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Things to Do in NYC This Week and Thanksgiving Weekend (11/21-11/27)

Pop ups, shows, markets, and more things to do in NYC today, this week, and this weekend.

(11/21-11/27) Looking for what to do in NYC this week and weekend? There's tons going on in the city, with new restaurants, festivals, pop ups, and all kind of other things to do in NYC this week.

THANKSGIVING WEEKEND 2022

macys thanksgiving day parade

Anthony Quintano/Flickr

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is an enduring New York City tradition, with more than 50 million viewers across the country and millions more lining the streets of the city. This 96th version of the parade will draw generations of families—locals and visitors alike—cheering for floats, live entertainment, and, of course, iconic hot air balloons. Look for celebs, marching bands, floats, and hundreds of clowns. The Rockettes will be there, too, along with the Big Apple Circus, Spirit of America Dance Stars, and tons more. Funny Girl star Lea Michele will be joined by her cast to kick off  the parade, with A Beautiful Noise, Some Like It Hot, and The Lion King also slated to perform. Sharp eyes will even get a glimpse of Santa himself, making his season debut. The parade runs down Central Park West from 77th St. to Columbus Circle, along Central Park South to Sixth Ave., and concludes along 34th St. at Macy’s Herald Square. Line up early, and skip trying to find space on Sixth Ave. between West 34th and West 38th Sts. and West 34th Street itself, as the national TV broadcast limits viewing there. The parade runs 9am-noon. Pro tip: on Wednesday evening on the Upper West Side you can see the balloons being inflated ahead of the big event.

THANKSGIVING DINNER

where to eat thanksgiving nyc

Peter Luger alumni Benjamin Prelvukaj and Chef Arturo McLeod have combined over 30 years of experience to create Benjamin Steakhouse, conveniently located near Grand Central Terminal in the century-old Chemist Club Building. Along with its usual refined Old World service and charm, Benjamin Steakhouse will be offering a Thanksgiving prix fixe. The main entree is traditional Thanksgiving turkey with stuffing, roasted yams, potatoes au gratin, and cranberry relish. For appetizer, you can choose between pumpkin soup, an autumn salad, crab cake, or shrimp cocktail; dessert is a choice of pumpkin pie with vanilla ice cream, carrot cake, or New York cheesecake. $89 per person (not including alcohol, tax, or tip).

The 2019 Concierge Choice Awards winner for Best Restaurant Experience is Benjamin Steakhouse’s spinoff Benjamin Steakhouse Prime. This midtown hot spot combines modern elegance with traditional steakhouse classics, picking up signature standouts from seafood legend The Sea Fire Grill, another sister property (below). This Thanksgiving look for a $89 three-course prix fixe that starts with appetizers like pumpkin soup, burrata, crab cake, or autumn salad; followed by a traditional Thanksgiving turkey with all the fixin's, and carrot cake, New York cheesecake, or pumpkin pie a la mode for dessert.

The Sea Fire Grill does for seafood what Benjamin Steakhouse does for beef (hardly a surprise, given the same pros are behind both). For $89 per person, this year's three-course Thanksgiving Day menu includes choice of appetizer (bibb salad, roasted kabocha squash soup, oysters Rockefeller, or beet salad), followed by organic heritage turkey with sourdough stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, mushrooms, and pearl onions, and finished with tea or coffee and a choice of pumpkin or pecan pie.

Located Inside a sweeping space in the architecturally stunning Solow Building, Cucina 8½ offers an elevated experience of rustic Italian cuisine in Midtown West. For Thanksgiving, look for a 4-course prix fixe with insalata mista to start; pasta for a primi course (squash ravioli); cider-brined turkey or porchetta for the main; and pumpkin pie or cannoli for dessert. There are also veggie sides like Brussels sprouts, stuffing, potato (or sweet potato) puree, and cranberry-quince salsa. The prix fixe is $69.50 (not including tax or tip) and a la carte ordering is available as well.

The Fireman Hospitality Group excels at locations on the west side that run from comfort food to the heights of Italian cuisine. Across from Lincoln Center, Cafe Fiorello will be celebrating Thanksgiving with a multi-course feast. Look for a Prosecco holiday toast to start off, plus fried artichokes, appetizer choices of seafood risotto, butternut squash soup, pear salad, or potato gnocchi; a free-range herb-roasted turkey with all the fixin's; and dessert choices of dark chocolate mousse, pecan pie, or pumpkin pie. ($79 plus tax and tip.) With interiors inspired by a Tuscan artist’s studio, Trattoria Dell’Arte brings clever design to a vibrant spot. You’ll find a Thanksgiving feast similar to Fiorello's here. In the heart of Midtown West, the Redeye Grill hosts a classic American brasserie scene, with polished nickel and leather, warm tones, and original Red Grooms artwork. Start off your Thanksgiving meal here with salmon blini and caviar, complemented by a Champagne holiday toast. Appetizer options run from shrimp scampi to butternut squash soup to wild mushroom risotto to a harvest salad. Turkey and all the sides make the main; chocolate blackout cake, pecan pie, and pumpkin pie are the choices for dessert. (Full a la carte menu also available; the Thanksgiving prix fixe is $89). The Brooklyn Diner is doing a Thanksgiving feast with all the trimmings: expect brioche stuffing, noodle kugel, cranberry chutney, giblet gravy, haricot verts almondine, and a traditional pecan pie for dessert. It's $48 before tax and tip (the a la carte menu is available as well).

If you're not a turkey fan, New York City also offers up a classic steak. Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse features floor-to-ceiling windows with breathtaking views of Sixth Avenue and nearby Rockefeller Center. For the holiday, indulge in a 20 oz. prime rib dinner, served with horseradish cream, red wine au jus, and château mashed potatoes (the regular dinner menu will also be available).

THANKSGIVING ON THE WATER

city cruises

For an unforgettable Thanksgiving experience, join City Cruises for East River and Hudson experiences. Spirit of New York, offers a buffet dinner on Thursday afternoon. Departures from Chelsea Piers.

AMATEUR NIGHT AT THE APOLLO

apollo theater

Steven Pisano/Flickr

The legendary Apollo Theater is back open in Harlem, inside an ornate structure that dates to 1914. Live programming has returned, as has the famed Amateur Night at the Apollo, bringing aspiring performers to a big stage in front of a lively crowd. This classic talent competition has launched the careers of countless legendary artists, including Ella Fitzgerald, Lauryn Hill, H.E.R, D’Angelo, and Machine Gun Kelly. A resident “Executioner” stands by to sweep off talent that doesn’t measure up—after all, at the Apollo it’s “be good or be gone.” The next Amateur Night performance comes up on Wednesday, November 23rd and it’s a big one—the season’s Grand Finale, pitting the best of the Semi-Final competitors.

HOLIDAY RIDES

holiday nostalgia subway ride

Photo: Victoria Pickering/Flickr.

Vintage photo ops return as the MTA brings back its Holiday Nostalgia Rides. Starting this Sunday and continuing on the first three Sundays in December, the Train of Many Colors will operate on the 1 line. Travel through time making all local stops between Chambers Street and Hamilton Heights.

WINTER ONEDERLAND

santa one world observatory

One World Observatory transforms into a Swiss ski village, with hot drinks, photo ops, and holiday shopping to complement priceless views. (You may even get a glimpse of a certain denizen of the North Pole.) Winter ONEderland launches this week.

SANTA'S SECRET

santa's secret immersive

Six immersive holiday installations greet you on your way to Santa’s secret speakeasy in Hudson Yards. Christmas cocktails and variety show acts that include live music, ballet, and burlesque complete the scene at Santa's Secret. Friday is opening night.

BLACK FRIDAY AND BEYOND

american dream mall

Shops. Dining. World-class entertainment. The range of activities at the American Dream  mall is jaw-dropping, from Saks to sharks to Legoland. Just a blink from NYC on the New Jersey side you’ll find the largest indoor theme park in North America plus skiing, skating, mini golf, pizza, barbecue, luxury retailers, and even an aquarium. Black Friday deals can be found at hundreds of stores, open 7am-10pm. Buy tickets to American Dream’s most exciting attractions during this year’s holiday kickoff and book your tickets from November 25 through December 2023 at discount prices! Also on Black Friday, show your receipts from American Dream stores for the chance to win one of 10 65” QLED Smart TVs and hundreds of other amazing prizes. Court C, Level 1 from 9:30am to 4pm. 

From now through New Year's Eve, experience Dreamland at American Dream, where you can visit Santa in the Lavender Escape garden (he’s the guy in the gazebo wearing a matching lavender suit), hop on a train ride with Geoffrey from Toys "R" Us, and shop, play, and celebrate during the most magical time of the year.

PALEYLAND

paleyland

The Paley Museum's holiday extravaganza PaleyLand has returned. Get in the spirit of the season with screenings, experiential holiday exhibits, arts and crafts, photos with Santa, and meet and greets with costumed characters.

LIGHTSCAPE

lightscape brooklyn botanic

One-million dazzling lights have returned to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden after a sold-out run last year. Lightscape's Winter Cathedral and a reimagined Fire Garden are back, joined by installations like Neon Waves, with strings of neon cord stretched between the garden’s famous cherry trees.

AMAZE LIGHT FESTIVAL

amaze light festival citi field

The nation's largest light show, the Amaze Light Festival, opens Saturday at Citi Field. Immerse yourself in endless holiday lights, plus train rides, Zing’s icy Thrill Hill, a holiday market, live performances, cocktails, and seasonal treats.

HOLIDAY MARKET

makers show holiday market brooklyn

The Makers Show Holiday Market returns to Downtown Brooklyn, Fridays through Sundays for most of December. Starting this Friday, look for 60 vendors, dance parties for kids, cookie decorating, workshop topics like ugly sweater making, and visits from the man in red himself.

NOW OPEN! THE MUSEUM OF BROADWAY

phantom of the opera

Photo: Monique Carboni.

The city’s newest destination is The Museum of Broadway in Times Square. This interactive, experiential museum journeys from the birth of Broadway to the present day, including a sneak peek behind the curtain into the making of a Broadway show. Costumes, props, rare photos, and videos are all on display.

PINKMAS

museum of ice cream pinkmas

The Museum of Ice Cream’s annual Pinkmas celebration is underway. Explore three immersive floors filled with treats, crafts, a Pinkmas tree forest, and a larger-than-life snow globe. Ticket holders get unlimited ice cream samples, including pink peppermint soft serve and hard scoops with candy cane sprinkles.

FREE SKATING

seaport skate

The Ice Rink is back in the Seaport for winter festivities and complimentary skating (rentals are extra) along the East River. Don't miss the skyline views and a new overhead light installation, "Aurora," inspired by the Northern Lights. (Next Tuesday, November 29th, the Seaport rolls out live music and surprises at its annual tree lighting.)

GOVERNORS ISLAND WINTER VILLAGE

governors island winter

This year's Winter Village has launched, highlighted by a 7,500-square-foot skat­ing rink. Open Thursdays through Sundays (plus Department of Education holidays), there are more than a dozen lawn games, sled and bike rentals, twin­kling lights, and sea­son­al food and drink.

THE ROCKETTES RETURN!

faeries christmas spectacular

Dance of the Frost Fairies. Photo courtesy MSG Entertainment.

One of the city’s favorite holiday traditions returns as the Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes, presented by QVC, launches its new season. The Radio City Rockettes, the longest-running precision dance company in America, show off their intricate choreography and show-stopping numbers for adoring crowds of all ages. The 2022 Christmas Spectacular introduces a newly reimagined lyrical number ”Dance of the Frost Fairies,” which sees the Rockettes become winged frost fairies performing alongside drones which dance above the audience, turning Radio City into a magical winter wonderland. The Rockettes now perform nine numbers throughout the 90-minute production, showcasing more technically complex styles of dance than ever before. Get your tickets now for a legend that’s been bringing the magic of Christmas in New York to life since 1933.

HOLIDAY MULTIVERSE IMMERSIVE

spectacular factory artechouse

Photo courtesy ARTECHOUSE.

