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New York City Dec 17–23: Music That Is Comical, Divine, and Participatory

What to do in and around NYC this week

It’s a week of holiday music in New York. The New York Philharmonic is teaming up with the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus for an unconventional Christmas performance, and the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine is holding its 35th annual Winter Solstice Concert . If you’d rather participate in the music making, check out one of the 12 parades in the Make Music Winter festival. For a non-musical outing, take a trip to the Alps—minus the airfare—by heading to Baita, the ski lodge–themed pop-up restaurant on the roof of Eataly. And to get out of the city entirely, how about some winetasting and hiking in Ithaca?

December 17–19 | Celebrate the solstice
Winter Solstice Concert
Any excuse to go inside the stunning Cathedral of Saint John the Divine is a good one, but the annual Winter Solstice Concert is particularly worthwhile. This non-denominational event, organized for the 35th year by artist-in-residence Paul Winter, celebrates the shortest day (and longest night) of the year with music and dance. This year's performance features the Paul Winter Consort, vocalist Theresa Thomason, and Forces of Nature Dance Theatre, as well as singers and musicians on the accordion, piano, guitar, cuatro, and bomba drum playing music from Puerto Rico.
Times vary | Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, 1047 Amsterdam Ave., New York | (212) 316-7540 | From $35 | website

December 18–19 | Holiday performance
Oh, What Fun! A Philharmonic Holiday
Christmas concerts don’t get much better than this. This year the New York Philharmonic is teaming up with the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus to put on Oh, What Fun!, a lighthearted performance featuring a mix of classic carols, modern hits, and original compositions. Program highlights include selections from The Nutcracker, a rendition of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You,” a Berlin/Pharell mash-up called "Happy (Holiday)," and Dr. Seuss's “You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch.” The event ends with a hilarious Christmas carol singalong.
Times vary | David Geffen Hall, 10 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York | (212) 875-5656 | from $35 | website


 

December 21 | Festival
Make Music Winter
Celebrate the first official day of winter with a free, citywide music festival. Now in its fifth year, Make Music Winter is actually 12 different participatory musical parades that take place throughout the city and feature an array of musical genres. There are twelve parades, staged everywhere from DUMBO to Washington Heights, Astoria, and the High Line, and each has a unique theme: Participants will be asked to play instruments, download and blast music, sing, or even tap dance down the street. It's a surefire way to beat the winter blues.
Times & locations vary | Free | website

AFAR Local is published every Wednesday, so check back for insider updates on restaurant openings, festivals, exhibitions, shows, weekend escapes, and more. Planning a trip? The AFAR guide to New York has you covered.

Through March | Restaurant pop-up
Baita
Take the elevator to the 14th floor of Mario Batali’s popular Italian market Eataly, and you’ll find that their beer garden looks like it’s been transformed into a ski resort. Welcome to Baita, an Italian Alps pop-up restaurant, which will be serving cozy après-ski food and drink through March. The retractable roof is closed, heat lamps are on, and each seat comes with a wool blanket for optimal coziness. The menu features items like mulled wine, salumi, and melted raclette cheese. It’s already proving to be as popular as you might imagine, so try to snag a reservation before heading over.
Eataly, 200 Fifth Ave., 14th fl., New York | (212) 937-8910 | website

Weekend escape
Ithaca, NY
As the saying goes, “Ithaca is Gorges!” even in the cold of winter. Take the four-hour drive northwest of Manhattan to discover all that this charming college town has to offer. Walk around the pedestrian Ithaca Commons to get lost in galleries, used bookstores, shops selling handcrafted gifts, and cafes. Be sure to stop by iconic pescatarian restaurant Moosewood for lunch or dinner. If you’re looking to commune with nature, Connecticut Hill is one of the highest points in the area and is great for hiking, snowshoeing, or cross-country skiing. And when you get thirsty, try one of the the over 25 wineries that have made the Finger Lakes region one of the country's up-and-coming wine hotspots. 

A native New Yorker, Katherine is a freelance food and travel writer who has eaten her way across the globe and is always on the lookout for her next great meal. She is an avid reader, insatiable traveler, sometimes photographer, and mom to an inquisitive toddler.