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Things to Do in New York in November

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This post lists the many great things to do in New York in November, updated for 2021, including free, family-friendly, and nighttime activities and events.

Let's dive in!

   


TOP 10 EVENTS AND THINGS TO DO IN NOVEMBER

This is our list of the ten best events and things to do in NYC in November. For even more suggestions, see our comprehensive guide to things to do in NYC.  

Several of the items below are already included for free with the purchase of a tourist discount pass.

For tips on the most popular activities in NYC, check out the following posts:


1) Attend a Sports Event

In November, the basketball season is heating up. Meanwhile, there are plenty of ice hockey games and even some football games to attend throughout the whole month.

See which games are available when you are in NYC.

Basketball  

Football 

Ice Hockey

TIP: Madison Square Garden offers All-Access Tours so you can see how this iconic arena has become a world landmark. 

See which games are available when you are in NYC.


2) See a Concert 

This month offers a wide variety of types of music you can see. From the Jonas Brothers to Elton John, Slayer to Styx, and everything in between! 

Below we list the hottest shows of the month. See what other concerts are on in November.

Find out here who else is playing in November. If you're traveling with teens, they would love Ariana Grande or the Jonas Brothers! You can find more family-friendly activities below.

TIP: See the inner workings of Madison Square Garden on their All-Access Tour!


3) Enjoy a Broadway Show

November has some great shows opening.

This includes the annual Radio City Christmas Spectacular which begins its holiday run on November 5th, 2021 until January 2nd, 2022.

Other shows on Broadway in November are:

See what other shows are on this month


4) Take a Walking Tour 

In November, we run many of our most popular pay-what-you-wish walking tours in several neighborhoods in NYC.

This time of year, the weather is suitable to walk over the Brooklyn Bridge and perfect to stroll through charming Brooklyn Heights.  

Central Park Walking Tour Video

You might enjoy our New York Holiday Lights Tour that we begin to run this month.

Other popular tours are: 

We also offer food tours, bike tours, and occasional special theme tours like our ghost tours.

Check our schedule of pay-what-you-wish walking tours.


5) See New York City from the Water 

This month is a fine time to see the skyline of the city from a deck of one of the many NYC boat tours and cruises.

Just make sure you bundle up in a few layers since it gets cold out on the water.

NYC Boat Tours

You can also take the free Staten Island Ferry or ride on the East River Ferry which costs the same as a subway ride but with a prettier view! 


6) Explore a Food Festival and Thanksgiving Restaurant Specials

There are a few food festivals and tasting events in New York City this month!

Head to Brooklyn on November 10th from 4:00 pm - 7:00 pm for the Brooklyn Crush Wine & Artisanal Fall Food Festival.

Greenwich Village Food Tour YT

Sample wines from all over the world and light bites from local and regional food vendors.

If you're in town over Thanksgiving and want to get into the holiday mood, why not get a special dinner? See these websites for restaurants that offer special menus for Thanksgiving Day:

If you want to experience more New York food, then why not join us for one of our pay-what-you-wish food tours?


7) New York Comedy Festival

From November 8th - 14th, 2021, some of the top comedians in America will be performing as part of the New York Comedy Festival.

Although their headline acts have not been announced for 2021, you can usually expect at least a few well-known performers each year.

In years past, this festival has welcomed the likes of Bill Burr, David Cross, Gabriel Iglesias, Tracy Morgan, Conan O'Brien, Jim Jefferies, and many others.

We recommend getting your tickets well ahead of time to avoid missing out.

TIP: Did you know you can attend a free TV taping of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert or The Daily Show with Trevor Noah

Read our post on how to get free tickets to a TV taping in NYC


8) Visit a Top Attraction Without the Crowds

Take advantage of November being an off-peak season to visit a top attraction. Lines are shorter so your wait time, if any, will be shorter too. 

One of the most popular attractions in NYC is the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.

You can see the famous aircraft carrier as well as exhibits on other military marvels such as the world's fastest jets and the first space shuttle.

