It’s one of those rare years where Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa fall right on top of each other, so it’s three times the celebration. From a Hanukkah-themed burlesque show to a Kwanzaa crawl to a Christmas lights tour of a Brooklyn neighborhood, the holidays are shining bright in the city. To escape the hustle and bustle, ring in 2017 in Stowe, Vermont, with a laid-back but festive celebration on the slopes.
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December 1 - January 4 | Holiday lights
Christmas Lights of Dyker Heights Tour
For a quintessentially New York holiday experience, forget the tree at Rockefeller Center. Instead, head to the decidedly untouristy Brooklyn neighborhood of Dyker Heights, where residents have made it a tradition to go all out on the Christmas decorations. There are lights, of course, but also huge inflatables, music, and more. You can walk it on your own or get a more streamlined experience through a tour with A Slice of Brooklyn Bus Tours. Its three-and-a-half-hour tour, which goes by bus and foot, will give you the background behind the lights while bringing you to all the best spots.
Times vary, Pick-up at Union Square, Manhattan | $50 | website
December 24 | Burlesque
Kick off the first night of Hanukkah with an untraditional celebration at the Highline Ballroom. For the 10th year running, The Schlep Sisters will perform their Hanukkah-themed burlesque show featuring music, dancing, and lots of laughs. The VIP tickets include a signed photo of the Schlep Sisters as well as a Hanukkah treat, and a full dinner menu will be available. If you want to continue the edgy holiday celebrations, hang around for the First Night of Hanukkah Holiday Bash for Young Jewish Professionals, which follows at 11 p.m.
8:00 PM | Highline Ballroom, 431 W. 16th St., New York | From $25 | website
December 26 | Drink
Celebrate the first night of Kwanzaa, the weeklong celebration of African American culture, with the Kwanzaa Crawl in Brooklyn. Participants are encouraged to dress “in whatever makes them feel black and beautiful” as they hop among 16 black-owned businesses in Bed-Stuy, Crown Heights, Prospect Heights, Fort Greene, and Park Slope. What better way to focus on the eight tenets of Kwanzaa than by supporting your local community? The $10 admission fee gets you a Kwanzaa Crawl cup to be filled at the various stops along the way.
1:00 PM | Restoration Plaza, 1368 Fulton St., Brooklyn, New York | $10 | website
December 31 | New Year’s Eve
New Year’s Eve Dinner at Tavern on the Green
There are few restaurants as iconic in New York as Tavern on the Green, situated right in Central Park. Ring in the new year in style with a posh prix fixe dinner, including decadent options like champagne-glazed oysters and spiced eggnog crème brûlée. Or splurge for the later, premium seating option, which gets you a spot in the Central Park Room with floor-to-ceiling views of Sheep’s Meadow and the New Year’s Eve fireworks along with an even more upscale menu with options such as grilled beef chateaubriand with whipped potatoes and seared foie gras. There will also be live jazz and dancing.
5:00 PM | Tavern on the Green, 67th St. and Central Park West, New York | From $125 | website
December 31 - January 1 | Escape the city
If the idea of finding something to do for New Year’s Eve in the city (that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg or involve huge crowds) makes you dizzy, then escape to the slopes of Stowe, Vermont. Book a room at the Stowe Mountain Lodge, where you can enjoy all of its usual offerings (like skiing and the spa) as well as the annual torchlight parade and fireworks show on New Year’s Eve. It’s festive enough to feel special, but still way more laid-back than spending the holiday in the city.
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.