Rejoice — it’s officially holiday market season! Come shop or just enjoy the atmosphere as the holiday markets turn New York into a cozy winter scene. Not ready to dive into the holiday cheer just yet? There are plenty of other free things to do with kids around NYC this November, like the New York City Marathon, smashing pumpkins, Drag Queen Story Hour, the amazing Canstruction and more!

photo: Mimi O'Connor

The TCS New York City Marathon

We won't lie: this is one of our all-time favorite New York City events, and we consider it a must-do for everyone, kids and adults alike. Why? The cheering crowds! The signs! The costumes! The thousands of runners of all abilities from around the world and the triumph of the human spirit! Also: crisp fall weather, foliage in Central Park, inspiration—and an event that literally touches every borough. Kickoff is in Staten Island at 8:30 a.m. for the pros; Wave 1 starts at 9:40 a.m. 

Sun., Nov 3


Winter Village at Bryant Park

Whether you come to shop, ice-skate, or just enjoy the festive atmosphere, the Winter Village is a must-visit every year. Featuring cozy booths by local vendors, delicious food, and free skating (with a fee to borrow skates), the Bryant Park holiday market is the most enchanting after sundown. Kids can even win a free skate rental by visiting special "Read-to-Skate" reading events (details coming soon so keep an eye on the website!). 

Thurs., Oct.31-Sun., Jan. 5, 2020
Mon.-Fri. 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sat.-Sun. 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
Bryant Park
Btwn. 40th and 42nd St. & 5th and 6th Aves.

Fall Planting and Cleanup at Morningside Park

Volunteer to make the city more beautiful, one park at a time! Work with other volunteers to plant bulbs, rake and lead a fall cleanup at Morningside Park. Visit the picnic benches by the waterfall on 113th Street to find the group and get gloves and any other tools you'll need.

Sat., Nov. 2
10 a.m.-12 p.m.
Morningside Park Waterfall in Morningside Park

Fire Marking Camping Skills at Alley Pond 

Learn some camping skills at this event, which teaches kids how to (safely) make campfires, from the earliest methods to the most modern. Urban Rangers will lead the event and teach kids to be responsible and safe in their camping experience.

Sat., Nov. 2
11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Alley Pond Park
Near Union Tpke and Winchester Blvd Intersection

Pumpkin Smash at Corlears Hook Park

If you had fun decorating pumpkins for Halloween, you'll have even more fun smashing them up! Bring your pumpkins to the Corlears Hook Park for a smashing good time and for a good cause: the pumpkin pulp will go to NYC parks through the NYC Compost Project. (If you can't make it to the event, the website provides other locations where you can drop off your pumpkins for donation to the project.)

Sun., Nov. 3
10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Corlears Hook Park
397 FDR Dr.
Lower East Side

Halloween Tinker Festival at Lewis H. Latimer House

This special post-Halloween event is all about merging science and art to make some spooky, glowing creations. Guided by artists, kids (and adults) of all ages can participate in projects that will glow in the dark. Although the event is free, space is limited and RSVP is required.

Sun., Nov. 3
3-6 p.m.
Lewis Latimer House Museum
34-41 137th St.

photo: Canstruction

Canstruction at Brookfield Place

See spectacular sculptures made entirely of cans at this annual exhibition. Over 30 works of art will be on display during the exhibit's duration until November 21, when the sculptures will be taken down and the cans donated to local food banks. (You can bring some cans to donate, at well!)

Thurs., Nov. 7-Thurs, Nov. 21
10 a.m.-8 p.m. (10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Nov. 21)
Brookfield Place
230 Vesey St.
Battery Park City

photo: Drag Queen Story Hour

Drag Queen Story Hour at the 92Y

Teach themes of identity and acceptance at this fun storytelling event led by Harmonica Sunbeam. Drag Queen Story Hour is intended for kids ages 3-8 and has book readings, singalongs, crafts, and fun activities to get kids moving.

Sun., Nov. 17
11 a.m.
1395 Lexington Avenue
Upper East Side

Softball Clinic at Juniper Valley Park

Get your game on at this softball event, in which Baruch College Women’s Softball Team helps kids of all ages hone their softball skills. No experience is required, and all you need to bring is your sneakers and a water bottle.

