by New Jersey Ballet features “splendid dancing, a full orchestra, eye-popping special effects, and a touch of holiday magic” at Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown, NJ.

Christmas tree lighting

December 2020
(undated)
0 miles
Brave the crowds and winter weather to watch the Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting and live entertainment. The tree stays lit until mid January. Free.

Santa bar crawl

December 2020
(undated)
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 2020
(undated)
0 miles
Hear Christmas carols and sing along at Merry Tuba Christmas at The Rink at Rockefeller Center. Free.

Big-band holiday concert

December 2020
(undated)
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.

Charles Dickens’ Christmas

December 2020
(undated)
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, which is recommended for age 10+. An optional pre-show reception called “Christmas Spirit” is available some nights.

A Charlie Brown Christmas

December 2020
(undated)
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.

Christmas on Long Island

December 2020
(undated)
27 miles east
See designer Christmas trees, visit the gingerbread village, watch live entertainment, ice skate, and tour the museum during Long Island Festival of Trees at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City,

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