Your holiday weekend plans begin here, with a couple of dozen FREE and cheap things to do this Veterans Day weekend, including the annual Veterans Day Parade on Fifth Ave., the first of the pop-up Christmas holiday crafts markets, 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
There are lots of street fairs and parades this holiday weekend, and street closures for the Marathon.
Be sure to check the street closures advisory so you are not stuck in traffic.
Opening Today, Thursday
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)
Even if you can’t afford a million-dollar-plus Pagani supercar, you can still appreciate the design, technology and speed of these drool-worthy hand-built Italian roadsters. Especially when you can look, dream and drool for FREE.
About $50 million worth of Pagani supercars, with individual models valued as much as $18 million are on display through Fri., Nov. 8 in the equally iconic Vanderbilt Hall in Grand Central Station.
- FREE, 10am to 7pm
What to do in NYC on Friday
Tune in to WOR Tonight, 710 AM on your radio dial, or on the iHeartRadio app, to hear drive-time anchor Joe Concha chat with NYCOTC Editor Evelyn Kanter about my new NYC guidebook, 100 Things to Do in NYC Before You Die
We’ll be focusing both on free and cheap holiday events and free and cheap things to do year-round in the greatest city on the planet.
- FREE, 4:30pm to 5pm
What to do in NYC on Saturday
Meet Me at the Queens Library
I’ll be giving a FREE talk about the best things to do in New York City, with a special focus on what to do in Queens
Plus, I’ll be autographing books, to give you a head start on your holiday shopping
- FREE, 2:30pm to 4pm at the new Hunters Point branch of the Queens Library
What to do Sunday and Monday
In commemoration of the 81st anniversary of Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass), when Nazis destroyed most of the synagogues and Jewish-owned shops in Germany, there is are special FREE talks at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, plus a public candle-lighting area
The museum also is offering FREE admission to the MJH Highlights exhibit, which includes Ordinary Treasures: Highlights from the Museum of Jewish Heritage Collection, The Pickman Keeping History Center, and to Andy Goldsworthy’s contemplative Garden of Stones.
The FREE admission and these two talks are on Sunday, Nov. 10:
World War II veteran Eugene Polinksy will speak at 1 PM, and
Distinguished Research Scholar Debórah Dwork will present the third annual Dr. Yaffa Eliach Memorial Lecture at 2 PM.
Two additional Kristallnacht programs will take place at the Museum on the following day, Monday, Nov. 11:
- Stories Survive: An Eyewitness Account of Kristallnacht with Ruth Zimbler at 2 PM
- Kristallnacht History & Significance: Talk with Natalia Aleksiun at 7 PM
All events are FREE, at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Lower Manhattan.
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.