The Nightmare Before Christmas: 10 Best Ways to Avoid the Holidays in NYC

Ah, Christmas in New York City. 

While the actual holiday is December 25th, the holiday season in the city really begins the day after Thanksgiving (of course, Duane Reade wouldn't know sh*t about that). 

The Rockefeller Tree has been lit, the cups at Starbucks have caused controversy, and the annoying bells that accompany the Salvation Army’s red buckets have begun to ring.

What does this mean? NYC's streets will soon become the beautiful routes we all recognize from the holiday movies. 

People will live with candy cane-colored glasses and kiss in the snow and dance through holiday markets and all of that cheesy stuff.

Yeah it’s cute, but many locals know these same streets also become a hotbed for busy shoppers, clueless tourists, and unfathomable commercialism. 

Here's some spots to escape the wrath of elves and eggnog that is right around the corner.

1. Catland (987 Flushing Avenue)

Head over to this Brooklyn spiritual boutique and event space for their awesome anti-Christmas party; Krampusfest! 


Described as a place ‘both wonderful and strange,’ the party, happening December 16th, will feature fire, live music, spiked cider, and more. Get your tickets here.

2. Beetle House (308 East 6th Street)


The Christmas season can be a nightmare, so why not have some fun in the light of The Nightmare Before Christmas’ creator, Tim Burton. Beetle House is a bar of another one of Burton’s films, the iconic Beetlejuice, and it is dark and mysterious and wonderful.

3. Rocky Horror Picture Show @ Cinepolis Chelsea (260 West 23rd Street)


Keep the spooky fun going with this cult classic. Who needs to look at holiday windows when you can ogle Tim Curry’s beautiful legs in drag.

4. Nitehawk Cinema (136 Metropolitan Avenue)


Movies are never a bad idea. Especially horror movies, at midnight. Home Alone is great, but you can only see Macaulay Culkin so many times.

5. Russ and Daughters Cafe (127 Orchard Street)


Best way to escape Christmas? Escape Christianity by embracing Jewish food! Knishes, latkes, and matzo balls fill the belly much better than candy canes do.

6. Rubin Museum of Art (150 West 17th Street)


Continuing in the light of other faiths, head over to this beautiful collection of east Asian art. No santas here, the only chubby figures are the smiling Buddhas.

7. MOFAD (62 Bayard Street)


Chinese food on Christmas is the quintessential finger to the holiday. MOFAD’s current exhibition is CHOW: Making The Chinese American Restaurant, and it is a must-see. Egg rolls over egg nog any day.

8. Shambhala Meditation Center of New York (118 West 22nd Street)


Christmas in the city is loud. ‘Music blaring, tourists talking, hearing noise after noise’ are the more accurate lyrics of Silver Bells, but it doesn’t have to be like that. Go meditate and forget the jingle of bells that keep you up at night.

9. Athleta Flatiron (126 5th Avenue)


The holidays are the time when we all prepare for hibernation by stuffing our faces with gingerbread. Counteract that by getting in a workout—for free! 


Sign up for classes here.

10. City Lore 56 (East 1st Street) 


In case you’ve forgotten, Kwanzaa is held in December too, particularly the day after Christmas. Come to Badenya Baro: A West African Kwanzaa Celebration on December 17th for music, dancing, and tons of food. More info here.

[Feature Image Courtesy] 

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