Everything Fun You Can Do in NYC This Weekend

Plus salsa lessons, restaurant birthday parties, and a ski-themed party.

The Great Ski Lodge at The Great Hall at Avant Gardner
The Great Ski Lodge at The Great Hall at Avant Gardner | Photo by Jarrett Birnbaum
The Great Ski Lodge at The Great Hall at Avant Gardner | Photo by Jarrett Birnbaum

New Yorkers might be loath to admit it, but even we love the hustle and bustle of Fifth Avenue during the holidays (just a little bit). This Sunday is an especially good time to swing by, however: For the first time ever, the Avenue will close to car traffic for Fifth Avenue for All. During the event, 48th to 57th Streets will be pedestrian-only from 12 pm to 6 pm; and you’ll also be serenaded by live music from local choirs and instrumental ensembles. Who says Midtown can’t be fun?

We’ve also got the details on the city’s most fun Shabbat dinner, a Native artists festival, and the city’s coolest new holiday pop-up. Read on for everything fun you can eat, drink, and do this weekend in NYC.

And for even more activities, make sure to check out all of the city’s exciting new restaurant openings and where to see the best holiday light displays.

Friday, December 2
Upper East Side
While we’re still mourning the shuttering of the wildly fun Sammy’s Roumanian restaurant, you can capture some of its magic this Friday at Quality Eats’ Upper East Side location. Sammy’s longtime resident performer Dani Luv will be hosting a series of three Shabbat dinners (December 2, 9, and 23) starting this weekend, complete with frozen vodka cocktails (an ode to Sammy’s famed vodka bottles in ice blocks), plus Festivus-themed drinks, like the Holiday Ham made with bacon-washed pineapple rum, clove bitters, and maraschino. Kosher? Definitely not. Reservations are available through OpenTable.
Cost: Entrees from $22

Friday, December 2, and Saturday, December 3
Pretty much since opening, family-run Winona’s has attracted a legion of fans. And this weekend, the restaurant celebrates its second birthday by bringing back some of the most beloved dishes from its back catalog. Think winter favorites like Tempura-Battered Skate Wing, Braised Lamb Shank, and Herb-Basted Prime Ribeye. We recommend washing it all down with our favorite quirky cocktail: the Forest Old Fashioned made with mushroom-infused bourbon, scotch, Pedro Ximenez sherry, and chocolate bitters.
Cost: Entrees from $27

Friday, December 2, 9 pm
Long Island City
One of our favorite monthly comedy shows is The Sav and Sal Show, a hilarious production led by best friends and comedy partners Savannah McMenemy and Sally Pineda. This Friday, the duo brings the show to Long Island City’s CK Studios, and the lineup includes tons of up-and-comers like John Franklin (Netflix's "The Circle"), Nico Carney (Netflix is a Joke), and Emmy Wilson (Kiss My Face). The event is BYOB, so feel free to get creative with your cocktail creations.
Cost: Tickets from $15.61 on Eventbrite

Saturday, December 3, 3 pm7 pm
There are few dance forms more exciting to learn than the traditional salsa, which has its roots right here in New York City. To learn more about the history of this Latin dance, head to The Bronx Museum this Saturday, where they’re hosting an all-level class with pro Talia Castro-Pozo, followed by rollicking live music from Johnny Mambo and Don Sonero. After, make sure to swing by the museum’s Swagger and Tenderness exhibit: portraits of South Bronx residents by local artists John Ahearn and Rigoberto Torres.
Cost: Dance class is free, but RSVP recommended

Midtown West
December is an excellent time to catch live dance performances in town. And one of our favorite companies, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, will be in residency at New York City Center until the 24th of this month, giving you plenty of time to catch their powerful and moving programs. This Friday is an especially amazing show: The world premiere of Kyle Abraham’s Are You in Your Feelings?, a piece that celebrates Black culture, Black Music, and the spirit of youth that’s found in all of us. And if you’re up for a double-header, don’t miss Ailey & Ellington on Saturday, which showcases four of the ballets Alvin Ailey created that were inspired by Duke Ellington’s music.
Cost: Tickets from $29

Saturday, December 3
Lower East Side
While we certainly don’t lack for fitness studio options here in the city, we’re particularly excited about this weekend’s opening of WhitFitNYC. Not only will Whitney Berger’s new studio have a full schedule of hot and restorative yoga, as well as pilates, it’ll be the only place to try WhitFit HIIT, an innovative class that combines elements of boxing footwork, barre, and bootcamp, all in at the sweat-inducing temperature of 80 degrees. The best part? On opening day this Saturday, Berger and her team will be hosting a full day of totally free classes. Just, you know, bring a change for brunch after.
Cost: Free

Saturday, December 3, 9 pm
East Williamsburg
Do you ever find yourself complaining that there aren’t nearly enough music festivals that are ski themed? Um, same! Luckily, this Saturday, The Great Ski Lodge Party slides into town at The Great Hall at Avant Gardner. Not only will there be music from buzzy acts like Shallou (DJ set), Snakehips, and Whethan, it’s also a costume party: Come dressed for apres-ski in your best vintage flannels, goggles, and winter jackets. But please leave the real skis at home.
Cost: Tickets from $77

Saturday, December 3 and Sunday, December 4
Upper West Side
The American Museum of Natural History opened up a revitalized Northwest Coast Hall earlier this year (we definitely recommend a visit if you haven’t been). In honor of the exhibit, the museum’s Margaret Mead Festival will have a special focus on Native voices of the Pacific Northwest. Saturday’s program includes short and feature-length films created by and featuring members of the Pacific Northwest Coast communities, while Sunday brings a series of short performances from the stellar Git Hoan Dancers.
Cost: Full day pass from $25

Roberta’s may be best known for slinging some of the finest pies in all of the five boroughs, but their flagship Bushwick complex has a lot more than awesome pizza. And while we’re a fan of their Tiki Bar any time of year, this week they’ve transformed the space into the first-ever Grinchy’s Holiday Pop-Up. Think enormous candy canes, thousands of Christmas lights, and plenty of tinsel, plus cold-weather specialty cocktails like Cousin Eddy Frozen Eggnog or Double Dog Dare Hot Buttered Rum. And if you haven’t loaded up on their famed margherita pizzas, save room for the House-Made Pretzels with Beer Cheese.
Cost: Cocktails from $13

Want more Thrillist? Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, TikTok, and Snapchat.

Juliet Izon is a Thrillist contributor.