Head to the historic boiler room of Chelsea Market to experience the immersive art space ARTECHOUSE. You’ve never seen art like this before, as room-sized digital projections merge with sound design to create a cinematic experience. Now on view is SPECTACULAR FACTORY: The Holiday Multiverse. Favorite holiday themes come to vibrant life as guests float among swinging jingle bells, crash the party of a thousand nutcrackers, take a spin on a candy cane carousel, and go on a thrilling train ride through holiday wreaths. Stop by the XR bar, which serves specialty holiday-themed cocktails augmented by enchanting XR experiences. (Chelsea Market is a great spot for holiday shopping and it offers dozens of options for artisanal bites.)

LANTERN FESTIVAL

opera tunnel illuminate the farm

Queens County Farm is lit up by a handmade array of Chinese lanterns, inspired by theme parks and Chinese legends. Look for glowing tunnels and swings among the endless photo ops. Illuminate The Farm runs through January 8th.

HOLIDAY HQ

egg nog pete's tavern

Just 5 minutes from Union Square is Pete’s Tavern, NYC’s oldest original bar and restaurant. The 40-foot rosewood bar, decorated back bar, tin ceiling, tile floors, and bar room booths are all original fixtures in place since 1864. Enjoy Pete’s colorful history and its famous patrons (O. Henry penned “The Gift of the Magi” in Booth 3) in the photos and memorabilia throughout the space. New Yorkers know Pete’s is an especially prime destination this time of year as the tavern transforms into a holiday headquarters. Sip on a classic eggnog beneath a sea of seasonal lights. They’re serving from lunch through late-night dinner, with comfort food like Pat LaFrieda steaks and burgers, fresh salads and seafood, and traditional Italian specialties.

MUSEUM OF THE WEEK

theaster gates

“Theaster Gates: Young Lords and Their Traces,” 2022. Exhibition view: New Museum, New York. Photo: Dario Lasagni. Courtesy New Museum.

The first American museum survey exhibition devoted to installation artist Theaster Gates is now open at the New Museum. “Theaster Gates: Young Lords and Their Traces” spans three floors, highlighting work of the last two decades and site-specific environments created just for this show. Civic commitment meets a poetic sensibility as Gates honors resonant people in his life and the radical thinkers who shaped his home city of Chicago and America as a whole.

RETURN OF THE RINK

The Rink at Rockefeller Center

Image: Scott Meadows.

This year marks the 86th anniversary of The Rink at Rockefeller Center. Be among the first to enjoy it as skating has returned for the season. Open 9am to midnight daily. Time to get the jump on the spirit of the holidays.

NEW IMMERSIVE ART

INTER_

Just opened, new hyper-sensory environment INTER_ will let you play with sound waves, interact with body movement, and immerse yourself in a dome. The journey takes cues from the elements, earth, wind, fire, water—and ether.

NOW OPEN! TUT

beyond king tut

Photo courtesy Timothy Norris.

Take a trip across the world and back in time as Beyond King Tut: The Immersive Experience marks 100 years since the discovery of Tut's tomb. Explore one of the greatest archaeological breakthroughs of all time in a multi-gallery, multi-sensory exhibition presented by National Geographic. You'll be awed by the Temple at Karnak, the Great Sphinx, and the Egyptian sun as it rises above the Pyramids of Giza.

OPENING OF THE WEEK

olly olly food hall

The landmark Starrett-Lehigh Building welcomes a massive new food hall this week. Olly Olly Market is just getting started, but promises programming to complement coffee, cocktails, and bites that run from pastry cuisine to Asian-Dominican mashups to elevated Mexican street food.

NOW OPEN! FRIDA KAHLO

frida kahlo immersive

Brooklyn’s newest art experience is Frida Kahlo, The Immersive Biography Exhibition, which takes visitors into the world of the influential Mexican artist and feminist icon. Seven transformational spaces, complete with 360-degree projections and virtual reality systems, draw on the key moments of Kahlo’s life. The show is open now in Dumbo, Brooklyn.

RETURN OF THE CROWN

statue of liberty crown

Photo by Sarah Brown on Unsplash.

After a long Covid pause, the crown of Lady Liberty is once again open to visitors. This icon requires a 162-step climb (there is no elevator) but will reward you with an entirely unique perspective on the city. Along a double-helix spiral staircase you'll see the intricate structure that keeps the statue standing, capped by 25 windows overlooking New York Harbor.

WINTER LANTERN FESTIVAL

monkey king winter lantern

Okay, so it might be rushing the season, but it's really never to early to enjoy glowing immersive worlds. The SIUH Community Park on Staten Island has been transformed into a realm of light,  cast by over one-thousand handmade Chinese lanterns. Journey To The East runs through January 8th.

THE CLIMATE MUSEUM

climate museum someday all this david opdyke

The Climate Museum’s mission is to inspire action on the climate crisis with programming across the arts and sciences. Opened this week is the museum's first Manhattan pop up, running for three months. The focus is a major new work, Someday, all this by draughtsman and sculptor David Opdyke. The exhibition is paired with a climate action incubator, where visitors can engage with the artwork. The ultimate goal is to deepen understanding, build connections, and advance just solutions.

NEW DOWNTOWN!
ainsle bowery

Image courtesy of Thomas Laurance.

South Village Hospitality just opened a massive new Italian restaurant, wine bar, and beer garden on the Lower East Side. Ainsle draws on ownership's experience at hit Italian spots like Osteria Cotta on the Upper West Side, Follia in Gramercy, Carroll Place in Greenwich Village, and Ainslie’s flagship in Williamsburg. The beer hall has 32 taps and games like foosball and shuffleboard; there's also an intimate wine bar in front of an expansive open kitchen, complete with a wood-fired pizza oven. The kitchen at Ainslie is helmed by NYC veteran Executive Chef John DeLucie, whose menu features wood-fired rosemary wings, a signature Ainslie Burger with prosciutto and gorgonzola dolce, and an array of hand-crafted, wood-fired pizzas, and homemade ravioli, gnocchi, and pappardelle.

