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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.
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.
Several of the items below are already included for free with the purchase of a tourist discount pass.
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.
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 more. We also offer food tours, bike tours, and occasional special theme tours like our ghost tours and holiday lights 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.
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:
TIP: Madison Square Garden offers All-Access Tours so you can see how this iconic arena has become a world landmark.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
TIP: The subway is rerouted in many places that day. Be sure to check for any changes. Our post, Navigating the Subway, can help.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
TIP: For lots more ideas, be sure to take a look at our post, Things to do at Night in New York City.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
While most of the trees will change color in late October, in early November, the trees still have some colorful foliage.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Written by Courtney Shapiro