Offbeat New York

More Fun in the City at Offbeat New York Festivals and Events.

New York City Winter Fun -- 2013/2014

When the weather turns a bit chilly, New York City turns up the heat with nonstop holidays festivals and parades. And let's not forget shopping.

New York Road Runners Emerald Nuts Midnight Run -- December 31st

Kick off the New Year at the Midnight Run Presented by Emerald Nuts! Join the fun and celebrate with dancing (starting at 10:00 p.m.) and a costume parade and contest (starting at 11:00 p.m.) at the Central Park Bandshell, just south of the 72nd Street Transverse. The 4-mile unscored run will begin on the stroke of midnight, and will include a spectacular fireworks display to light up the night. Get psyched to run in the new year with NYRR! More information at: NYRR.org

Brooklyn Celebrates!

The holiday season officially kicks off in Downtown Brooklyn with their annual Holiday Lighting Ceremony in Albee Square.

And when the lights go up, residents and visitors will see a new design concept knitting together the district’s major corridors, including Fulton, Adams, and Livingston Streets; Flatbush Avenue; and Boerum Place. Working with the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership’s long-time holiday lights partner, Illuminations, and design studio, Fantastica, we fabricated five hundred steel structures in two shapes – a half circle and a triangle – that will be paired in numerous combinations to create 35-foot-wide overhead skylines, 5-by-5-foot-high 3D boxes, and light pole adornments.

In total, the designs will be wrapped in 480,000 linear feet of rope light (that’s equivalent to more than 90 miles, or roughly the distance from here to Poughkeepsie) and 260,000 mini-lights. Fulton Mall and surrounding areas. We've got a new lighting design this year you won't want to miss. Help us flip the switch on our 30-foot Christmas tree and menorah at Albee Square on Thursday, Nov. 21 at 5pm. Performances by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Singers and Dancewave, as well as hot drinks courtesy of Junior's.

And back by popular demand, our Downtown Brooklyn Holiday Trolley rolls back into action starting November 30th, with free hop on, hop off service throughout the area and new onboard entertainment each Saturday between Thanksgiving and Christmas. More information here: Downtown Brooklyn

New Year's Eve Grand Army Plaza Fireworks Display December 31st

Check out Brooklyn's dazzling New Year's Eve fireworks display at Grand Army Plaza, just off of Prospect Park. This free event is fun for all ages. The fireworks begin at midnight, but get there early if you come by car; parking spots can be scarce. The best places for viewing are along Prospect Park's West Drive (within the park) and on Prospect Park West, between Grand Army Plaza and 9th Street.

The Grinch

October 25–December 31
The Grinch and his holiday workshop arrive at the Children's Museum of Manhattan in an interactive exhibition inspired by Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

Holiday Lightings and Special Trees

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree December 4–January 7, 2014

It doesn't get much more "quintessential NYC Christmas" than the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, towering above the ice rink below. Things get festive on December 4, when thousands of revelers will fill the area for the lighting of this signature Norway spruce. Catch holiday-themed performances from a star-studded guest list, usually hosted by NBC anchors (like Al Roker). When the switch is flipped on that Swarovski star–topped tree wrapped in 30,000-plus energy-efficient LED lights, expect plenty of "oohs" and "ahs" from the crowd. If you can't make it to the big event, you can see the tree (and snap plenty of photos of it) through January 7.

Rockefeller Plaza, between 48th & 51st Streets and 5th and 6th Avenues, Manhattan.

World's largest Chanukah Menorah stands in New York City -- November 27 – December 5, 2013

The World's Largest Chanukah Menorah is proudly standing at New York's most fashionable plaza, Fifth Avenue and 59th Street, by Central Park, between the Plaza and the Pierre Hotels.

The Menorah, designed by Yaacov Agam, is certified by the McGinnis Book of Records as the World's Largest. It was inspired by a hand drawing by the Rambam (Maimonides) of the original Menorah in the Holy Temple of Jerusalem.

The 32-foot high, gold colored, 4,000 pound steel structure will be lighted nightly with genuine oil lamps. Specially designed glass chimneys will protect the Chanukah lights from the Central Park winds. For the Sabbath, the lighting will be at 3:30pm on Friday and 8:30pm on Saturday (on all other days, a candle will be lit at 5:30pm).

Due to the height of the Menorah, it will be lit nightly with the help of a Con Edison "cherry-picker" crane as well as two lifts that will lift the lighters to the "Menorah Heights."

November 29th at 6PM -- 30th Annual Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony at South Street Seaport

The Seaport’s 30th Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony will take place at the corner of Fulton and Front Streets on November 29th at 6pm. More information at: South Street Seaport

Origami Holiday Tree -- American Museum of Natural History tradition

November 25–January 12, 2014 Holiday decor gets a crafty makeover with the American Museum of Natural History's annual Origami Holiday Tree. For this year’s theme, “Wicked, Wise and Wonderful,” the museum has drawn inspiration from its Power of Poison exhibition to create the 500 folded-paper works that will adorn the 13-foot tree. After exploring the permanent exhibition halls, current shows (including the Power of Poison) and expansive collections, check out the tree to see which toxin-carrying creatures have been transformed into elegantly crimped ornaments. The delightfully decorated Origami Holiday Tree welcomes visitors to the institution throughout the holiday season.

Special Performances

Radio City Music Hall - Christmas Spectacular Now through December 30th, 2013

For decades New Yorkers and visitors have made this a holiday ritual. This iconic song-and-dance extravaganza, featuring the legendary Rockettes, is one of the holiday season's must-see attractions. Celebrating its 79th season this year, the show combines such classic scenes as "Parade of the Wooden Soldiers" and "New York at Christmas" with all-new numbers and the cutting-edge digital mapping technology of ChristmasVision, which transforms Radio City Music Hall's interior into a giant canvas. For more information visit Radio City Christmas

The Nutcracker™ at New York City Ballet @ Lincoln Center November 25th through December 31st, 2011

The heart of New York City's year-end holiday season, this glittering classic, performed annually by the New York City Ballet since 1954, has become one of the City's signature family-friendly traditions. For more information visit NYC Ballet - Nutcracker

Winter and Holiday Celebrations

Winter's Eve at Lincoln Square December 2

Once again this season, the neighborhood around Lincoln Square serves as the setting for the City's largest holiday festival (for one night only). Beginning with a tree lighting in Dante Park, the Winter's Eve festivities also include many street performers, food from some of the 'hood's best restaurants and fun activities, inside and out, for kids and grown-ups alike.

Holiday Train Shows

New York Botanical Garden

Visit the famous Holiday Train Show November 16–January 12, 2014. Large-scale model trains whiz by replicas of many of the City's most famous landmarks—including the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge and Penn Station—all created from natural materials like bark, pinecones, seeds and leaves by Paul Busse's team. For more information, visit NYBG.org

Holiday Train Show: Grand Central Terminal, Main Concourse

12th Annual New York Transit Museum Holiday Train Show at Grand Central Terminal November 16, 2013 – February 23, 2014 Shuttle Passage off the Main Concourse The New York Transit Museum Gallery Annex and Store at Grand Central Terminal is back with its 12th annual Holiday Train Show, whose layout features Lionel trains traveling through a two-level, 34-foot-long miniature New York City and countryside scene. Vintage trains from the museum's collection, including New York Central models, and posters from the 1920s through the '40s will also be on display. For more information, visit Grand Central Terminal. The Centennial Holiday Light Show presented by Toshiba

It's Time to Skate

When winter beckons, New Yorkers know it's time for ice skating. And there are several places to lace up those skates and hit the ice.

Bryant Park Celebrates Winter

The Pond at Bryant Park, made possible by Citi, is Manhattan's first and only free admission ice skating rink.

Now until February 26, 2012 The Pond is the centerpiece of Bryant Park's winter season, which also includes the annual Holiday Shops at Bryant Park. The 170' x 100' rink features free admission ice skating, in addition to high quality rental skates, skating shows, special events, and activities.

Ice Rink at Rockefeller Center

Check rates and times at Rockefeller Ice Rink

Wollman Rink in Central Park

Skate in the middle of the urban oasis of Central Park. It's open, but check for conditions, prices and hours at Wollman Rink

The Sky Rink at Chelsea Piers -- Open

They're at Chelsea Piers - Pier 61 (23rd St. & the Hudson River).

Window Wonderland

New York's legendary department stores offer a window wonderland at holiday time. Visitors and New Yorkers alike love to stroll along the Avenue and enjoy the famed storefront tableaux. From the red awnings and understated elegance of Saks Fifth Avenue at 611 Fifth Avenue to Lord & Taylor at 424 Fifth Avenue extravagant windows and magical animation. Displays at Tiffany & Co. at 727 Fifth Avenue have a holiday sparkle all their own. FAO Schwarz at 767 Fifth Avenue is always a fun visit. While Fifth Avenue definitely has WOW appeal, the windows at Bloomingdale's 1000 Third Avenue are a study in urban chic, and the lavish Yuletide glow of Macy's Herald Square 151 West 34th Street is another perennial favorite

These fantasies are usually unveiled in November and thousands line up to view the creative celebrations of New York's singular style. And with good reason.

Shopping

Union Square Holiday Market

More than 100 red-and-white booths fill Union Square Park for its 19th annual Holiday Market. You’ll find plenty of affordable, quality items, as well as coupons for local businesses at the information booth.

The Holiday Shops at Bryant Park are open now until January 5, 2014

The park's tree-lined allees are transformed into the city's premiere holiday shopping destination with custom-designed jewel box kiosks.

Columbus Circle Holiday Market

Central Park West and 59th Street -- Central Park is a favorite holiday destination for many, both for its natural splendor and for the Columbus Circle Holiday Market. Located at the southwest entrance of Central Park, the fair is back this season, bringing goodies and gifts for all ages from more than 100 vendors. More information at: Columbus Circle Holiday Market

Grand Central Centennial Holiday Fair Nov 18th through Dec 24th

Grand Central Terminal’s 14th annual Holiday Fair, sponsored by Shaw Floors, is the only holiday market in the city to operate indoors. This season, the Fair will fill Vanderbilt Hall with 76 vendors for six weeks each offering a wonderful array of holiday gifts for all your loved ones including art, clothing for adults and children, handbags, jewelry and accessories for men and women, bath and body items, home goods, collectible toys, holiday items and gifts for pets. More information at: Grand Central Terminal