What to Do in New York City in November 2021
Once November hits, we only have eight more weeks until 2022. No matter what you plan to do with the last two months of the year, one thing’s for sure: New York City never slows down. There are plenty of NYC November events that will keep you busy as the city transitions from fall to winter festivities.
Whether your favorite pastime is being outside, listening to live music, or simply getting into the Thanksgiving spirit, there are numerous activities to choose from. Bonus points if you plan on spending Thanksgiving in the city. Since many locals ship out to other destinations to enjoy their holiday meal, some neighborhoods are met with peaceful silence the week of November 25.
Before your holiday schedule fills up, you’ll want to pen in some classic NYC fall activities. Below, check out our picks for the five best events happening around New York City in November.
1. Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden
How many Billy Joel songs do you have memorized? Now’s the time to sing your heart out with the Piano Man himself in one of New York City’s iconic venue, Madison Square Garden. Joel, a native New Yorker, will play Manhattan once in November and return monthly from December through April. Gift yourself an early present this year, and book tickets to see him perform (before they sell out).
Marathoners have been training for over two years now for the chance to run the infamous New York City Marathon. After a 2020 delay, the race will take place on November 7. New York City neighborhoods have been preparing all October for the rush of 33,000 runners to cross through the boroughs and over the finish line. It’s truly a community event for the whole city. If you’re not running the race, you can still get in on the fun by cheering on the athletes from the sidelines. Many parts of the city completely shut down for this event, so it’s quite the spectacle to see if you’ve never caught it before.
November 8 - November 14
Seven days, five boroughs, and over 100 performances, the New York Comedy Festival is your chance to see SNL favorites like Punkie Johnson and comedy legends like Marc Maron and Bill Maher. Whether you want to see a huge stadium show or just want a few intimate laughs at a bar, there’s a show that’s perfect for you. Tickets range in price, depending on the comedian and scale of the show you’re trying to see, so check out the impressive lineup and schedule here.
November 20 - January 23, 2022
The New York Botanical Gardens are magical all year-round, but they truly come alive during the holidays — decorated to the nines to evoke nostalgia, coziness, and cheer. For over 30 years, the gardens have honored the tradition of the Holiday Train Show, when artists come together to create NYC-themed holidays displays around over 25 G-scale model trains and trolleys. It’s like stepping into a New York City that’s reimagined with trains soaring above and throughout the high-rise landmarks and buildings you’ve grown to love. If you’re a NYBG patron or member, tickets are free. Otherwise, children under 2 are free, tickets for children ages 2 to 12 are $18, and adult tickets are $32. If you’re looking for something fun, festive, and family-friendly this month, stop by the garden for the show’s opening days in November.
Everyone remembers watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade as a kid. Maybe you snuck away from kitchen duties to catch a glimpse of the show, or the whole family gathered around the TV to watch. Now, imagine seeing the iconic parade in person. This year will mark New York City’s 95th Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade route is still being mapped out for spectators, but performers like Ashanti, Billy Porter, and Celine Dion are all scheduled to make an appearance. If you can’t watch in person, you can, of course, live stream the event from home.