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Bumper cars at Bryant Park
Photograph: Angelito Jusay for Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park

The best things to do in NYC this weekend

The best things to do in NYC this weekend include cozy winter villages, ice bumper cars and MLK Jr. Day!

Shaye Weaver
Edited by
Shaye Weaver
Contributor
Time Out New York contributors
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Looking for the best things to do in NYC this weekend? Whether you're the group planner searching for more things to do in NYC today, or you have no plans yet, here are some ideas to add to your list for this weekend. Get lost in the circus at The Rose Room, drive bumper cars on ice at Bryant Park and celebrate MLK Jr. Day on Monday. All you have to do is scroll down to plan your weekend!

Don't forget to bring your proof of vaccination with you. Most indoor settings require it.

RECOMMENDED: Full list of the best things to do in NYC

Things to do in NYC this weekend

  • Nightlife
  • Cabaret and burlesque
  • Chelsea

This immersive nightlife experience blends an old-world vaudeville club with New York's underground queer circus scene with NYC's most sought-after nightclub acts from America’s Got Talent, Broadway, Cirque Du Soleil, The Box, House of Yes, Company XIV and more.

  • Things to do
  • Chelsea

Nationally-recognized comedy show, UpDating, is finally returning to the stage after a long year away. Deal with your dating hang-ups front and center at this live romantic experiment. Two New Yorkers will be paired on-stage for a blind date, and you get to join in on the magic (or the meltdown). The show comes from NY-Based Comedian Brandon Berman and Dating Blogger Harrison Forman. For more details you can check out UpDating's Instagram @updatingshow.

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A live mural battle at The Bronx Brewery
Photograph: courtesy Bronx Brewery

3. A live mural battle at The Bronx Brewery

To celebrate the first release (Blacktop, an imperial stout conditioned with Grady's Cold Brew Coffee and cacao nibs) under its new creative platform the Y-series, The Bronx Brewery is holding a live mural battle featuring three NYC-based creatives on Saturday, January 15. The theme of the mural battle will be "Pets in NYC" and the mural will be judged by artist CES. DJ Brown Boi will provide music and Empanology will be on site with bites. The event is free and goes 6pm-10pm. The Bronx Brewery is located at 856 E.136th Street.

  • Movies
  • Animation

Mamoru Hosoda’s cyber fairy-tale is basically wall-to-wall bangers, all backdropped by virtual worlds that wash over you in waves of world-building so detailed and epic, they’d make William Gibson’s eyes pop. It’s another masterclass from the Studio Chizu founder: a fusion of hand-drawn and CG styles that keeps shapeshifting Belle in weird and wonderful directions. The story follows Suzu (Kaho Nakamura), a Japanese high-schooler in Japan’s Kochi Prefecture. As a child she lost her mum in an accident that she still doesn’t fully understand and has become distant from her well-meaning dad, instead burying her grief in a wildly-popular virtual world called ‘U’. There, she’s the pink-haired Belle – and thanks to biometric data that amps up an online avatar with its users inner strengths, she’s a superstar pop icon. She travels U on the back of a blue whale with a hundred amps strapped to its back – yes, this film features an actual doof whale – belting out bangers to the multitude. Then a beast appears – the Dragon – appears with and not to spoil it… there’s a castle, a library and a rose involved.

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  • Things to do
  • City Life

Available between 2pm and 8pm on weekdays and 11am to 5pm on weekends, the ice bumper cars will be in the park through Sunday, February 27—so you've got a little over a month to have some fun on the ice. You can book your ride right here. New this year, the Bank of America Winter Village announced that it will also host special late-night rides—but no specifics on that just yet.

  • Art
  • Washington Heights

The Morris-Jumel Mansion has a new exhibit "History Now" by Washington Heights artist Rose Deler, featuring a selection of large-format, black and white film portraits depicting the residents and architecture of one of New York's most historic (and unexplored) neighborhoods—the Jumel Historic District in Washington Heights. Across 20 photos, 14 contemporary digitally-printed portraits and photos of the Ettlinger Family from the turn of the century, the exhibit reflects on the numerous families who have lived there since the Ettlinger’s time. Deler states: “History Now is my preservationist effort. In one hundred years, we will be the faces of our neighborhood's past.” The artist hopes that the images will resonate with New Yorkers and represent the timelessness of the city and its neighborhoods. It'll be on January 14 to April 3, 2022. There will be a virtual artist talk as a part of the museum’s Virtual Parlor Chat program series on Wednesday, January 19, at 7pm and a community open house on Saturday, March 12, 1-3pm, with free community art workshop from 1-2pm, followed by a meet-and-greet with the artist 2-3pm.

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  • Movies
  • Horror

Unlike Ghostface, the Scream movies could never fairly be accused of phoning it in. This time it’s all about the fans: the best friend and worst enemy of movie franchises. Dedicated fans can keep a series going long after most people have lost interest. In Woodsboro, it seems someone is unhappy with how Ghostface’s legacy has been sullied with lame copycats, so they’re killing relatives of the original Scream victims in an attempt to reboot the story. There’s a simple nostalgia hit in seeing Campbell, David Arquette and Courtney Cox back as Sidney, Dewey and Gale, but there’s also a light chill in seeing them through the eyes of new characters. Inventive, incisive and full of affection for the originals, this is easily the most fun the series has been since Scream 2. A horror franchise is only ever as good as its last installment, and on the basis of this movie Scream hasn’t breathed its last just yet. In cinemas worldwide Fri Jan 14.

Head to the Rink at Rockefeller Center on Friday around 3pm for a free pop-up performance by the Ice Theatre of New York, featuring ITNY skaters Liz Schmidt and Ella Bauer. Liz Schmidt will perform "When Atoms Embrace" at 3:20pm and Ella Bauer will perform "Home Alone" at 4:50pm. These performances are free and open to the public, and the rink will be open for skating.

