We’re fortunate to be close to Central Park, one of New York City’s greatest assets. While being across the street from the Park is a pleasure any time of year, it’s a special treat during the holidays, when seasonal events light up the scene. If you’ll be in New York during the holidays, consider one or more of these Central Park special events and activities to make your holidays a little brighter.
The Christmas Bird Count in Central Park
The 114th Annual Christmas Bird Count enlists the public to collect valuable data on birds. One of the most anticipated holiday events in Central Park, the Christmas Bird Count tracks the species who frequent the Park in the winter. This year’s count takes place on Sunday, December 15. Volunteers will meet at 8 am at the South Pump Station of the Reservoir (85th Street & 5th Avenue). At 12:30 pm, there will be a data tally and refreshments at the Arsenal Gallery. Dress warmly and bring your binoculars!
Holiday Sightseeing Tours
Take in a tour of Central Park and the surrounding area to see the best decorated sights around: breathtaking window displays, giant holiday trees, and more are included in the three-hour tours, offered daily at 2:30 and 6:00 pm. You’ll walk from Grand Army Plaza to Bryant Park, stopping for hot chocolate and unique souvenirs along the way. Reserve your spot online; tours end January 5.
George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker at Lincoln Center
Christmas wouldn’t be complete without The Nutcracker, the classic holiday ballet performed by our own New York City Ballet. Located just a few blocks from Central Park, Lincoln Center is full of festivity as families come in their finest to take part in this beloved tradition. Performances run through January 4.
The Origami Holiday Tree
Each year at the American Museum of Natural History, volunteers begin folding origami ornaments in July for display on the Origami Holiday Tree. The theme for his year’s tree is Wicked, Wild, and Wonderful, in honor of the Museum’s new exhibition The Power of Poison. Museum volunteers will be on hand to teach origami, the art of paper folding, to visitors during opening hours. See the tree through January 12.
Three Bears Holiday Bash
The annual holiday show at the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theater in Central Park combines song, dance and puppetry. This year’s production is The Three Bears Holiday Bash, a multicultural holiday celebration with sing-alongs for the kids. The show runs through December 30.
31st Annual “Wreath Interpretations” Exhibit
A display of unique wreaths at the Arsenal Gallery in Central Park, this event brings together 46 fine artists, horticulturalists, designers, and others to interpret holiday wreaths with unexpected materials such as neckties, rat traps, acorns, and recycled plastic bags. This event is free and open to the public Monday through Friday during December and early January, winding down on January 9.