25 Beautiful Things to Do in NYC in November + Hidden Gems & Events

A bridge in Central Park surrounded by trees and with buildings in the background in fall in NYC

New York City in November is the perfect time to visit. The weather is crisp, there’s vibrant foliage, and the holidays are just beginning. In November, NYC events take over the city, from marathons and film festivals to holiday parades. With comfortable temperatures and fewer crowds, you can’t go wrong with a trip to NYC in November. Here are our favorite activities to add to your bucket list!

Weather in New York City in November

Three people walking at Central Park, New York City in November
A. Strakey

These days, the weather in NYC is all over the place. With climate change, you can now find warm days in NYC throughout the year. Yes, even in the winter, sometimes, we get those odd summer-like days.

The New York City temperature in November averages in the mid-50s, but can reach 70s, and then drops a bit in the evening. Aside from some possible rain and chillier evenings, November weather in NYC is nearly perfect for both outdoors and indoors fun.

As the date of your trip approaches, keep an eye on the weather forecast. Because it could snow or it could feel like summer. The key is to bring layers!

Tips When Traveling to New York in November 

New York City fall trees and roads

To ensure a fun trip, follow these helpful tips for navigating NYC in November:

  • The weather in November fluctuates often, so wear plenty of layers and check out this post on what to wear in New York for additional wardrobe tips.
  • The subway is often quicker and cheaper than Ubers, plus it’s great for people watching. 
  • NYC November events and shows book up quickly, so book those in advance!

Uniquely Fun Things to Do in New York in November 

1. NYC Holidays Markets 

November is when all the Christmas markets in NYC start opening for the season, making it the best time to visit NYC if you’re shopping for holiday gifts!

  • Holiday markets in Bryant Park Winter Village: Over 100 holiday vendors sell unique, artisanal goods, along with food and hot chocolate at this charming holiday market. There’s also a free ice skating rink and cozy lodge, making it one of the best winter activities in NYC.
  • Union Square Holiday Market: Over 150 vendors sell anything from vintage collectibles to home decor, so you’re bound to check some items off your gift list. You’ll also find hot chocolate, apple cider, and delicious food vendors throughout the market.
  • The Bushwick Market: This small, Brooklyn flea market operates throughout the year, selling antiques, clothes, and countless knick-knacks. For a one-of-a-kind gift, this is definitely the spot.
  • Grand Central Holiday Fair: NYC’s longest-running indoor holiday fair is located in Grand Central’s stunning Vanderbilt Hall. For six weeks, 40 local vendors sell their artisan goods, making it a perfect place to support local, small businesses.

2. Ride the Best Biking Trails in NYC

With perfectly crisp weather and gorgeous fall foliage, going for a bike ride is one of the best things to do in November in New York City.

  • Electric Bike Tour: For 3.5 hours, cruise through Central Park and to key NYC landmarks on this guided, small group tour. 
  • Randall’s Island: With 10 miles of bike paths on the island, you can choose from 1 mile paths to a 6.5 mile route. No matter what, you’ll enjoy gorgeous cityscape views during your peaceful ride.
  • Bronx River Parkway: One of the best things to do in the Bronx is explore the borough’s many bike paths. Admire views of the river as you ride through Concrete Plant Park, zip through the 13 acres of Starlight Park, or ride through Pelham Bay Park, NYC’s largest public park. 
  • Upper West Side: For a scenic ride, start Uptown and bike along the Hudson River Waterfront Greenway, which runs through the beautiful Hudson River Park.
  • Brooklyn to the Rockaways: For experienced riders, this route can take 45-60 minutes, depending on your starting point. Once you reach Rockaway Beach, there’s an easy bike ride along the boardwalk.

3. Helicopter Tour Over the City

For a once-in-a-lifetime New York experience, see the city from above on an unforgettable helicopter tour! You can dangle your feet above the air (pictured above) as you’re strapped in place on an opened helicopter. Whew! Here are some helicopter tour options:

  • Manhattan Highlights: For up to 15 minutes, fly above iconic NYC landmarks like Central Park and the Empire State Building!
  • Lower Manhattan: Soar above the Statue of Liberty, Financial District, and Wall Street during this amazing, 15 minute ride.
  • City Lights: See the skyline illuminated on this 30 minute evening ride, as you cruise above Times Square, Rockefeller Center, the George Washington Bridge, and more!

4. Watch Holiday Shows (Classic & Modern)

If you’re getting in the holiday spirit, then seeing one of these shows is a must for Christmas things to do in NYC!

  • Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall: Watch in awe as the incredibly talented Rockettes sing and dance during this iconic, 90-minute performance!
  • The Nutcracker at Lincoln Center: The New York City Ballet puts on an incredible performance of this classic piece, complete with whimsical costumes and breathtaking set design.
  • Nutcracker Rouge at Company XVI: For a risque take on this classic ballet, head to Brooklyn for an unforgettable burlesque show.
  • Watch a Traditional Broadway Show at Times Square: With dozens of mesmerizing shows to choose from, definitely check out what’s on in November!

5. Go on a Niagara Falls Day Trip

Mild average temperatures and gorgeous fall colors make the month of November perfect for visiting Niagara Falls. On this full day tour, see the famous waterfalls from multiple perspectives and come home with incredible photos! Roundtrip transportation is provided from Times Square, and there’s an option to add a boat cruise while you’re there (which I highly recommend)!

  • 3-day Niagara Falls Tour from NYC: If you want to stay longer than a day, go on this 3-day tour to Niagara Falls and the Lake Ontario region. Along with stunning sights and vibrant fall foliage, the tour includes boat rides at Niagara Falls and the Thousand Islands (a New York hidden gem region). Breakfast, accommodations, and roundtrip transfer from NYC are all included. This is a great way to embrace the beautiful outdoors during November in New York State. And you don’t have to drive or plan a thing!

6. Check Out the Thanksgiving Day Events

Towards the end of November, New York events revolve around Thanksgiving. If you’re ready to jump into the festivities, this is the best time to visit New York!

  • Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade: Every Thanksgiving, millions flock to watch one of the most famous November events in New York! Running along Central Park West and Sixth Ave from 9am-12pm, marching bands, Broadway cast members, and enormous balloons fill the streets.
  • Volunteer Thanksgiving Dinner: For thousands of families living in shelters, Thanksgiving dinner is far from a guarantee. Numerous organizations in NYC seek volunteers, both for the actual holiday and to help prepare meals in the days leading up to Thanksgiving. Two wonderful organizations are The Bowery Mission and FeedingNYC.

7. Day Trip Hikes in the Hudson Valley & Catskills

The crisp air in early November makes it a perfect time for checking out one of the amazing hikes near New York City. The first three listed here are accessible by train from NYC. The last one (in the Catskills) require a car rental to reach (unles you take a Trailways bus + Uber it, but that can get tricky).

  • Bull Hill: Easily accessible by train, this 6 mile hike in the Hudson Highlands leads you to jaw-dropping views of the Hudson River.
  • Cornish Estate: Take the train to Cold Spring to explore these impressive ruins, easily reachable by a well paved, 1.8 mile trail.
  • Awosting Falls + Minnewaska Lake: Two hours from NYC, a 1.1 mile trail leads you to this stunning waterfall and lake within Minnewaska State Park.
  • Anthony’s Nose: Only 30 minutes each way, this challenging hike in the Hudson Highlands will reward you with sweeping views of the Bear Mountain Bridge and Bear Mountain itself.
  • New Paltz: This Catskills region offers several hiking trails that I love. From Minnewaska State Park to Mohonk Preserve!

8. Join a Food Walking Tour

A slice of artichoke pizza

Food tours are among the best ways to discover NYC’s delicious, local restaurants! They’re also perfect for squeezing into a 1 day New York itinerary, as you can sample lots of different cuisine in a short amount of time!

  • Chinatown: Devour decadent dim sum dumplings while learning about the city’s history, as you eat your way through Chinatown and Little Italy.
  • Little Italy: Try mouthwatering cannoli and a classic New York slice while hearing tales of the mafia on Mulberry street.
  • Chelsea Market: Sample the best dishes from Chelsea Market, The High Line, and Hudson Yards on this delicious 3-hour tour.

9. Visit Governor’s Island

Since November in New York is still warm enough to enjoy the outdoors, it’s the perfect time to visit Governors Island. Just a 10 minute ferry ride from Manhattan, you’ll find sprawling green spaces with incredible views of the city. Explore the landmark forts of Castle Williams and Fort Jay, enjoy lunch with a view at Picnic Point, and in late November, go ice skating at Governor’s Island Winter Village!

10. Run the 5K Turkey Trot

For runners, one of the most popular NYC events in November is the annual 5K Turkey Trot Run. Participants head to Queens on the Saturday after Thanksgiving to take part in a 5K run/walk or half marathon.

Otherwise, on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, participants go to Hoboken for their waterfront run/walk, while taking in picturesque views of the Manhattan skyline.

