Get us in your inbox

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2013
Photograph: Filip WolakMacy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2013

49 phenomenal things to do in NYC in November

Written by
David Goldberg

Rad things to do

Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival Various locations; Nov 5–8; festival pass $95
Don’t lose your dancing spirit just because tank-top season has ended. And don’t schedule your weekend brunches until after 4pm, because you’ll need all the sleep you can get after hitting hardcore all-nighters at Output, Verboten, Music Hall of Williamsburg and more for this banging lineup of rising electronic DJs. 

New York Comedy Festival Various locations; Nov 11–15; $45–$150
Move fast and snag tickets for this all-star series going on throughout the city. Don’t miss acts from Norm Macdonald, Sarah Silverman and the newly crowned Daily Show host Trevor Noah. Most of the big names at this festival cut their teeth in comedy at small clubs and bars in NYC, so expect them to honor their favorite city with some of their best material. 

NYC Horror Film Festival Times Scare; Nov 12–15; $15/feature screening, festival pass $150
After the fair-weather fans of Halloween have ended their scary movie marathons, the year-round Horror aficionados celebrate their genre at this showcase of new and classic shorts and features that includes high-school–reunion slasher-flick Most Likely to Die, final girl-reinvention thriller Last Girl Standing and a screening of summer-camp killer classic Friday the 13th with director Sean Cunningham.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Begins at W 77th St and Central Park West; Nov 26 at 9am; free
Awe at the kitschy majesty of god-sized Pikachu, Toothless and Spongebob balloons floating high above the streets at this seminal annual tradition. Why bother with the TV broadcast when you can take part in this NYC staple with just a subway ride?

16th Annual Winter’s Eve Lincoln Center at W 63rd St and Columbus Ave; Nov 30 at 5pm; free
For one night, Lincoln Center becomes a beautiful seasonal market straight out of Star’s Hollow. Dip into beignets, hot cider, pizza and other treats from more than 30 local restaurants, get delirious at a dance party with the Fresh Kids of Bel-Air, and enjoy performances by dancers, bands and artists at this packed seasonal jamboree.   

Lovely winter theater and movie premieres 

November 5
On Your Feet! Marquis Theater
Cuban-American pop legend Gloria Estefan makes the leap from your retro CD collection to the Broadway stage. In this pulse-pounding new biomusical, her exciting life and career unfold with a rhythm that’s gonna get you.

November 6
Spectre opens in theaters
Skyfall was up there with the very best Bond movies, so forgive us if we're breathlessly excited at the thought of director Sam Mendes returning to tell a story that taps into the darkest corners of the James Bond mythology. If Daniel Craig is ever going to top Sean Connery as the definitive 007, this is the time.

Brooklyn opens in theaters
Even in 1952, all the cool kids lived in Brooklyn. Unfolding like a Nicholas Sparks remake of The Immigrant, John Crowley’s comedy-drama is a lightweight historical romance about a young Irish woman (Saoirse Ronan) caught in a transatlantic love triangle.

November 8
Allegiance LongAcre Theatre
The shameful mass internment of Japanese-American citizens during World War II is the subject of this new musical. The cast includes Broadway vet Lea Salonga and Star Trek’s George Takei.

November 12
A View from the Bridge Lyceum Theatre
Daring director Ivo van Hove unveils a revival of the Arthur Miller classic about forbidden desires among Italian-American Brooklyn dockworkers. This Young Vic production was a smash hit in London.

November 15
Misery Broadhurst Theatre
Bruce Willis makes his Broadway debut in this stage adaptation of the Stephen King novel. A best-selling author finds himself cared for—and tortured—by his Number 1 fan (Laurie Metcalf).

November 19
China Doll Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre
David Mamet’s latest play is about a wealthy man, his trophy wife and the airplane he bought her as a gift. If that’s not tempting enough, it stars a Mamet veteran: Al Pacino.

November 25
Creed opens in theaters
A good franchise never taps out. And so Rocky Balboa is back for another triumphant return—sort of. This refreshingly different reboot stars Michael B. Jordan as the son of the Italian Stallion's greatest opponent, who can only box his way out of a rough situation with a helping hand from the pride of Philadelphia. 

