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New York Family Fun

thanksgiving paradeKick off winter and the holiday season with America’s favorite tradition, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade! New York City pulls out all the stops for this beloved event and sets a festive tone for an entire season of gratitude. If you feast a bit too much, and are near Buffalo, disco off some of that turkey and stuffing on the largest dance floor in the state.

Create new holiday traditions at family-friendly celebrations upstate, such as Troy’s Victorian Stroll and Hudson’s Winter Walk. In the Finger Lakes, celebrations of the holiday classics, “A Christmas Carol” and “It’s A Wonderful Life”, make it fun to shop and socialize. The Vanderbilt Mansion on Long Island is decorated elegantly for the holiday season and you may want to attend their beautiful tree lighting ceremony. Take the kids to the ‘real’ North Pole to sit on Santa’s knee, or join Woodstockers on the Village Green for their festive Christmas Eve welcome party for Santa (how does he do it?).

With nips and gusts of chill in the air, it’s time to get out the skates, skis and snowshoes and have fun in the snow. Practice your turns and spins on well-groomed ice rinks at Rockefeller Center, Lake Placid and Empire Skate Plaza, and on country ponds and state parks all over the state. Ski resorts in the Catskill, Adirondack and Allegheny mountains are great family vacation spots: you’ll find lessons and slopes to challenge novice to expert skiers and even some amenities like saunas and spas. If you prefer a more rustic winter getaway, New York has snowmobile trails, ice fishing spots and winterized cabins galore.

To ring in the New Year with the whole family, why not visit an indoor waterpark or celebrate at a ski resort, with torchlight parade and fireworks?

chowder-festAs deep winter sets in, hardy residents of some of New York’s snowiest regions have devised clever ways to weather the weather. Winter Carnivals in Oswego, Lake George and Saranac Lake – and a tasty Chowderfest – set high standards for how to have fun with ice and snow. And, of course, there’s always something cool to do at Lake Placid Olympic Center.

Too cold outside? Visit the New York Botanical Gardens to soak in the tropical warmth and start to dream of spring. You’ll find appealing museums all over New York, from those especially for kids (Long Island, Utica and Rochester are notable), to collections related to whaling, Seneca & Iroquois culture, baseball, science, the environment and the 1960s (yes, near Woodstock . . . at Bethel Woods!).

And, don’t forget two more unbeatable cabin fever-busters: go-karting and amusement parks with arcades.


Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
Starts at W. 77th St. and Central Park West
New York, NY 10023
Kick off the holiday season with spectacular floats, marching bands and excitement 

New York Botanical Gardens
Holiday Train Show (mid-November – mid-January)
2900 Southern Boulevard
Bronx, NY 10458
Marvel as model trains zip around NY landmark replicas inside or stroll the spectacular grounds

Rockefeller Center Ice Skating Rink
1 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, NY 10020
Only 150 ice skaters can be on the ‘intimate’ Rink at one time


Long Island Children’s Museum
11 Davis Avenue
Garden City, NY 11530
Hands-on museum for kids and their grown-ups – play, learn & have fun!

The Whaling Museum and Education Center
301 Main Street
Cold Spring Harbor, NY 11724
Explore the whaling history of Long Island and the ever-changing relationship between humans and whales

Vanderbilt Mansion
180 Little Neck Road
Centerport, NY 11721
Festively decorated for the holidays; annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony and dinner; Valentine’s Day Dinner too


Funfuzion at New Roc City
19 LeCount Place
New Rochelle, NY 10801
Westchester’s only indoor amusement park; five distinctive fun zones; open daily, even holidays 

Grand Prix New York
333 North Bedford Road
Mount Kisco, NY 10549
Indoor Go Karting, Bowling, Arcade, Bouncy Castle, Art Garage & award-winning restaurant

Winter Walk (early December)
Hudson Opera House
327 Warren Street
Hudson, NY 12534
A mile of festivities: holiday season kick-off event with a distinctively quirky atmosphere, unusual entertainment, fireworks & more! 


