Looking for things to do in New York City without all the holiday fuss? This December, I’ll be “traveling in my backyard” but not in the way you think. Sure, I’ll go for a glimpse of the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center, treat myself to a peppermint hot chocolate, and stand under the twinkling stars in The Shops at Columbus Circle.
However, the top items on my to-do list have little to do with the season and everything to do with art, theater, and creative fun. Some make good gifts; others are ideal for weekend or after-work excursions. They are:
1. The Parisian Woman on Broadway
The Parisian Woman stars Uma Thurman at the Hudson Theatre. This Broadway show is a stylish drama with sharp dialogue and a couple of twists you won't see coming. This is one of two things on my list that I did in November and am sharing because it was so good. Read more.
2. Surrealist Art and Extreme Fashion
There is plenty of hot art on view right now, such as "Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman and Designer" at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Yayoi Kusama's "Festival of Life" at David Zwirner Gallery. I want to see both but know these shows will be packed. Instead, next on my list is a trip to the Center for Italian Modern Art to see work by Alberto Savinio. Reservations are required for tours, espresso included. Read more.
In addition, I recently saw Expedition: Fashion from the Extreme at The Museum at FIT, which is always free. From safari styles to Arctic-inspired fashions, this show runs hot and cold through Jan. 6, 2018.
3. Shelter by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
It's dance season through Dec. 31 at City Center, where an all-female cast will revive Shelter, a show last performed by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater 15 years ago. It's about the pain and isolation of homelessness. Other shows on this year's slate are the world premieres of Victoria and Members Don't Get Weary. Read more.
4. Painting Lounge Classes
Brush up on your painting skills and sip wine at a number of locations in New York City. At the Painting Lounge, you bring the wine; everything else is included. Classes cost $50, but there are often Groupon deals for $35. Read more.
5. United Palace Historical Tour
Go uptown for a free tour. Located at 4140 Broadway near 175th Street, the United Palace is a 3,400-seat theater. It opened in 1930 and today is a landmark building. Free tours are offered on the second Sunday of every month. Reservations are required. Read more.
For those unable to resist a few wintry activities, check out my past list of cozy holiday to-dos.