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49 amazing things to do in NYC in November

Written by
Jennifer Picht

Dynamite things to do 

The Poetry Cabaret House of Yes; Nov 1; $30–$75
The House of Yes transforms into a literary bordello at this sultry event featuring live jazz, burlesque, vaudeville, aerial performances, fortune-tellers and more. Poets offer up their verses throughout the evening, and for a small fee you can sneak away for a private reading with any of the night's bards.

RECOMMENDED: Full NYC events calendar

Women of Letters Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater; Nov 2; $20, two-drink or $12 minimum
The Australian literary salon returns stateside, inviting notable women writers and performers to air their dirty laundry in the form of personal letters crafted just for the occasion. The October edition features Amber Tamblyn, Orange Is the New Black's Laura Gomez, Clinton media advisor Zerlina Maxwell, and other notable writers. 

New York City Marathon at various locations; Nov 6; $255 registration fee
More than 40,000 marathoners hotfoot it (or puff, pant and stagger) through all five boroughs over a 26.2-mile course. Stake out a lively spot—we recommend along Fourth Avenue in Park Slope, Brooklyn; First Avenue between 60th and 96th Streets in Manhattan; or Central Park South near the finish line—to cheer on the passing throngs. 

Fall Forest Weekends New York Botanical Garden; Nov 5, 6, 12, 13; $20
Experience the colors of the season in the New York Botanical Garden's Thain Family Forest, a 50-acre thicket that boasts sweet gums, whose star-shaped leaves turn red and purple as autumn progresses, and tulip trees and hickories that display vivid golden yellows. During this annual series, gratis guided tours will point out seasonal foliage and birds, as well as offer free canoe trips, courtesy of the Bronx River Alliance. While you'll also see arborists demonstrating how to scale trunks, sign up in advance for a Recreational Tree Climbing class ($135, members $122) to try it yourself. 

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade at various locations; Nov 24; free
For the 90th year, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will usher in the holiday season with familiar sights like giant balloons, high-kicking Rockettes and Santa’s sleigh, plus celebrity appearances. Begins at W 77th St and Central Park West; for the complete parade route, visit

Hilarious comedy shows

New York Comedy Festival at various locations; Nov 1-6; various prices
Comedy Central is shutting it down this year with a slate of household names in comedy performing and speaking throughout the city. See stand-up from the likes of Tracy Morgan, Bridget Everett and Dane Cook, catch the Daily Show's Trevor Noah do an original set at the Beacon Theatre, and much more. NYC comedy fans are serious, so don't wait to reserve your seats.

Hannibal Buress: The Hannibal Montanabal Experience Apollo Theater; Nov 4; $38.50
As the stoner-dentist-with-a-romantic-heart character on Broad City and as himself, a stand-up who spins comedy gold juxtaposing a slow speech pattern with a lightning-fast wit on Why? With Hannibal Buress, Buress has risen to be one of Comedy Central’s biggest breakout stars. 

Dane Cook Beacon Theatre; Nov 4; $84.50
Following the release of his 2013 directorial debut, Troublemaker, on Showtime, we’re excited to see what the hypermasculine, multiplatinum album–selling comic has up his sleeve for the New York Comedy Festival. We imagine his on-fire comedic stand up is as strong as ever. 

Big Terrific BRIC House; Nov 5; $25
Though Gabe Liedman and Jenny Slate have moved to L.A., remaining Big Terrific host Max Silvestri carries on the warm tradition of this Brooklyn mainstay. Every week he welcomes great locals and big names from out of town.

Trevor Noah Beacon Theatre; Nov 5; $41–$62
The South African comedian has left audiences in stitches with jokes about politics, race and class. If earlier shows are any indication of what's in store for his takeover of The Daily Show, expect Noah to push the envelope just far enough. 

Frank Conniff’s Cartoon Dump Q.E.D.; Nov 7; $5
Befitting his past as a regular on Mystery Science Theater 3000 as TV’s Frank, Frank Conniff brings some truly bad and bizarre cartoons to this variety show. Between screenings of animated missteps, Coniff( who portrays a depressed owl on a fictional terrible children’s show throughout) and his special guests do sketches, stand-up sets and music numbers. 

Can't-miss LGBT events

Big Bush Heavy Woods; Nov 1, 15, 29; free
Queer nightlife ringleader Image Object hosts this twice-monthly throwdown for women of all orientations and identifications. Late-night happy hour specials and booming dance music ensures a rowdy, delirious night for all. 