Bethel Woods Center for the Arts
Holiday Market at Bethel Woods (early December)
200 Hurd Road
Bethel, NY 12720
Annual holiday shopping event with music, children's activities, photos with Santa; museum’s multi-media exhibits tell the stories of the ‘60s & more

Holiday Mountain Ski & Fun Park 
Holiday Mountain Recreation Area
99 Holiday Mountain Road
Monticello, NY 12701
Caters to all ages -- “Where Great Skiers Begin” -- snow tubing and boarding too

Santa Claus Arrival in Woodstock (Christmas Eve)
Woodstock Village Green
Woodstock, NY 12498
Festive, fun & unorthodox community gathering to welcome Santa Claus & his Elves


Chowderfest (February)
Participating restaurants, Saratoga Springs, NY
Taste & vote! Popular winter tradition, tons of family fun; live music, free photos, moreEmpire Skate Plaza

Empire State Plaza
Albany, NY 12223
Free daily skating at Empire State Plaza rink; skate rentals, snack bar, music = outdoor fun!

Troy Downtown Victorian Stroll (early December)
Troy, NY 12180
Merrymakers stroll historic streets to shop, dine, feel the holiday magic & have fun


Lake George Winter Carnival (weekends in February)
Various locations, Lake George, NY 12845
Ice skating, sculpting, kite flying, ice diving demos, ice fishing, chili & chowder cook-offs, outhouse races and lots more fun

Lake Placid Olympic Center
2634 Main Street
Lake Placid, NY 12946
Olympic Museum plus national and international figure skating competitions, USA Hockey events, Smuckers' Stars on Ice and other special events

Santa’s Workshop, The North Pole (weekends, November – December)
324 Whiteface Memorial Highway
Wilmington, NY 12997
Winter Weekends & Winter Village of Lights capture the “spirit of the season” and give kids a chance to put in direct requests to Santa

Saranac Lake Winter Carnival (late January – early February)
Saranac Lake, NY 12983
Established 1897 as one-day event; now a 10-day festival with sports, dances, performances, two parades and two spectacular fireworks displays above the world-famous Ice Palace


Tug Hill Plateau
Locations near Watertown, NY 13603
Snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, other winter activities in natural terrain

Warm Up Oswego Festival (early February)
Downtown Oswego & The Oswego Y Armory
265 West 1st
Oswego, NY 13126
Fun, food, family, fireworks, crazy costumer sled race, treasure/scavenger hunts, more 

Wellesley Island State Park
44927 Cross Island Road
Fineview, NY 13640
Several winterized cabins; cross-country skiing, ice fishing, snowshoe trails


Children’s Museum of History, Science & Technology
311 Main Street
Utica, NY 13501
Four floors of exhibits for kids from 1-101; one of America’s oldest children’s museums 

National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
25 Main Street
Cooperstown, NY 13326
Home of America’s favorite pastime; interactive exhibits, special events, museum, plaque gallery and more

Rogers Environmental Education Center
2721 State Highway 80
Sherburne, NY 13460-4507
Cross country skiing, snowshoeing, nature education


Dickens Festival (weekends from day after Thanksgiving through Christmas Eve)
Village of Skaneateles, NY 13152
Caroling, “A Christmas Carol” scenes, roasted chestnuts, holiday stories, Father Christmas, food and more festivities

“It’s a Wonderful Life” Celebration (mid-December)
Various locations
Seneca Falls, NY 13148
Join the holiday festivities & celebrate Frank Capra’s classic film; “It’s A Wonderful Run” 5K Race too!

601 1st Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
Get excited about science; 250+ exhibits, programs, science park, gift shop & more


Lakeside Beach State Park
Waterport, NY 14571
Popular for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing & snowmobiling

Palm Island Indoor Water Park (New Year’s Eve, Annual Family Fun Night)
8250 Park Road
Batavia, NY 14020
Body slides, underwater lighted pool with waterfall, rip current arcade & MUCH more!

World’s Largest Disco (Thanksgiving weekend)
Buffalo Niagara Convention Center
Convention Center Plaza
Buffalo, NY 14202
Shake your booty on NYS’ largest dance floor: disco lights, polyester & hit performers!


New Year’s Eve at Holiday Valley 
6557 Holiday Valley Road, Route 219
Ellicottville, NY 14731-0370
Skiing, torchlight parade & grand fireworks show; family friendly lodge party 

Peek‘n Peek Resort & Spa
1405 Olde Road
Clymer/Findley Lake, NY 14724
Lodging, dining, world-class amenities – and skiing, cross-county skiing, snowshoeing, tubing, snowmobiling and more

Seneca Iroquois National Museum
814 Broad Street
Salamanca, NY 14779
Permanent & temporary exhibits about culture of Seneca & Iroquois; over a million objects in collections


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