The Good Dinosaur opens in theaters
Pixar didn't release a single film in 2014, but it turns out they weren't just licking their wounds. (Remember Brave? Of course you don't). They roared back in a big way with this summer's Inside Out, and the redemption tour is set to continue with this colorful adventure about the friendship between a little boy and an orphaned dinosaur. 

November 27
The Danish Girl opens in theaters
Eddie Redmayne, fresh off his Best Actor Oscar for The Theory of Everything, teams up with It girl Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina) for this sumptuous biopic about a Copenhagen artist who so vividly painted her husband as a woman that he was inspired to become one. Let's hope that director Tom Hooper is able to tell this important trans story with more sensitivity than he brought to Les Misérables.

Hysterical comedy shows 

November 7
Neil Hamburger Bell House, Brooklyn
Australian comic Gregg Turkington’s despicable, sad-sack alter ego Neil Hamburger brings comedy further and further into the realm of performance art with every wheezing one-liner.

November 11
Margaret Cho Town Hall
Always one to laugh in the face of controversy, the comedian/activist will deliver her hilarious, politically charged material in her new show, There’s No “I” in “Team,” But There’s a “Cho” in “Psycho.” 

November 13
Comedy Central Live in Brooklyn Kings Theatre
Many of Comedy Central’s stars—including Hannibal Buress (Broad City), Natasha Leggero (Another Period) and Nick Kroll (Kroll Show)—appear for this night of stand-up and sketch comedy.

November 13–15
Joel Creasey: The Hurricane Laurie Beechman Theatre at the West Bank Cafe
It’s unfair that, at only 25-years-old, the extremely handsome Australian stand-up Joel Creasey has sold out shows around the world, but he’s too impishly charming for us to hold it against him.

November 14
Nikki Glaser Gerald W. Lynch Theater John Jay College
Willing to be at once bookishly clever and crassly blue, Nikki Glaser has been perfecting her act on the road and in New York since she was 18. She recently moved to L.A., but she’s coming back to Gotham to tape her first one-hour special.

Unbelievable shows and concerts

November 10
Natalie Prass + Wilder Maker Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn
In the studio, singer-songwriter Natalie Prass styles her retro romanticism with lush string arrangements and jazzy horns, but you need to see her pared down live show to hear how her voice soars amid minimal instrumental backing. 

November 11–19
The Weeknd + BANKS + Travi$ Scott Prudential Center, Madison Square Garden, Barclays Center
The alt-R&B enigma cum breakout star Abel Tesfaye, voice of the Weeknd, returns for his biggest run of NYC shows yet, spanning four nights at three stadiums. Justly hyped up-and-coming MC Travis Scott offers cuts from his recent debut in the opening slot.

November 16, 17
Shamir Bowery Ballroom
The neon electro-disco vibes Shamir peddles at his shows sound like a Vegas strip come to life as an R&B dance party (guess where he's from)—here, he ships up from Nevada to make his Manhattan debut.

November 19, 21
King Diamond + Exodus PlayStation Theater
The extravagantly face-painted, human-skull-wielding Danish heavy metal kingpin plays his classic concept album, Abigail, in full here at the newly rebranded PlayStation Theater.

November 24
Stevie Wonder Madison Square Garden
Only Madison Square Garden can fittingly house this massive celebration of Steve Wonder's timeless 1976 album, Songs in the Key Of Life. And if we're lucky—avoid black cats and mirrors in the near future—we'll get a roof-raising rendition of "Superstition" as the closer.

Mesmerizing Dance Performances 

Nov 10–Nov 15 Joyce Theater
Kyle Abraham has a reputation for effortlessly melding the speed of hip-hop with the fluidity of contemporary dance; now he folds in jazz improvisation for two new pieces that include combos jamming live onstage. 

Nov 11–Nov 14
DoublePlus Gibney Dance: Agnes Varis Performing Arts Center
Hold onto your pocketbook (and clutch those pearls): Jibz Cameron's wackadoo performance avatar Dynasty Handbag appears on a double bill with Nibia Pastrana Santiago, who also has a way with transgressed boundaries.

