There are a plethora of great ideas for what to do on Sunday, including peeping street art, attending offbeat pop-cultural events and much more. For other NYC essentials, check out the 50 best New York attractions and our continually updated guide to to the top things to do this weekend in New York City.
Find the perfect brunch
New Yorkers may not be a religious bunch, but we’ve got our own time-honored Sunday morning ritual: brunch. Whether you’re dining with a group or rolling solo, here are the finest places to quell your a.m. hunger pangs (and/or hangover). Click through for our complete guide to pancakes, huevos rancheros, eggs Benedict, mimosas and other late-breakfast standards.
NYC’s long-form improv royalty (including UCBT and SNL folk) play pickup-game style in this famous long-running show. There’s no telling who will make an appearance on a given night, but the likes of Amy Poehler and Rachel Dratch have been known to pop in. If you want to check it out for free, line up outside the theater (early!) for the 9:30pm show; tickets are distributed at 8:15pm. Play-it-safers can buy advance tickets for the 7:30pm show for $10. 7:30pm $10, 9:30pm free.Read more
Williamsburg’s craft-beer facility offers free, no-reservation general tours on Saturday and Sunday. Post-tour, join the crowds purchasing tokens for brewskis (one beer for $5, five for $20) to taste the standard and seasonal styles on tap. Sunday bonus: This is the only day that also includes Smorgasbrewery, in which five or six vendors from Smorgasburg dish out suds-complementing foodstuffs inside the brew house. Free.Read more
Erstwhile New Yorker Colleen “Cosmo” Murphy brings her long-running London affair back home to Gotham. The concept is simple: It’s a good old-fashioned listening party, with each installment focusing on a selection from rock and pop’s discography of canonical LPs, all played on Murphy’s high-end audiophile hi-fi. Murphy’s album selection comes from all over the genre map: the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Kraftwerk’s Autobahn, Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks. Click here to read our interview with Murphy. classicalbumsundays.com. $10.Read more
A seven-minute ride on a free ferry from Manhattan or Brooklyn takes you to this seasonal island sanctuary, a scant 800 yards from lower Manhattan. Thanks to its strategic position in the middle of New York Harbor, Governors Island was a military outpost that was off-limits to the public for 200 years. It finally opened to summer visitors in 2006. Today, the 172-acre island provides a peaceful setting for biking (bring a bike on the ferry, or rent from Bike and Roll once there), picnicking and general relaxation. The island often hosts events such as concert series, art exhibitions and club nights (see website for schedule). Free.Read more
“Dr. Sketchy’s is what happens when cabaret meets art school,” says founder and artist Molly Crabapple. Burlesque performers and the like pose in all manner of revealing costumes (past themes have included everything from the Black Dahlia to Doctor Who), and you, oh pioneering artist, sketch them. Celebrate with booze and prizes—but bring your own art supplies—every other Sunday at the Slipper Room. drsketchy.com. Advance $12, at the door $15.Read more
A rotating selection of around 60 vendors, including local designers and artists, sets up shop in this Williamsburg warehouse every weekend. The browsable mix includes everything from original T-shirts and handmade jewelry to reconditioned vintage bags and clocks made out of old hardcover books. But Artists & Fleas is as much about the vibe as the goods: DJs spin, food purveyors offer refreshments, and sundry Billyburgers wander the rows of booths in all their quirky finery. Free.Read more
Does the eye-wateringly sweet taste of Frosted Flakes make you nostalgic for the cartoon-filled weekend mornings of your youth? If so, head to Spoons, Toons & Booze at Nitehawk Cinema, where Michael Austin, organizer of the ’80s Sing-Along, brings you a free all-you-can-eat sugary cereal buffet and a selection of 80-plus cartoons from the ’40s through the ’90s (DuckTales, Jem, ThunderCats, Captain Planet—you name it). You can spike your Cinnamon Toast Crunch with a shot of Baileys or Kahlúa for $5; there are some benefits to adulthood, after all. $11Read more
The Brooklyn Museum, Kings County’s premier institution, is a less-crowded alternative to Manhattan’s bigger-name spaces. In this long-term installation, the museum’s curators aim to break down boundaries by linking objects across vastly different fields and time periods according to shared themes. It’s probably the only place in the world you’ll see a Picasso painting juxtaposed with a 1,500-year-old Mayan bird vessel and a 1950s Dutch dollhouse. Suggested donation $12, seniors and students $8, children under 12 free.Read more
Nouveau York hosts Neil Aline and Jérôme Viger-Kohler keep the fun coming up in the Standard Hotel’s penthouse boîte, with Aline and top guests (DJ Harvey, Club Cheval and Dimitri from Paris have played in the past) hitting the decks for a session of house, disco and more. nouveauyork.com. Free.Read more
Watch movies outdoors at Habana Outpost
Every Sunday from May through October, this Brooklyn eco-eatery hosts alfresco films like Pulp Fiction and Ghostbusters, screened over its outdoor patio. The only thing better than butter popcorn with a flick? Grilled Mexican-style corn on the cob. Munch away. Free.