Bob the Drag Queen: Current F***ing Reigning Carolines on Broadway; Nov 2; $27.25–$41
The recently-crowned champion of Rupaul's Drag Race season eight and hard-working NYC stand-up hits the New York Comedy Festival for a night of razor sharp stand-ups. Expect Rupaul, Kim Kardashian and Donald Trump to get savaged by the whip-smart showgirl. 

Kink Thursdays The Eagle; Nov 3, 10, 17; free
Bears, wolves, and otters, oh my! This multi-room bar and club has every caniform you can cruise your way into. You’re guaranteed to find a furry partner at this bondage party, where your wildest fantasies and fetishes come to life. A strict dress code of leather, rubber, belts, and jocks is enforced on the second floor, but the rest of the club is open to any piece of clothing (or lack there of). 

Dinner with the Divas Lips; Nov 3, 10, 17; free
NYC's 20-year-old drag hub Lips welcomes you to enjoy a night of old-school dinner theater while master impersonator Jesse Volt buzzes on and off stage as Joan Rivers, Cher, Dolly Parton, Katy Perry and more. Try not to blink: you may miss a costume change. 

Bad Habit Lot 45; Nov 5; free
The gang behind long-running weekly Manhattan girlcentric throwdown Hot Rabbit jumps the river. This larger Bushwick warehouse venue gives alternative queer-party bunnies more space to do what bunnies do.

Delicious food and drink opportunities 

Let Us Eat Local at The Metropolitan Pavilion; Nov 1; $225-$350
The ritzy benefit dinner brings together more than 40 of the city’s most celebrated chefs from the likes of Blue Hill, Prime Meats and Egg for a night of seasonal fare highlighting produce from local farmers.

FoodPornFest at Shwick; Nov 5 through Nov 6; Free
This weekend-long celebration of all things food is aimed at eating (and ‘gramming) obsessives, with plenty of for-purchase treats including loaded mac ‘n’ cheese and pumpkin bread trufflle

WhiskyFest at the Marriott Marquis; Nov 1; $275
The longest-running whisky festival in the country, this year’s brown-spirits blowout offers unlimited pours of more than 400 globally sourced whiskies, bourbons and scotches.

Bloody Mary Battle at Villain; Nov 12; $45-$65
This battle of the Bloodys pits 15 NYC bars and restaurants against one another, with wild interpretations (think maple-bacon–infused) going up against more classic concoctions. 

Beerathon at various locations; Nov 19; $55-$65
Forget running—at this bar-hopping marathon, your badge grants youadmission to 13 bars across the city; at each, you’re entitled to two six-ounce pours of beer.

Spectacular dance performances 

Jonah Bokaer: Rules of the Game at BAM Howard Gilman Opera House; Nov 10 through Nov 12; $25–$55
Bokaer draws on the work of Italian theater master Luigi Pirandello for Rules of the Game, the centerpiece of his three-part Next Wave Festival program. Pop star Pharrell Williams composed the original score. 

Dorrance Dance: The Blues Project at Joyce Theater; Nov 15 through Nov 27; $26–$56
The captivating Michelle Dorrance, who won a MacArthur "genius" grant last year for her innovative tap work, reprises her popular 2015 Joyce debut, The Blues Project. Co-choreographers Derick Grant and Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards also perform, and Toshi Reagon and BIGLovely provide live blues music.

Nederlands Dance Theater at New York City Center; Nov 16 through 19; $35–$145
The company presents the U.S. premieres of two collaborative works by artistic director Paul Lightfoot and resident choreographer Sol León, Safe as Houses and Stop-Motion, as well as a pair of 2016 works, Marco Goecke's Woke up Blind and Crystal Pite's The Statement.

Company XIV: Nutcracker Rouge at Irondale Arts Center; Nov 21 through Jan 7; $35–$200
Austin McCormick and his risqué neo-Baroque dance theater Company XIV present a lavish erotic reimagining of the classic holiday tale, complete with circus performers, operatic singers and partial nudity. Definitely leave the kids at home.

New York City Ballet: George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker at David H. Koch Theater (at Lincoln Center); Nov 25 through Dec 31; $35–275
This magical 1954 production, set to Tchaikovsky's incredible score, includes 200 dancers, an onstage blizzard and a giant Christmas tree, but Balanchine’s choreography is what holds it all together. It's enchanting.

