Our NYC events in January calendar is the perfect tonic for a holiday hangover. Start the year off right by checking out the best events at popular New York attractions, including the best NYC concerts in January and new theater performances. From taking a chilly dip in the ocean at the Polar Bear Club New Year’s Day Swim in Coney Island to celebrating Martin Luther King Day, or freeing your legs from the tyranny of trousers at Improv Everywhere's No Pants Subway Ride, there are so many wonderful things to do in the winter here.
RECOMMENDED: Full NYC events calendar for 2017
Featured events in January 2017
There is plenty to do in NYC on New Year’s Day, so shake off your hangover and get ready to start off 2017 with a bang. Strip down to your skivvies and take part in the annual New Year’s Day Swim at Coney Island, indulge in verse and good food at the annual New Year’s Day Marathon Benefit Reading and more.
Lost in New York? Every Christmas, thousands of New Yorkers (and tourists) find their way to the bright and brilliant nexus of town, the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. Whether you’re stopping by the tree for ice-skating, the Radio City Christmas Spectacular you’re certain to feel the magic when you witness the wonder of the Norway Spruce illuminated in over 50,000 LED lights.
The Public presents edgy new works in a top-notch festival curated by Mark Russell. Among the American offerings are new pieces by 600 Highwaymen, Waterwell, Nikki Appino and Saori Tsukada, the Bengsons, Keith A. Wallace and Deborah Stein, Manual Cinema and Marga Gomez. Offerings at partner venues include work by multiple international artists: Belarus Free Theatre, Tania El Khoury, Eko Nugroho and Wayang Bocor and Philippe Quesne, as well as German troupe Rimini Protokoll’s Top Secret International (State 1), staged in the Egyptian Wing of the Brooklyn Museum.
Each January, Winter Jazzfest hosts a stellar lineup over five nights. Its signature two-night Greenwich Village marathon brings vets and up-and-comers, hordes of music fans and a palpable air of excitement to an array of cozy downtown venues. The shows aren’t individually ticketed, so a wristband grants you access to any of each night’s shows—as long as a given club doesn’t hit capacity, that is.
In January 2002, Improv Everywhere’s Charlie Todd produced the first-ever No Pants Subway Ride and posted the event on YouTube, where the short clip quickly gained popularity. Now it has turned into one of the group's most anticipated events, as thousands of New Yorkers continue the funny tradition on subway cars all across Gotham. Donning winter clothes, minus their pants, the straphangers share the same goal: to confuse bystanders.
We don’t know about you, but our inner child could always use a snow day, and that’s where Central Park Winter Jam comes in. We’ve eagerly marked our calendars for the annual sports event located at one of the best NYC parks—Central Park. The NYC Parks and Recreation event includes ice-skating, sledding, snowboarding, grub and more, so get ready to join New Yorkers of all ages for one of the best things to do in winter.
Free NYC events in January 2017
How does getting your nails done, sipping some of the finest spirits and snacking on tasty treats while watching this year’s Academy Awards sound? Pretty freakin’ great right? Well you’re in luck! This free event is taking place at the Viceroy Central Park Hotel’s rooftop bar, The Roof. Viewers can fill out a pre-ceremony ballot for a chance to win some awesome prizes.
Metamorph returns for yet another edition of its immersive party series—this time taking place at the intimate new venue, Tilt—with a lineup of top local musicians. No-Tech co-founder Ciarra Black and Brooklyn resident and modular technician-musician Antenes both return to deliver their usual pristine DJ sets. Featured in the documentary I Dream of Wires, Antenes uses self-built sequencers and synths in all of her tracks, creating one-of-a-kind unique sounds augmented in her curation of "acid-laced techno, shimmering electro and beyond." Support comes from Metamorph resident Church Van.
We could all use Meryl Streep in our lives on a daily basis, so get your fix of Meryl before the show begins! The popular Instagram account Taste of Streep, is hosting an Oscars watching party at this popular Greenpoint bar. It’s free to attend, plus there might be some TOS giveaways for a few lucky winners. Fingers crossed that one of them is a coffee date with Meryl! (What? We can dream, right?)
The Rubin Museum of Art goes all out for its Friday-night celebrations. At 6pm, Café Serai becomes the K2 Lounge where you can enjoy Pan-Asian tapas and a drink while jamming to sets from Aya & Tyler and Brooklyn Raga Massive. Then try sound meditation with the Acoustic Mandala Project, participate in a "color your mantra" experiment with painter Sonam Rinzin and enjoy an extended tour of the museum's exhibitions.
Brooklyn-based producer and DJ Octo Octa, from L.A.'s forward-thinking 100% Silk label, has a way with blending early-house bliss and postdubstep adventurism in both her productions and DJ sets. Having just announced her second LP Where Are We Going?, out March/April on Honey Soundsystem, Octo Octa is definitely one of our artists to watch this year. She's joined by Tiki Disco resident and Lot Radio bossman Lloydski (and plenty of refreshing White Label Yerba Mate Soda).