Few experiences in New York City can compare with taking in a lieder concert, piano recital or chamber-music performance in this stately old mansion-cum-art-museum’s elegant music room, where scores of prominent musicians have made their first local appearances. Show up early to check out the gallery, which is pay-what-you-wish from 11am to 1pm on Sundays. $35, members $30; pay-what-you-wish Sun 11am–1pm.Read more
Corral your crew and head to the races for a day of equine-inspired revelry at Belmont Park (Apr–July). In planning your race-day wardrobe, keep in mind that there is a “tradition of elegance” at the track. You don’t have to dress to the nines, but an ascot never hurt anyone. If you’re feeling lucky, try your hand at betting—you can wager as little as $1 at most races. Visit website for schedule; $3.Read more
On Sundays, shows at Soho Rep, one of our favorite Off Broadway theaters, cost only 99¢. Just make sure you’re on the ball when they go on sale; since performances are typically $35 to $40, these tickets understandably disappear fast. Visit the company’s website for performance times.Read more
The borough’s flagship library branch presents a free monthly silent-film series on Sunday afternoons. Typical offerings include the slapstick antics of Laurel and Hardy and the swashbuckling of Douglas Fairbanks. All films are archival quality, projected onto a six-by-eight-foot screen. See website for schedule.Read more
Thrill seekers should head to this series of obstacles designed for team-building and scaring the crap out of you. Live out your Indiana Jones fantasy by scaling a bouldering wall, whizzing down the zip line, balancing on a high wire and getting catapulted from the Human Swing Shot, a device that lifts you 45 feet in the air before sending you into free fall. Free.Read more
In November 2011, the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation opened a new visitors’ center at the former shipbuilding complex, offering information on the facility and its connection to the surrounding neighborhoods. The gratis-admission location includes a café, weekend bus tours ($18–$30), bike tours (Mar–Oct; $24) and an 8,000-square-foot exhibition space that features the permanent “Brooklyn Navy Yard: Past, Present and Future” exhibit, as well as rotating offerings. A free weekend shuttle departs from Jay Street at Willoughby Street every 15 to 20 minutes. Free.Read more
The smooth and delightfully understated Hannibal Buress (of Adult Swim’s The Eric André Show) hosts fellow stand-ups at this free weekly showcase at the Knitting Factory. Performers are usually locals on the rise, but big names such as Chris Rock, Robin Williams and Sarah Silverman have been known to drop in for a set. Free.Read more
Years of planning went into this monument, which opened to the victims’ families (and to the public a day later) on the tenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks. Called “Reflecting Absence,” the design by architect Michael Arad and landscapers Peter Walker Partners features two reflecting pools that sit within the footprints of the Twin Towers. Free.Read more
Eat a home-cooked meal without the work
The stove-top-impaired can find solace in Sunday Suppers, a dinner party–cooking class hybrid from photographer and culinary enthusiast Karen Mordechai. A few times a month, guests gather at her airy Brooklyn loft; each person tackles a different job to create the seasonal menu. The unique charm of the resulting meal is in the details: custom-designed menus, elaborate floral arrangements and enticing parting gifts, such as homemade preserves, plus a stack of recipe cards for the next time the urge strikes to tie one on (an apron, that is). To make reservations, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit sunday-suppers.com. $85 and up.
Tour a historic Brooklyn ’hood
You’ll need your sneakers for this one: Mauricio Lorence leads a three-hour excursion through some of the borough’s oldest and most charming neighborhoods, including Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, and Brooklyn Heights, with a focus on historic sites, ethnic enclaves and municipal institutions. 718-789-0430, metrotourservice.blogspot.com. Visit website for details; $25.
See Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze’s iconic 1851 painting, Washington Crossing the Delaware, which depicts the Revolutionary general looking presidential as he launches an attack. The restored monumental canvas is on display at the wing’s galleries for painting, sculpture and decorative arts, which reopened in early 2012. You can also check out a Gilbert Stuart portrait of the first President and a life mask of Abraham Lincoln. Suggested donation $25, seniors $17, students $12, members and children under 12 free.Read more
The price of a harbor crossing between Staten Island and lower Manhattan may be the only activity in New York City that’s cheaper today than it was in 1817. Back then, it was 25¢; today, it’s free. This 24-hour ferry (one of our top 50 New York attractions) is a lifeline for commuters making their way from NYC’s southernmost borough, but it’s also a boat trip that affords some of the finest views in the world. Keep your eyes peeled for Governors Island to the east and Ellis Island and Lady Liberty to the west as the Manhattan skyline recedes in the vessel’s wake. See website for schedule; free.Read more
This Long Island City warehouse, treated as a 200,000-square-foot canvas, is one of the world’s best places to see the full spectrum of spray-paint art. Ride a Queens-bound 7 train past the Hunters Point Ave stop for an elevated, panoramic view of the names of NYC’s graffiti forebears—like Iz the Wiz—scrawled on 5Pointz’s walls. New pieces appear regularly during the painting season, with concrete surfaces assigned by founder and curator Meres One. Take advantage of weekly small-group behind-the-scenes tours (Sat or Sun 2–3:30pm; $35; visit sidetour.com for details), led by Meres One, to watch a painting demonstration. Free.Read more
Do yoga alfresco for free
No need to be cooped up in a sweaty studio come summertime; stretch out in the sunshine on Saturday mornings gratis, whether you live in Manhattan, Brooklyn or Queens. Monique Schubert leads classes at Socrates Sculpture Park that focus on the Kripalu system of hatha yoga (May–Sept 9:30–10:30am, 11am–noon). The New York Restoration Project offers small-group yoga at two community gardens between May and September: the Target East Harlem Community Garden (415–417 117th St between First and Pleasant Aves, 11am–noon) with Harlem Yoga Studio, and the Garden of Hope (392 Hancock St between Sumner and Throop Aves, Brooklyn; 11am–noon) with Brooklyn Holistic. Click here for a list of other free outdoor yoga classes.
No, it’s not quite like that episode of Lost where Hurley builds the golf course, but Randalls Island Golf Center is still a pretty absorbing place to while away a summer afternoon. Surrounded by beautiful trees, the spot boasts a whopping 36 holes of minigolf, in which you must shoot your ball through rocky caves and other obstacles. After your time on the green, grab a table at the on-site beer garden to sip a pint of Blue Moon or split a pitcher of Stella. Check out our roundup for more hole-in-one spots in the city. See website for hours of operation; $9, children 12 and under $7.Read more
One of the city’s best regular shindigs, 718 Sessions celebrated its tenth anniversary in fall of 2012. At this extremely popular tea dance, Danny Krivit (of the Body & Soul party) spins his top-shelf deep house and classics for a crowd that is ready to work it on the dance floor. Down in the basement, rotating guest DJs pumps out an array of thumping house rhythms. dannykrivit.net. $20, before 7pm $5.Read more
This fascinating museum is actually a series of restored tenement apartments at 97 Orchard Street, accessible only by guided tour. Costumed “residents” give glimpses into the daily lives of immigrant clans that called the building home in the 19th and early 20th centuries and hailed from Sicily, Russia, Ireland, Poland, Germany and other far-flung lands. The museum also offers walking excursions around the Lower East Side. Tours often sell out, so it’s wise to book ahead online. Click here to read more about “Shop Life,” the museum’s latest exhibit, which looks at the rich history of 97 Orchard’s garden-level storefronts. First tour 10:30am; $22, seniors and students $17.Read more
The massive institution is home to more than 5,000 adorable and/or ferocious creatures in myriad exhibits, including an outdoor baboon reserve, a sea lion pool and a space dedicated entirely to Madagascar. Ride the Wild Asia Monorail (open during the warmer months), which tours 38 acres of exhibits housing elephants, Indo-Chinese tigers, deer, antelope and Mongolian wild horses, or wander over to see two gargantuan Nile crocodiles. On inclement days, step into indoor attractions such as the World of Birds, the World of Reptiles or the Congo Gorilla Forest. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg: check out our Bronx Zoo guide to plan your visit. $16, seniors $14, children ages 3–12 $12, children under 3 free. Wednesdays pay what you wish.Read more
Cap off your weekend with some infused spirits and a performance from tireless—and very blond—drag queen Paige Turner. The “Showbiz Spitfire” (and So You Think You Can Drag hostess) struts her stuff every Sunday at Russian vodka spot Vlada Lounge. Free.Read more
Excellent comedy producer (and occasional stand-up) Caroline Creaghead has taken over hosting duties on Sunday night at Union Hall, a spot she helped book for Eugene Mirman. Every week in the bar’s compact underground space, Creaghead hosts a rotating roster of stand-ups in a show formerly known as Pretty Good Friends. Guests at the night’s previous incarnation have included Wyatt Cenac, Todd Barry and H. Jon Benjamin—and Mirman still shows up pretty often. Rarely do you have the opportunity to get up close and personal with people this funny for this little money. $7.Read more
Writer Nita Noveno began this prose-only reading series, which also holds nights in Chicago (and, previously, Nairobi), in 2002. The NYC original takes place on the third Sunday of the month in the back room of East Village brew spot Jimmy’s No. 43 and is cohosted by Noveno, Sara Lippmann and Lynne Bamat Mijangos. It’s a good place to catch local authors and out-of-towners alike, including scribes whose works have appeared in respected lit mags such as McSweeney’s Quarterly, Tin House and One Story. Free.Read more
Hit the ice
When the temperature drops, it’s time to strap on the blades and take to the slick stuff. NYC has a wealth of outdoor ice-skating rinks that are open well beyond Christmas—and if you want to avoid the mobs, postholidays is probably the best time to visit hot spots like the Rink at Rockefeller Center or the rink at Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park. You can also perfect your lutz year-round at indoor arenas such as Chelsea Piers’ Sky Rink. Click here for a full rundown of the city’s slippery offerings.
Go for a ride with Five Borough Bicycle Club
5BBC prides itself on being the friendliest pack of pedalers in Gotham. The social aspect of group riding is one of the organization’s core raisons d’être. Membership is paid ($20/year or $25/household), but nonmembers are welcome on the group’s Day Rides, which take place every Saturday and Sunday. Multiple rides are scheduled each weekend, ranging from 25 to 80 miles. These member-led outings begin with lessons in bike inspection, how to ride in traffic and common two-wheeler maintenance tips. Riders then depart on an all-day romp (four to eight hours) around the five boroughs, upstate, Long Island or New Jersey; past routes have taken in Yankee Stadium, Kew Gardens, Staten Island Borough Hall, the Rockaways and Prospect Park. Click here for more info about the city’s best bike groups. 5bbc.org. Check website for details; free.
This newly renovated chlorinated mecca sits at the border of Williamsburg and Greenpoint, making it a beacon for North Brooklyn dwellers. With a 37,571-square-foot swim area, in addition to plenty of poolside space for beach-chair and towel lounging, you’ll be able to scope out hundreds of stylish hipsters, neighborhood families and curious tourists looking to stay cool. Just be prepared for a wait: The pool’s been drawing major crowds—as well as some scuffles—since its 2012 debut. For more ideas on where to swim laps in NYC, check out our roundup of swimming holes. Free.Read more
Talk about hitting the spot: The world-famous Harlem Gospel Choir performs at a comfort-food brunch every Sunday at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill. The group’s performances are exuberant, to say the least—about what you’d expect from its slogan, “Get your dose of the Holy Ghost.” You’d better hope your appetite measures up, as this is an all-you-can-eat feast of South Carolina grits, cornmeal-crusted catfish, jambalaya and the like. Advance $40, at the door $42.50 (includes brunch).Read more
Gay marriage is legal in New York, so it’s only logical that we’d have our own oiled-up, costume-packed, interactive male strip show for frisky bachelors. Muscle Mania, held weekly at Splash, serves up man meat Magic Mike–style, complete with lap dances and Village People–worthy getups. Of course, you needn’t be engaged to enjoy the show—which happens every Sunday—and you’ll want to book ahead to guarantee yourself an up-close view. Click here for a slide show of the guys in action. Advance $25, at the door $20 (includes one drink).Read more
Stock up on comic books
We’re not even gonna say “Pretend you’re a kid again.” Thanks to an ever-growing list of talented writers and artists, comics these days are as much for grown-ups as they are for the prepubescent. Whether you’re a graphic-novel noob or a seasoned nerd, there’s a comic-book shop in NYC for every taste. For coolness factor, check out the tastefully appointed, indie-focused Bergen Street Comics; for sheer volume of selection, head to Forbidden Planet. Click here for a list of other stores where you can catch up with Spidey or pick up the latest Alison Bechdel.