Though on the pricier side, you can find discounts on this family-friendly museum

It is also included for free with a number of tourist passes.

See a long list of other top attractions and museums here.


9) Watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

On November 25th, 2021, one of the best events all year round occurs, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

All your favorite cartoon characters will take over 5th Avenue.  

No tickets are required to attend! This means you won't need to spend a penny to enjoy the floats and music. Make sure you dress in layers to stay warm, though. 

 The parade begins at 9 am but you should head over earlier to get a good spot.

To find out about the best viewing locations, see our post on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Find more free activities in the section below. You can get more inspiration for family-friendly events below, too.


10) Utilize a Tourist Attraction Discount Pass

If you're looking to see and do as much as possible, using a New York City tourist attraction discount pass can help you save money and time. 

New York City Passes

Attractions Available on Passes Include:

  • Museum of Modern Art
  • Empire State Building
  • Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus Tour
  • Madame Tussauds
  • 9/11 Memorial and Guided Tour
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Madison Square Garden All Access Tour

These passes save you money by bundling dozens of popular attractions and tours into one discounted ticket (up to 55% off).

They can also save you time by allowing you to skip the ticket lines and numerous locations. Read our post comparing your options.

For more ideas for any time of year, be sure to read our master post on things to do in NYC.


BONUS: See a Stand Up Comedy Show

Many famous comedians are drawn to New York City throughout the year, and there are many coming to town this November.

There will be several excellent opportunities to see top-notch stand up performances this month, but here are a few of the best shows you can catch:

For even more great stand-up performances, check this list of comedy shows in New York City.

 


FREE THINGS TO DO IN NOVEMBER

November is a great time to take advantage of the many free events and activities in NYC.

For even more free activities, see our Guide to Free Things to Do in NYC.


UNCONFIRMED: Latin American Cultural Week  

NYC’s population is so diverse with residents from all the countries of Central and South America.

Experience some Latin culture from dozens of music, dance, theater, art, literature, and film events.

Many are free and others are very low-priced at $10-$15 dollars. Click here for more information. 

NOTE: Dates for this event have yet to be confirmed for November 2021.


Veterans Day Parade   

On November 11th, 2021 over 25,000 people will participate in New York City’s Veterans Day Parade, making it the largest in the nation.

There will be floats, marching bands, and various veterans groups joining in.

The commemoration begins at 10 am at the Eternal Flame in Madison Square Park with the parade beginning at 11:15 a.m. 

The parade travels up 5th Avenue from 26th Street and ends at 52nd Street, right near Rockefeller Center

For more information, click here


Watch the New York City Marathon

On November 7th. 2021, over 50,000 runners from around the world will run through all 5 boroughs of New York. 

Watching the runners is a lot of fun. It’s also a great excuse to visit a neighborhood you have never been to before. 

Look at the marathon route and pick a neighborhood to watch from. Here are some locations we recommend:


Stroll through Central Park    

While most of the trees will change color in late October, in early November, the trees still have some colorful foliage.

There are so many things to see in this huge park and our free, self-guided tour and audio tour of Central Park can help you find all the points of interest.

If you prefer to go with a guided tour, see our post on Central Park tours, where you can find out about the many tours available, some free and some with a fee. 


Take a Walk over the Brooklyn Bridge  

This bridge is loved by locals who never tire of the sense of freedom one feels when walking across the bridge. Tourists love it because of the incredible skyline views.

 

Virtual Brooklyn Bridge Walking Tour

Whether you join one of our pay-what-you-wish Brooklyn Bridge Tours or go on your own, this is a walk you absolutely should make while in New York City.  

Use our guide to Walking the Brooklyn Bridge to make your walk unforgettable.  

TIP: Our Guide to Free Things to Do in NYC lists hundreds of activities and events that won't cost you a dime!

 


THINGS TO DO AT NIGHT IN NOVEMBER

Below is just a short sampling of the many things to do at night in November. 

These are in addition to the items in the top 10 section, such as seeing a concert, attending a sports event, or going to the NY Comedy Festival.

For suggestions on other nighttime activities, see our post on things to do at night in New York City.