Marvelous theater experiences 

Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 at the Imperial Theatre; open-ended; $59–$299
Dave Malloy took 70 pages of Tolstoy’s War and Peace and made a scruffy, irreverent electrop musical. The staging is dizzyingly immersive. 

The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World AKA the Negro Book of the Dead at Pershing Square Signature Center; through Dec 11; $30
If you like the taboo-flouting artwork of Kara Walker, you will be primed for Suzan-Lori Parks’s surreal-grotesque vision of race in America.

Sweet Charity at Pershing Square Signature Center; Nov 2-Dec 30; $99–$175
TV star and Broadway darling Sutton Foster stars in the brassy 1960s musical about a prostitute who wants to turn over a new leaf.

Dear Evan Hansen at the Music Box Theatre; starts Nov 14; $49–$155
Hyped as one of the best new musicals this season, the show features a star-making turn by Ben Platt as an painfully awkward teen.

Dead Poets Society at Classic Stage Company; through Dec 11; $60–$65
The beloved Robin Williams prep-school film becomes a play (not a musical!) starring Saturday Night Live alum Jason Sudeikis.

Major movie premieres 

Manchester by the Sea; Nov 18
Kenneth Lonergan, the auteur behind the exceptional You Can Count on Me and the beautifully messy Margaret, has delivered his best film to date with a devastating, elegantly crafted familial story of grief. Leave it to the outstanding Casey Affleck and a scene-stealing Michelle Williams to shatter your heart in this film’s gradually swelling sea of emotions. Friendly advice: Bring tissues. 

Doctor Strange; Nov 4
The Marvel Cinematic Universe opens wide to welcome tart, thorny Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game), just in time for those getting tired of Robert Downey Jr’s shtick. Cumberbatch plays Dr. Stephen Strange—yeah, we know, just go with it. He’s a brilliant brain surgeon who is also a superhero after discovering Tilda Swinton’s Ancient One. Same thing happened to us after we discovered Swinton.

Hacksaw Ridge; Nov 4
Mel Gibson is back behind the camera with his most Mel movie yet: a gory WWII battlefield drama marked by issues of faith and sacrifice. Hacksaw Ridge is based on the real-life story of Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield), a fiercely religious conscientious objector who nonetheless managed to save an estimated 75 lives during the Battle of Okinawa. It’s sincere, raw and provocative material, perfectly suited to Gibson’s directorial strengths, which are often overlooked.

Loving; Nov 4
Their names were actually Richard and Mildred Loving—a real-life married couple with the misfortune of living in ’50s-era Virginia, where interracial unions were considered criminal. As played by Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga, their story comes to sympathetic life, dramatized by director Jeff Nichols (already having a stellar year with Midnight Special).

Arrival; Nov 11
French-Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve (Sicario) has become one of the most exciting directors working today. His alien invasion flick, which boasts a superb cast that includes Amy Adams and Forest Whitaker, is visually stylish, compulsively watchable and a real thinker. Relentless tension meets Christopher Nolan–level smarts. Just the way we like our extraterrestrial fare.

Elle; Nov 11
Is it a rape-revenge thriller? A lighthearted comedy? A pervy sexual psychodrama? All of the above, actually. Elle’s reaction out of Cannes sure left a mark—as to be expected from Basic Instinct and Showgirls director Paul Verhoeven’s first feature-length film in a decade. It stars Isabelle Huppert, one of cinema’s greatest actors, as a successful game designer out to settle a score. 

The Eyes of My Mother; Nov 18
Indie creepiness comes in a nail-biting black-and-white package in this gorgeously realized horror film loaded with surprises. Many of the old genre elements are there: an old farmhouse in the middle of nowhere; the cracked family that lives there; the unlucky folks who accidentally end up on the doorstep. If you call yourself a devotee of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, you’ve got plans now.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them; Nov 18
The Potterverse rolls on in this massively anticipated addition to the mythology. It’s set in the New York City of 1926 and stars Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander, a creature collector and figure of expertise. He’s the narrator and he must do battle with Samantha Morton’s fierce “Second-Salemer” witch-hunter. We wish him all the best with that.

