As we get closer to the holidays, the city becomes more magical. The holiday season just does something to New Yorkers and this city! It’s already a great place and we have the best time this time of year! While there are popular attractions that occur annually as a special event, there are also a lot of fun interactive experience opportunities coming to the city via pop ups as well as free things and new activities.
Here is everything to do in NYC in the month of November:
Toys R Us is here at Macy’s just in time for the holiday season! Check out the coolest toys of the season and get some holiday shopping done for the kids in your life. I remember I used to go to Toys R Us as a kid and it was one of the most fun things to do because they always have the best toys! It’s also perfect because there are online options, so you can order them to your home instead of having to wander around a store.
Image: Macy’s Toys R Us
The holiday markets are some of the most magical parts of the city around the holidays! They’re great places to get snacks, hot chocolate, find artisanal gifts for loved one’s and overall just have a great adventure for the day. Some of my favorite holiday markets to go to each winter are the Bryant Park Christmas Market, Union Square Holiday Market and the Christmas Market at Columbus Circle. The Bryant Park Christmas Market even has ice skating as an activity to do there! Another great one is the Holiday Fair, which is opening back up at Grand Central after 2 years! It’ll run from the 14th to December 24th. The rest of the markets all open mid-late November, but the Bryant Park one is already open!
Image: New York City. CA
Holiday Train Show
The Holiday Train Show is back! If you have kids, this is something you’ll want to check out for sure! It’s located at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens and runs from November 19th-January 16th. So while you have some time to visit it, get a head start and check it out now! Tickets are on sale now.
Hudson Yards has a festive photos with Santa option for the season! From December 5th-16th, you’ll be able to meet Santa on Level 4 by H&M. This is completely free and open to the public! No need for reservations or scheduling, just come by with your little ones and get a picture! The Wells Fargo Winter Escape is on Level 1, where you can see a magical winter immersive journey and Santa’s Secret on Level 5, where there will be a speakeasy with holiday cocktails!
Image: Hudson Yards
Speaking of holiday cocktails, the Holly Jolly Cocktail bar is open in the West Village! Running through the week after New Years, you can get general admission or brunch, both of which include a seasonal holiday cocktail option. You’ll want to book this ASAP though, because it’s flying!
I don’t know about you, but my kids love light festivals! Located at Citi Field in Queens, you can see a ton of Christmas lights, write a letter to Santa, go on a train ride, zip down a hill and so much more! This is a great activity for families on the weekends!
Image: Amaze Light
The Garret’s Cocteleria is having a Dia De Los Muertos theme from now through November 19th. This fall pop up is to honor those who have passed and celebrate. They have a special menu featuring new cocktails and you’ll want to book a reservation because tables are going very quickly!
Image: The Garret
Sunday, November 6th is the NYC Marathon! For all of you who are running, good luck and have a safe run! And the rest of us, let’s show our support and cheer them on! The race starts in Staten Island and will take place in all 5 boroughs and finish in Central Park.
The Watermark restaurant in Seaport has a super fun winter installation on Pier 15! It’s presented by Bucketlisters and Disney + to promote the brand new show The Santa Clauses! We are so excited to go check it out! The show premieres November 16th and to celebrate, The Watermark will have candy cane pillars in the hallway, a gingerbread house bar full of treats, a giant snowglobe, Santa’s sleigh, heated glass houses and a brand new menu featuring items like Santa’s S’mores, Rudolph’s Truffle Ravioli and Mrs Claus’ Meatloaf. The pop up opens on the 15th!
See the Christmas Lights Tour
The Dyker Heights Christmas Lights are a sight to see! This Brooklyn display is a must-see for us each year. The neighborhood goes all out and it’s so merry and bright! This is something we like to do on a weekend night with the kids! One thing to note is a lot of houses turn their lights off around 9PM so make sure to get there before then!
Image: Teddy Wolff c/o Timeout
Running from November 19th to January 8th, you can see this light festival at Citi Field! There’s a ton of fun experiences like tubing, an arctic express train, cocktails, fun light up characters and so much more! If you love light shows, you will not want to miss this one! Tickets are available now!
Image: Amaze Light Festival
The Radio City Christmas Spectacular is an iconic holiday special! The Rockettes always put on a fun show and it’s a great way to support the arts. This show always gets us into the holiday spirit! Tickets are available for purchase and can be bought for groups, as well.
Image: Radio City Rockettes
Thanksgiving is on the 24th and we all know the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is the best way to start out the day! We’ve gotten to see it in person a few times and I must say, it’s a fantastic experience. There are hotels you can book with views, too if you don’t want to stand out in the cold, but you’ll want to book this immediately! They announce all the details on their site and it will air from 9AM-12PM. Some of our favorite balloons are back and we’re looking forward to seeing the amazing performances. It’s always a great time! Live performances and Thanksgiving parade? What could be better in the big apple?
It’s no secret that we love ice skating! It’s an activity we like to do as a family and it keeps us active, which is always great. I have a whole post on the best ice skating rinks to visit in NYC you should check out and try them all! They’re all different and great in their own ways. Outdoor activities are usually around for a limited time in the winter months, but early November is usually pretty safe. Ice skating sticks around! Who is ready for winter activities?!
Shop Black Friday Sales
Is it just me or do Black Friday sales seem to drop earlier each year? Fine by me! A few stores I like to keep an eye on are J Crew, Old Navy, Amazon, Target, Best Buy and honestly the list could go on and on. But these are the stores that have items like technology or basics that I either like to stock up on or wait to purchase for sales. I’ll make a whole post about where I’m shopping this month!
Cook for Thanksgiving
I’ve already got my mind on Thanksgiving cooking. We know the traditional recipes, which I love, but do we have all the recipes written out or ideas for extra sides and desserts? I’m working on a whole post about this, so stay tuned! What’s your favorite Thanksgiving food?
My girls and I love the ballet! We go and see The Nutcracker every year and not only is it such special time together and a fun tradition, but the show never gets old! It’s so beautiful to watch and the performers work so hard. They deserve a great audience! Tickets are on sale and these are one’s you will want to snag ASAP. The show runs about 2 hours and opening night is Friday, November 25th and it closes Saturday, December 31st.
The Rockefeller Christmas Tree is the most well-known tree in the city. And as it should be, it’s stunning! They are lighting it Wednesday, November 30th and it will stay lit until New Year’s. Make a whole day out of seeing the lit tree if you can’t attend the lighting. Go ice skating at the rink, eat lunch and check out the tree!
Image: Rockefeller Center
Now this is one of the coolest experiences in the city! Located in Brooklyn, Scattered Kind is a place where you can make your very own rug! They have rug tufting workshops where you can work with an expert and make your very own rug from start to finish. Come up with the design and run with it! This is perfect to do with friends. Book a workshop now!
Image: Scattered Kind
This is one of the most exciting new experiences this month! Are you a Broadway fan? This interactive and experiential museum celebrates the history of Broadway and features some really cool artists. I say this is a must-do, put it at the top of your list!
Image: Museum of Broadway
Saks Fifth Avenue Light Show
The last weekend of the month leading into the holidays is usually when Saks Fifth Avenue has their light show. This is when they decorate the outside of the store with beautiful lights and light them up to perform a show. Different colors and times, it’s all a magical experience! We make sure to go every year! Holiday lights are so special and the perfect way to welcome this time of year!
For those of you who like night clubs, have you been to Nebula? It’s a whole immersive experience with a great lineup of DJ’s you wont’ want to miss! So if you’re going out and looking for something to do with friends, maybe try this!
A Christmas-themed bar is so much fun! This is a cocktail pop-up bar that is all Christmas related. They’re all over the country and the world, for that matter, but they have a location on Union in Brooklyn and 9th Street in Manhattan. Looking for things to do in the winter months can be difficult, but this is usually one of my favorite things. Christmas is my favorite time of year, so anything related to it is a yes from me! If you want a tasty cocktail and an even better Instagram picture, this is the place to go!
Image: Miracle Bar
For more NYC things to do, visit here!