 


Check Out the Top Art Museums for Free

You might have been disappointed to find out that the top museums in New York cost a small fortune.

Luckily, many of the top museums offer free days or special free hours, often in the evening. Here are three to visit:

  • Museum of Modern Art  Fridays, free from 4 pm - 8 pm
  • Guggenheim Museum Saturdays, 5:45 pm - 7:45 pm
  • Whitney Museum of American Art Fridays 7 pm - 9:30 pm
  • See more free museums here.

TIP: The Whitney is right at the start of the High Line, an amazing urban park. Find out about our self-guided tour, GPS-enabled audio tour, and our guided walking tours by clicking here


Ride the Free Staten Island Ferry  

Take a free round-trip ferry ride from Manhattan to Staten Island and get spectacular views of Lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty. 

Our guide to Riding the Staten Island Ferry should come in handy. 

 

Staten Island Ferry

 

Since the ferry terminal is in Lower Manhattan, consider scheduling your ride at a time that allows for you to take our pay-what-you-wish Lower Manhattan Tour.

If you can't join the tour, definitely look at our guide Things to do in Lower Manhattan or try our GPS-enabled audio tour


Go Ice-skating  

Get a jump start on winter by lacing up and hitting the ice at one of the several famous rinks around the city including the rink in Bryant Park, the rink at Rockefeller Center, and the Lasker Rink in Central Park. 

For more information see our post, Where to go Ice-skating in New York City


Take a Bus or Boat Night Tour 

Seeing New York City at night can make for an entirely new way to see the city. The New York skyline is breathtaking when illuminated after dark and a night boat tour is a special way to see the city.

Night bus tours are also a great way to see many different areas of the city in a short amount of time.  

Lastly, try our free self-guided tours viewable on your device or our audio tours equipped with GPS which are good for night or day.


Shop at a Holiday Market

Christmas starts early in New York City! Some Holiday markets open in November. Find out which ones you can visit from our post on the best holiday markets.

TIP: For lots more ideas, be sure to take a look at our post on things to do at night in New York City

 


THINGS TO DO WITH KIDS

Here are a few fun activities that will keep kids and adults amused. 

Many of the events listed above are family-friendly, such as attending a sports event, watching the Thanksgiving Day Parade, or going ice-skating. 

 

 

You can find even more information about visiting New York with kids at Top 10 Things to Do with Kids in New York City as well as our 3-day itinerary for families


Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden   

It's worth taking a bit a slightly longer subway train ride to the Bronx to see these G-scale mini-trains circle 150 of New York City's landmarks along a half-mile of track.  

See the Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty, and Rockefeller Center re-created with only natural materials like bark and leaves.

The show runs from November 20th, 2021, to January 23rd, 2022. For more information, click here


Celebrate Dia de Los Muertos (Day of The Dead)

On November 3, head over to the fantastic Brooklyn Children’s Museum to celebrate this traditional Latin American holiday. There will be live music and art activities as well as access to the museum’s regular interactive exhibits.

This museum is great for kids ages 8 and under. For more information, check the museum’s website


Visit the Bronx Zoo 

The Bronx Zoo is one of the best zoos in the country and November is the best month to visit as the animals are more active this time of year.

 


This photo of Bronx Zoo is courtesy of TripAdvisor

The Zoo's Harvest Festival throughout the month allows kids to participate in apple-tasting, to learn about composting and how to press flowers.

Be sure to see our post on ways to get discounts on tickets to the Bronx Zoo

See our post, Top 10 Things to Do with Kids in New York City, and our 3-day itinerary for families


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About The Author

Stephen Pickhardt

Stephen is the CEO of Free Tours by Foot and has overseen the transformation of a local walking tour company into a global tour community and traveler’s advice platform. He has personally led thousands of group tours in the US and Europe, and is an expert in trip planning and sightseeing, with a focus on budget travelers. Stephen has been published and featured in dozens of publications including The Wall Street Journal, BBC, Yahoo, Washington.org, and more.
Updated: October 11th, 2021
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