Things to Do in November in New York

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.  

Nighttime Activities

Family Friendly

Free Tours by Foot

Top 10 Things to Do

Free Things to Do

How’s the Weather


 

 


TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN NOVEMBER

 

1.  Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade  

Macys Thanksgiving ParadeOne 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 Parade for 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   NYC 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 pm Williamsburg tour after!
  • Fifth Avenue between and 135th in Harlem. Use our guides of Things to Do in Harlem & Self-Guided Tour to discover this fascinating neighborhood.  We do not offer Harlem Tours on Sundays but check our calendar for other days our tours are offered. 
  • Greenpoint Avenue in Greenpoint – easily reached by the East River Ferry for just $2.75!
  • Along 1st Avenue starting at 59th Street. This is a great location to watch because afterward, you can hop on the nearby Roosevelt Island Tram for a 4-minute spectacular ride with one of the best skyline views of New York City.  
  • We don’t recommend watching from Central Park as it gets very filled up very early. Better to explore the park on a less busy day.

TIP:  The subway has a lot of route changes on this day. Be sure to check for changes before you start your subway travel. You may find our subway posts helpful: Navigating the SubwayWhich New York City Subway MetroCard to Buy? and Which NYC Subway App is Best?


4.  Veterans Day Parade   Veterans Day

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.

If you would like to learn more about the Flatiron District near Madison Square Park where the parade begins, see our Things to Do in the Flatiron District post. If you watch the parade at other points along the route, see our posts 50+ Things to Do in Midtown Manhattan {2017} and A Tour of Rockefeller Center near where the parade ends.  Saturday, November  11, 2017    Free  


5.  Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden   Holiday Train Show

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 TicketmasterIf 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.

TIP:  If you are a Trevor Noah fan, no need to pay to see him perform. Instead, go watch a live taping of The Daily Show. Read our post How to get tickets to The Daily Show. For a lot of other TV tapings see our post New York TV Show Tickets. November 7 – 12, 2017   Prices vary 

 

 


7.  The Nutcracker Ballet  Nutcracker Ballet

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

To find out about how to get discounted tours of Lincoln Center, read our post on Lincoln Center Tour Discounts.

 


8.  Renegade Craft Fair   Renegade Fair  

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-like Chelsea and High Line walking tours. November 18 & 19, 2017   11 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Free entrance 

TIP: If you like craft fairs, this is the time of year to when lots of Christmas Markets open up. See our list of Ten Christmas Markets in New York City.


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.

Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum    Intrepid Museum

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!

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

Ripley’s Believe It or Not   

The largest Ripley’s in the US, you can see North America, you can see 500 astonishing real artifacts on display, 20 themed galleries, and dozens of interactive elements. Great for the whole family.

  • Up to 53% off admission for 0ne, two, or four people currently advertised Living Social.
  • Save 20% with this coupon valid for one to six people. Simply present the coupon at the attraction.
  • Save up to 20% when you buy your tickets from Get Your Guide.

 


10.    Latin American Cultural Week  Latin American Week

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
 
 

Back to top


 

THINGS TO DO AT NIGHT 

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 

Bryant-Park-Christmas-Market

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  Night Tour

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.  

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.

 


Back to top


 

FREE THINGS TO DO IN NOVEMBER

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    Central-Park fall-season

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

 


Take a walk over the Brooklyn Bridge  

Brooklyn-Bridge-pedestrian-view

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.  We also have a GPS audio tour that includes one of the Bridge. Read our “Visitor’s Guide to Walking the Brooklyn Bridge” which has some helpful tips to making your walk unforgettable.  

You can walk over the bridge anytime you so you might want to try an evening tour. The Bridge is less crowded and seeing the city lit up and sparkling is magical. We offer a night tour of the Brooklyn Bridge and 9/11 Memorial several evenings each week.  

 


Check out the top art museums for free! 

Moma

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.

 


Back to top


 

FAMILY-FRIENDLY THINGS TO DO IN NOVEMBER

For lots of activities, check out our posts:  Top 10 Things to Do with Kids in New York City, our 3-day itinerary for families and our list of over 100 things to do in New York City which include dozens of kid-friendly activities. And of course, a lot of the activities on our top ten list above in this post are great for kids too.

 

Winter’s Eve at Lincoln Square   November 27, 2017   Free  Winters Eve Lincoln Center

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.

 


Take a Food Tour   all month, pay-what-you-like

Many of our pay-what-you-like food tours are amongst our most popular family-friendly tours, Especially our Greenwich Village Food Tour, our Chinatown Food Tour that includes a stop at the most awesome candy store and the Lower East Side Food Tour with a visit to the Donut Plant, which we believe are THE best doughnuts in the city.

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.

 

Back to top


 

Written by Courtney Shapiro

Tags: