What to Do in November in New York

This post covers the best things to do in New York City in November, updated for 2018, including a top 10 list, nighttime activities, free and family-friendly things to do. Be sure to check out our master post, Things to Do in NYC, for even more ideas.

 

 


TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN NOVEMBER

This section will feature our top 10 activities to enjoy in New York City throughout November. Whenever possible, we will make note of attractions and events that are free, family-friendly or great after dark.

For tips on the most popular activities in NYC, check out our schedule of pay-what-you-like walking tours, our bus tours, and boat cruise pages. 

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

New York Tourist Discount Passes


(1) Watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Macys Thanksgiving Parade

On November 28, 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.  

The parade begins at 9 am and we suggest you go earlier to get the best viewing locations. To find out the best spots, see our post on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for many more details as well as a map of the route. 


(2) Take a Walking Tours with Free Tours by Foot

In November we run our most popular tours as well as some tours perfect for this time of year. The weather is suitable to walk over the Brooklyn Bridge and explore the leafy neighboorhood of Brooklyn Heights. We offer tours of both. 

In addition to the Brooklyn Bridge, we cover Greenwich Village, Central Park, Harlem, the High Line, and much, much moreWe also offer food tours, bike tours, and occasional special theme tours like our ghost tours and holiday lights tours. 

Free New York Tours

Our guided walks are free to join and operate on a pay-what-you-like basis, which means you decide what a tour was worth or what you could afford (even free) when the tour is over.

We also have self-guided tours and GPS-enabled audio tours of every neighborhood that you will likely visit as a tourist in NYC. 

Check out our homepage or look at our schedule to see what we have available when you are here. 


(3) Go to a Concert

Smoothie Center concert

This November’s concerts include some of the world’s most loved iconic rock stars. There’s also an alternative music legend, a pop star, and hip-hop.  Here are our picks for the best concerts:

  • Elton John  – November 8 + 9 at Madison Square Garden
  • Billy Joel – November 10 at Madison Square Garden
  • Josh Groban – November 18 at Madison Square Garden
  • Thom Yorke of Radiohead – November 26 + 27 at the Kings Theatre
  • Travis Scott: Astroworld – November 24 at Prudential Center and November 27 + 28 at Madison Square Garden 

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


(4) See the Rockefeller Christmas Tree Lighting

Rockefeller Christmas Tree

On November 28, 2018, the lights on this iconic Christmas Tree are turned on. For all the details such as when to go and how to get there, see our post on the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.

The tree lighting marks the unofficial start of the Christmas Season in NYC. It’s now when many storefront displays, holiday shows, and musicals, as well as light decorations, are available. 

While you are there, take the opportunity to visit Top of the Rock. Get unparalleled views of New York City at the observatory. See our post with details, prices and how to even get discounts. 


(5) See a Sports Event

November finds New York is in the midst of basketball season and things are heating up! There are also lots of ice hockey games and some football games as well.

Basketball  

Football 

Ice Hockey


(6) See legendary Bob Dylan in concert

Bob Dylan will play the beautiful Beacon Theater for 7 nights from November 23rd through December 1st. Buy tickets here.

Bob Dylan’s career began in Greenwich Village and perhaps no album cover is so intertwined with Greenwich Village than his classic 1963 album, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan. See for yourself the street where the photo was shot by taking our self-guided Bob Dylan Greenwich Village Walking Tour.

For a broader look at Greenwich Village, check out one of our guided, pay-what-you-wish Greenwich Village Tours. If you can’t join us, we recommend taking either our self-guided tour or our GPS enabled audio tour


(7) New York Comedy Festival

From November 5th to 11th, some of the top comedians in America, including Conan O’Brien and Tracy Morgan, will be performing as part of the New York Comedy Festival.

If you aren’t in New York on these dates, no problem. You can find cheap or even free excellent comedy every night of the week! See our post, Free or Cheap New York Comedy shows


(8) Visit a top attraction for less money with shorter lines! 

Intrepid Museum

Take advantage of November being an off-peak season to visit these top attractions. Lines are shorter so your wait time, if any, will be shorter too. Here is a list of attractions we recommend. 

To find out about deals, discounts and promo codes, click on the name of the attraction you are interested in.

TIP:  To save on lots of attractions as well as these above, you might want to consider getting a tourist pass. Read our post on whether or not a tourist discount pass is right for you.


(9) Veterans Day Parade   

Veterans Day

On November 11th, 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 with a wreath-laying ceremony 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


(10) New York City Marathon

NYC Marathon

On November 4th, 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 great spots: 

  • Williamsburg – along Bedford Avenue
  • Harlem – down 5th Avenue from 135th Street to 110th Street
  • Midtown Manhattan – up 1st Avenue starting at 59th Street.  This is right by the Roosevelt Island Tram which is a 4-minute cable car ride over the East River. You will get one of the best skyline views of NYC.

TIP:  The subway is rerouted in many places that day. Be sure to check for any changes. Our post, Navigating the Subway, can help. 


HONORABLE MENTION:

FAO Schwarz Re-Opening

This iconic toy store had been located for 84 years on 5th Avenue and 59th Street. After shutting its doors in 2015, it has now set up shop at 30 Rockefeller Plaza and will have its grand opening on November 16th.

Be sure to visit and dance on their ‘piano keys’ made famous in the movie BIG!

 

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


Back to top


 

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 or going to the NY Comedy Festival.

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

 

 


Visit Winter Village in Bryant Park   

Christmas starts early in New York City! Winter Village at Bryant Park is one of the best holiday markets in NYC. They are open daily until 8 pm.

The second half of November is the start of the Christmas Season in NYC. Read our guide on tips on how you can experience this magical time.

Either before or after your stop at the Winter Village, considering visiting Grand Central Terminal as well. We offer a free, self-guided tour, but you could also listen to one of our tours guides on our GPS-enabled audio tour app.

The terminal is open 24 hours a day.


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
  • Click here to see our extensive list of museums that are always free, or have free days or hours.

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


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 at Winter Village, the Rink at Rockefeller Center and 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.

TIP: For lots more ideas, be sure to take a look at our post, Things to do at Night in New York City.

 


Back to top


 

FREE THINGS TO DO IN NOVEMBER

November is a great time to take advantage of the many free events and activities in NYC. The highlights of free events this month are listed in the Top 10 above, such as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Christmas Tree Lighting at Rockefeller Center. 

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

 

 


Latin American Cultural Week  

NYC’s population is so diverse with residents from all the countries of Central and South America. From November 13-21, you can 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. 


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. 

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


Get Free Tickets with an All-Inclusive Tourist Discount Pass

Admittedly, these passes have a cost. However, if you plan well, you will essentially get several tickets to attractions or tours each day for free. Tourist discount passes work by bundling multiple tickets into one price, usually between 20%-50% the retail price.   

New York Tourist Discount Passes

Read our post comparing the different tourist discount passes.  Several bus tour companies, including hop-on-hop-off buses, also offer discounts and deals. 


Winter’s Eve at Lincoln Square  

On November 26th, at Lincoln Center, this event has a tree-lighting, sidewalk performers like jugglers and stilt-walkers, and a brass-band dance. See their website for more information.

If you are interested in the performing arts, Lincoln Center offers tours. See our post on how to find deals and discounts for the Lincoln Center tour.


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.

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!

 


Back to top


 

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 ice-skating or going to the Thanksgiving Day Parade.

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


Disney On Ice Presents Mickey’s Search Party

This show takes your kids on a treasure hunt using Captain Hook’s map. Along the way, there will be appearances by Tinker Bell, Elsa from Frozen, and many characters from Aladdin, Toy Story, and The Little Mermaid.  

There will be plenty of world-class skating and high-flying acrobatics. The show runs from November 7-11 at the Barclays Center in Downtown Brooklyn. Click here to buy tickets.

TIP: While you’re there, why not explore NYC’s most populated borough? Our post Things To Do In Brooklyn highlights the vast array of activities one can find in this borough. 


Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden   

It’s worth taking a bit a slightly longer subway train ride 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.

This year two structures will be making their debut: One World Trade Center and the historic Battery Maritime Building, along with two vintage ferry boats

The show runs from November 17, 2018 – Jan. 21, 2019. For more information, click here


Celebrate Dia de los Muertos (Day of The Dead)

On November 3rd, 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


Take a Food Tour   

Many of our pay-what-you-wish food tours are amongst our most popular family-friendly tours. Our Greenwich Village Food Tour stops at two yummy pizzerias, a traditional Italian Pastry shop and more.

Our Lower East Side Food Tour visits the Donut Plant, which we believe are THE best doughnuts in the city.

Check our tour calendar for days and times.  

TIP: New York is filled with activities your kids will love. See our post, Top 10 Things to Do with Kids in New York City and our 3-day itinerary for families

 

Back to top 


 

Written by Courtney Shapiro

 

Tags: