Seeing a show during the holidays is a tradition for many families. Lucky for New Yorkers, there’s lots to choose from here. From shows for little ones to modern circus, or perhaps an outdoor light show this year. We’ve rounded up the best holiday shows this season here! (Looking for Nutcracker shows? They’re here!) [Editor’s note: with the recent Covid surge in NYC, some shows are suspending or ending runs. Double-check a show’s status before making plans!]

(Don’t forget: Starting December 14th, children aged 5-11  will be required to show proof of one vaccination dose for indoor dining, fitness and entertainment. Starting December 27th, New Yorkers aged 12 and older will be required to show proof of two vaccine doses, instead of one, except for those who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.)

Theatrical Productions

Radio City Christmas Spectacular with The Rockettes

MSG Productions

[The Radio City Christmas Spectacular starring The Rockettes canceled the remainder of its 2021/22 season run.]

The Rockettes are back, baby! And they’re even bringing back a beloved number to celebrate. The addition of “Snow”, which turns the stage into a winter wonderland, brings the total of numbers in the classic, 90-minute holiday show to nine. The Radio City Christmas Spectacular starring The Rockettes runs from November 5 to January 2, 2022, and tickets are on sale now.

$49 and up
Nov. 5, 2021- Jan. 2, 2022
Radio City Music Hall
1260 Sixth Ave.

 Jim Henson’s Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas

nyc christmas shows

Based on Jim Henson’s beloved television special, this show takes audiences to Frogtown Hollow where Ma and Emmet Otter risk what little they have to make each other’s holiday dreams come true. Featuring a cast of performers with puppets from Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, and a toe-tapping score by legendary songwriter Paul Williams, this merry musical is recommended for ages five and up. 

Tickets: $25 and up
New Victory Theater 
209 W. 42nd St. 
Times Square 

'Twas the Night Before…By Cirque du Soleil

nyc xmas shows
Errisson Lawrence

Cirque du Soleil’s exhilarating spin on the beloved Christmas tale returns to the Hulu Theater for the holidays—its previous run at the venue sold out all 25 performances. The production marks Cirque du Soleil’s first-ever Christmas show and is a flurry of Christmas cheer, rip-roaring fun with hugely lovable characters and of course, incredible and entertaining physical feats.  

Dec. 9 - 27
Tickets: $40 and up
Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden
4 Penn Plaza

Big Apple Circus

big apple circus 2021
Robert West

Heads up: Big Apple Circus is returning to Lincoln Center with a new show, “Making The Impossible, Possible!”, helmed by world-renowned aerialist, high wire artist and Guinness World Record holder, Nik Wallenda. Acts joining Wallenda include Johnny Rockett, a combination of Evel Knievel & Charlie Chaplin (shown here), and Alan Silva from America’s Got Talent who will act as the circus' Ringmaster. Plus: an incredible cast of circus acts from around the world. Snag your tickets now—the show debuts on November 11!

Nov. 11 - Jan. 30, 2022
Tickets: $25 and up
Lincoln Center 

CocoMelon LIVE! JJ's Journey

Image courtesy of Moonbug Entertainment and EMC Entertainment

This live production is a journey through the world of CoComelon, featuring all the favorite characters and over 20 songs, including new original music. When JJ and his family are putting on a show, JJ needs some help writing his own song. Along the way he learns that by using his imagination, he can create, solve problems and have wonderful adventures. 

Dec. 4 & 5, 11 a.m. & 2 p.m
Tickets: $51 and up
Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden
4 Penn Plaza

The Elf On The Shelf: A Christmas Musical

Ken Ek

Yes, the holiday tradition is now a musical. The Elf on the Shelf: The Musical is a spectacle of music and dance that transports audiences to the North Pole to glimpse the magical lives of Santa’s Scout Elves. Featuring an original story and score, dazzling sets and costumes, and heartfelt moments, this joyous show celebrates the splendor of the season.

Sun., Dec. 26, 2 & 7 pm.
Tickets: $45
Kings Theater
1027 Flatbush Ave. 

30th Annual Double Dutch Holiday Classic

Courtesy of the Apollo Theater

The 30th Annual Double Dutch Holiday Classic presented by the National Double Dutch League, returns to the Apollo stage—bringing together national and international communities of jumpers. Act fast! This sells out and tickets are getting snapped up! 

Sun., Dec. 5, 1 p.m.
Tickets: $25/individual, groups of 10 or more $25/person 
253 West 125th St.
The Apollo Theater

Light Shows & Displays


Winter Lantern Festival

Winter Lantern Festival

This lantern display returns to the New York City area with three locations for 2021. At Snug Harbor on Staten Island, check out ESCAPE: over eight acres of luminescence you can walk amongst and through. (It's back for the third year at this spot.) In addition to the lantern display, there will be a live DJ, projection mapping, food vendors, and more. 

