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What to Do in New York City in December 2022

By Emmie MurphyNov 23 2022

What’s that line about city sidewalks dressed in holiday style? Strung lights, buzzy excitement, and Salvation Army Santas ringing their bells on every corner. Ornate window displays along Fifth Avenue and neighborhood celebrations. All this and more make the holiday season in New York the most wonderful time of the year. From classics like the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall and turns around The Rink to unexpected encounters with carol singers, there is no better time or place to embrace the festive spirit than New York City in December.

This year, December is a time to celebrate and reflect, and there are a host of ways to do so. Revel in the lightscapes of Dyker Heights and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, take action at the Climate Museum pop-up, or dance your way through myriad Nutcracker performances. However you choose to engage, don’t miss out on the chance to revive old traditions and create new ones. Read on for our top six picks of events happening around New York City in December.

Photo courtesy of the New York City Ballet

1. The Nutcracker, in its many incarnations

Throughout the month of December

The Land of the Sweets comes in many flavors throughout the five boroughs. Treat yourself to a holiday classic with George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker at New York City Ballet (November 25-December 31) or experience the timeless story with a twist at The Brooklyn Nutcracker, a show that blends dance forms from ballet to hip-hop in a celebration of cultural diversity (December 17). Another option? Keith Michael’s family-friendly The Nutcracker, on from December 9 through the 11th.

Photo by Liz Ligo, courtesy of Brooklyn Botanic Garden

2. Lightscape at Brooklyn Botanic Gardens

Through January 8


Over a million dazzling lights illuminate this 1-mile trail throughout the beautiful Brooklyn Botanic Gardens campus. Winding across the landscape, it includes lighted sculptures by local and international artists, site-specific music and sound recordings, and special spotlights on the gardens, forests, architectural elements, and water features throughout the landscape. Enjoy seasonal treats like hot chocolate and mulled wine at various concession stands throughout.

Photo courtesy of Dyker Heights Christmas Lights

3. Dyker Heights Christmas Lights

Ongoing through December

New York City is renowned for its twinkling lights at Christmastime, and nobody does it bigger or better than the Dyker Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn. Every year, this quiet community transforms into a colorful carnival, with houses going all-out on their holiday decor. Glowing Santas, flashing wreaths, and dustings of fake snow adorn every facade while carols blast from speakers. It's a 24/7 winter wonderland that has become one of the city’s most popular holiday attractions. Walk around at your leisure, or sign up for a guided bus tour anytime through the New Year.

Photo courtesy of ARTECHOUSE

4. Spectacular Factory’s The Holiday Multiverse

Through January 8

ARTECHOUSE, a destination for immersive and interactive art installations, embraces the holiday season with its latest experience, Spectacular Factory. Visitors will move through digital multiverses full of iconic holiday imagery, from nutcrackers and wreaths to spinning candy cane carousels. After traversing the digital realms, you are invited to create holiday gifts using the ARTECHOUSE XR app. Refreshments and holiday-themed cocktails are also available at the XR bar.

Photo by Sari Goodfriend, courtesy of the Climate Museum

5. Climate Museum Pop-Up

Through December 22

This free, interactive exhibition features a mural of hundreds of vintage postcards modified by artist David Opdyke that detail stories of climate change and urge collective action. Blending art and activism, the Climate Museum pop-up uses the model of a museum to reach the public and incite change. Alongside Opdyke’s mural and wall text outlining the perils of inaction, the museum also hosts workshops, storytime series for children, important conversations with leaders in the field, and much more.

Photo via “A Christmas Carol Live”

6. A Christmas Carol at the Nederlander Theater

Ongoing through January 1

Ebeneezer Scrooge comes to Broadway with the latest adaptation of Charles Dickens’ famous A Christmas Carol. This well-known and beloved story is told here with a twist, as Tony Award® winner Jefferson Mays takes on all 50 characters – the ghosts of Christmas, Jacob Marley, and even Tiny Tim – on his own. With stunning lighting, sound, and stage design, this one-man production becomes a magical reinvention of a timeless tale.


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