Guide to Christmas in Brooklyn: Activities, Events and Shopping

Brooklyn at Christmas
Getty Images/Flavia Morlachetti

Ready to have fun in Brooklyn this Christmas? You can see huge Christmas trees, catch a performance of a holiday classic, and shop for gifts your loved ones won't see in the malls.

Relax in Brooklyn's less congested, more human-paced environment during this busy holiday season. Here are some nice events to consider this Christmas season. Some celebrations and events are very traditional and others rather avant-garde but all will brighten your holiday season.  

01 of 08

Take the Dyker Heights Christmas Lights Tour

Dyker Heights, Brooklyn Christmas Lights
Getty Images/Richard Levine

Don't miss this over-the-top neighborhood display of Christmas lights in the tiny, close-knit Italian neighborhood of Dyker Heights. It's a Brooklyn tradition.

Not only are the area's displays beautiful, but the experience is also fun, memorable, and really worth a visit, especially if you get excited about Christmas festivities, love folk art, and have little kids in tow.

Local residents have fun trying to outdo one another the Christmas light decorations. It is estimated more than 100,000 tourists come to see this neighborhood outpouring of creativity and fun, as light displays spill over their homes, roofs, and gardens.

02 of 08

Shop at Holiday Markets

Brooklyn Flea
Getty Images/Keith Getter

You can skip the big department stores, and shop locally in Brooklyn holiday markets. There's quite a variety. In Prospect Heights and Park Slope, local merchants have a special weekend or evening promotion during which mom-and-pop stores offer customers free wine or cookies, discounts on merchandise, and special bargains.

Head to the Brooklyn Navy Yard Holiday Market on Dec. 3 and 4 for unique Brooklyn-made gifts. Or, explore a few different vintage markets; the best known is the Brooklyn Flea Holiday Market in DUMBO.

There are artists all over Brooklyn, and many sell their wares at Christmas markets throughout December. You can find affordable gifts that are not mass-produced, not made in China, and not likely to be something you'll ever see in a mall.

03 of 08

See a Christmas Show

Barclays Center, Winter
Getty Images/Nisian Hughes

From mega-venue Barclays Center to a little local puppet show, fun and interesting holiday entertainment in Brooklyn is easy to be found.

At the Barclays Center, you can enjoy performances like the Harlem Globetrotters and Disney on Ice in addition to regularly scheduled games. Venues like Kings Theater will be debuting performances like "The Nutcracker" ballet, and the Brooklyn Tabernacle will put on a free show featuring carols and more. Don't miss ice sculptures and a light show at Light Up Brooklyn Commons.

04 of 08

Participate in Make Music New York

Celebrate the winter solstice and the first day of winter at one of many free, outdoor music-making celebrations. Make Music Winter invites New Yorkers to sing, play, dance and march their way across the streets, plazas, and parks in twelve participatory parades across all five boroughs.

Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08

Celebrate Kwanzaa

Exterior view of one side of the Brooklyn Children's Museum.

 Bigtimepeace/Wikimedia Commons

Kwanzaa fun for all ages is celebrated at the Brooklyn Children's Museum. Kwanzaa was first celebrated in 1966 by Dr. Mualana Karenga who created the holiday to honor African heritage and African-American culture.

Over five days of culture and fun, learn about this African-American holiday and explore Kwanzaa’s seven principles: unity; self-determination; collective work and responsibility; cooperative economics; purpose; faith; and creativity.

06 of 08

Celebrate Sinterklass

Sinterklaas Day or St. Nicholas Day is going to be celebrated at Wyckoff Farmhouse Museum (in Fidler-Wyckoff House Park), in Brooklyn from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Dec. 6, 2022.

Sip hot cider, play colonial games, meet St. Nicholas, decorate the tree for the tree lighting, and more the holidays are celebrated at NYC's oldest house.

07 of 08

Walk Across the Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge at Sunset

 Calvin Y. Lee/Getty Images

When in Brooklyn, this is always on a visitors' to-do list. Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. It is one of New York City's great free sights and attractions and well worth the effort to cross.

You can access the pedestrian walkway from Brooklyn at Tillary/Adams Streets or a staircase on Prospect St between Cadman Plaza East and West.

08 of 08

See the World's Almost Tallest Menorah

Talk about memorable. Come watch as a huge, 30-foot tall menorah is lit to mark the beginning of the holiday of Hanukkah, also known as the “Festival of Lights.” (The Manhattan menorah is only two feet taller.)

Get there early and watch as the rabbi and a public official (sometimes it's the Mayor of New York, sometimes Brooklyn's Borough President) get in a cherry picker cab and go up, up, to the top of this huge menorah.

The festivities include hot potato pancakes, the traditional jelly donuts, and upbeat music. The event is organized by the Chabad organization, which undertakes the public lighting of menorahs in 551 cities in 28 countries across the globe.