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This post lists the best Christmas shows in NYC in 2023.

We include musicals, ballet performances, winter holiday-themed plays, gospel performances, and movies that you can see during the holidays.

Musicals and Concerts

Radio City Christmas Spectacular

Even though the Rockettes originated in St. Louis, these high-kicking ladies have become synonymous with New York City.

During the performance, the Radio City Rockettes perform their famous “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers”, as well as a variety of other numbers.

The show runs multiple times each day so you should be able to find a date right for you. Still, tickets sell fast so buy now!

  • Venue: Radio City Music Hall at 50th Street and 6th Avenue.
  • Dates: November 17, 2023 to January 1, 2024. Times vary by date.
  • Tickets: Purchase here.

Read our posts on Radio City Christmas Spectacular Discount and also Discounts for Radio City Music Hall Stage Door Tour.

Our Happy Holiday Gospel Special

This musical production inside of Memorial Baptist Church sets the stage for a spirited celebration of Christmas through song.

Songs for each nostalgic era and made famous by gospel choirs and carolers all over the world celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.

You will hear Christmas carols made famous by Mariah Carey, Nat King Cole, Whitney Houston, Earth Kitt, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder,  and a few more hidden surprises. 

"OUR Happy Holiday Special" guarantees a gospel good time, EVERY TIME!

  • Venue: Palladium-Times Square
  • Dates/Times: Wednesdays at 12:00 pm. (There is an accompanying Gospel walking tour of Harlem at 10:00 am)
  • Tickets: Purchase here.

A Charlie Brown Christmas Live

Join the Peanuts gang for this timeless seasonal classic.

This production features actors performing as the animated characters we love, along with the memorable Vince Guaraldi musical score.

Charlie Brown Christmas Live
  • Venue: Count Basie Center for the Arts, Red Bank, New Jersey.
  • Dates/Times: November 24 at 1 pm and 4 pm
  • Tickets: Purchase here.
New York City Christmas Lights Tour

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

See one of the best Broadway shows! Watch the continuing tale of Harry Potter unfold through this stage production of the eighth story in the franchise.

Fans of the Wizarding World won't want to miss this opportunity to experience the last Harry Potter story written to date.

The performance is 5-6 hours long, with just one intermission, which might be a bit much for younger children.

  • Venue: Lyric Theatre, 214 W. 43rd St.
  • Dates/Times: playing regularly throughout the year.
  • Tickets: Purchase here.

The Elf on the Shelf: The Musical

If you're visiting New York City with children, you might want to consider taking them to the musical version of this classic Christmas story.

  • Venue: to be announced
  • Dates/Times: to be announced
  • Tickets: Purchase here.

The venue and dates for 2023 have not yet been announced so check back with us!

Big Band Holidays at Lincoln Center

Get jazzy with the Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis playing your favorite holiday music.

It is a holiday extravaganza for people of all ages and backgrounds.  

  • Venue: Lincoln Center, 10 Columbus Circle.
  • Dates: 2023 not yet announced.
  • Tickets: Purchase here.

Learn how to get discounts for Lincoln Center Tours tickets.

A Christmas Carol - The Musical

This off-Broadway production of a timeless classic has run every holiday season for 10 years. This will be especially fun for children.

  • Venue: Players Theatre at 115 MacDougal Street (between W. 3rd & Bleecker).
  • Dates/Times: Nov. 26-Dec. 30, 2023. Show times vary by date.
  • Tickets: Purchase here.

The Players Theater is in Greenwich Village, a fun neighborhood to explore.  

Jingle Ball

The iHEARTRadio Jingle Ball is a charity concert sponsored by Z100 radio station. Each year this pop concert features top stars.

In 2022, the lineup featured Dua Lipa, Lizzo, Backstreet Boys, Demi Lovato and more.

  • Venue:  Madison Square Garden, 4 Penn Plaza.
  • Dates: 2023 not yet announced.
  • Tickets: Purchase here.

Classical Music and Ballet

The Nutcracker

Seeing the New York City Ballet's annual production of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker is a magical Christmas experience.

With elaborate special effects like a glowing Christmas tree that grows from 12 feet tall at the show's start until it reaches a towering 40 feet by the end.

The Nutcracker is a holiday performance not to be missed!

  • Venue: David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center.
  • Dates: ​​November 24 - December 31, 2023. Times vary depending on the date.
  • Tickets: Purchase here.

Mozart’s The Magic Flute

This year, the Metropolitan Opera will perform an abridged version of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, a musical fairy-tale perfect for the holiday season.

The show is produced by Julie Taymor of Lion King fame and has been shortened to under two hours, making it a great choice for families with young children.

  • Venue: The Metropolitan Opera House
  • Dates: December 8, 10, 13, 15, 16, 20, 21, 26, 27, 28, 30, 2023. Times vary depending on the date.
  • Tickets: Purchase here.

This magnificent opera house can be visited on a Lincoln Center tour.

Free Performances

Merry Tuba Christmas

Celebrate the Annual Merry Tuba Christmas as hundreds of tuba players of all ages gather in the Rink at Rockefeller Center.

