Your weekend plans begin here, with a couple of dozen FREE and cheap things to do this weekend before Thanksgiving, including Christmas holiday crafts markets and light shows, 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.
Last Chance – Closing Today
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 through today 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 through today, 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 and Saturday
In honor of Martin Scorsese’s THE IRISHMAN, now in theaters and on Netflix Nov 27th, the producers are taking over NYC’s Little Italy and transporting the neighborhood back to August 1, 1975 – the day after Jimmy Hoffa was reported missing (he’s never been found).
There are FREE giveaways at participating restaurants and bars – no purchase necessary – and other surprises.
Be sure to tell ’em Jimmy sent ya! That’s the password upon entering each location.
The Irishman stars Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Bronx-native Joe Pesci. It is rated R.
- The experience will be taking place all day on Friday and Saturday only.
What to do in NYC on Saturday
Shop local for the holidays. One of the best shopping streets in town is Bleeker Street, which has a one-day promotion on Nov. 23rd with participating retailers offering FREE bites and beverages plus special shopping discounts.
There’s also the chance to win thousands of dollars worth of prizes.
This page has the list of all the special deals being offered this year.
Participating Sip and Shop retailers include:
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.