9 Actually Fun Things to Do in NYC This Weekend

Early voting kicks off, Harlem Restaurant Week, a laser light show, and more.

Photo courtesy of ARTECHOUSE

Do you have your Halloween look picked out yet? With only one more weekend to go before the big day, it’s time to start shopping for the perfect face covering to go with your costume. Then again, if your face mask of the past seven months is also going to be your Halloween ensemble, there’s plenty of haunted houses and spooky attractions where you can go flaunt it.

But for this weekend, you can kick off the start of early voting in NYC, try Korean bingsoo shaved ice sundaes from a brand-new shop, find your new winter wardrobe at a curated vintage pop-up in Industry City, or take an eight-mile hike through the woods without leaving the five boroughs—we’ve rounded up actually fun things to eat, drink, see, and do in NYC.

Warm up at a ramen noodle pop-up

Friday, October 23, 6pm
Upper West Side
For one night only, ramen chef Shigetoshi Nakamura will be serving up piping bowls of noodles to warm your bones in this chilly weather. Only 100 bowls of torigara chicken, tontoro creamy pork, and spicy vegan sesame miso will be available, so make sure to get in line to slurp up the one you want. The pop-up starts at 6pm at comfort-food restaurant Good Enough To Eat and ends when the ramen runs out.  
Cost: Bowls start at $17

Get a jump start on early voting with a march to the polls

Saturday, October 24
Multiple Locations
October 24 kicks off the first day of early voting in NYC. Celebrate your constitutional right and make your voice heard by joining a rally with Plus1Vote, an organization dedicated to getting out the vote. If you're in Brooklyn, you can join a 10am rally at Grand Army Plaza, then make your way with the crowd to the polling place at the Brooklyn Museum; in Manhattan, the gathering starts in Washington Square Park at 12:30pm and moves to the NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts for the crowd to cast their votes. And check out our voting primer for more resources and tips to stay safe while voting.
Cost: Free

Eat your way through the start of Harlem Restaurant Week

The 11th annual Harlem Restaurant Week shines a spotlight on one of NYC’s best food destinations. Running until the end of the month, participating bars and restaurants are offering $25 prix fixe lunches and $35 prix fixe dinners, letting you take full advantage of the city’s extended outdoor dining (takeout and delivery are available, too!). Have a meal at a Harlem standby like Ruby’s Vintage Harlem or try out a new spot—it’s the perfect time to find your next neighborhood favorite. 
Cost: Prix fixe lunch is $25; prix fixe dinner is $35

Shop for winter looks at a vintage pop-up

Saturday, October 24 - Sunday, October 25
Industry City
The vintage curators at A Current Affair are bringing a pop-up marketplace of clothes, accessories, and jewelry to Industry City. This weekend, they’re featuring the best of the best from shops including Foundation Vintage, James Veloria, and Lady Lancaster. If swiping your credit card tends to work up your appetite, stop by the marketplace’s Taza Mkt pop-up for a bite. The event is entirely outside and socially-distant, so while the event is free, just know that entry may be limited. 
Cost: Free to browse

Try a bingsoo sundae from a new sweet shop

Multiple Locations
Lazy Sundaes, a brand-new bubble tea and bingsoo sundae spot from Tammy Na and Amber Luan, is bringing a fresh dessert to your Insta feeds. Bingsoo, a Korean treat that layers shaved milk ice with toppings, is offered up with traditional flavors like red bean preserves, matcha, condensed milk, and mochi, or new favorites like Oreo crumbles and gummy worms. While bingsoo is typically made to be shared, Lazy Sundaes is offering individual portions so your friends can keep their spoons to themselves. 
Cost: Bingsoo sundaes start at $8

Get that fall feeling from a 2,000 lb pumpkin

Saturday, October 24 - Sunday, October 25
The Bronx
The New York Botanical Garden’s Great Pumpkin Path is getting their delivery of absolutely humongous pumpkins this Saturday. With pumpkins weighing up to 2,000 pounds—that’s about the weight of a full-grown walrus or the Liberty Bell—they make the perfect backdrop for fall photos or a first date. After you ooh and aww over the squash, head to the Botanical Garden’s Thain Family Forest, the largest uncut swath of New York City’s original woodlands, for some fall foliage. 
Cost: Tickets are $15 for NYC residents; $22 for non-residents

Get the blues at an immersive light show

Chelsea Market
To celebrate Classic Blue, Pantone’s 2020 Color of the Year, the Celestial light show is bringing the blue hue to life. Made to be Instagrammed (wear blue to fit in with the theme, or a contrasting color to stand out), the newly-opened digital installation at ARTECHOUSE uses lasers and sound to create a totally immersive experience. All COVID-19 protocols are being followed, so get your timed entry ticket in advance to ensure your spot. 
Cost: Tickets start at $19

Take a hike without leaving the city

Sunday, October 25, 10am
Staten Island
You don’t need to leave the five boroughs to go on a brisk fall hike! Together with NYC’s Urban Park Rangers, this guided trail through the Staten Island Greenbelt starts at Willowbrook Park and ends at Great Kills Park, offering lots of opportunities for fresh air and leaf-peeping as you go. The hike is 8 long miles one way—or 16 miles round trip—so come prepared with good hiking shoes, clothes you’re willing to get dirty, and plenty of water and snacks. 
Cost: Free, but registration is required

Try new sandwiches from an LA fave

Downtown Brooklyn
Molto Stretto, a sandwich shop that’s a favorite of Los Angeles sandwich connoisseurs, is opening up a Brooklyn location inside Livingston Manor bar. With sandwiches like the Ill Papa, made with mortadella, capicola, chorizo, manchego, giardiniera, and dijonnaise, and the Spicy Salami with Calabrian honey, arugula, and parm, they’re slinging the perfect sandos to soak up your weekend drinks. 
Cost: Sandwiches start at $10

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Rachel Pelz lives and writes in Brooklyn.