Top 10 Holiday Shows in NYC for Families

Find the top things to do this month with kids in the NYC area in our Calendar of Events

UPDATED NOVEMBER 2014: Our roundup of kid-friendly NYC holiday shows for the 2014 season includes Broadway and Off-Broadway must-sees, from classic performances such as the Radio City Christmas Spectacular and The Nutcracker to new musicals like Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Get all the details on these family-friendly performances here.


The Three Bears Holiday Bash

three bears holiday bash

The Three Bears Holiday Bash, is a variety show that celebrates the holiday season in song, dance, and puppetry. This production quickly becomes a comedy of errors when Baby Bear invites Santa to star in Mama and Papa Bear's annual holiday show. The audience also gets to join in on the fun with a "12 days of Christmas" sing-a-long during the performance! Drawing from the stories of Hanukkah, the Night Before Christmas, and Kwanzaa, The Three Bears Holiday Bash is a great way to get into the holiday spirit!

Where: Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre in Central Park, West 81st Street and Central Park West, Upper West Side

When: Nov. 12 - Dec. 30; check website for show times

Running Time:

Ages: All ages

Tickets: $10; $7 children;

Radio City Christmas Spectacular

Radio City Christmas Spectacular Parade of Wooden Soldiers

Celebrate the holiday season in a way that only Radio City can deliver, with this iconic Christmas spectacle. Be wowed by favorite numbers such as "New York at Christmas," where the Rockettes board a real double-decker bus, and the high-energy tap number, "Twelve Days of Christmas." Of course, beloved classics like "The Parade of the Wooden Soldiers" and "The Living Nativity" will also be back.

Where: Radio City Music Hall, 1260 Sixth Ave. (between 50th and 51st streets)

When: Nov. 14 - Dec. 31; see website for show times

Running Time: 90 minutes

Ages: All ages; tots younger than 2 do not need a ticket but must sit on a parent or guardian’s lap

Tickets: $45-$299 (but check sites such as Groupon and Living Social for ticket deals); 866-858-0007 or


Fancy Nancy's Splendiferous Christmas

fancy nancy splendiferous christmas

Based on the book of the same name this production is a must-see for Fancy Nancy fans. What could be fancier than Christmas? Presents with elegant wrapping paper, festive decorations, Christmas cookies with sprinkles - and who could forget the tree? After all, there is no such thing as too much tinsel. Ooh la la! This year, Nancy is especially excited about decorating the Christmas tree. She bought a brand-new sparkly tree topper with her own money and has been waiting for Christmas to come. But when things don't turn out the way Nancy planned, will Christmas still be splendiferous? In this merriest of stories from best-selling author and illustrator team Jane O'Connor and Robin Preiss Glasser, Nancy proves once again that a little fancying up can go a long, festive way!

Where: Vital Theatre, 2162 Broadway, Upper West Side

When: Nov. 22 - Jan. 4; Saturday-Sunday at 11am and 1pm (see website for additional holiday show dates)

Running Time: About 1 hour

Ages: 2-7

Tickets: $39.50-$49.50; or 212-579-0528


George Balanchine's The Nutcracker

George Balanchine's The Nutcracker

The New York City Ballet takes center stage in this classic show set to Tschaikovsky’s famous score. In a holiday dreamland, little Marie looks on as her beloved Nutcracker battles the Mouse King and transforms into a prince, then brings her to meet the Sugarplum Fairy in the Land of Sweets. The show ends as the children soar off in a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer.

Where: David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center, Broadway (at 64th Street)

When: Nov. 28 - Jan. 3; see the website for show times

Running Time: 2 hours

Ages: Recommended for ages 4 and older

Tickets: $29 and up; 212-870-5570 or

FYI: VIP “Sweet Seats” include premium seating, souvenir book, and a 15-percent discount at the gift shop. Plus, for every two VIP tickets purchased, you’ll receive a voucher good for one complimentary keepsake photo with a character from the show.


A Christmas Carol

Scrooge in A Christmas Carol

Of all the holiday shows starring grumpy old Ebenezer Scrooge, this is the big one. The Off-Broadway musical, presented by Be Bold! and Players Theatre, translates the classic Dickens tale into a live production featuring all the usual suspects. Even if you know the story by heart (which surely most of us do), this lively adaptation is still sure to jump-start your holiday spirit.

Where: Players Theatre, 115 MacDougal St., Greenwich Village

When: Nov. 30 - Dec. 30, select dates; see the website for show times

Running Time: Approximately 1 hour (does not include pre-show workshop)

Ages: Recommended for ages 3 and older

Tickets: $25-$50; 212-352-3101 or

FYI: An interactive arts workshop (included in ticket price) precedes the 11am show on Sundays.


Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas The Musical

how the grinch stole christmas musical nyc

Discover the magic of Dr. Seuss' classic holiday tale as it comes to life on stage in this beloved family musical. Featuring the hit songs "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch" and "Welcome Christmas", The Grinch discovers there's more to Christmas than he bargained for in this heart-warming holiday favorite. Max the Dog narrates as the mean and scheming Grinch, whose heart is "two sizes too small", decides to steal Christmas away from the Whos, an endlessly cheerful bunch bursting with holiday spirit. Don't miss this limited holiday engagement as The Grinch finds there's more to Christmas than he expected as this record-breaking Broadway production returns to New York.

Where: The Theater at Madison Square Garden, 4 Penn Plaza, Midtown

When: Dec. 5-28

Running Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes (no intermission)

Ages: All ages (children ages 2 and older must have their own ticket)

Tickets: $40-$160;

FYI: Check for news and discounts at

A Christmas Carol Oy! Hanukkah, Merry Kwanzaa

christmas carol puppets

Presented by Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre, this show is an adaptation of the classic tale with Old World accents and New World inclusiveness. Adapted and directed by Vit Horejs, it features more than 30 puppets by Milos Kasal and holiday songs in Czech, English, Hebrew, and Swahili. This toy-puppet theatre extravaganza is a new take on Charles Dickens' classic with a few twists and digressions. Into the familiar story is woven a surprising and delightful blend of English, Jewish, African, American, and Czech winter rituals, customs, and holiday songs, all performed by more than three dozen marionettes ranging in size from 4 to 24 inches tall, as well as found objects and toys.

Where: La MaMa E.T.C Theater74A E. 4th St., NoHo

When: Dec. 12 at 10pm; Dec. 13 at 2pm and 10pm; Dec. 14 at 6pm

Ages: 5 and older

Tickets: $13-$18;


American Ballet Theatre's The Nutcracker

american ballet theatre nutcracker

American Ballet Theatre offers the final performances ever in New York City of Alexei Ratmansky's acclaimed The Nutcracker when it concludes its five-year engagement at BAM this December. As the lights dim and Tchaikovsky's beautiful score fills the air, join young Clara for a dreamlike journey amid colorful, larger-than-life scenery, magical toy soldiers, mischievous mice, sparkling snowflakes, and a glittering Christmas tree! With an impressive cast of over 100 performers, ABT's The Nutcracker features sets and costumes by Richard Hudson (Tony Award-winner, The Lion King) with choreography by ABT Artist in Residence Alexei Ratmansky.

Where: BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, 30 Lafayette Ave., Fort Greene

When: Dec. 12-21; see website for show times

Ages: All ages

Tickets: $20 and up;


Doktor Kaboom: The Science of Santa

doktor kaboom santa

Science and magic are one and the same in this spectacular new holiday show where Doktor Kaboom recreates all of the wonders of Santa Claus! Doktor Kaboom takes audiences on an interactive and thrilling scientific exploration into Santa's secrets. This infectiously funny show is sure to entertain kids of all ages as Doktor Kaboom attempts to discover how Santa climbs down tight chimneys, makes reindeer fly and knows who's been bad or good. Is Santa Claus truly the world's greatest scientist? Come and find out. 

Where: Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, 566 LaGuardia Place, Greenwich Village

When: Dec. 20 at 11am

Ages: All ages

Tickets: $20-$28;


Kwanzaa Celebration: Regeneration Night

Kwanzaa Celebration at the Apollo

The Apollo's annual Kwanzaa celebration returns with the renowned and energetic New York-based dance company, Abdel Salaam’s Forces of Nature Dance Theatre. It is an evening of joyful dance and music, hosted by WBLS personality Imhotep Gary Byrd, that honors the principles of Kwanzaa – family, community and culture.  

Where: The Apollo Theatre, 253 W. 125th St., Harlem

When: Dec. 27 at 2pm and 7:30pm

Running Time: Approximately 2 hours

Ages: All ages

Tickets: $20-$35;


More Fun

Where to cut your own Christmas tree in the NYC area

Indoor and outdoor skating rinks in NYC, Long Island, and the suburbs

Search our full calendar of events for even more fun and low-cost family activities