Awesome concerts 

Kero Kero Bonito Music Hall of Williamsburg; Nov 2; $15
Fluorescently colorful indie pop crew Kero Kero Bonito dabble in hyper-digital aesthetics and a multinational sound that evokes the likes of PC Music fused with J-Pop. Expect to hear Sarah Perry talk-singing in Japanese and English over new tunes from the band's upcoming debut, Bonito Generation.

Meshuggah + High on Fire at Playstation Theatre; Nov 3; $34.75
Prog-metal outfit Meshuggah's newest full-length, The Violent Sleep of Reason, is as punishing as it is technical. Unlike previous heavily post-processed albums, though, this release was recorded live, so expect the new songs' raw energy to translate well to the stage.

Digable Planets at Webster Hall; Nov 10; $25
As one of the most innovative rap groups of the early '90s, Digable Planets fused way-literate lyrics with jazzy rhythms—remember "Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)"?—on two records, which belatedly but deservedly become part of the canon of rap’s golden age. The Brooklyn-based quartet did us all a favor by joining back up this year for a reunion tour.

Mitski at Webster Hall; Nov 21; $20If you failed to snag tickets to Mitski's sellout Music Hall of Willliamsburg and Bowery gigs earlier this year, well, we've got bad news: this Webster Hall gig too is sold out too. Might we suggest Craigslist? The indie scene's most compelling, poignant new singer-songwriter is not to be missed.

The Bad Plus at Rough Trade; Nov 21; $25
Anyone who's still slagging on the Bad Plus for covering pop tunes needs to check the group out live. Onstage the trio sounds like nothing less than the consummate contemporary jazz combo, by turns cerebral, visceral and disarmingly emotive. Pianist Ethan Iverson, bassist Reid Anderson and drummer Dave King boast a rare onstage magnetism that transcends genre.

Amazing Art Shows 

“Francis Picabia: Our Heads Are Round so Our Thoughts Can Change Direction” Museum of Modern Art (MoMA); Nov 20–Mar 19; $25
This is the first comprehensive retrospective in the United States of the work of Francis Picabia, a leading light of the Dadaist movement. A close friend and frequent partner-in-crime of Marcel Duchamp, Picabia was a stylistic shapeshifter, but while his work varied widely in tone and medium it was never lacked in radically innovation.

“Marilyn Minter: Pretty/Dirty” Brooklyn Museum; Nov 4–Apr 2; $16
Minter had already been working in New York for 30 years before her career breakout in the 2006 Whitney Biennial, and in the ensuing decade, she’s dialed up her exploration of how women are objectified by fashion and the media to a Nigel Tufnel–worthy 11. Focusing on various details of the female anatomy, her photos and hyper-realist paintings demolish cultural conventions of beauty and femininity with increasingly garish élan. As the title of Minter’s first-ever career retrospective suggests, her work draws a connection between "sexy" and "filthy."

“Ai Weiwei: Roots and Branches” Lisson Gallery + Mary Boone Gallery; Nov 5–Dec 23; free
The Chinese artist and dissident brings his latest work to New York in this multi-venue showcase featuring a multiplicity of mediums and materials—among them, porcelain, cast-iron, salvaged wood, artist-designed wallpaper and LEGO bricks. Highlights include a massive tree cobbled from dead branches and trunks into a sort of arboreal Frankenstein and an installation of 40,000 teapot spouts broken off and arranged in a circular pile. In these works and others, the artist plays chicken or egg with the relationship between a whole and its parts.

“Pierre Chareau: Modern Architecture and Design” The Jewish Museum; Nov 4–Mar 6; $15
A noted French architect and designer, Chareau (1883-1950) is probably best known for his elegantly spare Maison de Verre (1928-1932), a milestone of early modern residential architecture distinguished by a minimalistic, glass-block facade. He designed furniture, light fixtures and interiors as well, and was an important art patron who collected works by Jacques Lipchitz, Piet Mondrian, Marc Chagall and Amedeo Modigliani. Chareau’s role in the art of the interwar period is given a fresh look in this survey, which rounds up rarely-seen objects and ephemera from his career.

"Calder and Picasso” Almine Rech Gallery; through Dec 17; free
While Alexander Calder and Pablo Picasso weren’t close friends (they only met on a half-dozen occasions), they formed a mutual admiration society, following each other’s work well enough to engage in a visual dialog at certain points in their respective oeuvres. That relationship is examined in the show organized by the artists’ grandsons. This exhibit also marks the first for the New York location of this blue-chip Brussels gallery.

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