new york | Culture

The Best Non-Traditional Holiday Activities in NYC

November 23, 2016
Written by: Yasha Wallin

In New York City, there are hundreds of things to do every day to keep you entertained. The same can be said for the holidays in the Big Apple. Everybody knows about the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, or the Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting—but at sbe, we like to go the nontraditional route, which is why we’ve rounded up a few “off-the-beaten-path” type activities, guaranteed to make your holiday season unforgettable.

And to make this season even more special, The Redbury New York is offering complimentary gift wrapping for stays over Christmas Eve. Gifts will be delivered to your door, wrapped, with specialty Marta cookies and milk. Who says Santa doesn’t exist?

BYOB Gingerbread House Workshop
As a kid, you may have thought the best part of building a gingerbread house was getting to eat it after. As an adult, the best part is not only that you get to eat the house after, you also get to drink—as much as you want—while building it. During Taste Bud Kitchen’s BYOB Gingerbread House workshops, you can invite your friends to build a gingerbread house while sipping on your drink of choice and listening to holiday music, with endless decorating options at your fingertips.


Santa Shuffle 5K
For you running buffs who have always wanted to complete in a 5K clad in a Santa suit, this is the race for you. Organized by Rockapulco Run, this community event sees hundreds of people decked out in white beards and red suits, running in places like Prospect Park and Rockaway Beach.


Phil Kline’s Unsilent Night
This crowd-sourced soundscape turns NYC’s streets into a rowdy, fantastic remake on Christmas caroling. During this “unsilent night,” audience members carry around boomboxes and speakers throughout the city, in an event so popular it’s grown to 98 other cities around the world.

unsilent night

Origami Holiday Tree at American Museum of Natural History
For more than 30 years, the American Museum of Natural History has been marking the start of the holiday season by decorating their annual Christmas tree with origami ornaments. This year’s theme is dinosaurs, and visitors will see hundreds of creations displayed which volunteers have been making since March.


Nitehawk Holiday Show
If you’ve never been to the Nitehawk Cinema, their holiday film extravaganza, running from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve, is the perfect excuse to visit. Nitehawk’s specialty is offering full meals to movie buffs: try their Lamb Chops paired with an Old Fashioned, while watching everything from “Home Alone” to “Trading Places.”

home alone

Christmas Haunted House Tour
For your spookiest holiday ever, go on a walking tour of New York’s most famous haunted houses, all the way from the East Village to Greenwich Village. With a focus on Christmas ghost stories, you’ll be terrifically terrified.