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How to Celebrate the Holidays in Brooklyn

December 4, 2018 - by Merrill Lee Girardeau
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For more holiday fun, take a trip to nearby Brooklyn! This season, several big traditions will be back, like ice-skating in Prospect Park and the insane Christmas lights in Dyker Heights. Other new events are taking over the borough, like WinterFest at the Brooklyn Museum, a holiday variety show in Gowanus, and a hip-hop version of The Nutcracker. Read on for events throughout the holidays, all happening in Brooklyn. First up are season-long offerings, followed by dated events arranged chronologically.

Holidays 2018 in Brooklyn: WinterFest


Brand-new for the 2018 holiday season, the inaugural WinterFest at the Brooklyn Museum opened the day after Thanksgiving and closes out on New Year's Eve. This six-week winter wonderland, popping up on the grounds of the Brooklyn Museum, will feature a wide range of offerings for the whole family, seven days a week. Bring kids to explore a land of chocolate, shop locally made gifts, see free live performances, and catch special appearances of Kris Kringle himself. There are also beer and wine tastings, as well as choirs, silent discos, bands, and movie screenings like The Nightmare Before Christmas on the Main Stage. 200 Eastern Pkwy., winterfestbrooklynmuseum.com

Holidays 2018 in Brooklyn: Ice Skating in Prospect Park

Hold your own Ice Capades in beautiful Prospect Park this winter! The rink at LeFrak Center near Prospect Lefferts Gardens is open seven days a week. Bring family and friends to rent ice skates and enjoy the ice morning, noon, and night. Weekday admission is $7.25, weekends and holidays are $10, and skate rentals are $7. 171 East Dr., 718-965-8951, prospectpark.org

Holidays 2018 in Brooklyn: Crazy Lights in Dyker Heights


Perhaps Brooklyn’s best holiday extravaganza, the ostentatious Christmas lights in Dyker Heights are a yearly tradition worth seeking out. With millions of lights, 10-foot Santas, and enormous wreaths, every house is a dizzying, kitschy wonder. This attraction sees buses of tourists coming from Manhattan and lots of crowds, so come on a weekday if you can. 11th to 13th Aves. between 83rd and 86th. Throughout the month of December, the tour pros A Slice of Brooklyn offer "The Original Christmas Lights Tour of Dyker Heights." asliceofbrooklyn.com

Holidays 2018 in Brooklyn: Brooklyn Flea Indoors

Locally made goods and vintage finds make great, Brooklyn-esque gifts from the Winter Flea iteration of Brooklyn Flea. Located in Atlantic Center, the mall near the Barclays Center in Downtown Brooklyn, the Flea will pop up on Saturdays, 11am-6pm, and Sundays, 11am-5pm. Bonus: Smorgasburg, the sister market of local food vendors, will set up shop alongside the Flea, too. 625 Atlantic Ave., brooklynflea.com

Holidays 2018 in Brooklyn: Holiday Films at Nitehawk Cinema

Williamsburg’s Nitehawk Cinema is a cornerstone of the movie/restaurant movement in New York. This holiday season, come watch a classic Christmas movie, and eat and drink in the theater with Nitehawk’s full menu of apps, entrees, beer, wine, and cocktails. See  Love Actually and Christmas Vacation on Saturday, December 8th. Get gritty with Die Hard on December 15th. The same day, the event Spoons, Toons & Booze celebrates holiday specials from your childhood with Saturday-morning cereal and decidedly not-childish drinking. If midnight movies are your kind of Christmas tradition, watch cult horror flick Black Christmas on December 21-22. It’s a Wonderful Life and Scrooged, Fargo, and Little Women are also on offer this December. 136 Metropolitan Ave., nitehawkcinema.com

Holidays 2018 in Brooklyn: Menorah at Grand Army Plaza

brooklyn grand army menorah

Photo by worldslargestmenorah.com.

Brooklyn’s largest menorah has its yearly home at Grand Army Plaza, the main entrance to Prospect Park. This 32-foot-high menorah was lit on the first night of Hanukkah with a live concert, gifts for kids, and latkes. Each of the eight nights of Hanukkah, ceremonial lightings will occur at the menorah, in addition to other special performances and offerings for kids. December 2-9. Grand Army Plaza at Flatbush Ave., 646-298-9909, chabadparkslope.com

Holidays 2018 in Brooklyn: Yule Ball at The Bell House

Harry and the Potters is a two-man band bringing holiday cheer from the world of J.K. Rowling for the ninth year in a row. Expect more wizard rock from other Potter-themed bands The Whomping Willows, Tonks and the Aurors, and The Swedish Shortsnouts. With the lodgey Bell House as its venue, the event will transport you to Hogsmeade with plenty of butter beer and magic for all. Saturday, December 15th. 149 Seventh Ave., thebellhouseny.com

Holidays 2018 in Brooklyn: Not Quite Midnight at Littlefield

See a live variety show in the spirit of late-night TV at Littlefield in Gowanus. Not Quite Midnight delivers up “cheer, chaos, and comedy” courtesy of comedians Kate Willet, Josh Gondelman, and a great lineup of comics. One-man band Steven Desiena will bring electronica-infused carols, and the parody game Let’s Get Weird Al is sure to spice things up. Hosted by Courtney Maginnis and Chris Calogero. Sunday, December 16th. 635 Sackett St., littlefieldnyc.com

Holidays 2018 in Brooklyn: Wandering Winter Solstice Concert

Take a winter journey through Brooklyn Botanic Garden at the Wandering Winter Solstice Concert, part of Make Music New York's citywide celebration on Friday, December 21. Baritone Tobias Greenhalgh will lead the audience, who also provide the instrumental accompaniment! The score is Franz Schubert’s 1828 song cycle Winterreise, played on radios the audience will hold as they travel through renovated sections of the Garden. 445 Flatbush Ave., 718-623-7200, bbg.org

Holidays 2018 in Brooklyn: The Hip Hop Nutcracker

Hip Hop Nutcracker

Trade ballet for break-dancing at The Hip Hop Nutcracker, a dance performance now touring across the nation. This sensational family-friendly experience is coming to the restored Kings Theatre in Flatbush on Sunday, December 23rd. Tchaikovsky’s iconic original score will be mixed up by DJ Boo and accompanied by an impressive company of hip-hop dancers and an electric violinist. Set in New York, the show reimagines the famous Nutcracker story with the diversity and energy of the modern-day city. 1027 Flatbush Ave., kingstheatre.com, hiphopnutcracker.com

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