Sat., Nov. 9
12-3 p.m.
Juniper Valley Park
80th St. and Juniper Blvd N.
Middle Village

Renegade Craft at Chelsea

Over 230 local vendors will have booths at this annual event. This holiday market with an artistic twist will have artists and designers exhibiting and sharing their wares. Enjoy the atmosphere and music as you browse the goods — maybe you'll find some perfect holiday gifts!

Sat., Nov. 9-Sun., Nov. 10
11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Metropolitan Pavilion
125 W. 18th St.

photo: Flushing Town Hall

A Chinese Lady at the Flushing Town Hall 

This culturally rich dance performance is inspired by traditional Chinese ink paintings and ceramics. 

Thurs., Nov. 14
7 p.m.
Flushing Town Hall
137-35 Northern Blvd.

Commemoration of the Battle of Fort Washington at Ft. Tryon Park

There's history all around us, and this event hopes to remind us of just one small bit of it. The event presents a family-friendly reenactment of the Battle of Fort Washington during the Revolutionary War. Get taken back in time with blacksmith demonstrations, military drill demonstrations, themed arts and crafts, and music and games from the 18th century. Got the perfect outfit? Dress up for a chance to win prizes!

Sun., Nov. 17
12-3 p.m.
Cafe Lawn in Fort Tryon Park
1 Margaret Corbin Dr.

Toddler Turkeys at Williamsburg Oval

Set the tiny turkeys loose on Thanksgiving arts and crafts at this fun toddler-oriented event! Kids ages 5 and under get to play turkey games, read turkey books, make turkey crafts, and discuss the meaning of Thanksgiving — turke… that is, being thankful for family and friends.

Sun., Nov.17
11 a.m.-12 p.m.
Williamsbridge Oval Recreation Center in Williamsbridge Oval
3225 Reservoir Oval E.

Grand Central Holiday Fair

The Holiday Fair is back for another year. Bring the kids for a fun shopping experience in NYC's historic Vanderbilt Hall. Vendors will include toys, children's (and adult) clothing, artwork and accessories, and so much more — all housed indoors and safe from the elements.

Mon., Nov. 18-Tues., Dec. 24
Mon.-Fri. 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sat. 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sun. 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
(Closed Thanksgiving; open Christmas 10 a.m.-6 p.m.)
Grand Central Terminal
Vanderbilt Hall
89 E. 42nd St.

Holiday Market at Union Square

Lit up and inviting, this iconic holiday market will transform Union Square into a miniature festive holiday pop-up village. The event is free to explore, of course, but you might want to come with a budget: It's a great placeto shop for trinkets, accessories, artwork, and more, or sip on some (non-alcoholic) gluhwein and eat delicious food served up hot. (Columbus Circle market will be opening in December.)

Thur., Nov. 21-Tues., Dec. 24
Mon-Fri. 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sat. 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
Union Square

photo: NYC Transit Museum

Annual Holiday Train Show at Grand Central

Can't visit the North Pole on a Polar Express this year? No problem! Watch the miniature train at this annual exhibit depart from a small model of Grand Central and make its way to the North Pole, against a striking background created by artist Ebony Bolt.

Fri., Nov. 15-Mon., Feb. 24
Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Grand Central Terminal
New York Transit Museum Gallery & Store
Shuttle Passage
89 E. 42nd St.

Macy's Balloon Inflation

The Macy's Thanksgiving Parade is a notoriously crowded experience, so you may want to skip on taking the kids to that. But you can still take part in the fun by watching the balloons get inflated near the American Museum of Natural History! Show up early (around 1 p.m.) if you want to beat the crowds or later to see more balloons but also face the crowds. 

Wed., Nov. 27
1-8 p.m.
Near the Museum of Natural History
West 79th St. and Columbus Ave.

Scrabble Tournament at the Sorrentino Recreation Center

How good are the kids' word-building skills? This event pits kids ages 8-13 against each other in a friendly Scrabble competition. 

Fri., Nov. 29
11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Sorrentino Recreation Center Accessible
1848 Carnaga Ave.
Far Rockaway

Christmas Tree Lighting in Central Park

The holiday season is almost here! Celebrate early at the Christmas tree lighting in Central Park, where the beautiful large tree is lit to last through until January.

Fri., Nov. 29
5:30-6:30 p.m.
Central Park
79th St.

—Yuliya Geikhman


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