Thanksgiving Weekend To-Do List


by Staff, 11/23/2011

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Will you be in the City after Thanksgiving with a full belly and some time on your hands? We have suggestions for a variety of things to see and do, most of which are great for families. The weekend following Thanksgiving is always great for shopping—be sure to check out our monthly Fashion Calendar for special events and sales. For those who are more interested in participating in the culture of the City, though, there are plenty of options: be a part of NYC’s most famous tree lighting, enjoy ice-skating, check out the cold-weather animals at the Central Park Zoo, get tickets to a sporting event, or visit MoMA, the Guggenheim and the New Museum for their biggest and boldest exhibitions. Who knows…you may even be able to check some gifts off your list while enjoying the downtime between holidays. For even more events, see our calendar

Ice-Skating Rinks
Ice-skating is synonymous with New York City winters, and the holiday season is the perfect time to enjoy a cup of hot cocoa and a spin around the ice. Ice-skating is synonymous with New York City winters, and the holiday season is the perfect time to enjoy a cup of hot cocoa and a spin around the ice at one of the City’s public rinks. Many offer inexpensive admission; in the case of Citi Pond at Bryant Park, it's free. See our “New York Skate of Mind” article for more information about all 11 rinks, including dates, admission and skate rental fees.

Carsten Höller: Experience

Through January 15
While many of the New Museum's featured artists may be described as "experimental," Carsten Höller has truly earned the label: with a doctorate in biology, the Brussels-born artist worked as a scientist until 1993 when he quit to focus on art, and his early career remains a definite part of his craft. Höller's New Museum exhibition, his first New York survey, will include pieces from his 18-year career plus a new light installation, a sensory deprivation pool and a twisting, 40-foot-high, 102-foot-long slide—built from transparent plastic—that extends from the museum's fourth floor to the second (and involved removing portions of the building's floor and ceiling).  Visitors will be able to ride the slide; the museum will offer helmets and elbow pads. For more information, visit

Maurizio Cattelan: All
Through January 22
The first retrospective of Maurizio Cattelan brings together some 130 works, examples of virtually everything the artist has produced since 1989, and presents them all en masse, strung seemingly haphazardly from the oculus of the Guggenheim's rotunda. Cattelan has been hailed as a provocateur and prankster, and while an ironic humor threads much of his work, a profound meditation on mortality forms the core of his practice. Included in the installation are Daddy Daddy (2008), which depicts the puppet Pinocchio floating facedown as if the victim of a tragic tumble from the ramps above, and Now (2004), an effigy of a serene and barefoot John F. Kennedy lying in state. For complete information, visit

Diego Rivera: Murals for The Museum of Modern Art
Through May 14
The Museum of Modern Art honors Diego Rivera with a retrospective of the Mexican muralist’s work, the first time many of the paintings have been exhibited at the museum since they were created there—in 1931. Back then, MoMA established studio space for Rivera and asked him to travel to New York City to paint; the process was conceived as a solution to the problem inherent to the artist’s methodology, since his murals were site-specific. During his stay in New York, Rivera produced, among other works, Agrarian Leader Zapata, along with his iconic mural in Rockefeller Center. This new exhibition collects eight of Rivera’s large-scale murals, along with drawings, paintings and other archival materials. For more information, visit

NIT Season Tip-Off
November 23 and 25
For some particularly obsessive fans, Thanksgiving week is not about turkey/Tofurky, stuffing and quality time with family members—it's about getting an early look at some of the nation's top college basketball teams. That's because the Wednesday and Friday bracketing Turkey Day are the dates when the NIT Season Tip-Off decides its champion. This year, such prominent programs as Syracuse, Oklahoma State, Stanford and George Mason hope to reach the semifinals and finals at Madison Square Garden, but must first fend off scrappy underdogs in the earlier rounds. For more information, visit

Third Annual Lighted Boat Parade
November 26
In what’s rapidly becoming a holiday tradition, the Saturday evening after Thanksgiving sees New York harbor glow with the electric vessels of the Annual Boat Parade. Tour boats, work boats, private boats, charter yachts and other seaworthy vehicles cruise around the harbor, decorated in twinkling lights to celebrate the holiday season. (If you’re looking, Santa will be on the Eastern Star Yacht.) Best viewing is from Brooklyn Bridge Park and South Street Seaport. The event runs from 7–8pm. For more information, visit or visit the event’s Facebook page.

New York Jets vs. Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium
November 27
By the time the surprising Buffalo Bills come to town, let's hope that Mark "Mr. Handsome" Sanchez and the Jets will have weathered the turbulence that left them under .500 at mid-October. From the looks of it, it will take the team's best effort to defeat their upstate divisional rivals. Check the Jets' full schedule to see what they're up to in December and beyond.

Winter’s Eve at Lincoln Square
November 28
Once again this holiday season, the neighborhood around Lincoln Square transforms into New York's largest holiday festival (for one night only). Beginning with a tree lighting in Dante Park, the Winter's Eve festivities also include many street performers, food from some of the 'hood's best restaurants and fun activities, inside and out, for kids and grown-ups alike. For more information, visit

Tree Lighting at Rockefeller Center
November 30
Mark the start of the holiday season on November 30 with the celebrated tree lighting at Rockefeller Center. The colorful and towering tree is a sight to behold, and the lighting ceremony, beginning at 7pm, always features celebrity guests, musical performances and more. The tree can be seen from the ice-skating rink below and is a must-visit for anyone in NYC during the holidays. For more information, visit

Columbus Circle Holiday Market
November 30–December 24
Central Park is a favorite holiday destination for many, both for its carriage rides through the snow and for the Columbus Circle Holiday Market. Located at the southwest entrance of Central Park, the fair is back this season, bringing crafts and gifts for all ages from more than 100 vendors. For more information, visit

December 2–17
Who said anything about hibernation?! At the Central Park Zoo, wintertime is when the excitement really begins, as the resident polar bears, penguins and other cold-weather creatures come out and play during the zoo's extended "Winterfest" hours. On select Fridays and Saturdays in December, you and your family can enjoy the Central Park Zoo's famous holiday light displays, take in a show at the Wildlife Theater, dive into some arts and crafts in the Zoo Gallery and, of course, get up close and personal with some amazing animals—all in one fun-filled afternoon. For the complete lineup of programming, please visit


related venues/(6)

  1. 1
    The Museum of Modern Art - MoMA
    11 W. 53rd St.
    Manhattan – Midtown West
    NY 10019
  2. 2
    Madison Square Garden
    2 Penn Plaza
    Manhattan – Midtown West
    NY 10121
  3. 3
    Rockefeller Center
    45 Rockefeller Plaza
    Manhattan – Midtown West
    NY 10111
  1. 4
    Central Park Zoo
    830 Fifth Ave. (southeast corner of Central Park)
    Manhattan – Central Park
    NY 10021
  2. 5
    Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
    1071 Fifth Ave.
    Manhattan – Upper East Side
    NY 10128
  3. 6
    New Museum
    235 Bowery
    Manhattan – Lower East Side
    NY 10002

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