Nov 13–Jan 3
Radio City Christmas Spectacular Radio City Music Hall                         
For sheer quantity of dancing, you cannot beat the Rockettes in their yearly extravaganza of legs, legs, Christmas feeling and more legs. Accept that, in some ways, we are all tourists in New York and sink gratefully into the glitz.

Nov 3–Nov 8
Garth Fagan Dance Joyce Theater
The great Garth Fagan returns to the Joyce with works old and new—if you missed the group’s titanic performance this summer at Lincoln Center Out of Doors, you mustn’t miss the touching Dance For/With Geoffrey and the group’s longtime hit, the glorious Prelude: Discipline Is Freedom. 

Oct 21–Dec 16
Happy Hour Gibney Dance: Agnes Varis Performing Arts Center
The long dreaded and surprisingly delightful fusion has occurred: Modern dance choreographer Monica Bill Barnes creates a charming, interactive, vaudevillian take on after-work karaoke. Bottoms up!

Terrific LGBT events 

November 5
Violet Chachki: Kiss & Tell Gramercy Theatre
The RuPaul's Drag Race winner is pulling out all the stops for a modern, fetishy take on an old-timey burlesque show. 

November 12
Bridget Everett and the Tender Moments Gramercy Theatre
In this New York Comedy Festival show, the bawdy and ballsy Everett belts out the American Songbook with the best of 'em, as well as originals (such as "Can-hole") like only she can.  

November 22
The Meeting with Justin Sayre Joe's Pub at the Public Theater
Brilliantly astute raconteur and social commentator Justin Sayre presides over this variety show full of sketches and songs, with some of NYC's brightest young talents as guest stars. 

November 30
Dina Martina: Christmas Show B. B. King Blues Club & Grill
John Waters said that "Dina Martina goes way beyond drag into some kind of twisted art." Watch Dina twist cliché into genius at her new Christmas show. We're lucky to have this true original back in town, and she's sure to horrify and delight new and longtime fans.

November 5, 12, 19, 26
Drink N' Draw Lovegun, Brooklyn
You don't have to be an artist to have an amazing time drawing all types of LGBT models, from go-go boys and girls to drag queens and all sorts of muses in between. 

Stunning Exhibitions

Nov 6–Jan 16
Peter Doig Michael Werner 
Doig’s iconographic mix of landscape, dream, myth and memory has made him one of the art world’s biggest stars during the last 20 years, and he now fetches millions for his paintings. For his first show here in four years, Doig includes work originally presented earlier this year at the Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa in Venice, Italy. Like much of his recent output, these latest canvases draw on his experiences in Trinidad, where he lives and works for part of the year.  

Nov 7–Dec 12
“Francis Bacon: Late Paintings” Gagosian Gallery
While Bacon hardly throttled back on psychological drama in his late-career work, his paintings from the last 20 years of his life were somewhat more refined than the screaming popes and writhing figures that put him on the map. Visceral brushwork gave way to spray paint (a move inspired by Ingres’s glassy surface treatment), while dark tones became supplanted by a brighter palette. All the same, these changes still left plenty of room for the artist’s signature Sturm und Drang.       

Nov 7–Mar 20
“Ocean of Images: New Photography 2015” MoMA
MoMA’s annual showcase of emerging contemporary photographers turns 30 this year, and to celebrate, the Modern is expanding the show to 19 artists and artist collectives from 14 countries and will feature works specially commissioned by the museum for the occasion. The theme of the 2015 edition focuses on “on connectivity, the circulation of images, information networks and communication models.” Since the exhibition’s record of finding the stars of tomorrow includes Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Rineke Dijkstra, Rachel Harrison and Wolfgang Tillmans, among others, the chances are good that you’ll be hearing a lot more from some of the artists here. 