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  • Restaurants
  • Eating

If you're looking for a cute (and warm!) dining destination now that the weather has officially turned cold and the first snow hit the city, consider reserving one of the cozy yurts that have been set up outside of Fairfax, the all-day cafe and bar in Greenwich Village.  Although the fabulous tents aren't anything new, it is the first year that the eatery has decided to operate them on its own (in the past, they've been part of an experiential partnership with American Express). There are three total yurts on-premise and reservations for groups of up to four. The best part: diners can order from the spot's a la carte menu, not having to worry about meeting a minimum or indulging in a prix-fixe offering. Fairfax's sister restaurant, Jolene in NoHo, is also currently operating four heated yurts that you can reserve.

  • Comedy
  • Stand-up
  • Astoria

Head over to Q.E.D. Astoria for stand-up each Friday night with the Transplants Comedy Show. As the name suggests, the comedians on stage are not originally from New York City, so they'll be telling jokes and stories about NYC and their hometowns. Hear from hosts Katie Boyle and Lindsay Theisen and comics like Rallo Boykins, Zubi Ahmed, Annick Adelle, Santi Espinosa, Brittany Carney, Bridget Geiran and Lindsay Adams.

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  • Things to do
  • Rockaways

At its Winter Pool House Experience, you can sit in one of three new cedar, barrel saunas that encircle the hotel's outdoor pool before or after taking a refreshing dip or getting cozy in its lounge space that's outfitted in teak furniture and sherpa throws for just $25 per person for a day pass. While you're there, themed food and cocktails will be on tap, plus day pass holders will get 10% off at Margie’s and The Rooftop as well as access to the entire Winter Pool House, towels and robes. Make a full day of it by sitting in for some live music, a wellness class (yoga, sculpt, sound baths, winter surfing and mixology) or enjoy services at the spa

  • Art
  • Art

A new eye-catching outdoor, interactive art installation has just taken over midtown Manhattan. "Passage," created by Serge Maheu, is a glowing pedestrian tunnel made of 20 circles of light that emit different sounds and shift in color as folks walk through it. Set up in the Garment District, on Broadway between 39th and 40th Streets, the exhibit is completely free to visit and will be on premise through February 13.

 

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  • Restaurants
  • Drinking

The Lab is, in fact, a hidden cavern connected through a natural arch inside of speakeasy Patent Pending, which is itself accessible only through a hidden door in Patent Coffee, a cafe (by day) on West 27th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. Think of it as a concealed bar within a secret bar within a public coffee shop. Just last year, in 2021, McKenzie opened the tucked-away The Lab, which serves the same menu as Patent Pending. In addition to functioning as its own bar, the space can be rented out for corporate and private parties. Decor-wise, expect large mirrors all over the walls and blackened ones on the ceiling, plus an actual dance floor featuring the very penny tiles that adorned the original hotel. A total of five bar seats are complemented by a bunch of stools, a banquette that seats ten and another one that can accommodate up to 12 guests. You can even opt to use a separate entrance and avoid walking through Patent Pending (which, honestly, you should have a drink at as well!).

 

  • Restaurants
  • Drinking

One of only three remaining lesbian bars in the city, Henrietta Hudson now boasts another claim to fame: it's currently the only bar in Manhattan to also be a testing center, at the moment offering COVID-19 rapid and PCR tests to both patrons and New Yorkers who don't want to wait on line for hours on end (according to Curbed, wait times on premise have peaked at about 40 minutes). Perhaps most interestingly, it's Henrietta Hudson's own bartenders that have actually been administering the tests since the program kicked off last week. The nose swabs happen on Fridays and Saturdays from 6pm to 3am and on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays from 6pm to midnight.

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  • Art
  • Art

The next time you visit Flushing Meadows Corona Park you may notice a pretty awesome new sculpture smack-dab in the middle of David Dinkins Circle: the bronze bust of Queens-born hip-hop artist LL Cool J. The piece, dubbed "Going Back to the Meadows," is the work of sculptor Sherwin Banfield, who was born in Trinidad but was also raised in Queens. The installation will remain on display through November 23, 2022. What's most interesting, though, is the solar-powered audio setup right below the bust. In fact, the sculpture features a set of speakers that are timed to play LL Cool J's music from Noon to 5pm every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

More than 23 local artists’ work is transforming East Midtown’s storefronts into walking art galleries through March 20. The East Midtown Partnership has launched "Intersections," an exhibit in partnership with Art on the Ave NYC, that spans mediums from photography to oil and watercolor paintings that align with the theme weaved throughout the walking gallery. The exhibit starts at 875 Third Avenue and continues at storefronts on Madison and Lexington Avenues. All pieces of art will be available for purchase with 100% of proceeds going directly to the artist.

 

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  • Art
  • Art

Every night this month from 11:57pm through midnight, passersby will be treated to a tragicomic film played across 80 billboards. Part of the Times Square Arts' Midnight Moments series—the longest-running digital art exhibit in the world—the project is called "Building Things" and it is the brainchild of John Wood and Paul Harrison, the British duo of artists who go by Wood & Harrison. Bowery destination Cristin Tierney Gallery co-presents the project. For three minutes nightly, the massive screens will showcase a fictitious office building as seen through a descending camera that will offer "glimpses into room after room where various scenes unfold. Expect showcased details to alternate between the mundane (clocks! Desks! Fluorescent lights! Filing cabinets!) and the more absurd (paper airplanes! Balloons!).

 

  • Things to do
  • City Life

Somewhere Nowhere, the rooftop lounge and nightclub atop the Renaissance New York Chelsea Hotel on West 25th Street, just debuted 14 unique teardrop igloos that folks can rent all season long. Each cupola can fit between four and six guests and features a cozy built-in fireplace, unobstructed views of the Empire State Building plus winter-inspired decorative accents and blankets to keep warm. Fair warning: You can only reserve an igloo for two-and-a-half-hour increments and have to spend a minimum of $800 in food and drinks.