A MAGICAL INNER CIRCLE

asi wind

Once you enter the intimate space at The Gym at Judson you'll be part of the show. The unique setting of Asi Wind's Inner Circle (presented by David Blaine) intensifies the performance. Don't just witness the magic, become part of it yourself. Through January 1st, 2023.

NOW OPEN!

hall des lumieres

Image: Mark Zhelezoglo for Hall des Lumières.

Art meets tech at the inaugural Hall des Lumières exhibition, Gustav Klimt: Gold in Motion, which opened to the public last week. The Austrian symbolist painter’s most iconic works come to life using cutting-edge mapping technology. You’ll enter an immersive world of gold and color as an original soundtrack plays. Set in in the former Emigrant Industrial Savings Bank, Hall des Lumières brings the Beaux-Arts landmark back to life with art that complements the ornate interior.

NEW ART

David LaChapelle Behold 2015 Hawaii

David LaChapelle - ‘Behold' (2015 Hawaii). ©David LaChapelle, courtesy of Fotografiska New York.

Fotografiska New York is a museum experience for the modern world. The institution hosts its first full-building takeover with David LaChapelle: make Believe. Vibrant images fill all six floors of the museum, with 150 works full of wit, celebrity, and technical innovation. Included are the last-ever portraits of Andy Warhol and Michael Jackson, household-name album covers, and allegorical works in dialogue with the AIDS epidemic. The show weaves together recurring themes of religion, the environment and the play between artifice and nature, gender identity, societal ideals of beauty, and LaChapelle’s legendary explorations of pop culture fame. The artist collaborated on the show’s layout, which takes the form of a journey, interacting with the church-like details of Fotografiska’s stunning 1894 neo-Gothic architecture.

AN INSTAGRAM SMASH IN NOHO

catchn ice cream noho

Top ice cream creator Dylan Lemay is throwing and catching artisan ice cream balls at his newly opened store, CATCH’N Ice Cream in NoHo. Stop in to catch your next favorite flavor of ice cream. Open daily from noon to late—don't miss the Behind the Counter experience, where you can make your own ice cream ball, coat it in chocolate, and roll it in your favorite toppings!

NEW IN MIDTOWN EAST

la folia restaurant

Lafolia Restaurant is an underground oasis led by rising star chef Mirra Sims, formerly of Union Square Hospitality Group. Lafolia emphasizes fresh, local ingredients, serving vegetable-forward dishes paired with sustainably sourced meats and seafood. Highlights include heritage bacon carbonara and cippolini-stuffed flatbread with celery root mole.  Feature cocktails include an avocado oil wash mezcal and the Red Juice, with rum, aquavit, and lemon bitter. The location also holds an artfully curated store, Lafolia To Go, with made-to-order and prepared seasonal foods, pottery, wines, craft beers, and spirits. DMK Restaurants, a national hospitality company, are the owners and creators of the concept.

GRAND HOLIDAY BAZAAR

grand bazaar holiday market

Every Sunday on the Upper West Side you can check out Grand Bazaar NYC, the city’s largest curated market—and most distinctive. This Sunday you’ll also find the launch of this year’s Grand Holiday Bazaar. Come shop from over 150 hand-picked independent local artisans, designers, craft-makers, vintage dealers, and food entrepreneurs. Tick off your holiday shopping list with candles, skincare, fashion, handbags, vintage collectibles, jewelry, furniture, antiques, and handmade seasonal decorations. Come hungry! There are great artisanal bites as well. It’s all for a good cause, as the bazaar’s profits go to supporting local schools. 10am-5pm. 

WINTER MARKET AND SKATING

winter village bryant park

Image: Colin Miller.

Shopping, dining, and skating are all back for the 21st season of the Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park. In addition to NYC’s only free-admission skating rink, you'll find a holiday market and festive food and drink.

SHOW GLOBES

2022 times square show globes wicked

Photo by Michael Hull.

Ginna Claire Mason (of Glinda fame) and Arielle Jacobs (known for Jasmine in Aladdin) welcome back the Times Square Alliance's "Show Globes," prime photo ops on display in Times Square through December 26th.

UPTOWN SPECIALS

joanne trattoria

Authentic Italian fine dining in a comfortable space is what you'll find at Upper West Side favorite Joanne Trattoria. They've just launched a new early brunch, running Saturdays and Sundays from 11:30am-1pm. Look for temptations like banana Nutella crepes, omelets and other eggs, ricotta Belgian waffles, pancakes, and sides of bacon and sausage. "Mangia bene vive bene." Also at Joanne Trattoria, don't miss live music with your meal, including jazz guitar from virtuoso Abe Ovadia every Sunday from 4:30-7pm.  If you're dining on the early side you can get a great deal, as Sundays through Thursdays before 6pm Joanne Trattoria offers a $19.99 prix-fixe. It comes with a side salad, an entree, and a glass of house wine or a soda. Tuesday night is date night at Joanne Trattoria—enjoy a complimentary bottle of Gaga Wine with every two entrees ordered. Football fan? Monday, Thursday, and Sunday throughout the entire restaurant take advantage of $15 pitchers of beer (Bud Light, Heineken, and Modelo), $5 glasses of beer on tap, and $21 beer buckets.

TOP 10 ATTRACTIONS TO VISIT IN NEW ...
TOP 10 ATTRACTIONS TO VISIT IN NEW YORK | Scott and Yanling

IMMERSIVE THINGS TO DO IN NYC 

THE MUSEUM OF ICE CREAM

museum of ice cream subway

The Museum of Ice Cream is the only place in the world where you can learn about everyone's favorite frozen treat by feasting on a floating dessert table, sliding down a 3-story slide to collect your ice cream, or taking a dip in a pool filled with millions of sprinkles. Be transported to a world where all your wildest ice cream dreams come true and rediscover the kid in you—don't miss the awesome photo ops in the hall of ice cream scoops.

