The holidays are upon us. No matter how you celebrate, what local traditions make you feel merry and bright? Read on for a few of our favorite ways to enjoy the season in Brooklyn.
7. Ice Skating and Cocoa in Prospect Park
Ever since Prospect Park’s $74,000,000 LeFrak skating rink opened in 2013, it’s become a wintertime Brooklyn staple. Admission is only $6 to $9, and skate rental is another $6. And what could be lovelier than taking a break from the ice with a warm cup of hot chocolate? Check the rink’s calendar to catch the annual Winter Ice Spectacular, a free figure-skating show.
6. Spending an Afternoon at the Danish Seamen’s Church Holiday Market
This uniquely old-fashioned Christmas church bazaar is a Brooklyn favorite. The popular annual event — typically held in November — features traditional Danish gifts and goodies, including doughnuts and candy, and both modern and traditional Christmas decorations. The market is free and open to the public on certain weekends at 102 Willow Street. You can find more information about it at the church’s website.
5. Gawking at the Christmas Tree at Borough Hall
Brooklyn Borough Hall’s had an extravagant decorative display for decades. This year’s official tree lighting ceremony was held on Monday, just before the rain hit. If you couldn’t make it, we suggest stopping by to take in the trimmings — even better if you snag a cup of hot cider from the Borough Hall Greenmarket on a Saturday, Tuesday, or Thursday.
4. Celebrating Kwanzaa With the Cumbe Center for African and Diaspora Dance
Cumbe annually holds workshops and celebrations of the seven-day festival of African heritage and culture. This year, they’re holding special performances at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum. Stop by and honor the seven principles of Kwanzaa — unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.
3. Seeing The Nutcracker
Brooklyn Nutcracker fans had a few options to choose from this year. If you missed the Moscow Ballet’s performance at the Kings Theater and Brooklyn Ballet’s tricked-out Brooklyn Nutcracker Sweet! earlier this month, you can still catch performances of The Hard Nut (a weird and funny Nutcracker update) at BAM, or a more traditional take on The Nutcracker from Gelsey Kirkland Academy in Dumbo.
2. Visiting the Enormous Menorah at Grand Army Plaza
This giant 32-foot-tall menorah has presided over Grand Army Plaza since 1985. The first night of Hanukkah kicks off with an annual concert, and each evening’s candle-lighting ceremony — accomplished with the help of a cherry-picker — is accompanied by live music, hot latkes and gifts for the kids.
1. Ogling the Holiday Decorations in Dyker Heights
The neighborhood is renowned for its over-the-top holiday decorations, drawing a wagon train of car-bound gawkers and wide-eyed pedestrians every Christmas season. This year’s display is more insane than ever, with millions of twinkle lights, inflatable Santas, towering toy soldiers, jolly elves, luminous angels, and more. It’s a kitschy extravagant winter wonderland you’ll just have to see to believe. Brownstoner recommends visiting on a weeknight if you can swing it.
What are your favorite local holiday traditions? Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll add them here.