This post lists the many things to do in November in New York City. We’ve included family-friendly options, things to do at night, and of course, free activities since we appreciate traveling on a budget. November is a month when, if dressed appropriately, you should be comfortable walking around the city. The video below covers weather and things to do. Be sure to check out our extensive list of Things to Do in NYC or our guides for other months for even more ideas.
One of the most popular and fun parades of the year, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade draws large spectator crowds to see the massive floats of their favorite cartoon characters. The parade begins at 9 am, Get your spot along the route. There are 2.5 miles of public viewing and many places along the route to grab a spot to watch.
See our post on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Paradefor many more details as well as a map of the route. We will update information on which balloons you will see and what performers will be there! November 23, 2017 Free
2. Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting Ceremony
Held every year on the Wednesday of the week following Thanksgiving, the lights on the giant Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center are turned on in a ceremonial fashion. It is the symbolic start of the holiday season and nothing brings more holiday spirit than the sight of this stunning and historic tree lighting. For information about the time to arrive, how to get a good spot and other helpful tips, check out our post on the Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting Ceremony. Before or after you watch the tree lighting use our guide to 50+ Things to Do in Midtown Manhattan to explore the area around the tree. November 29, 2017.
3.New York City Marathon
Every year, on the first Sunday of November, over 50,000 runners from around the world run the New York City Marathon, a 26-mile marathon through the streets of all 5 boroughs of New York City. Thousands of proud New Yorkers come out to cheer them on. It is one of the most spirited days of the year and a coming together of New Yorkers and world citizens. Tradition is that as runners go past you, you can put your hand out to give them a high-five (see picture on right). Not only will you get a high-five right back, but also a great big smile! Runners often wear shirts with their names written on them so spectators can cheer them on by name. “Come on Lindsey!” or “You can do it, Fred!”. Marathon Day is pure happiness in NYC. November 5, 2017 Free to watch
It is also a great excuse to visit a neighborhood you have never been to before. Take a look at the marathon route and pick a neighborhood to watch from. Though the route is still being finalized, it is pretty much the same as prior years. Here are suggested neighborhoods to visit where you can watch the marathon from. The best time to watch the marathon is between 10:30 am and 11:30 pm. The professional runners will be done quite early but it is much more fun to watch the swarms of runners.
Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg – a super fun spot! Why not join us for our Sunday 2 pmWilliamsburg tour after!
Over 25,000 people participate in the parade each year, making it the largest in the nation. The parade travels along Fifth Avenue from 26th Street north to 52nd Street.There are a variety of marchers, floats and marching bands in the Veterans Day Parade. Participants include active officers, various veteran’s groups, junior ROTC members, and the families of veterans. The Veterans Day commemoration begins with a wreath laying ceremony at 10 a.m. at the Eternal Flame in Madison Square Park with the parade beginning at 11:15 a.m. For more information, check the Veteran’s Week NYC.
5. 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’s theme is Midtown Manhattan and showcases New York’s iconic skyscrapers and other architectural beauties. For more information, click here. November 22, 2017 – Jan. 15, 2018 Prices vary.
6. New York Comedy Festival
Five days of laughs from some of the top comedians in America including Tracy Morgan, Trevor Noah and more. There will also be improvisational comedy and panel discussions. Performances will be at different comedy clubs and venues in the city such as the Beacon Theatre, Carnegie Hall, and Carolines. See who’s performing and buy tickets from Ticketmaster. If you aren’t in New York on these dates, no problem. You can find cheap or even free excellent comedy and improve every night of the week! Take a look at our post Stretching Your Dollar at the Best NYC Comedy Clubs for suggestions. We especially like the Upright Citizen’s Brigade.
If November is starting to feel like December to you, it’s because in New York we get a head start on the holiday season. The Nutcracker Ballet is a sure sign that Christmas is on its way. If you haven’t seen it before, the George Balanchine choreographed version will be performed by the acclaimed New York City Ballet is a delight any time of the year. Visit the New York City Ballet website for information. It’s being performed at the H. Koch Theater which is part of Lincoln Center. November 24 – Dec. 31, 2017 Prices vary
This is the world’s largest curated exhibition of independent crafts. Renegade holds fairs worldwide throughout the year in San Francisco, Miami, Chicago, Austin, New York, Boston, Seattle, Portland, Detroit, Denver and even London. The fair features hundreds of craft makers, artisanal food and drinks, and great music, and good times. Click here for information.
The fair is being held at the Metropolitan Pavilion at 125 W. 18th St. located in Chelsea with so many other things to do. Use our Guide to Chelsea to find about things to do, including talking on of our pay-what-you-likeChelsea and High Line walking tours. November 18 & 19, 2017 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Free entrance
9.Visit a top attraction for less money with shorter lines!
November is a fantastic time to go to one or more of the top tourist attractions because it is not peak season. Tese attractions want people coming in, so there are lots of coupons and discounts available. Plus lines are shorter so your wait time is less. Below is a list of attractions and the current discounts we’ve found. Keep in mind that special deals sometimes sell out fast but new ones show up suddenly. Always check sites like are advertised without warning, so you might want to check sites like Living Social, GetYourGuide and Groupon deals.
The INtrepid is one of the most expensive attractions to see. Take advantage of November being an off-peak season to visit it and save some money. The museum lets you experience being on a legendary aircraft carrier, see the first space shuttle, a guided missile submarine and the Concorde. Great for all ages!
If you aren’t quite ready for the holiday season, Latin American Culture week will hit the spot! NYC’s population is so diverse with residents from all countries of Central and SouthAmerica. It is only fitting to celebrate the cultural styles and sounds of Latin America.
Over 12 days you can choose from dozens of music, dance, theater, art, literature, and film events. Many are free or priced at $10-$15 dollars. Click here for more information.
November 10 – 19, 2017 Some events free, others prices vary
New York City is known as the City that Never Sleeps, and for good reason. See our post Things to do in NYC at Night for many suggestions. Here are a few highlights for November:
Visit Winter Village in Bryant Park Free
Christmas starts early in New York City with the opening of the Winter Village at Bryant Park (pictured on right). Bryant Park is located at 40th to 42nd Street between 5th and 6th Avenue. This is one of the best holiday markets to shop for one-of-a-kind items including handmade winter clothing, sweaters, hats, mittens, scarves, decorative items and more.
Winter Village closes at 8 pm every night, so why not join our Midtown Manhattan Night tour at 8 pm on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. The starting point is very close to Winter Village. You can also go ice-skating there.
Go Ice-skating Dates and prices vary by venue
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 (pictured above), the Rink at Rockefeller Center and Lasker Rink in Central Park. For information on dates, hours and prices, see our post Where to go Ice-skating in New York City.
Take a Night Tour prices vary, some are free
Seeing New York City at night can make for an entirely new way to see the city. There are many different ways to take a night tour. We offer many guided pay-what-you-like walking night tours.
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.
Here are just three of the hundreds of free things you can do in New York City in November and year round. Check our comprehensive post about Free Things to Do in NYC.
Take a free walking tour in Central Park
While most of the trees will change color in late October, in November, the trees still have some colorful foliage and any time of the year Central Park is beautiful. We recommend that you take a guided walking tour to help you find your way through this huge park. We offer several pay-what-you-like tours of Central Park including a tour of the lower section and one of the middle section. We also offer bike tours. See our post on Central Park tours, where you can find out about the many tours available, some free and some with a fee. If you can’t join us, explore the park on your own using our Guide of Things to Do in Central Park and our audio tour.
You might have been disappointed to find out that the top museums in New York cost a small fortune. In case you didn’t know, many of the top museums offer free days or special free hours. Here are the museums you probably had on your list:
The Museum of Modern Art At a hefty$25, one may decide to forgo this outstanding museum. If you are here on a Friday, you are in luck. MoMA is FREE every Friday from 4pm-8pm! It’s known as Free Fridays and you cannot get advance tickets so get there earlier and grab a spot in line. In November, you probably won’t have much of a wait.
Whitney Museum of American Art Well-known for their cutting-edge Whitney Biennial, this museum relocated to a brand new, architecturally stunning building located next to the High Line in the Meat-Packing District. Again, this museum has a high price of $25. But on Fridays, they have Pay-What-You-Wish tickets from 7 pm –9:30 pm! TIP: Before or after, take a walk on the High Line. You can just stroll, use a self-guided tour or take a guided tour. Click here for all the options.
Guggenheim Museum – This famous museum specializes in Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, early Modern, and contemporary art. Yet another museum that wants $25! But on Saturdays, the museum has “pay what you wish” hours from 5:45pm-7:45 pm.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art While the museum advertises that the admission price is $25, look at the “fine print”. This amount is actually a suggested donation. So head on in and feel free to pay whatever fits your budget, even one dollar. If you opt to buy your tickets online, you must pay full price.
Winter’s Eve at Lincoln Square November 27, 2017Free
Located opposite the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, this event has a tree lighting, tastes of local restaurants, sidewalk performers, a brass band dance, and activities and entertainment for kids along Broadway. The celebration starts begins with the lighting of the Upper West Side Holiday Tree in Dante Park at Broadway and 63rd Street, and continues along Broadway from Time Warner Center to 68th Street. music, performers, jugglers, stilt-walkers, and more. Find more information from their website Winter’s Eve at Lincoln Square.
TIP: Lincoln Center offers tours of its beautiful, majestic concert halls. To find out more information and how to get discount tickets click here.
Check our tour calendar for days and times. In this video, you can see some pretty happy kids and teens, and of course, grown-ups tasting great food and learning some cool history of one of the most colorful neighborhoods in the city.
If you cant make it up to the New York Botanical Gardens train shown above, this Train Show is more centrally located. You also get the double bonus of visiting the spectacular Grand Central Terminal layout features Lionel trains traveling through a two-level, 34-foot-long miniature New York City and countryside scene. Vintage trains from the museum’s collection, including New York Central models, travel all the way to the diorama’s the North Pole. Get all the information here.
While you are Grand Central you might want to spend some time looking around. You can do this on your own with one of our audio guides or self-guided tour, or join one of the many free Grand Central Tours offered. See our post What to See and Do in Grand Central Station.