CANDYTOPIA IS BACK

candytopia 2022

If you’ve ever wanted a tour of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, you’ll get a taste at Candytopia (without the imminent peril). Dive into a ball pit of marshmallows, view portraits made of candy, and take killer pics with candy-inspired scenes. The attraction is now open for a limited run, which continues through the holidays.

MONET MOMENTS

monet garden

Go on a 360-degree journey through the world of Claude Monet (1840-1926). The just-opened Monet's Garden uses multi-sensory technology to open up the Father of Impressionism’s art and life, culminating in a waterlily immersion. 

TITANIC. THE EXHIBITION

titanic. the exhibition. nyc.

Immerse yourself in one of the greatest stories of the 20th century just a few blocks from the Titanic's intended destination at Pier 59 in Chelsea. Titanic. The Exhibition brings visitors back to 1912 through the stories of passengers, illuminated by photographs, letters, and keepsakes. You'll also get to walk through a recreation of the ship's interior, from a humble third-class cabin to a first-class suite.

ICONS OF HORROR

icons of horror madame tussauds

The season for shivers isn't over yet. The newest immersion at Madame Tussauds is Warner Bros. Icons of Horror. Celebrate legends, including Pennywise and Regan from The Exorcist. If you dare.

THINGS TO DO IN NYC: ART EXHIBITIONS

JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT: KING PLEASURE

jean-michel basquiat

Photo by Lee Jaffe.

Everyone's favorite Brooklyn artist gets a major exhibition, led by his family and launched in Chelsea. Jean-Michel Basquiat: King Pleasure features a priceless collection of over 200 never before and rarely seen paintings, drawings, ephemera, and artifacts. The show is sourced from the Basquiat family collection and also features recreations of his NYC artist studio on Great Jones St. and the Michael Todd VIP Room of NYC’s Palladium nightclub, where Basquiat created two paintings.

25 YEARS AND THE LION KING STILL WOWS

lion king

Photo: Joan Marcus.

Normally, when a Broadway show is billed as a “Landmark Musical Experience” there is a bit (or a lot) of promotional optimism at play. But that is so not the case with Disney’s timeless masterpiece The Lion King. On October 15, 1997, the musical had its first preview. The story of Simba, the cub who would be king, staked its claim as an unprecedented Broadway phenomenon—a feast of unbound imagination, stirring storytelling and pure, visceral joy. Even after a quarter century, The Lion King still wows—if you haven't been yet, now is a great time to find a ticket.

THINGS TO DO IN NYC: HAPPY HOUR SPECIALS

CUCINA 8½

Cucina 8½ happy hour

Cucina 8½ offers an elevated experience of rustic Italian cuisine in midtown's iconic Solow Building. The grand space features a winding staircase that opens to a spacious dining room and a vast bar area. On weeknights, the bar and lounge area offers an excellent happy hour, 4-7pm.  Draft beer and sommelier-selected wines by the glass are $7; for $12, take a pick of some classic cocktails including the 8½ Fellini Bellini, a Negroni, and a "Sex and the City" Cosmopolitan (Season 4, Episode 2 was filmed right here). They also make a mean Martini, available in mini form for happy hour at 8½ dollars. All drinks are accompanied by complimentary hors d'oeuvres.

A PRIME HAPPY HOUR

cocktail prime catch nyc

Prime Catch NYC serves top-rate seafood and steaks right in the heart of the Theater District. This is a great stop pre or post-Broadway or while out in Times Square, with both  indoor and outdoor seating options. They specialize in Prime USDA dry-aged Pat LaFrieda meat with house specialty Porterhouse and tomahawk cuts. Don't miss great deals at Happy Hour, which runs all day, seven days a week at the bar.

Happy Hour
1/2 Price Appetizers
$1 Oysters
$12 Martinis
$10 Cocktails
$8 Wines
$6 Beers

A HAPPY HOUR SPECIAL

havana central empanada

Havana Central has introduced 1/2 price empanadas during Happy Hour at the bar! Diners must purchase a drink, 3 empanadas max per drink purchase.  Available in the bar only, Monday-Friday from 4-7pm. Choose from a variety of homemade savory pockets including beef, chicken, cheese, shrimp, and ropa vieja! Havana Central also features Happy Hour drink specials including $7 classic mojitos, classic margaritas, and red sangria, in addition to other specials.

OTHER THINGS TO DO IN NYC 

TROPICAL SPECIALS

sunrise mojito

A Restaurant Row fave, Jasmine’s Caribbean Cuisine provides an escape from the city with savory dishes and fruit-filled cocktails. Stop in for a tropical twist on a classic drink: the Caribbean Sunrise Mojito, with rum, mint, lime, cane sugar, passionfruit, and grenadine. Don't miss daily Happy Hours (4-7pm), DJs on Saturday nights, and live steel pan drums on Saturday nights. 

FAMILY-FRIENDLY HAPPENINGS IN HELL'S KITCHEN

bella abzug park

The Hudson Yards Hell’s Kitchen Alliance (HYHK) is a neighborhood business improvement district, keeping the west side of Manhattan clean and beautified. They’re also the force behind happenings at Hudson Yards’s Bella Abzug Park. Every Tuesday at 10:30am, HYHK will be hosting a Kids’ Concert in the playground. Children of all ages are invited to sing, dance, and play instruments. All events are free and open to the public.

#STANDWITHUKRAINE

ukrainian museum east village

Ukrainian Museum Facebook.

In the East Village, long a home of Ukrainian immigrants (and their food and culture), you'll find the largest museum in the U.S. committed to the rich heritage of Ukraine. The Ukrainian Museum's state-of-the-art home holds a folk art collection (one of the most important collections outside of Ukraine), a fine arts collection (including works by the well-known primitif artist Nikifor), and an extensive archive.

MIDTOWN ADVENTURES

gold rush the escape game nyc

Be the hero of your very own adventure at The Escape Game in Midtown East. You and your team will find clues and solve puzzles on your way to completing a mission. Have fun, use your brain, and work together as you follow clues to escape the room in 60 minutes. At The Escape Game’s convenient location near Grand Central you can choose from five different rooms: The Heist, Prison Break, Gold Rush, Playground, and Special Ops: Mysterious Market. Begin with a quick video to brief you on your mission and cover some basic guidelines, and then after that it’s up to you (a Game Guide is available at all times throughout the adventure). 