 

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  • Bars
  • Financial District

The best bar in North America (2019 & 2020), Dante, is transforming The Seaport's Pearl Alley into a winter wonderland with an Aperitivo hour, seasonal cocktails and live entertainment within a warm and inviting waterfront setting all gussied up with seasonal decor, greenery and string lights. The pop-up has three separate bars—a coffee bar with pastries, espresso and coffee cocktails—and two food trucks—one serving flatbreads and one centered around affogatos. The third bar is an exclusive Negroni Bar featuring a selection of Dante’s award-winning Negronis that you can sit down at and enjoy one or two of its Negroni variations, including the Chocolate Negroni, Caffe Negroni, Negroni Bianco and more, plus a couple of small bites to snack on. Better yet, you can enjoy your drinks in The Alley, a casual space with a game hall featuring foosball and other activities, and every Thursday through Sunday night starting at 5:30-11pm, the space will have live music from a variety of musicians, from Cuban bands to New Orleans Jazz quartets to DJs and more.

  • Things to do

"Andy Warhol: Revelation," a new exhibit opening on Friday at the Brooklyn Museum, seeks to do just that. Featuring over 100 objects—from some of Warhol's own belongings to the artist's drawings and rarely seen prints—the show explores the Pop genius' career through the prism of his religion. Although not as grand as expected given the heftiness of the subject, the exhibit does a great job at showcasing as-yet unexplored portions of the life of an artist who has been the subject of countless shows and profiles throughout the years. 

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Go ice skating at the Brooklyn Children's Museum this weekend on the museum's rooftop ice rink ArtRink that spans 3,200 square feet! Operating from 10 am-5 pm on Saturdays and Sundays and 2pm-5pm on Thursdays and Fridays, the eco-friendly skating rink by Glice, is specially designed for skaters of all ages and skills. While on-site, young guests can also enjoy festive music while exploring a mini-village of winter playhouses, a magical blue Ice Cave climbing structure and stroll through the Winter Woodland Walk with their families under forested archways, lit up and decorated with festive greenery and garlands of evergreen and red berries. The large arch in the center offers a picture-perfect place for a family photo. The Rainbow Lounge provides another cool spot to snap a pick or chill out. Have a seat on one of the light-up chairs or ice cube benches, which can be used to build or play. Leave a message to your future along the large chalkboard wall (with a swanky branded neon sign) for all to see.  Visitors can book Skate & Play tickets, which include one hour of skate time and full access to BCM exhibits. Adults and children over the age of one year are $23 per person, which includes 50 minutes of ice skating and full access to the Museum before/after your skate time.

  • Things to do
  • Hell's Kitchen

On Location Tours is once again offering its popular On Location Tours Sex and the City Hotspots Tour as both a public and private sightseeing experience. This bus tour highlights several famous NYC buildings and locations featured in the series Sex and the City, all from the comfort of a heated bus this winter. Each tour guest will also receive a free Magnolia Bakery cupcake (and those over 21 can sip discounted cosmos at the famous NYC bar ONieal’s).

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  • Things to do
  • Greenpoint

There's no need to travel far and wide to experience a Scandinavian spa—The Willam Vale is has brought back its Winter Spa with four perfectly appointed, private, red cedar outdoor saunas and hot tubs for some cold weather self-care. Set up on the fourth floor of The William Vale, the Winter Spa lets you sweat your stress away, relax your muscles and remove toxins as you enjoy the view through the panoramic dome window, away from the frosty winter air.  The Sauna Experience is $80 per person for one hour and there's a Sauna + Hot Tub Experience for $120 per person for one and a half hours. Reservations are recommended. Walk-ins can be accommodated if availability allows.

  • Things to do
  • Financial District

If you want some magic with your cuppa, head to The Cauldron. It's launching an interactive "Wizard Afternoon Tea" experience inside its venue at 47 Stone Street, starting December 17. Why have a conventional, boring three-tier cake stand full of finger sandwiches when you could be presented with a multi-layered, magic wand-interactive colorful castle, activated by a touch-sensitive magic mushroom and topped with a glowing dragon egg? That's right—it's completely fantastical. The table is littered with extra-large tea timers and flowery, mismatched teacups that you would expect to see in any respectable witch's tea cupboard. Nosh on "Elven Scones" wrapped in banana leaves with jam and clotted cream, colorful macarons oozing with mini pipettes of raspberry sauce and a melange of "sand-witches" and more. You'll skip the standard Earl Grey for either a "Traditional Tea with a Twist," which means the potioneer will make a tea blend using a pestle and mortar to grind combinations of unusual teas and flowers from vials of ingredients, all of which are hidden inside a magic wand-activated, locked tea chest, or "The Three Transfiguring Tricksters," a bright blue tea that reveals its color-changing secrets as the potion nears completion.

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  • Art
  • Art

Now through mid-January 2022, you'll have ten additional reasons to visit the Meatpacking District as a series of new interesting light installations have taken over the neighborhood. From enormous, lit-up snowmen to colorful, abstract neon lights and planters filled with glowing dandelions, the "Lights on the Cobbles" installations are found all along Ninth Avenue between 14th Street and Gansevoort Street. Visitors will notice that the outdoor exhibits culminate at Gansevoort Plaza, where a colonnade is draped in freeform neon lights that bounce shapes off the reflective plexi tunnel surrounding a semicircle seating area. It's basically the ideal Instagram setup both in terms of location and lighting.

  • Things to do
  • Upper West Side

The immersive new exhibit takes visitors "underwater" to meet some of the ocean's diverse shark species, including the biggest predatory fish of all time—the megalodon. "Sharks" at AMNH, which opens December 15, introduces the "toothy, fearsome predators" that have captured the public's imagination through films like Jaws and Deep Blue Sea and dives deep into the incredible diversity of this ancient group of fishes through dozens of life-size models (some as long as 33 feet) in an ocean-like gallery with wave-like lighting that moves across the floor. Once visitors enter the gallery, a 27-foot-long megalodon, dubbed the "Tyrannosaurus rex of the seas," model greets them with its mouth wide open as if it is about to feed on them. Here, its giant teeth and overall size set the tone for the super cool and interactive exhibit.

