NYC events in January 2018

Start the new year on a high note with our list of the best NYC events in January 2018 including concerts and art shows

Photograph: Shutterstock

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 2018

Featured events in January 2018

New Year’s Day in New York

There is plenty to do in NYC on New Year’s Day, so shake off your hangover and get ready to start off 2018 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 Reading and more.

By: Jennifer Picht

Winter Jazzfest

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.

By: Andrew Frisicano

No Pants Subway Ride

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.

By: Tazi Phillips

Martin Luther King Day in NYC

Since it was first observed nationwide in January of 1986, the holiday commemorating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has served as a reminder of his legacy to the causes of civil rights, nonviolent opposition and community service.

By: Evelyn Derico

44th Annual Poetry Project Marathon

Chances are your attention will be shorter than normal today, which is just fine: This 44th anniversary of the 12-hour literary soiree features bite-size readings and performances by around 150 poets, dancers and musicians.

Until Mon Jan 1

Coney Island Polar Bear Club New Year’s Day Swim

Would you believe us if we told you a dip in the Atlantic is great for a hangover? Even if you don’t buy it, cheering those brave—or crazy—enough to take the plunge will stir you from your stupor. The Coney Island Polar Bear Club’s annual New Year's Day Swim invites hundreds of swimmers (without the benefit of blubber, underfur or guard hairs) to venture out into the ocean. All that’s required to take part in this brisk tradition are warm clothes, sneakers you don’t mind ruining (or surf boots, if you’ve got them) and the fortitude to actually go through with it. Meet on the Boardwalk at Stillwell Ave, Coney Island, Brooklyn. Suggested donation $25.

Until Mon Jan 1

Music events in January 2018


The turntable whiz hits Brooklyn Bowl to ring in 2018 with his dense, party-fueling beats. He was last heard on the 2016 soulful sixth album, Dame Fortune, in which the "Mad Men" theme producer lays out his ominous hip-hop production behind contributions from artists including R&B guitarist Son Little and spitfire North Carolina rapper Phonte.

Until Wed Jan 3

Moor Mother + Dreamcrusher

As Moor Mother, Philly artist Camae Defstar makes music that bespeaks a punk ethos—sonic chaos and a revolutionary spirit—but relies on noise instrumentation: field recordings, analog sequencers and distorted drum machine collaged into witchy lo-fi "dark rap." Here she pairs with anarchic local noise-maker Dreamcrusher and a special guest.

04 Jan 2018

Aurora Halal

Halal is a creative overachiever in music, video and event production and anything and everything in between. Devoted to New York's underground scene, she is the creator of the party series Mutual Dreaming and stages the annual weekend festival Sustain-Release. Catch her darkly hued, hallucinatory techno at this eight-hour set.

05 Jan 2018


Few sounds in rock are more loaded with promise than the shrill feedback drone that precedes this band's every gig. The New Orleans sludge-metal group started three decades ago as a bad joke and slowly evolved into an institution, amassing a global following and even turning up on Treme. Here, the masterful riff wranglers, soldiering on after vocalist Mike IX Williams's recent liver transplant and the death of longtime drummer Joey LaCaze, turn up in support of their fine 2014 self-titled comeback LP.

06 Jan 2018

San Fermin

Brooklyn composer-songwriter Ellis Ludwig-Leone's San Fermin touches down to deliver sweet, brass-fangled baroque folk—like Dirty Projectors jamming with DeVotchKa. Prepare yourself for an circuitious journey through Leone's nimble, expansive story-telling, chock-full of grand epiphanies and subtle truths.

Until Fri Jan 12


The Brooklyn group, which combines neosoul, hip-hop and pop into an intoxicating mix centered on its two talented vocalists, previews its debut album at this gig.

12 Jan 2018

Winter Jazzfest Marathon

Each January, Winter Jazzfest offers a crash course for anyone interest in exploring NYC's jazz scene. 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.

Fri Jan 12 - Sat Jan 13


On his project’s debut album, The End of Comedy, musician Michael Collins creates mind-bending, lysergic pop with contributions from Ariel Pink and Weyes Blood, the latter of which joins him at this show.

13 Jan 2018


This annual international-music showcase takes over three stages with represented genres including Indian hip-hop, Iranian folk, Mexican mariachi and Brazilian Tropicália.

14 Jan 2018

Say Anything

For more than a decade, frontman-songwriter Max Bemis has transformed his neurotic woes and exceedingly dirty thoughts into an ongoing alt-rock opera that's brash, barbed and frequently hilarious. Tonight you'll get the best of both worlds, as Bemis presents SA tunes new (heard on its latest LP, I Don't Think It Is) and old.

Until Mon Jan 15
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See more NYC concerts in January

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