COMEDY COMING UP

carolines

A comedy legend not to be missed is Carolines on Broadway. This Times Square institution has been presenting the best in live comedy entertainment since 1982, with nightly shows that run from established greats to up and comers. Look ahead sees headliner Danny LoPriore, host of The LoPriore Podcast, December 2nd and 3rd; Mark Viera, from his Showtime stand-up special "Tales of a Nuyorican," December 8th-10th; Jeff Ross, "The Roast Master General," from the Netflix stand-up special "Bumping Mics," December 16th-18th. Carolines on Broadway invites revelers to laugh in the New Year in the heart of Times Square at the New Year's Eve Spectacular on Saturday, December 31st, with shows at 7:30 and 10pm. The 10pm show will feature a live viewing of the ball dropping in Times Square on plasma screen monitors.

Other events taking place at Carolines on Broadway in December are The Funniest Show on Broadway, featuring the country's best and brightest comedians, on December 1, 3, 7, 10, 11, 12, 14, 17, 18 and 21; Next Up! Comedy & Talent Showcase, starring Ameliaismoore and HerShe The Entertainer, on December 4th; Roni Shanell, as part of the Breakout Artist Comedy Series, on December 13th; Spin The Block, hosted by Fen Guillaume, on December 15th; and Betta Not Bring Ya Kids, starring Rashad Bashir and Justin C. Ramos, on December 20th.

Indian-American stand-up and screenwriter Zarna Garg hosts Zarna’s Holiday Party with her favorite comedians takes place Friday, December 23rd, and on Christmas Eve. Comedian Dave Attell (Comedy Central’s Insomniac with Dave Attell earned him a cult following) is here the 28th through the 30th of December.

ANALOG CITY

analog museum city new york presses

Photo: Brad Farwell.

Yes, somehow New York City functioned without smartphones and desktops. A new exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York transports visitors to pre-digital New York through Analog City: New York B.C. (Before Computers). Check out the lost innovations and industries that once fueled NYC. Through December 31st, 2022.

New York is a food town and the newest exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York looks at the networks and nodes behind our meals. Food in New York: Bigger Than the Plate shares artist and designer responses to food challenges and possibilities for more equitable food futures.

THINGS TO DO IN NYC: LIVE PERFORMANCES

LIVE BEATS & MORE DOWNTOWN

Downtown has one destination for eclectic, compelling music. The programming at the East Village’s Drom runs from jazz, rock, electronic, soul, and funk to international music. The weeks ahead bring high-energy ensemble work from The Silver Arrow Band and DJ TM.8’s Temptation Saturday 80’s Dance Party.

Pedrito Martinez

To celebrate its 15th anniversary season, Drom is introducing a monthly residency from Grammy-nominated Cuban bandleader Pedrito Martinez. Martinez will bring his signature, high-energy Afro-Cuban sound in the coming weeks. One show not to miss is the Pedrito Martinez Holiday Show on Thursday, December 15th.  Leading his own quintet, Martinez presents a high-energy blend of Cuban timba, traditional rumba, and the sacred sounds of Yoruba in which he's a Babalawo, or "father of the mysteries."

Since their emergence more than 30 years ago, the Klezmatics have raised the bar for Eastern European Jewish music. Often called a “Jewish roots band,” the Klezmatics will be coming to Drom on Sunday, December 11th for a night of celebration with The Klezmatics Hanukkah Show.

BronX BandA is a nine-piece jazz ensemble formed through a collaboration between the non-profit Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education and multi Grammy Award-winning pianist, composer, and educator Arturo O’Farrill. The ensemble members, all of whom are Bronx-based or work in the Bronx, will be coming to Drom on Wednesday, December 14th. 

JoAnna Ross Dan Goodman photo Paul Park

JoAnna Ross and Dan Goodman, photo by Paul Park.

Drom is also your local choice for comedy and pole dancing. Schtick A Pole In It has for the past 9 years been NYC's best (and only) comedy and pole dancing show. Comics tell jokes and pole dancers pole dance. Laugh lines alternate with death-defying tricks. If you don't see shows like this, why are you even paying NYC rents? The show has just expanded to four dates a month as part of an open-ended run. Tickets and more information are here.

LIVE MUSIC AND FINE WINE AT CITY WINERY

city winery

Adam Pass/City Winery.

City Winery New York City at Hudson River Park brings together great bites, wine to match, and views to remember. Enjoy brunch, lunch, or dinner in City Winery’s restaurant and wine bar, where the food is meant to be paired with a great glass of wine. They’re open daily, with two stages hosting a stellar array of music and comedy.

strawberry fields city winer

Enjoy a reading from the book of John (and Paul, George, and Ringo) by Strawberry Fields on Sunday mornings. This Beatles tribute brunch is a treat for the whole family, join in the fun at City Winery at noon.

Strawberry Fields | 11.27 ($55)
12pm in The Loft; Ultimate Beatles brunch concert (buffet brunch included in ticket price)

https://citywinery.com/newyork/Online/article/new-york-strawberry-fields-lp-2022

UPCOMING SHOWS AT CITY WINERY

A Gobble of Laughs comedy night | 11.23 ($10 advance / $15 day of show)
8pm in Main Venue

https://citywinery.com/NewYork/Online/article/NYC-Gobble-Of-Laughs-11-23-22-8pmFeaturing Nathan Macintosh, Neko White, Caitlin Peluffo, Shane Torres and hosted by Chris Millhouse

Magic in a Bottle | 11.25 ($30 - $40)
7:30pm in The Loft

https://citywinery.com/newyork/Online/article/NYLFT-CW-Magic-11-25-22-730pm
A night of magic, comedy and wine featuring Sean Dylan, David Corsaro, and Mark Zacharia 

An Evening of Thanks with Dionne Warwick | 11.25 ($95 - $165)
8pm  in Main Venue

https://citywinery.com/newyork/Online/article/NYC-Dionne-Warwick-11-25-22-8pm
Catch the six-time Grammy Award winner performing hits and more from her decades long career. 

