Affordable Family Fun in the Big Apple

Unless friends lend you their apartment in New York City for the week, it’s tough to enjoy a Big Apple vacation without taking a big bite out of your wallet. But, for one day, at least, you can take the kids to a free holiday event — Winter’s Eve at Lincoln Square, that features a family-friendly lineup of children’s entertainment and activities.

Billed as the city’s largest holiday festival, the roster of kid-friendly activities during the free annual event is long. (By the way, if you missed it this year, we expect next year’s event — the 20th anniversary of Winter’s Eve — to be a blow-out.)

Highlights this year will include the tree-lighting ceremony by singer Arlo Guthrie, who will perform well-known folk songs and holiday classics, joined by the Young People’s Chorus of New York City at Dante Park Main Stage on Broadway between 63rd and 64th streets.

Judy Collins serve as master of ceremonies, and local station WABC-TV will be on hand to participate in the lighting ceremony, which broadcasted live Nov. 26.

Other highlights will include performances by Mister G, a Latin Grammy Award-winning musician and coloring and arts and crafts provided by The New Victory Theater, The West Side Y and Help Me See.

Face painting and sweet treats from Magnolia Bakery will be available at Kids Central, along with Jack Frost: The Original Freezemeister, live on stage at the Time Warner Center.

If your kids love Sesame Street, they’re in for a treat at the Tisch WNET Studios at Lincoln Center, where selfies will make for lasting holiday memories.

Families can keep an eye out for stilt walkers and strolling circus performers as they ply the neighborhood, and other street festivities will include special film screenings, musical theater and dance performances and multiple holiday crafts events throughout the day.

In addition to children’s performances and live entertainment, bring your appetite for a whole menu of food tastings from more than 30 local eateries, showing off the best New York has to offer for the holidays. Looking for the perfect souvenir? How about a digital caricature from Drawn Together, which puts a modern spin on artistic entertainment.

In all, there will be more than 20 free events and performances lining Broadway on the Upper West Side, from Time Warner Center to 70th Street.

Keep in mind, however, while all the events are free, hotel accommodations aren’t, so to avoid skyrocketing prices, don’t wait too long before booking your accommodations for next year.