What to Do in NYC This Month, from Epic Workouts to the Macy’s Parade

You may not think of November as the most action-packed time of the year, but for New Yorkers there’s certainly a lot to take in this month. We kick things off with the NYC Marathon and end with the iconic Rockefeller Christmas tree lighting, with plenty of activities (for all ages) thrown in between to keep you on the move all month long. We’re talking super-sized group workouts, a history-making poetry show and a 4,000 square-foot ball pit (seriously). Here, 11 awesome things to check out in NYC this November.

Where to Order Thanksgiving Dinner and Catering in NYC

1. Learn Something New at DOC NYC

Now through November 16, the IFC Center, S.V.A. Theater and Village East by Angelika are putting on the country’s largest festival of documentaries. Tickets start at $13 for individual screenings (opt for a ticket pack if you plan to watch more than one to save some cash), and there are tons of different genres to explore (see the full list here). P.S. If the show times don’t work for you, have no fear—you can stream the documentaries online through November 26 with purchase of a ticket.

IFC Center, 323 Sixth Ave; S.V.A. Theater, 333 West 23rd Street; and Village East by Angelika, 181-189 Second Ave

2. Break at Sweat at NYC’s Largest Wellness Experience

This one day event, happening from 9 am to 5 pm on Saturday, Nov. 18, brings together some of the absolute best boutique fitness experiences from across the city—AARMY, Rumble boxing, Tone House and more—to one epic, super-sized workout. Organized by leading trainer Kenny Santucci, Strong New York will feature panels led by Blake Lively’s personal trainer, Don Saladino, as well as Gunnar Peterson, who’s worked with the likes of Sofia Vergara and the Kardashian sisters. And of course, no wellness-packed day would be complete without recovery. Everybody’s favorite portable massager, Therabody, is offering on-site experiences like IV drips, ice baths, cupping and more. Tickets start at $50 for general admission, but there are also multiple free events, so be sure to check those out as well.

The Glasshouse, 660 12th Ave

3. Play in a 4,000 Square-Foot Ball Pit

Looks like supersized events are a theme this month. After stops in Madrid, Milan, Rome and Paris (some exhibits may seem familiar to fans of Emily in Paris), the Balloon Museum has officially arrived in New York and it bring with it its famous 4,000 square-foot ball pit. The entire museum is packed with interactive displays for all ages and should take about 90 minutes to walk through. Tickets start at $45 for midweek visits, and there is a discount for kids ages 3 through 15 (admission is free for children under 3)

Pier 36, 299 South Street

4. Attend a Historic Poetry Show

Yet another jumbo-size event, this one-day poetry fest (Saturday, Nov. 25) is currently set to be the largest poetry showcase in the city since Def Poetry Jam on Broadway in 2008. The lineup for “poetry me, please” includes the winners of an Instagram competition where anyone could submit their work, as well as established poets and musical guests like Mod Da God and organizer Rashan Brown. Tickets start at $50 and doors open at 6 pm.

Apollo Theater, 253 W 125th Street

5. See Works by Basquiat and Warhol

The Brant Foundation Art Study Center currently has on display pieces from a 1984 collaboration between these two influential artists, and is in fact the first time the collaboration has been the subject of a major New York exhibition since Andy Warhol & Jean-Michel Basquiat at Gagosian Gallery in 1997. The exhibit runs through January 7, 2024, and while tickets cost $20 for adults, children, students, seniors and East Village residents are subject to discounted prices.

421 E 6th Street

6. Sneak a Peek at the Macy’s Parade Balloons

Rather than take you chances with the crowds along the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade route, why not sneak a peek at the behind the scenes action instead? Organizers start inflating the enormous balloons the night before Thanksgiving (Wednesday, Nov. 22) along Central Park West. Those wishing to see their favorite balloon up close can swing by between noon and 6 pm that Wednesday to walk along the route and see the inflation process in progress. Visitors are instructed to enter the cordoned off route at West 72nd Street and Columbus Ave, but you can also catch a peek or two from inside Central Park if you’d rather not wait in line.

enter at West 72nd Street and Columbus Ave

7. Book a Table at the Newly Reopened Delmonico’s

Delmonico’s has been a New York institution for nearly two centuries, and now, after a three year hiatus, it’s back and ready to serve up all its most beloved dishes, and plenty of fresh new ones, too. If you’re looking for a classic, you can’t go wrong with any of the steak options (although we’re partial to the signature ribeye), or you can mix things up with lamb chops done up with pistachios and caramelized yogurt or a wild mushroom risotto that’s the stuff of dreams. The restaurant is also offering special holiday menus for Thanksgiving day, Christmas Eve, Christmas day and New Year’s Eve.

56 Beaver Street

8. Revel in Holiday Lightscapes at Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Starting November 17, visitors of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden can take a stroll through the Lightscape exhibit, a gorgeous illuminated display of lights leading you through the gardens after dark. There are over one million lights included in this year’s show with displays by artists from both local and international designers. You can save by opting to go midweek (adult tickets cost $24, kids $17), with the earliest entry starting at 3:30 pm and the last entry at 8:15 pm.

990 Washington Ave

9. Explore “The Secret World of Elephants”

The American Museum of Natural History’s latest exhibit opens on November 13, and is all about the majestic elephant. Check out a full-scale model of a woolly mammoth, touch an elephants tooth, listen to elephant calls and learn all there is to know about the largest land mammal on earth. As always, general admission to the museum is pay-what-you-wish for NY, NJ and CT residents, but unless you’re a member, you will need to purchase a separate ticket for The Secrets of Elephants for an additional $5.

200 Central Park West

10. Get Some Shopping Done at the Bryant Park Winter Village

Ice skating and hot cocoa and holiday shopping, oh my! Bryant Park’s annual Winter Village is officially open for anyone hoping to get the full NYC winter experience. Strolling around the park and visiting the various stalls is open to the public, but if you want to hop on the ice you’ll need to reserve a ticket. (Rink reservations are free, while skate rentals start at $18.) Sample treats from eateries across the city and shop tons of locally made gifts in the many booths any day from 11 am through 8 pm, no through January 2, 2024.

42nd Street and 6th Ave

11. Play Tourist at the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting

No list of NYC activities would be complete without arguably the biggest November event of them all: the lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. This holiday tradition brings with it huge crowds, but is well worth the spectacle, according to PureWow editors who’ve attended in the past. This year’s lighting event, kicking off at 7 pm on Wednesday, Nov. 29, will be hosted by Kelly Clarkson, 20 years after she first performed at the annual event. Not into crowds? The tree itself is already up in Rockefeller Plaza if you want to go early and get a glimpse of its natural beauty, before the lights turn on. Or tune into NBC, Peacock, Roku or Samsung TV Plus to watch from the comfort of your own couch.

30 Rockefeller Plaza

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Abby Hepworth


Abby Hepworth is an RRCA-certified running coach who has worked in fashion for over 10 years. Want to know what shoes are in this season? She's got you. Need recommendations on...
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