Maysa | 11.26 ($40 - $60)
6pm & 9pm in Main Venue

https://citywinery.com/newyork/Online/Article/newyork-maysa-lp
Blessed with an instantly identifiable honey-toned mezzo-soprano and an undeniably brilliant and magnetic stage presence, Maysa’s alluring vocals, candor, honesty, humor and purity as an artist make her a rarity in this business. Having collaborated with everyone from Stevie Wonder to Incognito, Angela Bofill, Will Downing and Jonathan Butler, Maysa can hang with the best.

Linda Loves Bingo! | 11.26 (One card $15 advance / Three cards $20)
7:30pm at City Vineyard 

https://citywinery.com/cityvineyard/Online/article/CITYVINEYARD-Linda-Loves-Bingo-11-26-22-730pm
Join NYC’s #1 Bingo queen Linda Simpson as she hosts her action-packed version of everyone’s favorite game of chance. Laughs, thrills and incredible prizes. Everyone has a chance to win!

Reasonably Shady Live! | 11.26 ($50)
8pm in The Loft

https://citywinery.com/newyork/Online/article/NYLFT-Reasonably-Shady-11-26-22-8pm
Join two stars from The Real Housewives of Potomac, Gizelle Bryant and Robyn Dixon, who are taking their podcast to the Big Apple!

An Evening with Alex Skolnick, Karina Rykman, and Scott Metzger  | 11.27 ($25 - $30)
7:30pm in The Loft

https://citywinery.com/newyork/Online/article/NYLFT-Osiris-Live-11-27-22-730pm
Join us for an evening of conversation and music with Alex Skolnick (Testament, Alex Skolnick Trio), Karina Rykman (Marco Benevento, Ween) and special guest Scott Metzger (Joe Russo's Almost Dead).  Eric Kalb (Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings) and Nathan Peck (Alex Skolnick Trio) also join the lineup for an evening of jazz, blues and jam. An Osiris Live show produced by Osiris Media.

Miki Howard | 11.27 ($35 - $55)
8pm in Main Venue

https://citywinery.com/newyork/Online/article/NYC-Miki-Howard-11-27-22-8pm
An Evening of R&B, Soul and Jazz with the legendary Miki Howard

UnScripted Live featuring André DeShields | 11.28 ($40 advance / $45 day of show)
7pm in The Loft

https://citywinery.com/newyork/Online/article/NYLFT-Unscripted-Live-11-28-22-7pm
UNSCRIPTED LIVE WITH ANDRÉ DE SHIELDS + FILM SCREENING
Emmy, Tony, and GRAMMY Award-winning performing artist André De Shields ("Hadestown," "The Wiz") joins award-winning filmmaker and photographer Sekou Luke (Notes from Harlem) and noted music journalist Christian John Wikane (PopMatters) for "Unscripted Live," an interview series that spotlights the stories of legendary artists, their resilience, and their creative regeneration. For this evening's edition, Christian will conduct a live one-on-one interview with André, currently starring in "Death of a Salesman" on Broadway, followed by a short film that celebrates Season 2 of "Unscripted" plus a sneak preview of Season 3. Trailblazing singer-songwriter Rahsaan Patterson will join Christian for a special post-screening talkback. 

Sophie B. Hawkins | 11.28 ($20 - $30)
8pm in Main Venue

https://citywinery.com/newyork/Online/article/NYC-Sophie-B-Hawkins-11-28-22-8pmCelebrating the 30th anniversary of her platinum-selling debut album, Tongues and Tails, and music from all her albums.

Peppermint | 11.29 ($30)
7:30pm in The Loft with special guest Jujubee

https://citywinery.com/newyork/Online/Article/NYLFT-Peppermint-11-29-22-730pm
The Letters live tour is an evening full of laughs, storytelling and R&B songs from Peppermint’s new album, Letter to My Lovers.

The Comedy Spotlight with Chris Millhouse, Jared Freid, and Rafi Bastos | 11.30 ($25 advance / $28 day of show)
8pm in Main Venue

https://citywinery.com/newyork/Online/article/NYC-Comedy-Spotlight-11-30-22-8pm
Chris currently co-hosts the popular podcast “The Third Person” alongside SNL legend Darrell Hammond and will be joined by Jared Freid, Rafi Bastos and more!

BLUE MAN GROUP!

blue man group

No plot, dialogue, or ripped from headlines drama, just a romp and a half orchestrated by the three blue-hued alien dudes of Blue Man Group. This long-running Off-Broadway show and international sensation combines music, paint drums, snacks, high-tech hijinks, and unpredictable physical comedy.

Looking for all the latest notes and updates on Broadway and Off Broadway? Check out our comprehensive These Are the Broadway and Off Broadway Shows in NYC 2022: Everything You Need to Know.

WHAT TO DO IN NYC

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  • Everything to Do NYC Facebook Group, which has real-time tips and advice from New York City experts

  • The city's latest openings and happenings on City Guide's Instagram

A FLYING THEATRE

fashion riseny

Photo by Jeremy Daniel.

There's a new attraction in town. RiseNY is the first of its kind, combining a soaring ride over the city with museum exhibits that celebrate iconic New York. Take in galleries dedicated to Finance, Skyline, TV/Radio, Fashion, Music, Broadway, and Film, before going on a ride that will have your feet dangling over NYC landmarks.

For more on NYC museums and exhibitions, check out our Museum Exhibits in NYC to See Right Now.

This Week's Behind The Experience Video

The tallest building in the hemisphere. The largest screen. A ride that goes straight up at 23 miles per hour. Behind The Experience learns the secrets of One World Observatory, as well as tips like the best time for a visit. The video joins our recent visits to New York icons the Museum of the City of New YorkMadame Tussauds, SPYSCAPE, and Benjamin Steakhouse. CHECK THEM OUT—it’s fun!

