New York City events, festivals, things to do – December 2018

New York City
calendar of events

December 2018
best events in New York City

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.

African films

December 1 - 9, 2018 (begins Nov. 23)

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 Vilalge & Teachers College at Columbia University.
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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.

Santa bar crawl

December 8, 2018

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 Santas to obey all laws and be polite. The 2018 date is on their Facebook page.

Zombie & horror convention

December 8 - 9, 2018

33.4 miles SW

Zombie lovers will find celebrities, panels, vendors, and artists at Walker Stalker Con at The New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center in Edison, NJ.

Chocolate & airplanes

December 9, 2018

27 miles east

Chocolate Expo offers tastings & sales of chocolates, baked goods, specialty foods, gelato, and wine at the Cradle of Aviation Museum on Long Island, and your ticket includes museum admission. Held in March and December.

Fake wedding

December 11, 2018 (7 p.m.)

7 miles south

Attend an emotional wedding ceremony, have a drink and appetizers (included), and dance at a reception while you check out wedding vendors in action at The Big Fake Wedding New York City at Brooklyn Historical Society.

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.

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.

New Year’s Eve - restaurants

December 31, 2018

NYC locations

Find a list of restaurants that offer special menus and celebrations for New Year’s Eve at OpenTable.

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 - 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 party

December 31, 2018

1.5 miles SW

Hot 97 New Year’s Eve Extravaganza features DJ music, an open bar, a complimentary buffet, and a champagne toast at Rosewood Theater for age 21+.

New Year’s Eve - peace concert

December 31, 2018

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

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 in Jersey City

December 31, 2018

7.3 miles SW

Enjoy an open bar, food, a champagne toast, DJ music, and skyline views at New Year’s in Jersey City at Harborside Atrium in Jersey City, NJ for age 21+.

New Year’s Eve decadent party

December 31, 2018

10.2 miles south

Dances of Vice promises “illicit luxury and debonair decadence from eras past in rooms invoking a 19th century French bordello, an early 20th-century cabaret, and a timeless Babylon that plumbs the depths of pleasure seeking” at Demimonde with exotic acts and live bands at Down Town Association.

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 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.

New Year’s Eve dance party

December 31, 2018

11.7 miles south

New Year’s Eve in Brooklyn, NY features David Guetta in a massive warehouse at Depot 52 for age 18+.

Holiday market - Central Park

December 2018 (undated)

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 2018 (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 2018 (undated)

0.5 miles south

Winter Village at Bryant Park has a free ice skating rink with skates for rent, plus 125 holiday kiosks that stay open until Jan. 2.

Train show at Grand Central

December 2018 (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 New York Transit Museum Store. Closed on holidays. Free.

Prayers for pets

December 2018 (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.

Winter solstice celebration

December 2018 (undated)

1 mile NW

NYC Secular Solstice promises non-religious songs and stories about values & human history to celebrate the winter solstice at New York Society for Ethical Culture.

Star-studded concert

December 2018 (undated)

1.2 miles south

Jingle Ball brings big-name music artists every December to Madison Square Garden.

Cabaret & music theater festival

December 2018 (undated)

1.4 miles SW

Winter Rhythms features cabaret & theater stars in 22 shows at Urban Stages Theatre.

Motorcycle show

December 2018 (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.

Dog films

December 2018 (undated)

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.

Holiday market - Union Square

December 2018 (undated)

1.8 miles south

Find handmade jewelry, fine art, clothing, ornaments, toys, food, and drink at Union Square Holiday Market in Union Square Park. Closed for Thanksgiving. Free.

Boombox/smartphone concert

December 2018 (undated)

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.

Hitchcock radio theater

December 2018 (undated)

2.4 miles south

Lit by flickering candles, the actors of Radiotheatre NYC read different stories by Alfred Hitchcock each night during the Alfred Hitchcock Festival, with sound effects and the original symphonic score at St. John’s Lutheran Church on Christoper Street.

Music in the Guggenheim

December 2018 (undated)

2.4 miles north

Stand on the spiral staircase of the Guggenheim Museum to watch a Holiday Concert featuring Vox Vocal Ensemble. Consider making a dinner reservation at their restaurant beforehand.

Nutcracker dance

December 2018 (undated)

2.6 miles north

Nutcracker Winter Suite is a one-hour, family-friendly version that includes only the dance performances at Symphony Space.

Jewish party

December 2018 (undated)

3.1 miles south

Matzoball NYC is an annual event with DJ music at Capitale for age 21+.

Winter solstice concert

December 2018 (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.

Gospel concert

December 2018 (undated)

4 miles north

Harlem Gospel Holiday Celebration promises an hour of powerful music that brings joy to your heart and soul at 201 Lenox Avenue.

Menorah lighting

December 2018 (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.

Hip Nutcracker

December 2018 (undated)

7.8 miles north

The Hip Hop Nutcracker reimagines Tchaikovsky’s classic score with a dozen hip-hop dancers in an urban setting at United Palace.

Whiskey tasting

December 2018 (undated)

9 miles south

Taste American whiskey with cheese and bread at Tastings at OSH: American Whiskeys at Old Stone House of Brooklyn for age 21+, with access to the exhibits.

Hip Nutcracker

December 2018 (undated)

11 miles south

The Hip Hop Nutcracker gives Tchaikovsky’s score a modern twist with 12 hip-hop dancers (including rap icon Kurtis Blow) and digital scenery that gives it an urban vibe, at Kings Theatre in Brooklyn.

Holiday Train Show

December 2018 (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.

Adult night - train show

December 2018 (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 at Bar Car Nights at the Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden for age 21+.

Hip-hop holiday concert

December 2018 (undated)

18.8 miles west

Hear R&B, hip hop, and rap at Hot 97’s Hot for the Holidays featuring Chris Brown, 21 Savage, Meek Mill, Cardi B, Dave East, and Tee Grizzley at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ.

Long Island comic con

December 2018 (undated)

28.6 miles east

ACE Comic Con Long Island has celebrity guests, panel discussions, vendors, and a cosplay contest at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale.

Thanksgiving scavenger hunt

December 2018 (undated)

9 miles SE

Brooklyn 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 to Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration.

Tuba concert

December 2018 (undated)

0 miles

Hear Christmas carols and sing along at Merry Tuba Christmas at The Rink at Rockefeller Center. Free.

Handel’s Messiah

December 2018 (undated)

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 2018 (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.

Christmas concert

December 2018 (undated)

1.1 miles south

O Wondrous Mystery features sacred songs, classical music, inspirational readings, and a dance performance at Marble Collegiate Church.

The Nutcracker

December 2018 (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.

Handel’s Messiah

December 2018 (undated)

1.2 miles NW

See Handel’s Messiah performed in its entirety by the New York Philharmonic at Lincoln Center.

Nutcracker set in New York

December 2018 (undated)

1.2 miles north

The Yorkville Nutcracker is a ballet set to Tchaikovsky’s music with familiar backgrounds like Central Park at Kaye Playhouse.

Caroling

December 2018 (undated)

2.1 miles south

Join the carolers and brass quartet at Christmas Eve Caroling at the arch in Washington Square Park. Free.

Charles Dickens’ Christmas

December 2018 (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. Optional pre-show reception some nights.

Wine festival

December 2018 (undated)

4.4 miles SE

Taste 100 wines from around the world during Wine Riot at Brooklyn Expo Center for age 21+.

Christmas show in Harlem

December 2018 (undated)

6 miles north

Harlem Holiday Live is a song and dance show at Harlem School of the Arts.