No St. Patrick's Day in NYC would be complete without staking out a spot at this parade, which makes another glorious march up Fifth Avenue. (The event is even older than the United States; it was started by a group of homesick Irish conscripts from the British army in 1762.) More than 2 million onlookers are expected to show up for the annual spectacle. Fifth Ave from 44th St to 79th St.
The British first conquered New York City right in Brooklyn Heights, and centuries later the Irish American Parade Committee still commemorates the 42nd anniversary of the Battle of Brooklyn (as many of the committee members’ forefathers were involved in that war) and celebrates Irish-American contributions to New York City. At 12:45pm, the procession also honors the heroes and victims of 9/11.
Music events in January 2017
Fifity songs written on 50 instruments celebrating 50 years of life—what more would you expect from the guy whose musical project centers on taking mundane concepts to the extreme? In what feels like the spiritual successor to the monumental 69 Love Songs, Stephin Merritt's upcoming 50 Song Memoir is another vast conceptual collection of charming yet cuttingly sardonic diddies, which the singer-songwriter will play in its entirety over the course of these two nights.
Justin Vernon's ascendancy—from recording the debut Bon Iver album alone in a Wisconsin cabin to meeting up with Kanye West in Hawaii to collaborate on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy—might just be the quintessential indie-rock success story. His new album 22, A Million caught us all unawares, though, with its bizarre witchhouse-esque song titles and unexpected left-turns from folk-pop uplift into stuttering experimental electronics. Songs like "10 d E A T h b R e a s T" see the ex-folkster driving for full-throttle sonic maximalism while retaining his unmistakeable ear for intimate, heartfelt lyricism—or in other words, Yeezus seems to have left quite a mark on Vernon, and we are oh so thankful.
Brothers Max and Andrew Savage, along with their bandmates, are doing the once-a-generation job of stripping rock & roll back to something tight, primal and brilliant. Tonight the prolific, fruitfully quirky local indie-rock faves play a special year-end multimedia event with X_____X (Craig Bell of Rocket From The Tombs), and Flasher. Also on the menu is a sound installation by Eaters, a gallery of Andrew Savage‘s artwork, films by Joey Pizza Slice, a Dull Toolsrecord shop and other TBA pop-ups.
Endlessly inventive MC Young Thug is nothing short of high-powered. The Atlanta native exploded in 2014 with the potent, unhinged “Danny Glover” and the sticky, triumphant “Lifestyle” that made more seasoned rappers look old-fashioned. Never one to pronounce a syllable the same way twince, listening to Thugger is like watching someone invent a new language in real time. His newest release, JEFFREY, demonstrates both his endless talent for conjuring earwormy hooks as well as a piercing eye for transgressive fashion. Recent XXL Freshman pick 21 Savage opens.
Hyped young MC Miller's artistry progressed leaps and bounds in the period between his critically-maligned debut and much-improved sophomore effort. The upward mobility seems to have resulted in some lofty artistic ambitions with this year's utterly surprising concept album, The Divine Feminine, a record which forgoes his original subject matters of Nikes, senior skip days and pizza to explicate the nuances of intimacy, distance and the "divine feminine energy of the planet." Okay.
Connoisseurs of primo psychedelic fuzz rawk, everything from Hendrix's Band of Gypsys to contemporary heavyweights such as Clutch, will find sweet release in the molten jams of Earthless. Here the San Diego trio sets out to solidify their reputation for delivering adrenaline-inducing sets that will leave you reverberating all the way home.
Boston indie label Run For Cover Records is taking over Webster Hall for its inaugural festival, and they're bringing some of their favorite bands with them. The line-up includes British rockers Basement, dream pop group Turnover and lo-fi band Elvis Depressedly.
The artist formerly known as Mos Def—and before that, Dante Terrell Smith—Bey visits the Apollo for a show that's billed as one of his last US performances. The rapper has been out of the spotlight in recent years, living in South Africa and making news after attempting to leave the country with a world passport. On the music front, he announced forthcoming releases with collaborators including Ferrari Sheppard and Mannie Fresh. While this gig was set to celebrate one of his previous albums, Bey has since stated he'll be debuting new music here.
Kurt Vile is a tuneful Philadelphia psych-pop artist whose work tilts at times toward the disconcertingly raw. Expect tunes from b’lieve i'm goin down, the excellent follow-up to his much-hyped 2013 release Wakin on a Pretty Daze. Filling out the bill is Brooklyn mainstays Woods: Their latest, City Sun Eater in the River of Light, incorporates Ethiopian jazz and jammy reggae grooves into the band's fuzz-fried sound.