ULTIMATE PERSPECTIVES ON NYC

American Dream New Jersey

Take a quick trip across the Hudson for some of the ultimate perspectives on NYC. Soar 300 feet above the Garden State for unique views of the Hudson River and the Manhattan skyline aboard Dream Wheel New Jersey. The Dream Wheel holds 27 completely enclosed, climate-controlled Gondolas. Rides are 25 minutes long and the technology is state of the art—the wheel doesn’t even stop to board, it turns continuously. (The American Dream mall also boasts world-class shopping, dining, and a gigantic indoor theme park.)

AN INTERACTIVE MUSEUM TOUR FOR THEATER FANS

fable & lark met tours

Fable & Lark: Storied Adventures, which specializes in interactive museum tours inspired by great stories, is releasing its first post-pandemic tour, Staged: The Museum Tour for People who Love Theater. Staged looks at the development of theater through the lens of artwork in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, from early Greek statues of actors to depictions of stories that inspired Broadway musicals. Interspersed with activities and questions about theater, the tour takes participants across the museum and across cultures to see the ways artists have worked the theme of theater into their creations for thousands of years. Participants should bring their T (theater) game, and maybe even be prepared to do a little acting, because, after all, all the world’s a stage. Sundays at 11am.

TRAVEL BACK IN TIME 

Merchant's House Museum parlor

Merchants House Parlor by Denis Vlasov. Photo courtesy Merchant's House Museum.

Built in 1832, the East Village's Merchant’s House was home to a prosperous merchant family and their Irish servants for almost a century. Miraculously, the house still retains the family's original furnishings and personal possessions. Stop by for a rare and intimate glimpse of domestic life in New York City from 1835 to 1865. During COVID times, the Merchant's House Museum is open on Saturdays and Sundays only, noon to 5pm. Admission is $15 and advanced ticket purchase is recommended.

THE SECRET SIDE OF ELLIS ISLAND

hard hat tour ellis island

hodgepodge brigade/Flickr

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the unrestored Ellis Island Immigrant Hospital Complex. This gateway to America for millions of people is accessible again via Statue Cruises—the only ride to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. (If you opt for the Hard Hat Tour Ticket and its 90-minute guided tour of the hidden part of Ellis Island you'll get round-trip ferry service and audio Tours of Liberty and Ellis Islands.) The art exhibition "Unframed—Ellis Island," by renowned French artist JR, is on display throughout the hospital complex. Tours run on Saturdays and Sundays. 

HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT THE CITY?

end of summer nyc collage

City Guide brings you “Everything to Do NYC,” a community of people helping each other get everything we can from the city. Looking for a restaurant? Ask ETD. Want to share a great find? Let us know about it. It’s your go-to group for how to get everything you can from everything in New York. facebook.com/groups/everythingtodonyc

CURTAIN'S UP AT ELLEN’S STARDUST DINER

the stardust shop ellen's tshirt

The show goes on at Ellen's Stardust Diner. Food, drink, and live performances from the famous singing waitstaff have returned. The 1950s-themed restaurant has been around since 1987 and brings back its retro vibes (founder Ellen Hart Sturm is a native New Yorker who was crowned Miss Subways in 1959.) Catch intimate performances by staff on their way to joining a long line of Broadway actors who have made Ellen's their launching pad. If you're looking for a great souvenir of an NYC trip, check out The Stardust Shop, with merch like mugs, hats, and the t-shirt above.

STATUE OF LIBERTY

A small group of Statue Cruises surrounding the Statue of Liberty.

Statue City Cruises is out and about in New York Harbor. Tickets can be purchased in advance (strongly encouraged) from the Statue City Cruises website or at Gangway 5 in Battery Park. statuecruises.com

TALKS, LECTURES, AND EVENTS

Thought Gallery has hundreds of livestream talks, lectures, performances, and more. Check out sessions with celebs, live concerts, and opportunities to learn the latest on everything from science to philosophy to social justice.

NEW YORK'S ACTIVITY AUTHORITY

Get editors’ curated recommendations and have more fun:

SNEAK PEEK NEXT WEEK: A SANTA SIGHTING

santa photo set up empire state building

For the first time in its 91-year history, the Empire State Building is hosting a very special guest from the North Pole. Sunday, December 4th, and again on the 11th, from 11am-2pm, Santa Claus will be on hand for festive photo opportunities for ticketed guests. While you’re here, enjoy the reimagined Observatory Experience, with its interactive museum, heated outdoor 86th floor Observatory, and holiday lights and decorations—perfect for a memorable photo or holiday card.

FROSTY'S

frostys cocktails

Another great place to get in the spirit of the season is Frosty’s Christmas Bar, a festive pop up in Times Square. Look for life-size toy soldiers, ribbons and wreaths, garlands, and a holiday soundtrack that spins until 4am. Bartenders sport their finest ugly sweaters, reindeer antlers, and sexy Santa hats and suits. In addition to four bars in the sprawling space there’s a restaurant serving lunch and dinner. Opens Wednesday, November 30th.

FREE TOURS

garment district nyc

Zach Korb/Flickr

FREE walking tours of the Garment District and Flatiron District for the month of December 2022 with Mike's Tours!

FREE GARMENT DISTRICT walking tour

Wednesday, November 30th @ 10:30am
Monday, December 5th @ 10:30am
Tuesday, December 13th @ 10:30am
Thursday, December 22nd @ 10:30am

Meets at Garment Worker Statue, NE corner on West 39th Street & 7th (Fashion) Avenue.   

Rain or shine, they go!

Email mikesnyctours@yahoo.com to reserve or just show up 5 minutes before tour time. Click here for more information.

EVERYTHING TO DO NYC

everything to do nyc

Want free advice on what to do and see in New York? Join our Facebook Group Everything to Do NYC, a place for people to ask questions and get tips on how to make the most of the city.

lion king city guide cover

 

About the Author

Ethan Wolff is the author of numerous guidebooks to New York, having covered the city for more than two decades. He has written for New York Magazine, BlackBook, and Details, among others. In addition to his work as the editor of City Guide, Ethan covers NYC’s talk and lecture scene for the website Thought Gallery. He lives with his wife and two daughters in the Windsor Terrace neighborhood of Brooklyn.

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