This former coffee-bean barge, docked in Brooklyn Bridge Park, usually presents four to five chamber-music concerts each weekend. Set against a panoramic view of lower Manhattan, it’s a pretty magical experience. On Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, climb aboard for the Masterworks Series, in which you can hear top-notch classical musicians playing selections by the greats (Brahms, Haydn, Beethoven and the like); Bargemusic artistic director (and seasoned violinist) Mark Peskanov often joins in. When the weather warms, sip a drink on the upper deck during intermission. $35, seniors $30, students $15.Read more
UCB regular James Ferrarella hosts this weekly stand-up afternoon at Long Island City comedy hub the Creek and the Cave. To try your hand, show up at 3:45pm and drop your name in the bucket. You’ll get to bomb or soar at the mike for three minutes—or longer, if there aren’t that many people signed up. Free.Read more
The picture windows at engineered nautical dive the Rusty Knot offer some of the most gorgeous sunset views in town; JD Samson’s tea dance, Scissor Sundays, is the perfect setting to take in the light show. A friendly, sexy crowd and top-notch DJs (including, usually, Samson herself) make this shindig one of the city’s essential gay weekend cappers, and TONY’s 2012 pick for Best Mixed LGBT Party. Free.Read more
There are few better places to end a weekend than the tiny back room at Barbès, where guitar virtuoso Stephane Wrembel’s Django Experiment holds court every Sunday. His French Gypsy jazz complements the Montmartre-influenced bar. (And if it seems like you’re listening to a Woody Allen soundtrack, maybe you are: Wrembel composed the theme for Midnight in Paris.) Suggested donation $10.Read more
This Long Island City green space is one of the few locations in the city specifically designated for sculptors to display outdoor works. In 1986, artists and activists created the 4.5-acre city park on top of a landfill. Now, it hosts large-scale sculpture exhibits year-round, along with free community programming. At the start of the warm season, the area morphs into an airy summer school: On weekends, fitness buffs can take free yoga, tai chi, capoeira and Pilates classes from expert instructors (check the park’s website for times). Year round, you can take in a surreal dreamscape of three-dimensional art, with views of the Manhattan skyline across the river. Free.Read more
This Middle Ages museum may have been constructed in the ’30s, but it feels much older than that. Set in a bucolic park overlooking the Hudson River, the structure re-creates architectural details from five 15th-century monasteries and houses items from the Met’s medieval art and architecture collections. John D. Rockefeller, who donated the land for the museum, even purchased a tract across the river to preserve the stunning view. Make sure to check out the tapestries, including the famous 16th-century Hunt of the Unicorn. Suggested donation $25, seniors $17, students $12, children under 12 free.Read more
DJ–VJ Joe Fiore brings you this weekly happy hour for friendly fuzzballs and their many admirers, held at the historic Stonewall Inn. All bottled beer will set you back just $3, well drinks are $4, and free hot dogs will offset all the booze. Fiore spins an amiable mix of pop, rock, disco and the like. Free.Read more
For a taste of real-deal New York nightlife, Greenhouse’s weekly Vandam bash is the place to go. The party is jam-packed with clubland freaks and phantasms in artistic, eccentric costumes, preening and prancing on an LED-lit dance floor to tunes from Jackie 60 headmaster Johnny Dynell. You can also groove to funk tunes from Desi Monster, Ladyfag and guests in the faux-forest hideaway downstairs. Drink prices are steep, but the chance to party with these scene veterans completely justifies wallet weight loss. Free.Read more
Find the perfect slice
With the list of New York pizza spots growing exponentially, Gotham is a veritable pie mecca. Patsy’s, Totonno’s and other greats still carry on the tradition for classic versions. But new-wave upstarts, like PeteZaaz and Forcella, are bringing fresh ideas, such as quirky toppings and deep-fried pies, to the ranks every year. Click here for our list of the cheesiest, most delicious pizzas in town, then get thee to a doughery.
Industry City, a multiuse waterfront warehouse complex within Sunset Park’s 117-year-old Bush Terminal, houses this small-batch vodka distillery. The company was built by five pals from diverse professional backgrounds, all newcomers to the alcohol industry. During ICD’s gratis tour, spot items like a letterpress for printing bottle labels and a house-constructed yeast propagator tank. You’ll also have a chance to taste the goods—again, for free. There’s a certain Willy Wonka–ness to the whole operation: Keep an eye out for everything from rubber unicorn heads to Razor scooters. (Like the man in the top hat says: Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker.) Click here to check out more booze tours on offer in the city. E-mail email@example.com for reservations; free.Read more
While the inventive multicultural exhibitions at this museum are worth a visit any day of the week, make the most of your trip by joining a free hour-long tour of its permanent and temporary collections on Sundays. Stops include the Neustadt Collection of Tiffany Glass, The Panorama of the City of New York (a miniature model of the city) and a roster of socially-conscious temporary exhibitions. Tours: Sun at 2, 3 and 4pm. Suggested donation $8, seniors and students $4, children under 5 free.Read more