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What to Do on Christmas Day in Brooklyn and NYC

December 20, 2012

You may be looking for something to do on Christmas, whether you celebrate or not. Surprisingly, there are quite a few places open and events taking place. Some people love Christmas Day as their pajama day and others love their Christmas Day movie and a Chinese dinner (aka Jewish Christmas), but just in case you are looking for a change, we have lots of options for you.

You can catch a movie, but why not see some live theatre?
The “Gazillion Bubble Show” is wonderful: I call this show “a rave for kids.” We have been twice (by my choice) because I love it so much. They have seats for their 7 pm performance.
You can also catch  the Radio City Christmas Spectacular (which I always like) which has 3 performance times that day.
Smaller kids will love Angelina Ballerina: The Very Merry Holiday Musical. I haven’t seen the Christmas musical but I adored the regular performance.
For reviews and synopses of those theater productions, visit our Holiday Theater page.

There is nothing more fun than being one of the few people at a zoo, where you can get close to the fence to watch the animals.
Head to The Prospect Park Zoo and Central Park Zoo for some wild fun; they are all open 365 days a week.  The Central Park Zoo is showing two family-friendly short films, Planet Earth: Ice Worlds from BBC Earth and THE POLAR EXPRESS 4-D Experience,  in their 4-D theater.
The Bronx Zoo is closed and The NY Aquarium is still closed due to damage from Hurricane Sandy.

Christmas Lights
For a festive evening with spectacular views of Brooklyn’s best Christmas Lights, check out our guide to the Christmas lights in Brooklyn. If you head to Dyker Heights, reader Lauren specifically recommended stopping off at Pacificana, which Zagat called,  “probably the best Chinese food in Brooklyn”.

The following museums are open:
The Jewish Museum. Check out the kids’ archaeology zone and stay for one of three concerts by the Macaroons. The Macaroons deliver catchy pop-rock with tunes like Hurry Up and Light the Candle and Mezuzah.
Madame Tussaud’s in Time Square. It’s open from 9 am- 10 pm and I do like the movie theatre across from it if you want to catch a flick afterwards.
The King Tut Exhibit at Discovery Times Square. I haven’t seen this yet, but I think this could be a great option if you have K and up aged kids.
The Museum of Mathematics. This fabulous new museum is great for all ages and teaches math concepts by using play. If you don’t make it to the Museum on Christmas Day, put it on your calendar for another time.

Ice Skating
Ice skating on Christmas? Yes! Believe it or not, this is one of the best times to go skating. The public skating times are less crowded so you can try that big axel you have been itching to do.
Chelsea Piers Sky Rink (INDOOR) is open for public skating from 12-5:20 pm.
City Ice Pavilion (INDOOR) in LIC is open also.
Lasker Ice Rink (OUTDOOR) which IMO, is the best outdoor public ice rink in NYC, is open from 11 am- 11 pm.
The Pond at Bryant Park (OUTDOOR) is also open.
Wollman Rink, l
ocated in the middle of Central Park, is open from 10 am- 11 pm.

Christmas Day Religious Services
We have a list of caroling, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services that are taking place all over Brooklyn. Check them out here.

Holiday Windows
This is one of my all-time favorite things to do in NY during the holidays.
For my preferred window loop:
I take the 4,5,6 to 59th Street or the C to Columbus Circle. You can also take the N,R,W to Lexington Ave. If you start at Columbus Circle- take a look at the Time Warner Center’s 14 foot stars. If you end up at 59th Street instead, head north to Barney’s first and then go down 5th Ave to catch the Swarkowski star and 5th Avenue in all its holiday splendor. (My list below is in order of how to go.)
660 Madison Ave (btw. 60th and 61st St) The theme is based on “Saturday Night Live”. The photos I have seen posted from the display, are really over the top hilarious.
Bergdorf Goodman 754 Fifth Avenue (at 57th St) There is a trippy Lewis Carroll display in the women’s store, and a take off of The Fantastic Mr. Fox by Raold Dahl across the street at the men’s store.
Henri Bendel
712 Fifth Ave (at 56th St)
Cartier 2 East 52nd Street (at 5th Ave) I love Cartier’s big red bow and incredible display of millions of tiny lights.
Don’t forget
to check out these other displays in the vicinity: Saks (which is usually middling though), Tiffany’s, Louis Vuitton (which was stellar last year) and others along Madison and 5th Aves.

My second choice window loop: I do these windows if I have extra time (what? Extra time?! ) Take the B,D,F,N,Q,R,V,W to Herald Square or the 6 to 33 Street. You might pop up to Grand Central and see the train show there in the Transit Annex.
Lord & Taylor 39th Street at 5th Avenue. These are slated to be really good this year. I am going to make a special effort to see these.
Macy’s Herald Square, Broadway between 34th and 35th Street. I generally find these color saturated and rather mediocre. But, it is a tradition.

Have a wonderful weekend!