They will be right next to the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree and will play Christmas carols and other crowd favorites.  

Tuba Christmas performance
  • Venue: The Rink at Rockefeller Center at 5th Ave. between 49th and 50th St.
  • Dates: 2023 not yet announced.
  • Tickets: Free.

TIP: While you are at Rockefeller Center, take the time to discover the beauty of this Art Deco complex of buildings.

Our post on Tours of Rockefeller Center lists all the options from a free self-guided tour to an official guided tour. 

Make Music Winter

A free outdoor music-making celebration featuring parades around the city, showcasing many cultures and genres. 

This takes place on the winter solstice and the longest night of the year.  

  • Venue: Click here for the various events around the city 
  • Dates: 2023 not yet announced.
  • Tickets: Free.

Unsilent Night

A very unusual way to celebrate the holidays, and an unforgettable one. 

People gather in Washington Square Park to prepare for this one-mile parade in which everyone is invited to bring their own boomboxes or sound-blasters.

Unsilent Night

Everyone downloads the specific track for the event and then makes a lot of noise in unison! 

  • Venue: Meet in Washington Square Park under the Arch at 5:45 pm. 
  • Date: 2023 not yet announced.
  • Tickets: Free

Click here for the details of how to participate.

Learn more about things to do in Greenwich Village.

Christmas in Harlem

Harlem is always a colorful, bustling neighborhood and during the holiday season, you will find even more cheer and festivities.

You can find shows of different musical genres including Gospel music. 

Below is one Gospel holiday event, but you can see a performance any time of the year.

Find out where from our post, Gospel Music in Harlem and the Rest of New York City

Harlem Gospel Holiday Celebration

Join this one-hour holiday celebration with uplifting music by this renowned Harlem gospel choir of Mt. Olivet Baptist Church in Harlem.

You can choose between Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

  • Venue: Mt. Olivet Baptist Church
  • Dates:  December 23 and 25, 2023 at 11 am
  • Tickets: $22 (ages 8 and up), $6 (aged 7 and under). Purchase here.

Winter Wonderland at the Apollo Theater

This free event takes place at the legendary Apollo Theater.

Underneath the famous marquee, the whole family can take part in holiday-themed activities including picture-taking with Santa Claus, and see fantastic performances from local choirs.

  • Venue:  Under the marquee of the Apollo Theater, 253 W. 125th St. 
  • Dates: December 9, 2023 at 2 pm
  • Tickets: Free

Read more about the performance here

Learn how you can take a tour of the historic Apollo Theater

Amateur Night at the Apollo - Holiday Edition

This special holiday show includes talented children dancers, musicians, and singers who have won past Amateur Night's Stars of Tomorrow.

  • Venue:  Apollo Theater, 253 W 125th St. 
  • 2023 Date: December 9 at 7:30 pm
  • Tickets: Prices start at $44. 

Take a tour of the historic Apollo Theater

A Christmas Carol in Harlem

This production by the Classical Theater of Harlem takes this Charles Dickens classic and adapts it to present-day Harlem.

While weaving in serious social issues, this production is still humorous and maintains a joyful holiday spirit. 

  • Venue: City College Center for the Arts Aaron Davis Hall.
  • Dates:  2023 yet to be announced.
  • Tickets: n/a

Kwanzaa Celebration: Regeneration Night 

An annual celebration at the Apollo to recognize another seasonal holiday, Kwanzaa.

Hear music and see dance that exemplifies the values of the holiday, family, community, and culture.

  • Venue: Apollo Theater, 253 W. 125th St. 
  • Dates: December 30, 2 pm and 7:30 pm.
  • Tickets: Start at $25. Purchase here.

Learn about taking a tour of the historic Apollo Theater

Plays and Movies

A Christmas Carol at the Merchant’s House

Be transported back in time when you see this classic Charles Dickens tale in the landmark 1832 Merchant’s House Museum. 

  • Venue:  The Merchant’s House Museum, 29 East 4th Street between Bowery and Lafayette Avenue.
  • Dates: November 28 - December 24, 2023. Times vary by date.
  • Tickets:  From $45 - $115. Purchase tickets

New Year’s Eve - AMC

Watch movies or dance all night on New Year’s Eve on adult-only floors with open bars and mini buffets or get tickets for the Family Fun New Year’s Eve (no alcohol served).

  • Venue: AMC Theater on West 42nd Street.
  • Dates: December 31, 2023, 9 pm - 3 am.
  • Tickets: Purchase here.

See our post about spending New Year's Eve in Times Square.


About The Author

Stephen Pickhardt

Stephen is the CEO of Free Tours by Foot and has overseen the transformation of a local walking tour company into a global tour community and traveler’s advice platform. He has personally led thousands of group tours in the US and Europe, and is an expert in trip planning and sightseeing, with a focus on budget travelers. Stephen has been published and featured in dozens of publications including The Wall Street Journal, BBC, Yahoo,, and more.
Updated: September 20th, 2023
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