Your weekend plans begin here, with a couple of dozen FREE and cheap things to do this mid-November weekend, including the first of the Christmas holiday crafts markets, international film festivals and more.
We’re exhausted already, and the weekend hasn’t even started yet!
There’s so much to see and do in NYC and never enough time to see and do it all.
All events are FREE and family-friendly, unless otherwise noted.
The NYC on the Cheap motto is get more NYC for less money.
Let’s hope the weather cooperates with outdoor events, but if it doesn’t, here are some rainy day activities in NYC, besides re-arranging your sock drawer.
Know Before You Go
Be sure to check the street closures advisory so you are not stuck in traffic.
This extraordinary annual design competition is also the most unique food charity in the world.
Canstruction, in the Atrium at Brookfield Place, challenges teams of architects, engineers, and contractors to build sculptures made entirely out of unopened cans of food. The large scale structures are placed on display and later donated to City Harvest for distribution to those in need.
Canstruction is FREE, but organizers request all visitors to bring a full can of healthy food (or several) to donate to City Harvest. There is a large collection bin next to the Information Desk located on the second level.
It is best to enter through the doors at 230 Vesey Street where you will see the first of the structures.
- FREE November 7-21 at Brookfield Place (formerly Winter Garden)
More than two dozen feature films and documentaries about life in Israel, including one about an award-winning Arab chef, another about the interdependence of the Israeli and Palestinean medical care, and another about a young Palestinean girl who lives in a refugee camp in Lebanon.
That’s why it’s called the Other Israel Film Festival, because it focuses on lesser-known aspects of life in the Mideast.
- The festival is Nov. 14-21, with screenings in three locations – two in Manhattan and one in Downtown Brooklyn.
- Tickets are $15-$18, student tickets (with a valid ID) are $7.50
- Click here for schedules, trailers and additional information.
What to do in NYC on Friday
Umani Burger is celebrating its new menu additions by giving away FREE burgers and fries, one order per customer, plus the chance to win free burgers for a year.
This freebie is one day only, Friday, Nov. 15th, and only at the chain’s location at Hudson Eats in Brookfield Place in Lower Manhattan, just steps from Canstruction.
What to do in NYC Friday through Sunday
This three-day event showcases the best of Japanese pop culture.
Anime NYC brings anime fans and publishers together for three days of unique exhibits, exclusive screenings, extensive panels, and appearances by some of the biggest creators in Japan, celebrating Japanese animation, manga, and cosplay.
Anime NYC is powered by Crunchyroll and will feature Crunchyroll, Aniplex, Bandai Namco, Funimation, HIDIVE, Kinokuniya Bookstore, Kodansha Comics, Sentai Filmworks, SUNRISE, Tokyo Otaku Mode, Yen Press, Vertical, VIZ Media, and more. If you don’t know what those are, you are not an Amine fan.
- A three-day pass is $85. One-day tickets are $60 for Friday or Sunday, and $75 for Saturday.
- At the Javits Convention Center. Click here for more information.
What to do in NYC on Saturday or Sunday
Nibble and sample your way through dozens of chocolatiers, artisans, pastry chefs, experts, and businesses throughout the world who have one thing in common: their passion for all things chocolate.
And when you are finished nibbling, do some shopping. There must be a chocoholic on your holiday gift list
What to do in NYC on Saturday
The Thunderbird American Indian Dancers holds its our annual pre-holiday auction of handmade Native American items, including jewelry, leather goods, baskets, rattles, clothing and blankets.
It’s a great opportunity to get well-priced, one-of-a-kind gifts, and you’ll be supporting Native American education in the bargain.
- Saturday, 8pm to around 10pm at The American Indian Community House, 39 Eldridge Street (4th floor), in Manhattan (just north of Canal Street).
- Additional information at ThunderbirdAmericanIndianDancers.org.
Additional special holiday crafts markets on Saturday:
Hollyberry Craft Fair
- 10am-4pm, Park Slope United Methodist Church, 410 6th Ave.
The Market at Brooklyn Museum
- 11am-6pm 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn
Best Museum Exhibits for Kids
This popular display is back at the American Museum of Natural History for its 22nd season with more than 500 butterflies fluttering among colorful tropical flowers and lush green vegetation.
The butterflies are from farms in Florida, Costa Rica, Kenya, Thailand, Malaysia, Ecuador, and Australia.
Beyond being just beautiful, butterflies are important harbingers of environmental change, and the exhibit includes an educational component about the roles butterflies play in ecosystems and the importance of protecting them.
- At AMNH through May 2020
- FREE with museum admission
Experience the world’s largest display of LEGO® art.
Artist Nathan Sawaya created more than 100 pieces for this exhibition using only LEGO bricks. The collection features original pieces, as well as re-imagined versions of some of the world’s most famous art masterpieces, including the famous painting known as Scream.
More than one million LEGO bricks were used to create Sawaya’s sculptures.
In addition to the LEGO artworks on display, there are activity stations where kids of all ages can create and design their own.
- Art & Architecture – Recreate famous building, bridges and structures using LEGO bricks.
- Hidden Hands – Build a mystery object inside a covered box using only your sense of touch.
- Assistive Devices – Design a tool that will allow you to pick up an object on a post through a series of various sized windows.
- Describe It – Build a simple object out of view and describes the object to your friend. Then, see if your friend can build the same object based only on the description.
- Six Bricks – Find out how many different things you can build using only six LEGO Duplo bricks.
- LEGO Drag Race – Build a LEGO brick car and test it out on ramps of different inclines.
- Tilt Maze – Rearrange straight LEGO “bar” bricks to create a maze for a wooden ball to navigate through on a tilt-table.
- LEGO Music Box – Create your own unique song using a special LEGO baseplate. On the baseplate, horizontal lines represent different “tracks,” and vertical columns represent the eight “beats.” Use different colored LEGO bricks as instruments or notes/pitches to create your song. Then put the visual representation of your song under a camera, where simple image processing algorithms will turn it into music.
Art of the Brick is at the New York Hall of Science in Flushing Meadow Park.
- $7 per person, plus NYSCI admission.
- Take the 7 train to the 111th St. station.