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  • Art
  • Midtown West

The magic and splendor of Walt Disney Animation Studios, from the opulence of Beauty and the Beast to the stylized forests of Sleeping Beauty, now have their very own exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The new exhibit, Inspiring Walt Disney: The Animation of French Decorative Arts, is sure to capture the imagination of Disney fans young and old through the display of 18th-century tapestries, furniture, Boulle clocks, Sèvres porcelain and other decorative art from Europe set in the context of 150 production artworks and works on paper from the Walt Disney Animation Research Library, Walt Disney Archives, Walt Disney Imagineering Collection and The Walt Disney Family Museum. Disney fans who enter the exhibition, which officially opens Friday, December 10, will be wowed by the storybook-inspired architecture of the space but also the presence of some actual artifacts from the movies, including the ornate storybook for Sleeping Beauty and the actual story sketches from Cinderella (1950)Next to these items are the things that inspired them, from a 1500s tapestry from the Met Cloisters that directly influenced an artist on Sleeping Beauty (1959) to actual Rococo furniture and decorative items that inspired the characters in Beauty and the Beast (1991).

  • Restaurants
  • Eating

The sensational seasonal transformations at Serra by Birreria at Eataly Flatiron have become as reliable as the calendar itself, and the rooftop spot’s latest concept has made its debut. Serra always retains its primary Italian countryside aesthetic, but the last of the sunset-hued leaves that lined its autumn iteration have fallen and in their place you’ll find elegant, interlacing vines dripping with white flora reminiscent of falling snowThe family-style Italian restaurant’s menus have also been refreshed, with a focus on fonduta, cheese melted over an open flame, for the chilly months ahead. One particularly decadent, cheesy comfort crowns Taleggio DOP with Urbani black truffles.

 

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  • Things to do
  • City Life

 

Custom-built heated huts, of which there are eight in total, are presented in partnership with Coach and are completely free to use (no reservations are required either!) as long as you order some fare from Hombre Taco. From warm churros with Nutella and/or dulce de leche dip to hot chocolate and apple cider, the entire menu on offer sounds delightfully sublime. Once inside, you'll be treated by beautiful interior decor by Coach. The brand has, in fact, outfitted each hut in its own holiday decor so you'll basically never want to leave (but you will only have 20 minutes to stay).

  • Music
  • Music

At first glance, the concept behind Ornithology Jazz Club, a new music destination in Brooklyn, sounds like an oxymoron. Found smack-dab in the middle of a neighborhood, Bushwick, usually known for its allegiance to EDM music, the only thing odder than its function is Ornithology's menu—which is entirely vegan. In addition to the musicians that take on the stage every night (check out an updated performance schedule right here), the destination hopes to differentiate itself with an elevated food menu. Generally, jazz clubs aren't necessarily known for their food offerings—but at Ornithology the fare is meant to be just as exciting as the music.

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  • Restaurants
  • Drinking

Nightlife revelers looking for an interesting new destination will be delighted to hear about Nina's, a new cocktail bar inside the NoMo SoHo Hotel at 9 Crosby Street that doubles as a gallery displaying the works of some of the city's top-rated emerging artists. Now in soft-launch mode (it'll be officially open for business on December 16), the destination seeks to hark back to the "DNA of SoHo," when the neighborhood was all about the arts. To that intent, all the works displayed on the walls are by graduates of the New York Academy of Arts—whose founding was inspired by Andy Warhol in the 1980s. Every six weeks, a new roster of art following a specific theme will be hung on the wall and available for sale. 

  • Restaurants
  • Drinking

Just in case the myriad of private heated domes and cabins that are constantly popping up around town for the winter aren't enough, here is a new option for you: the glasshouses overlooking the East River at Watermark Winter Wonderland at Pier 15 in downtown Manhattan are now up and running. Once you get to the destination—which is a huge, 7,500-square-foot waterfront venue—you'll walk through a beautiful illuminated tunnel before entering one of the many cozy private glasshouses, which you can reserve right here. In addition to the phenomenal views of Brooklyn, Manhattan and the Williamsburg bridges, guests will delight in trying out the delicious cheese fondue, perhaps, or order the build-your-own-s'mores dish. We do also suggest warming up with the spiked hot chocolate or some cider. Last but not least, you'll notice a jumbo screen on premise, where holiday movies will be screening all season long. 

 

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  • Restaurants
  • Eating

A new, more high-end destination has opened at the South Street Seaport, combining a love for singalongs with delicious tabletop grills. Upstairs at Ssäm Bar is Momofuku's latest restaurant, this one located at Pier 17 (89 South Street, to be precise), on the second floor of Momofuku Ssäm Bar. While overlooking the East River, you'll get to sing your heart out to your favorite karaoke songs in one of two private rooms (each one accommodates up to 10 people) where you'll also get to order from the entire Asian-influenced menu. And because there is no karaoke without cocktails, here's a bit about that: from the Psycho Beach Party (mezcal, cynar, passionfruit, pineapple and blood orange) to the Toki Hot Toddy (Suntory Toki whisky, genmaicha tea and lemon) and the Suit & Chair (chai-infused rum, rockey's liqueur, ginger, salted plum and a chinotto float), you probably never have had such high-end drinks while screaming your lungs out to Prince's "Purple Rain." 

  • Art
  • Art

Lovers of art: the Flatiron is home to a new, only-in-NYC piece that is sure to delight you. "Interwoven" is a new interactive installation by design firm Atelier Cho Thompson now on display in the Flatiron North Public Plaza on Broadway, Fifth Avenue and 23rd Street. The piece, which seeks to celebrate the joys involved in being able to physically interact again, is the winner of the annual Flatiron Plaza Holiday Design Competition and will stay put through January 2, 2022. The experience is made up of backlit papers that are hung on a grid and invite those walking by to share their response to the prompt: "I dream of a world where together we can..." According to an official press release regarding the installation, the specific prompt was selected by Youth Fellows from the People's Bus NYC, a community-led, intergenerational initiative that focuses on engaging people in the city's civic life "through beauty and joy."

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  • Things to do
  • City Life

There is no shortage of beautiful ice rinks in New York—but there's obviously always room for more, which is why we welcome the new rink at Manhattan West with open arms (and skates on our feet). The beautiful ice skating destination is the centerpiece of the 2.5-acre public plaza at the new mixed-use development on the west side of town, Manhattan West, where dining destinations like Ci Siamo, Zou Zou's, Jajaja, Café Grumpy and Umami Burger have already taken up residence. The space is also home to Midnight Theatre, a contemporary variety theater that combines experiences related to Broadway, the comedy world and even magic.

