It’s the most wonderful time of year and no other neighborhood can compare to Christmas on the Upper West Side! From spectacular outdoor gift-shopping markets to finding the best kid-friendly events, our guide will have you covered. Enjoy the magic of the holiday season and make this year’s celebration one to remember. Merry Christmas!
Check out our 2017 holiday guide to the Upper West Side!
Columbus Circle Holiday MarketGet your Christmas shopping out of the way at the Columbus Circle Holiday Market. The outdoors market runs from November 29 to December 24 and opens from 10am to 8pm on weekdays and 10am to 7pm on the weekends. The entrance to the market lies between 59th St. and Central Park West. Most of the goods found here display a designated Artisan Pledge symbol. This means that the item is organic certified and made locally in NY from recycled materials. You’ll be able to find unique items to gift for the holiday season. From clothing and home accessories to jewelry and artisan chocolates, the market has it all. Make sure to take your family along for a stroll and grab a hot apple cider drink and a doughnut!
The Three Bears Holiday Bash
Central Park’s beloved holiday puppetry show makes its awaited return this Christmas on the Upper West Side. The Three Bears Holiday Bash runs until December 30 from Monday through Friday at 10.30am and 12pm with an additional show on Wednesdays at 2.30pm. A show is held at 1pm on Saturdays and Sundays. The production revolves around the story of a baby bear who invites Santa Claus as a guest to his Mama and Papa Bear’s annual holiday party. The plot borrows insights from different celebrations such as Hanukkah, the night before Christmas, and Kwanzaa. This makes the production a pleasant viewing experience for families of all cultural backgrounds. Check out the link below for detailed information on their official schedule and make sure to watch out for the 12 days of Christmas sing-a-long during the show!
The Origami Holiday Tree
American Museum of Natural History
The annual decorating of the Origami Holiday Tree at the American Museum of Natural History has been an ongoing tradition for more than forty years. The ritual consists of decorating the gigantic 13-foot tree with over 800 beautifully decorated hand-folded paper designs which are called origami in Japanese. The designs are specifically created by local and international origami artists. Each design displays a wonderful sense of creativity and imagination. This year, the theme for holiday tree is called Origami Dinosaurs Among Us. Visitors can expect to see dinosaurs, alligators, and representations of birds hanging on the tree’s many branches. The event runs until January 8 and is held in partnership with OrigamiUSA. Volunteers from the organization will be on site to help those who wish to learn how to create their very own origami masterpieces this Christmas on the Upper West Side.
Holiday Express: Toys and Trains from the Jerni Collection
New York Historical Society
Toy aficionados beware! This one-of-a-kind exhibit displays toys, model trains, and scenic props that date back to 1850. The “Holiday Express” showcase transforms the New York Historical Society into a winter wonderland that truly makes Christmas on the Upper West Side special. The state-of-the-art lightning, the ambiance music, and many other visual elements combine to make this an unforgettable experience. There are more than 300 trains and toys in total. A pop-up bubble in the middle of the exhibit allows children to crawl through a space and explore their surroundings from a different point of view. Watch out for the entrance to the exhibit featuring four multimedia screens projecting a train on the move through the museum’s first floor. Catch a glimpse of the Jerni Collection before the start of the new year!
Check out the 2017 edition o the Nutcracker at Lincoln Center!
The NYC Ballet’s take on the classic Christmas tale features an amazing score by Tchaikovsky. Balanchine’s mesmerizing choreography captures the magical spirit of the holiday season. The ballerinas and dancers will recreate Marie’s journey to a fantastical land which is made out of candy. Children will enjoy the site of a tree that grows to over 40 feet onstage as the play concludes. The production will run from November 25 to December 31. A group of 50 students from the School of American Ballet will also perform on the stage at Lincoln Center. Watch out for the breathtaking costume of Mother Ginger which is 85 pounds heavy and nine feet wide. It will leave your child (and your inner child) amazed for days!
To those who celebrate, enjoy your Christmas on the Upper West Side this year!