Starting Nov. 25, the Queens County Farm Museum will host  Illuminate The Farm, an immersive and radiant world of color. It's a dazzling display of festive holiday lights and handmade lanterns in the shape of flowers, tractors, favorite farm animals and more. 

Finally, Long Island's Nassau County Museum of Art hosts "A Bug’s Night", a drive-through immersive experience. Roll through over 20 acres of vivid lanterns and holiday lights in the shape of flowers, bugs, animals. 

Oct. 22-Jan. 9, 2022
Tickets: $25/adults; $17/ages 3-12; Holiday week, $30/adults, $17/ages 3-12
Snug Harbor Cultural Center
1000 Richmond Terrace
Staten Island, NY

A Bug's Night Drive Through Adventure
Oct. 22-Jan. 9, 2022
Tickets: Wed.-Thurs., $35/car, Fri-Sun, $50/car; Holiday week (Dec. 24-Jan. 2)/$60/car
Nassau County Museum of Art
One Museum Dr.
Roslyn, NY

Illuminate the Farm
Nov. 25-Jan. 9, 2022
Tickets: $25/adults; $17/ages 3-12; Holiday week, $30/adults, $17/ages 3-12
Queens County Farm Museum
73-50 Little Neck Parkwy

Bronx Zoo Holiday Lights 

Bronx zoo holiday lights
Julie Larsen Maher

This popular animal-themed light and lantern display returns to the zoo starting November 19. See 260 lanterns representing almost 70 animal and plant species from around the globe. This year, 79 new lanterns representing 30 new animal species will make their debut at the zoo. But the Bronx Zoo Holiday Lights is more than a display: activities and entertainment include ice-carving demonstrations, stilt-walkers, puppet shows, a holiday train and even treats like s’mores. Tickets must be purchased in advance. 

Select dates Nov. 19-Jan. 9, 2022
Tickets: $40/adults; $25/kids 3-12, $34.95/65 and up
Bronx Zoo
2300 Southern Blvd.

LuminoCity Festival

luminocity light festival
LuminoCity Festival

The LuminoCity Festival, a spectacular display of larger-than-life figures lit from within returns to Randall’s Island this winter. ‘Shine Again’ is the theme of the event, which features exhibitions of spectacular light art displays inspired by the traditional art of Chinese lantern festivals. “Lumio”, the LuminoCity Festival mascot serves as your guide through the fantastical landscape, which features new displays for 2021. The all-new ‘Lumi’s Utopia” will include 3D sculptures made from drawings by six young artists, while “Lumi’s Friends” will feature light sculptures of social media pets @smoothiethecat & @turboroo. 

Nov. 12 - Jan., 2022
Tickets: $22-$76, timed entry 
Whitney Pond Park
133 Valley Rd.
Manhasset, NY

Lightscape at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Lightscape is coming to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden this winter. A new after-dark, illuminated spectacular lightscape celebrates the beauty of nature in winter with a festive one-mile trail winding through the garden’s 52-acre landscape, animated by dazzling light, color, and sound. More than 18 distinct works of light art will be on view, among them the Cathedral of Light tunnel, a Fire Garden on Lily Pool Terrace, and the Field of Light, an animated light installation covering Cherry Esplanade.  A series of new light-based artworks by local artists will be featured as well.  Lightscape was launched at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in London in 2014, and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden is the show’s only U.S. East Coast venue.

Select dates, Nov. 19- Jan. 9, 2022
Tickets: $34/adults; $18/ages 3-12, free/age two and under 
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
150 Eastern Pkwy.
Prospect Heights



Glow light show in Bronx

This walk-through light experience debuted in 2020, and it’s back and bigger for the 2021 holiday season. Glow is billed as “an outdoor color and light experience”, along a 1.5-mile winding path. Expect washes of brilliant color, thousands of dazzling LEDs, illuminated plant stories, and whimsical, picture-perfect installations that reflect the surrounding gardens and collections. Make it a double feature and check out the popular New York Botanic Garden Holiday Train Show while you’re there. (The garden offers a combo ticket.) 

Select dates, Nov. 24, - Jan. 22, 2021
Tickets: $35/adults; $20/kids
2900 Southern Blvd.


— Mimi O’Connor


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Fairy Tale: Where to See The Nutcracker in NYC

Shine Bright! The Best NYC Holiday Lights & Displays

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