Light it up at these new holiday attractions in NYC
There's nothing like the glow of holiday lights to make a season bright. And no season is brighter than the holidays in New York City. This year, there are some dazzling new attractions to take in, including LuminoCity Festival on Randall's Island, the Hello Panda light display at CitiField, the return of an old favorite, Holiday Lights at The Bronx Zoo, and a new location for the NY Botanical Garden's annual Holiday Train Show.
Read on for the details.
Looking for something new? Head to Randall’s Island where 16 acres of the park have been transformed into a massive, interactive lights festival that also includes performances, shopping and food. While you wander awestruck, phone in hand, you’ll enter A Winter Fantasy, Wild Adventure and Sweet Dreams, all with huge LED light installations, such as a glowing unicorn, a doughnut tunnel and a towering technicolor tree that is supposedly “visible for miles.” It’s totally family-friendly.
Look for themed days — there's a Cosplay day, people — workshops and a night market that will feature goodies from an assemblage of food trucks and food vendors, as well as Lumi-themed drinks in the LuminoCity bar.
Go: LuminoCity opens Nov. 23 and runs through Jan. 5. Tickets are $38 at the door and online at luminocityfestival.com. For directions and travel info, including shuttle bus reservations and tickets to Randall’s Island, go to randallsisland.org
Need even more light inspiration? Head to CitiField for this first-ever Hello Panda Festival, which will feature more than 120 lantern exhibits, live entertainment and interactive experiences. The event celebrates the traditional Chinese art of lantern-making with magical displays of light and color, handcrafted by world-class artisans. Other attractions include cultural performances and arts experiences, a holiday market and 60 international food vendors curated by The World’s Fare.
Go: Dec. 6-Jan. 26. Open daily from 5-10 p.m. CitiField is at 123-01 Roosevelt Ave., Queens, and is accessible by NYC subway. There are different tickets prices, depending on day, and packages. Go to https://www.eventbrite.com for more info. You can purchase tickets at the box office, in front of the main entrance or online at hellopandafest.com, or through the hotline: 718-886-8158.
Hello Panda festivals will also be held in Catskill, at the World Vacation Hotel, 4880 Route 32, Catskill, from Nov. 8-March 22, 2020, 5-10 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday only. And at Lake Glenwood in Vernon, New Jersey, Nov. 15-Jan. 5, 5-10 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The Bronx Zoo Holiday Lights
The Bronx Zoo is bringing back a great New York City holiday tradition, its Bronx Zoo Holiday Lights. For the first time since 2007, you can be dazzled by light displays (many in the shape of animals) that cover and sparkle across acres of the zoo. Visitors can walk through the zoo to experience wildlife-themed LED displays, custom Asian lanterns, animated light shows on the historic Astor Court and more.
Entertainment and activities will include holiday-themed music performances, caroling, ice-carving demonstrations, train rides and seasonal treats, including hot chocolate, s'mores and more.
Go: Nov. 21-Jan. 5. Hours are 5-9 p.m., Sunday-Thursday, and 5-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday. Tickets are priced at $29.95 for adults, $22.95 for children and $28.95 for seniors, available at bronxzoo.com
New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show
There are some changes on track for the 28th year of this favorite. The Enid A. Haupt Conservatory’s dome is undergoing restoration, so this year’s show will be presented in an immersive, climate-controlled indoor winter wonderland located on the Conservatory lawn. What’s also new: Central Park joins the display, with its landscape fashioned in mosses and hollies. Look for new replicas of Central Park’s iconic architectural treasures, including Belvedere Castle, the Dairy, the Old Bandstand, the Angel of the Waters sculpture atop the Bethesda Fountain and two graceful pedestrian bridges.
Expect to see many old favorites, including more than 175 New York landmarks created from natural materials, such as leaves and berries, pistachio shells, even radish seeds. Special adult-only Bar Car Nights, in which you can sip cocktails and have a bite to eat at pop-ups while exploring the display after dark, will continue.
Go: The show runs from Nov. 23-ough Jan. 26. Find hours, ticket prices and info on special events at www.nybg.org/event/holiday-train-show. The New York Botanical Garden, 2900 Southern Blvd., Bronx; 718-817-8700