11. Charming Small Town Day Trips from NYC

November is a great month to visit some of the charming small towns in New York. There are so many day trips from NYC to choose from, whether you’re in the mood to stroll down a quaint Main Street or take a scenic hike. Many of these idyllic towns are easily reachable by transportation from the city, including Beacon, Cold Spring, and Sleepy Hollow.

12. Best Parks in NYC for the Fall Foliage (+ Hidden Gems)

New York City in November is a perfect month for scoping out the vibrant foliage in the city’s many parks.

  • Prospect Park: With 585 acres to explore, a stunning lake, and impressive Botanical Garden, this Brooklyn park is ideal for a day of leaf peeping in the city. 
  • Wave Hill Gardens: Several gardens, greenhouses, and woodland comprise this lush, Bronx oasis, which is a true hidden gem during the fall. Huge hidden gem!
  • New York Botanical Garden: Located in the Bronx, this massive botanical garden is a nature lover’s paradise and is flush with hues of red and orange in November.
  • Starlight Park: This recently renovated park along the Bronx River was once an amusement park, making it a super unique place to enjoy fall foliage! Hidden gem!
  • Central Park: For something a little different, admire the foliage in Central Park in November on this 2 hour, electric scooter tour. Otherwise, cruise past the park’s famous landmarks on this 3.5 hour electric bike tour.
  • Fort Tryon: Gaze at the fall colors against the backdrop of the Hudson River from the park’s tree-lined pathways and impressive Heather Garden. Local hidden gem!
  • High Line: This converted, elevated rail line along Manhattan’s west side is a true gem in the city.  Take the High Line Freight to Flowers Tour to learn more about the park’s fascinating history.

13. Go Ice Skating

In New York City, November is when most rinks open for the season, making it a perfect time to check out one of the many places to go ice skating in NYC!

14. The New York City Marathon TCS

Always held on the first Sunday of November, the New York Marathon is the largest in the world. Beginning in Staten Island, the race courses through all five boroughs, before reaching the finish line in Central Park. Almost two million people go watch and cheer on the runners, making it one of the most popular events in NYC in November.

15. Fall Foliage Sailing Tours & Cruises ★

One of the best things to do in New York in November is to see our fall foliage, and what better way to take in the sights than from the water? Breath in the crisp air while admiring the unique city and nature views from the sea! Some of these tours/cruises have food and drinks available. And most offer both outdoor and indoor seating, so no need to worry if it’s a chilly day.

  • Sunset Cruise: See the skyline glow as you sip on your complimentary drink during this 2-hour schooner cruise. 
  • Sailboat Cruise to Statue of Liberty: Take in cityscape views and sail past NYC’s most famous landmark as you enjoy your complimentary beverage.
  • Fall Foliage Sail: Spend half a day along the Hudson River, admiring gorgeous fall colors and sipping on delicious hot cocoa! 
  • Hudson River Cruise: For 2.5 hours, take in New York’s impressive fall foliage as you cruise along the Hudson River. 
  • Manhattan Island Cruise: Circle the entire borough on this 2.5 hour cruise, taking in key landmarks and stunning views. 
  • Statue of Liberty Cruise: Cruise past the Statue of Liberty, sail underneath the Brooklyn Bridge, and see NYC’s iconic skyline from a whole new perspective.

16. Catch the New York Comedy Festival

For guaranteed laughter, this is one of the best New York events in November! Over the course of 10 days, over 200 comedians perform throughout the 5 boroughs. Both well known comedians and newcomers take part in the festival, making it a great opportunity to see your favorites, as well as discover new performers.

17. Long Island Wine Tours from NYC

If you’re craving a break from the hustle of New York, November is a great time of year to head to Long Island for a day of wine tastings!

  • Long Island Wine Tour: Sample wines from three different vineyards, along with a delicious picnic lunch on this day trip from NYC.
  • Wine Country Tour: Enjoy roundtrip transportation from the city to two different wineries, as well as a farmer’s market stop.  

18. Black Friday Shopping in NYC 

This yearly tradition on the Friday after Thanksgiving is pure chaos, with frenzied crowds in every store. My advice would be to stick to online shopping, but if you’re eager to take advantage of Black Friday sales in person, these are the best areas to go shopping in NYC:

  • SoHo: Find any and every trendy store between these charming cobblestone streets, including Reformation, Aritzia, Lululemon and many more.
  • Hudson Yards Mall: Your one-stop-shop for luxury designers, as well as standard stores like H&M and Zara.
  • Fifth Avenue: Expensive designers, regular stores, and large department stores like Saks and Bergdorf Goodman are all found along this iconic avenue.
  • Williamsburg: For a slightly more low-key experience, this Brooklyn neighborhood has tons of popular stores like Nike, Everlane, Madewell and Alo.
  • Tourist neighborhoods: Visit 34th street for the famous Macy’s Herald Square, find Bloomingdales on 59th Street, head up to Columbus Circle for the Time Warner Mall, or brave Times Square for massive, mainstream stores like Nike, Forever 21, and H&M. 

