8 Actually Fun Things to Do in New York This Weekend

Kick off the unofficial holiday season with a new Korean restaurant, ballet performances, and outdoor light festivals.

Coconut lime sufganiyot
Coconut lime sufganiyot | Photo courtesy of Breads Bakery
Coconut lime sufganiyot | Photo courtesy of Breads Bakery

If you still find yourself in a turkey coma today, we understand. But NYC sleeps for no one, so there’s plenty to do even during this extra-long holiday weekend. Looking to get a jump start on your gift giving? We have the perfect market for that. Want to make sure your first night of Hanukkah is extra sweet? We know just the places to pick up your latkes. Read on to discover eight things to eat, drink, and do this last weekend in November.

Weekend-long
Meatpacking District
We would say that a restaurant inside a luxury car storefront is a bit quirky, but we actually already have one? That being said, Genesis House is very cool in its own right. The space features, yes, a Genesis showroom, but also a teahouse pavilion, a high-end library, and the Genesis House Restaurant. That last one is the most exciting: it’s the first international expansion for the critically acclaimed Seoul restaurant, Onjium. Expect a menu that’s both traditional and innovative Korean, with dishes like a meltingly tender wagyu, noodles, and jujeonburi (snacks).
Cost: Dinner entrees from $38

Celebrate the festival of lights with these limited-time goodies

Sunday, November 28
Various locations
Hanukkah starts early this year (this Sunday!), so we hope you’ve already started your holiday shopping. You can also make sure the first night is extra special by picking up some delicious treats from some of NYC’s best spots. Breads Bakery (which just opened a brand-new UES location) will have unique flavors of sufganiyot like yuzu-basil and coconut-lime, as well as classic potato latkes, served with sour cream and applesauce. Daily Provisions will have more than just the sweet stuff: you can order a whole dinner, including roast chicken, matzo balls, latkes, and jelly cruller sufganiyot, plus exclusive gelt from Vesta Chocolate. And for a unique twist on Hanukkah brunch, head to the Clinton Street Baking Company outpost in Time Out Market New York for a latke benedict, served with house-smoked salmon and drenched in classic hollandaise sauce.
Cost: Varies

Weekend-long
West Village
If you’re a big breakfast person, you’ve probably seen the mouthwatering shots of Breakfast by Salt’s Cure’s oatmeal griddle cakes floating around the internet. And, as an early holiday treat, you now no longer need to hop a flight to California to try these decadent pancakes. Their new outpost in the West Village serves a full menu of these famed fluffy orbs, including the OG with toasted cinnamon sugar, and the Pink Lady Apple with whipped butter and spiced brown sugar. If savory breakfasts are more your thing, there’s also a fantastic egg sandwich with a sausage patty and arugula relish.
Cost: Pancakes from $10

Weekend-long
Greenwich Village
As all New Yorkers know, there’s no real season for ice cream; we see lines outside the most popular spots even during a blizzard. But cooler temperatures do bring about (paradoxically) warming flavors to the local scoop shops. This month, make sure to hit up one of our favorites, the always-innovative Morgenstern’s, for their new creations like salt & pepper pine nut, burnt sage, and cinnamon-caramel whiskey. And fun fact: the shop also carries some seriously incredible pies, like a pork-lard apple and a silky, classic pumpkin pie.
Cost: Pints from $13

Saturday, November 27
Times Square
If you’re tired of giving friends and family the same, old gift cards for the holidays, we have just the place to find unique gifts that support a wonderful cause: The Buy From a Black Woman Holiday Market, presented by H&M USA. The event kicks off this Saturday at H&M’s Times Square location, with vendors selling everything from skincare to stationery to home accessories. And if you can’t make it this weekend, don’t worry: it will be running for the next three Saturdays as well. Also check out our guide to shopping small for Small Biz Saturday.
Cost: Prices vary

Saturday, November 27
Lower East Side
Ask any fan of live DJs and dancing (so … a lot of New Yorkers) what their favorite spot is, and many will tell you House of Yes. Now, the Brooklyn venue has expanded into another borough with the opening of House of X at PUBLIC on the Lower East Side. You can expect the same hallmarks that made House of Yes one of the most popular clubs in the city: world-class DJs, like Rich Medina who is playing this Saturday; a trippy, elegant space designed by local artists; and artisanal cocktails mixed by the Salicetti Brothers (formerly of Apotheke).
Cost: Prices vary

Weekend-long
Lincoln Center
There are few theatrical events more awe-inspiring than New York City Ballet’s Nutcracker, which is back on stage after a long pandemic pause. This Friday marks the opening weekend of the famed company’s production, which features over 90 dancers, 42 musicians, and a one-ton Christmas tree that grows on stage to 41 feet-tall. It is a stunning celebration of the magnificent feats of which our city’s artists are capable; and it’ll make you extra proud to be a New Yorker.
Cost: Tickets from $60

Visit NYC’s botanic gardens for special holiday events

Weekend-long
Various locations
NYC’s beautiful gardens are not just reserved for warm weather strolling: some of the best events of the year actually happen during the winter months. This month, Brooklyn Botanic Garden has unveiled Lightscape, an ethereal, illuminated trail through the 52-acre grounds that features over one million sparkling lights. And over at the New York Botanical Garden, The Holiday Train Show returns for its 30th year. During the event, model trains whip through over 175 NYC landmarks, each made from natural materials like birch bark and lotus pods. And, if you stay until sunset, make sure to grab tickets for NYBG GLOW, an illuminated, 1.5-mile walk through the gardens after dark.
Cost: Lightscape tickets from $34; NYBG tickets from $32

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Juliet Izon is a contributor for Thrillist.