 

  • Theater
  • Circuses & magic
  • Upper West Side

After declaring bankruptcy in 2016 to widespread lamentations, the family-friendly circus came bouncing back to life at Lincoln Center a year later, and now returns for its 43nd season with an all-new show. Ringmaster and acrobat Alan Silva (America's Got Talent) presides over a spectacle that includes aerialist Nik Wallenda and his famous circus kin as well as comic daredevil Johnny Rockett, dachshund wrangler Diana Vedyashkina and an international cast of astonishing speciality artists. Philip Wm. McKinley, who presided over the post–Julie Taymor version of Broadway's Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, serves as director and choreographer. (Schedules vary from week to week so be sure to check the curtain time.)

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  • Things to do
  • Exhibitions
  • The Bronx

The beloved New York holiday train tradition at the New York Botanical Garden is back for its 30th year!

The garden will become a mini-train depot with its collection of 25 G-scale model trains that'll chug along a nearly half-mile track (which is also overhead) by 175 miniature NYC landmarks like the Empire State Building, Radio City Music Hall, the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge and Rockefeller Center—all made of natural materials such as leaves, cinnamon sticks, twigs, bark and berries. 

Tickets are on sale now for the show, which begins November 20.

  • Art
  • The Bronx

Opening on November 10, the Bronx Museum of the Art's AIM Biennial "Bronx Calling" will showcase works that highlight the practice of everyday life in uncertain times. The 68 participating artists created works in response to multiple crises of health, grief, the environment and identity, including Yan Chen’s 8-foot-tall "High Palate" sculpture highlights the basic need of shelter by having viewers experience the intimate space of a pallet (the roof of a mouth) on an architectural scale and "All the Way to Hell" by artist Eliza Evan gives away mineral rights to a small property in Oklahoma to 1,000 people to impede the interest of oil and gas frackers. Jesse Kreuzer's work looks at current issues in American politics with a monumental 8-panel and 30-foot-long painting of a chaotic moment during a protest and Maggie Hazen’s work looks at the lost identities and voices of imprisoned girls at the Columbia Secure Center for Girls, a maximum security facility in New York’s Hudson Valley.

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  • Restaurants
  • Eating

Although the city's omakase scene is getting pretty crowded, a new project by Maki Kosaka, the sister restaurant of Michelin-starred Kosaka, might strike your fancy given the unconventionality of its offerings. Tucked behind Maki Kosaka's main temaki counter, a new eight-seat omakase bar helmed by chef Sho Boo is officially open to the public at 55 West 19th Street. For $150 per person, plus tax and gratuity, diners will be treated to a regional form of omakase that might not necessarily look like the traditional nigiri-style sushi that New Yorkers are accustomed to. From a chef-selected amuse-bouche (that is: a bite-sized hors d'oeuvre) to some pressed cube sushi and pieces of temari ("handball" sushi), fans of the Japanese cuisine will likely revel in the novelty of the destination's menu. 

  • Music
  • Music

There is something about the talent of musicians in uptown Manhattan that simply cannot be authentically replicated in other New York neighborhoods—and the folks at the Cloak Room, a relatively new jazz speakeasy in Hamilton Heights, know that. Taking over the space previously occupied by Hogshead Tavern, which permanently closed during the pandemic, the Cloak Room opened this past September. Using the lockdown as an opportunity to re-invent, Hogshead Tavern co-owners Tara Wholley and Ady De Luna decided to move away from the structure of the bar that had become a neighborhood favorite and instead honor the musical legacy of Harlem by opening a spot dedicated to jazz.

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  • Restaurants
  • East Harlem

Restaurant reservations may be NYC’s most competitive sport. (Take our baseball teams, please.) I have half-a-dozen Resy notifications set at any given time and only two have come through in the past several months. As a result, snagging a hot table always feels like a win. Contento opened on 111th Street in June and swiftly garnered extensive press—and tons of buzz—surrounding its important, and often woefully overlooked, mission of providing “accessibility to all.” About half of Contento’s bar is positioned at a height to accommodate wheelchair users, its tables are slightly raised to do the same and adaptive utensils are available on request. Sommelier Yannick Benjamin (previously of Le Cirque and Jean-Georges) and business partner George Gallego considered these details as wheelchair users themselves. Chef Oscar Lorenzzi (the Waverly Inn, Marseille) authored the Peruvian-influenced menu that includes some early highlights...

  • Restaurants
  • Eating

If you're still reluctant to dine indoors this winter, you might want to consider heading to Nowadays in Bushwick, where the signature large backyard has just been winterized. And, yes, their usual yurts and heated tables are back for the season as well. Diner by Izakaya, the food operator at the destination, has just unveiled its latest menu, which sounds like it will really hit the spot in the colder months. Inspired by "famiresu" restaurants in Japan (that would be family-friendly eateries), the new menu is anchored by two main ramen offerings (tonkotsu, made with pork, and tantan, made with soy, sesame and miso broth with tempe). Other food standouts include an izakaya tempeh sandwich with shredded cabbage, vegan mayo and vegan miso; a wagyu burger with lettuce, tomato, pickles and Japanese BBQ sauce; and a fried chicken zangi sandwich. Drinks wise, warm beverages take center stage. From hot toddies to spiked hot cocoa, the libations take the cold into account but "regular" cocktails, beer and wine are also available. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Drinking

We'll be honest: we're not always the biggest fans of 230 Fifth. Don't get us wrong: the views from up there are beautiful and the drinks are delicious, but the rooftop gets pretty crowded during the year. Yet, once winter rolls around, we can't help but feel the pull of the midtown destination, when the staff sets up the famous heated igloos that we could spend all season in. The glowing cocoons, which opened to the public yesterday, will stay in place through April 15 and, as usual, will be able to accommodate up to ten guests at once. Yes, you'll still find warm red snuggies for use inside each one. Although reservations are suggested—especially if heading there with a group of six or more—the igloos are also accessible by walk-ins pending availability. You can plan your visit right here.

  • Nightlife
  • Nightlife

If you're eager to embrace the raging '20s we were promised (and not the pandemic '20s we were given), an enormous new nightclub has your back. Nebula will bring a multi-level 11,000-square-foot club to 135 W. 41st Street on Friday, November 5. With a capacity for 700 guests, Nebula will be the largest club to open in Manhattan in years. A 5,500-square-foot dance floor offers plenty of space to show off your moves, plus a mezzanine level and lower level with three private club rooms dedicated to private groups (complete with their own dedicated bathrooms) lets you customize your going out experience. Think: Over-the-top karaoke nights, a seated dinner for twenty or a small dance party with your closest friends.

 

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  • Things to do
  • City Life

A new audio tour by the Brooklyn Public Library seeks to explore the lives of the characters and authors that call the borough home in fiction and in real life. From Patti Smith to Biggie Smalls, Howard Zinn to Tanwi Nandini Islam, the guide covers a total of 16 writers over eight miles of Brooklyn. You can also expect to stop at important public libraries the likes of Washington Irving and Clinton Hill, which, according to an official press release, "played an important role in the lives of the featured author[s]." Expect the entire tour, which can virtually start off from anywhere in Brooklyn, to take at least two hours to complete, depending on how many stops you wish to make along the way.

  • Restaurants
  • Drinking

Overthrow Hospitality—the group behind New York favorites Amor y Amargo, Ladybird and Death and Co., among others—has just debuted an attention-grabbing champagne and absinthe bar in the East Village that is inspired by... hell. Café de L’Enfer, which literally translates to "hell cafe" from the French, opened earlier this month and the decor is just as striking as the cocktails, developed by mixologist Sother Teague. The destination, which calls out to the famous Victorian-era Cabaret de l'Enfer in Paris, is filled with touches of the underworld. Expect skulls, deep red booths and ogre-like statues to adorn the dark space, located directly above Amor y Amargo.

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  • Comedy
  • Comedy

A modest storage room at Bushwick's Tiny Cupboard has been transformed into a psychedelic comedy room dedicated to booking female, BIPOC and queer comics. "The Mushroom," which seats only about 22 people making it the tiniest comedy room in NYC, just had its grand opening on Friday within The Tiny Cupboard—an already small DIY comedy space on Cooper Street. The Tiny Cupboard was the perfect place to open The Mushroom not only because it offers that much-needed intimate experience but because it is giving comedians from the BIPOC and queer communities a space to perform where they are not in the minority. On Saturday, The Mushroom will host the first edition of "The Tribe," a lineup of all Black comics with Ann Walker, for instance.

  • Restaurants
  • Eating

There's a brand-new dumpling destination downtown, and it's over a year in the making. Dumpling Lab, founded by Hunan Slurp's Chef Xiaomei Ma and partners Chao Wang and Lu Dong, brings even more contemporary Chinese food to the East Village with its new seafood-focused menu, inspired by the Chinese city of Tsingtao. Mackerel Dumplings made with Spanish mackerel, pork, chive and dried shellfish are a menu standout. To embrace the diversity of Tsingtao's culinary culture, Ma also added dumpling flavors like organic chicken dumplings with wood ear and corn, plus zucchini and cucumber dumplings with eggs and vermicelli.

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  • Restaurants
  • Eating
Ci Siamo, the highly anticipated new Italian restaurant by chef Hillary Sterling and Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group, opens today!  Meaning "we’ve arrived” in Italian, Ci Siamo bridges the traditional with the contemporary, with a menu centered around live-fire cooking and inspired by Sterling's travels. Dinner at Ci Siamo begins with freshly baked breads like a cast iron focaccia served with tomato conserva and a grilled sourdough with artichoke salmoriglio and mint. If you don't fill up on bread (nice work!), continue with starters like a seafood salad with castelvetrano olives and aleppo pepper or a pizza bianca with anchovy, salsa verde and aioli. Like much of the menu, this pizza has a specific origin: A dish Sterling enjoyed in a small trattoria on a past trip to Piedmont.
  • Restaurants
  • Eating
Anassa Taverna's new location in Battery Park, at 104 North End Ave., serves upscale, Modern Greek cuisine that eases the pain of currently not being in Greece, but will likely make you want to book a trip stat. Diners at the new restaurant can select their catch of the day from an icy fish display, showcasing seafood flown in from the Mediterranean. Each diner's pick, which is priced by the pound, is then grilled and served whole with lemon and olive oil.  If you prefer to skip the grill, a full raw bar offers a selection of clams, oysters and other crustaceans, which are all available as a seafood tower. Starring on the menu is Anassa's lobster spaghetti, served in a whole lobster. Fan favorites, like Greek salad with feta from a small farm South of Athens and Cretan olive oil, charbroiled octopus and a tower of thinly sliced zucchini and eggplant chips served with tzatziki are also served. 
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  • Things to do
  • Chelsea

The Rubin Museum is offering a unique exhibit that delves into the power of difficult emotions and how to turn them into positive ones—something many of us would benefit from these days. On the third floor of the museum, the Mandala Lab uses fun and interactive tools to explore jealousy/envy, attachment, pride, anger and ignorance and shows visitors how to turn them into wisdom of accomplishment, discernment, equanimity, mirror-like wisdom and all-accommodating wisdom, respectively. How this is done is through four quadrants across the floor, based on the Sarvavid Vairochana Mandala, a Tibetan Buddhist mandala that is used as a visualization tool to help achieve enlightenment. Each quadrant represents an emotion and has a playful activity to navigate it, including a "gong orchestra," a "breathing alcove" and a "scent library."

  • Museums
  • Fashion and costume
  • Prospect Park

The Brooklyn Museum is giving The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute a run for its money this year with its high fashion exhibit featuring the House of Dior. Opening September 10, the major exhibit — co-curated by Dior scholar Florence Müller of the Avenir Foundation Curator of Textile Art and Fashion at the Denver Art Museum — thoroughly explores the high fashion history of The House of Dior, which dates back to the turn of the 20th century, when the brand's namesake Christian Dior founded the label. The multi-gallery exhibit brings many of Dior's sources of inspiration to life, including flowers, nature, classical and contemporary art, featuring artwork from the Brooklyn Museum's collections. Objects on display will be primarily from the extensive Dior archives and some 200 haute couture garments as well as photographs, archival videos, sketches, vintage perfume elements, and accessories.

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  • Restaurants
  • Eating

When Crown Shy opened at the base of the beautiful 70 Pine Street in 2019, it was eerily clear that it was that year’s best new restaurant. Saga, from Crown Shy’s chef James Kent and restaurant partner Jeff Katz, will open on the 63rd floor of that same obscured-in-plain-sight Art Deco building. It is its own restaurant, but comparisons are inevitable. While even an accomplished drinker can get out of dinner at Crown Shy for about $125 on the high end, the minimum spend at Saga will be $245 for an eight-to-ten course tasting that includes one welcome cocktail. The intro drink itself is an obvious narrative device, but let’s go back half a page in any case. To enter Saga, you will pass through 70 Pine’s lobby to the elevators, where you will be escorted dozens of floors up by a host who will speak a bit to the building’s history. The air pressure will change before the doors open to Saga’s lovely bar, which mirrors Crown Shy’s, writ small. As subtle as it is, the lighting might be the first thing to catch your eye. Soft beams enhance the space’s Deco finishes and recall happy times downstairs, or cue new ones to come. Both restaurants share the lighting designer David Weiner, who has created a pattern so unmistakably Crown Shy, or, now Saga, it should be patented. But this is not a drinking bar. You’ll collect your welcome cocktail before you’re shown to one of Saga’s many terraces that make you realize, if you’ve managed not to so far in life, why some people chase money so hard. There are many good views in New York City, but this one feels particularly rich, imbued with the spirit of the building’s top three floors’ almost unbelievable original intended use as an early 20th-century financier’s private home. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Drinking

Great Jones Distilling Co. opened to the public on August 21, as Manhattan's first and only legal whiskey distillery in over 100 years. Over six years in the making, the 28,000 square foot venue will feature a fully functioning distillery, a tasting room and several drinking and dining venues, including an underground speakeasy and full restaurant to open this fall. The menus are heralded by Executive Chef Adam Raksin, who formerly worked at Per SeVisitors can book several different experiences, including a tour detailing the whiskey making process ($35), a culinary cocktail pairing experience ($145) and a hands-on mixology class ($110). The craft whiskey made at Great Jones starts with grains sourced exclusively from New York state. Exclusive bourbon and rye is available only at the distillery. 

  • Restaurants
  • Drinking

Roosevelt Island has its first-ever rooftop bar and lounge open to the public. Panorama Room just opened atop the newly opened Graduate Roosevelt Island hotel on the southern end of the island and the views are really unparalleled — perhaps even the best of any rooftop lounge. Located on the 18th floor of the hotel, the "jewel box" space by Med Abrous and Marc Rose, who are food and beverage partners of the hotel and co-founders of the hospitality group Call Mom, opens up to incredible views of the boroughs, the bridges and the East River, which shine like stars at night. Designed by James Beard Award-winning design firm Parts and Labor Design, Panorama Room is visually dramatic. Its palatial vibes are set by luxurious velvet vintage-inspired tubular lounge sofas, chrome and marble touches, mosaic tile columns and its giant, tubular acrylic chandeliers that hover above the massively long bar. It's not only luxe but it's somehow simultaneously futuristic and retro. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Eating
Somewhere in Nolita, a new rooftop bar from Rivers and Hills Hospitality Group, the team behind popular Lower East Side Thai restaurant (and Time Out Market New York vendorWayla and Japanese-Italian restaurant Kimika, just opened atop The Nolitan Hotel (30 Kenmare St.). Bright, refreshing craft cocktails were designed to emulate the unparalleled open view of Lower Manhattan, and a menu of playful snacks and summery New England seafood-inspired dishes will keep summer going after Labor Day. Plants and green banquets are designed to create a chill, relaxing atmosphere, which is currently table service only. Highlights off the cocktail menu include the Heat Map (tequila, mezcal, watermelon, basil and calabrian chili); Pineapple Over the Sea, which is a tropical take on a Manhattan with Scotch, plum whiskey, plantation pineapple, giffard pineapple, cardamaro and choya umeshu; and Oolong Time Comin, a negroni stirred with pisco, carpano bitter, yellow chartreuse, Pimms, dolin chambery blanc, fino sherry and oolong tea.
  • Restaurants
  • Drinking

Ms. Kim's, a new K-town karaoke lounge from Korean beauty entrepreneur Anna Kim, combines sophisticated style with sing-alongs. Envisioned during the pandemic, when we all just needed to belt out our frustrations, and spend some much-needed time outside of our homes with friends, Ms. Kim's offers both communal space and soundproof private karaoke rooms, so guests can customize their experience as it suits their needs. In the main lounge and bar, mixologist-approved cocktails take the place of the ubiquitous karaoke bar beer pitcher. Ingredients in the signature drinks, which start at $16, include butterfly pea flower, herbal infused syrups and top shelf spirits. Fine wine is sold by the glass or bottle, and beer is available on tap or by the bottle. For soju, the 46-proof Hwayo - 23° is available by the 375 mL bottle. Fridays will also bring live music to the bar, for those who prefer to sway to the sounds of jazz, rather than sing. To eat, Ms. Kim's offers a short menu of Japanese and Korean finger foods, like vegetable or shrimp tempura with four types of salt, three types of fried dumplings, and chicken karaage with garlic ginger soy sauce.  

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  • Things to do
  • City Life

An NYC icon, Lamb Chop, is returning to her roots in NYC during the International Puppet Fringe Festival this month. The native New Yorker and former star of Lamb Chop’s Play Along will return to iconic Manhattan landmarks as she makes her way to the Museum of the City of New York’s exhibition "Puppets of New York," opening August 13 in partnership with the International Puppet Fringe Festival. More than 100 iconic puppets—including Punch and Judy, Oscar the Grouch, Lamb Chop and Lion King—will be on display to celebrate the history of puppetry in NYC. The exhibition is also part of Puppet Week NYC, featuring the International Puppet Fringe Festival, the world’s largest puppet event.

  • Things to do
  • Flatiron

The Museum of Sex always has something exciting going on behind closed doors. "Super Funland: Journey into the Erotic Carnival" is back and better than ever with its 4-D immersive “Tunnel of Love” ride, the Love & Lust Deity Derby game, an erotic fortune-telling machine (modeled as RuPaul), a kissing booth, the Glory Stall game, an immersive "Stardust Lane - the Erogenous Kaleidoscope," an erotic mechanical bull and a lit-up climbing structure, "The Climbx," and more. Then when it's time to take the edge off, visitors can slide down a spiral slide into the Museum’s psychedelic carnival bar, Lollipop Lounge, for cocktails. 

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  • Things to do
  • Walks and tours
  • Flatiron

Get a whole new perspective on this neighborhood in a 90-minute journey that covers landmarks such as the MetLife Clock Tower, Appellate Courthouse and, of course, the Flatiron Building. Bring comfortable shoes and maybe an umbrella. Starts at 11am, rain or shine.

 

  • Restaurants
  • Drinking

The venue formerly known as Fat Cat has reemerged with a new name, new games, and custom ice cream. Cellar Dog (75 Christopher St.) is reviving the Fat Cat tradition of late-night basement gaming, with an updated concept for 2021. Opened by Backal Hospitality Group (BHG), Cellar Dog will remain a live music and game hall, making the most of the 9,000-square-foot underground space. Games include pool tables, ping pong, shuffleboard, foosball, checkers and chess, as well as antique and novelty arcade games including Pac Man and many more. Live jazz and additional entertainment will also be booked throughout the week.

 

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  • Things to do
  • Midtown West

Immersive art exhibit Arcadia Earth has reopened after being closed due to the pandemic, and it looks better than ever! The exhibit aims to inspire visitors artistically and ethically, as it uses 15 rooms to spotlight the environmental challenges that our planet is facing (such as overfishing, food waste, and climate change). This exhibit will not only leave visitors in awe, but it will help support Oceanic Global, an organization devoted to raising awareness around our aquatic ecosystems. In addition, a tree will also be planted for every ticket sold, making it a perfect gift for your eco-conscious friends!

  • Art
  • Art

SuperReal has reopened at Cipriani 25 Broadway, inside the historic Cunard Building, bringing its cutting-edge projection mapping tech and multimedia art to its walls and ceiling—and it happens to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Cunard Building, which opened in 1921. Created by multimedia entertainment company Moment Factory in partnership with hospitality brand Cipriani, SuperReal first opened in the summer of 2019. It aims to transport visitors through dreamlike scenes in its gorgeous hall. Across 45 minutes, the show places viewers in five unique and abstract sequences that are both stunning and interactive. One minute you could be daydreaming in a fairylike flower garden and the next you're caught in an epic thunderstorm or thrown into the middle of a tropical disco. During the show, people are encouraged to relax on bean bags or play with balloons that also react with the 360-degree show. The floor is a gigantic mirror that only enhances the special effects. It's the ultimate place for selfies and fun Instagram fodder.

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  • Art
  • Painting
  • Harlem

This adults-only painting party experience in West Harlem and the Lower East Side is opening its outdoor spaces again! Pick up a paint brush with cocktail in hand (like the Picasso Punch or the Sistine Apple) and create your own masterpiece. If you're hungry, no worries, Paint 'N Pour also has small plates (shrimp po’boy sliders, orange bbq henny wings, cauliflower bites, bacon egg and cheese slidersfrench toast and chicken 'n waffle sliders). Tickets are $50 and include all art supplies and a 2-hour open bar. 

 

  • Things to do
  • Lower East Side
Sour Mouse offers games like ping pong, pool and foosball, live music, comedy and art shows for the New Yorker looking for a fun night out. Check its Instagram for its weekly events, from ping pong speed dating to mixers with live music, and regular art openings. Starting this Thursday, Indie 184's work "Electromagnetic" will be showcased.

 

More things to do in NYC this weekend

  • Things to do

Fall in NYC is everything you could hope for in a season. First, the city gets delightfully spooky for Halloween. With thrilling Halloween events and Halloween festivals happening in every borough, it’s easy to get in the spirit of things! Aside from pumpkins and funky costumes though, you can keep the autumn excitement going by leaf peeping around the city, warming up with whiskey, parades, virtual parties and so much more. Autumn in NYC is tough to match!

  • Things to do

'Tis the season to get spooky! But beyond the best Halloween events, but there are also plenty of other awesome NYC events in October 2020. Use our events calendar to plan the quintessential month for leaf peeping and spotting fall foliage, pumpkin picking and more things to do in fall.

Kick off fall with some epic cultural events, you don't want to miss happening like Open House New York, Oktoberfest and new haunted pop-up drive throughs.

 

RECOMMENDED: Full NYC events calendar for 2020

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  • Things to do

Get ready ghouls and girls for an epic Halloween in NYC! The city is bursting with terrifying haunted houses, Halloween parties and more pumpkin-packed events. Whether you enjoy getting seriously spooked while watching the scariest horror films of all time or prefer to celebrate Halloween by leaf peeping while visiting some of the greatest fall getaways from NYC, we’ve got you covered.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best things to do in fall

The 50 best things to do in NYC for locals and tourists
  • Things to do

AUGUST 2020: New York City has gone through the proverbial fire and is now starting to come out the other side with our favorite museums, big attractions, and restaurants reopening after months of closure. While things are still a bit precarious, we're hoping these openings signal the light at the end of this long tunnel. We're eager to get back to the cultural institutions, shops, restaurants and iconic places that make New York City the best city in the world.

Check back as we will be updating this list more often than we did prior to lockdown to reflect New York City as it reopens.

Every day, our staffers are eating, drinking, partying, gigging and generally appreciating their way throughout this fair town of ours. Which makes pinning down the most essential New York activities kinda…tough. We need to include the classics, naturally—art museums in NYC, stellar New York attractions, killer bars and restaurants in NYC—but also spotlight the more recent or little-known gems that we truly love. Consider the below your NYC Bible. 

Done something on this list and loved it? Share it with the hashtag #TimeOutDoList.

You can also find out more about how Time Out selects the very best things to do all over the world, or take a look at our list of the 50 best things to do in the world right now.

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