Nov 20–Mar 23
“Photo-Poetics: An Anthology” Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
In recent years, contemporary photographers have been engaged in creating narratives couched in highly mediated, self-referential deconstructions of photography in which the medium itself becomes a kind of character in a story. This show surveys the trend in this selection of 70 works by a roster of 10 artists that includes Claudia Angelmaier, Erica Baum, Anne Collier, Moyra Davey, Leslie Hewitt, Elad Lassry, Lisa Oppenheim, Erin Shirreff, Kathrin Sonntag and Sara VanDerBeek.  

Nov 22–Mar 13
“Jackson Pollock: A Collection Survey, 1934–1954” MoMA
This survey of works by Pollock drawn from MoMA’s holdings revisits the familiar, if always fascinating, story of the American artist whose career most closely paralleled the country’s rise to cultural dominance in the postwar era. From his salad days working for the WPA in the 1930s to the breakthrough of his drip compositions in the late 1940s to the works created just before his death in a crash while driving drunk, Pollock’s artistic life was a struggle to free himself from parochialism and his own limitations (as both a painter and as a individual) to best Europe at its own modernist game. At a time when such a thing was still historically possible, he did just that, albeit at great personal cost.        

Delectable Food and Drink happenings

November 2–13
Savor the Bronx 2015 Various locations
Tap into the Bronx's diverse culinary offerings during this price-slashed, borough-specific restaurant week, where more than 30 eateries will offer prix fixe menus for $16.41 at lunch and $20.15 at dinner. Seek out the tender carnitas at Xochimilco Family Restaurant, booze up at the Bronx Beer Hall or go straight for the meatballs at Enzo's of Morris Park.

November 5
Taste of T A&D Building
Contemplate a luxurious life as you snack your way through endless bites from more than 25 of the city’s leading chefs (Bouley's Daniel Bouley, Toloache's Julian Medina) while browsing immaculate showrooms decked with designer home furnishings. Revel in picture-perfect surroundings, from kitchens by Bilotta Kitchens to carpets by Edward Fields. 

November 6–15
Cider Week NYC Various locations
The spiked apple spirit is making its seasonal comeback in the city, and this weeklong, 20-event festival is designed to help you discover your favorite. From a Lechon-cider brunch at Jimmy's No. 43 to a nose-to-tail hog dinner at Delaware and Hudson, there'll be plenty of booze—and grub to soak it all up.   

November 7
The Bloody Mary Festival Melrose Ballroom, Queens
The tomato-smashed brunch drink is the star of the show at this three-hour, all-you-can-drink extravaganza. Guzzle free-flowing Bloody's from five red-mix purveyors—including McClure’s and Ubons Bloody Mary Mix—while noshing on locally caught oysters from Billion Oyster Project and fully loaded lox-and-schmear in an upstairs bagel lounge. 

November 21
NYC Autumn Wine Festival Broad Street Ballroom
Go around the globe and back at this vin-soaked extravaganza touting more than 175 local and international vintages from New York State, Japan, France and beyond. Fill up a souvenir glass with endless samples—including the homegrown Dr. Frank Wines and Lakeland Winery—that’ll pair well with offerings of meats, cheeses and chocolates.  

Unreal Shopping deals

Nov 2
Components By John McCoy sample sale Showroom
Calling all sharp-dressed dudes! Hit up the nearest ATM (this sale is cash only) and prepare to shop for European sportswear up to 70 percent off.

 Nov 12
Steven Alan sample sale Steven Alan Showroom
This designer blowout is hawking ready-to-wear and lifestyle items for men and women that are up to 80 percent off. Yow! Bonus: You can nab popular styles from notable brands like Acne Studios and APC while you're there, too. 

Nov 17
Hanro of Switzerland sample sale Showroom    
You can lounge around your apartment but still look fabulous, thanks to this sale. Luxury sleepwear and underpinnings for ladies and gents are up to 75 percent off.  

Nov 17
Nest Fragrances Holiday sample sale 260 Sample Sale
Due to the massive crowds, Nest has synced up with 260 Sample Sale for its annual holiday bonanza, so you can easily navigate your way through all the aromatic pine- and cinnamon-scented candles.  

Popular on Time Out

    Latest news