19. Rockefeller Center Tree + Saks Fifth Ave

On the week after Thanksgiving, hundreds flock to Rockefeller Center to witness the annual lighting of the Christmas tree. That week, you can also watch the famous Saks Fifth Ave Light Show, as countless LED lights are synchronized to holiday music, transforming the flagship store’s facade. These are two of the biggest events in New York in November, and worth checking out if you’re in NYC towards the end of the month.

20. Go to NYC’s Best Museums 

If you’re wondering what to do in NYC in November on a rainy or chillier day, then head to a museum! With over 100 museums in NYC to visit, you’ll have no problem finding one to pass the afternoon.

  • 9/11 Museum: This somber, lower Manhattan museum documents the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks, including first-person accounts, multimedia displays, and a historical exhibit.
  • El Museo del Barrio: Through diverse exhibitions and collections, this Upper East Side museum showcases and preserves the art and culture of Puerto Rican and Latin Americans in the United States.
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art: With over 5,000 years of art from across the globe, this iconic Upper East Side museum is a must visit. You can book this tour for a guided experience.
  • Museum of Modern Art (MOMA): Admire the works of Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock and Van Gogh at this famous, Midtown East museum. 
  • Museum of Natural History: With jaw-dropping exhibits and a standout planetarium, this Upper West Side museum is a must visit for science and history lovers. You can also visit by booking a private guided tour.

21. Go on a Westchester Day Trip

Only 30 minutes from Grand Central and bordering the Bronx, there are so many things to do in Westchester, no matter if you’re in the mood for a hike, museum visit, or afternoon at a brewery!

22. Big Apple Film Festival

One of the most popular November events in NYC for cinephiles, this festival highlights NYC’s thriving independent film community, along with carefully selected films from across the globe. A variety of films are screened at the SVA theater, along with a screenplay contest, industry jurors, and special industry events. You can view the film line up and purchase tickets directly from the festival’s website.

23. Fall Walking Tours in NYC

Pleasant autumn temperatures make a walking tour one of the best things to do in NYC in November!

  • Soho, Little Italy and Chinatown: For 2 hours, explore vibrant downtown neighborhoods while learning about the history of the city’s immigration and past gang violence.
  • Gangsters and Ghosts: Take a historic tour of NYC’s crimes, gangsters, and haunted buildings on this eclectic, 2 hour tour through several downtown neighborhoods.
  • Walking Food Tour: Eat your way through Greenwich Village or Little Italy and Chinatown on this small group tour, as your guide tells stories of NYC’s history.

24. Take the City Ferries (Local Hidden Gem)

What many people don’t realize, is that NYC is made of islands, with the exception of the Bronx being mainland. Because of this, there are several ferries connecting each borough, and they’re such a romantic way to move around, especially in November in NYC. Some of us will take a ferry just for the vibe. But also, to avoid traffic and train stress. Win-win!

  • Staten Island Ferry: This free ferry operates 24/7, and runs between Staten Island and lower Manhattan every 15-30 minutes.
  • Governor’s Island Route: For $4, take a 10 minute ferry ride from lower Manhattan or Brooklyn to this gorgeous, green oasis.
  • Rockaway Route: From Pier 11 and stopping at Sunset Park in Brooklyn, this is the most picturesque route to reach Rockaway Beach.
  • Astoria Route: Connecting Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, this route includes 7 stops and is perfect for admiring epic views from the East River.

25. New York Catacombs

For one of the spookier things to do in November, join this tour of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral’s catacombs. As your guide leads you by candlelight, they’ll explain the church’s fascinating history. This 1.5 hour tour is a unique way to explore and learn about an area that is usually off limits to visitors.

About the Author: Shea Glaser

Shea was born in NYC and has called the city home for most of her life. Her work as a travel-focused content creator has taken her around the globe, but her heart always brings her back home to New York City. You can usually find her drinking coffee in Brooklyn, hiking somewhere Upstate, or running up to pet a stranger’s dog. Follow her on Instagram @sheaglaser.

Our Related Blog Posts for NYC Travel:

If you loved this blog post on what to do in NYC in November check out these:

Sharing is caring!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *