Fall is on its way — which means that it’s time to break out the sweaters and scarves, get out the tasting glass, and prepare to experience some of the best food and wine festivals New York City has to offer. Don’t let your fall fly by without checking out one (or all!) of the city’s top-notch culinary experiences. Want to know what delicious extravaganzas are on your horizon? Check out the events listed below!
NYC Autumn Wine & Food Festival
When: October 10-13, 2019
Where: Locations vary per event
If you take food and fun seriously, this might be the festival for you. In its eleventh year, the Food Network & Cooking Channel New York City Wine & Food Festival (NYCWFF) offers food enthusiasts a chance to take part in a four-day extravaganza that explores the very best culinary experiences the city has to offer. It is the largest annual food festival in NYC, encompassing 500 chefs, over 200 sponsors and partners, and more than 50,000 attendees. The festival’s chefs pose a particular draw for attendees, as the event attracts some of the world’s most renowned chefs, culinary stars, and lifestyle experts. NYCWFF is as good for New York’s underserved communities as it is for the palate; since its establishment in 2008, the event has raised over $12.5 million for the Food Bank For New York City and No Kid Hungry.
If you choose to attend, prepare for a packed calendar — more than 80 events are scheduled to take place, including tastings, dinners with famous chefs, late-night parties, and culinary seminars. Tickets for specific events and days can be purchased online. NYCWFF also offers packages for weekend enjoyment and family-friendly ticket bundles. Note: attendance tends to be pricey, although the festival does offer some under-$100 deals.
Brooklyn Crush Wine & Artisanal Food Festival: Fall Edition
When: November 9, 1 PM – 10 PM
Where: Industry City, bldg. 2 The Landing; 220 36th Street
Experience classy foodie culture at its best at the Brooklyn Crush Wine & Artisanal Food Festival. Dubbed by Thrillist as one of the events “you absolutely have to do in NYC,” this fall food celebration offers festival-goers an expansive spread of wines, ciders, and hors d’oeuvres. Tables featuring top-tier light fare will be arranged throughout the Industrial City venue, allowing wine tasters to punctuate their sips with delicious craft cheeses, savory charcuteries, delicious international foods, and sweets. Upon admission, visitors will be given a custom-etched crystal tasting glass that they can use for sampling beverages during the event — and then take home as a souvenir!
All vendors will be providing samples, and many will offer full-size bottles and cases for sale. Some food vendors will also be selling their products — so if you like something, you may be able to buy extra to share (or keep) at home!
General admission is $55 plus fees — although visitors should note that tickets are separated between two scheduling blocks. Attendees can sign up to explore the festival from either 2–5 PM or 7–10 PM. Early access tickets cost $120 and allow visitors an extra hour of attendance. All attendees must be 21 or older to participate in the event.
OctFest: An International Beer, Music, and Food Festival
When: October 19, 3 PM – 11 PM
Where: Knockdown Center
Want the best of New York’s music and food — in one place? Check out OctFest! A collaboration between the entertainment magazine Pitchfork and the forerunning beer culture website October, this festival merges all of the best parts of concert-going and beer tasting into a single extravaganza. This event will host two music stages and a spread of beer tasting opportunities that span over 50 breweries from across six continents. Entertainment for the event includes but is not limited to performances by Mogwai, Dungen, Duster, and Control Top.
General admission will guarantee visitors a full 18 ounces of beer samples — however, attendees can purchase more samples or full-size servings if they prefer. Beer sampling hours will run from 3 PM to 8 PM. Buy early! Tickets bought online beforehand are $45 plus fees, while day-of-show tickets are $50 plus fees.
Harlem Harvest Festival
When: October 7, 11 AM – 4 PM
Where: St. Nicholas Avenue, between 117th and 118th Street
Support local business — and enjoy good food and great entertainment while you’re at it! The Harlem Harvest Festival brings the country into the heart of Harlem by featuring food and lifestyle vendors from across the borough. Want to know who makes the best pies, cakes, cookies, and brownies in the neighborhood? The Festival will host a harvest bake-off to settle the matter once and for all — or, at least, until next year’s competition.
When you attend, bring your family! The festival’s Kid Zone offers kid-friendly programming such as a pumpkin art station, face painting, a Children’s Baking Corner with Legendary Master Baker, Mr. Lee, and a gardening activity hosted by Harlem Grown. Other entertainment offerings will include live performances from DJ Stormin’ Norman/Sundae Sermon, DJ Smithy Boy, La Orquesta Majica Latina, and others.
This festival is free to attend — all you have to do is register!
Want more fall fun? Check out our blog on Spooky Halloween Events in NYC!
This city is filled with venues and event spaces, but there’s no hallowed hall quite like a comedy club. Whether seeing a legendary headliner or a night of up-and-comers, there are countless spots in the city where laughs reign supreme. These are our 5 favorite places to laugh it up in the city that never sleeps.
For those who don’t mind seeing their comedic idols (way) up close, this intimate Greenwich Village club might be the best attraction in the city. The smallness of the venue works to its advantage, with comic luminaries like Dave Chappelle, Todd Barry, Aziz Ansari and many more getting up close and personal with uproariously laughing crowds. With a showcase format, no set lasts longer than 20 minutes, and celebrity drop-ins happen often. When you’re at the Cellar, you never know who will stop by.
Upright Citizens Brigade Theater
The home of comedy innovation nationwide, Upright Citizens Brigade theater was founded in 1999 with a focus on the best in improv. More than a venue, UCB also hosts a full comedy school with classes taught by pros experienced in getting big laughs on TV and film. If you’re more at home in the seats than onstage, the UCB Theater features affordable high-quality shows at each of its NYC locations in the East Village and Hell’s Kitchen. Whether stand-up, sketches or full-on improvised scenes, UCB is always the place for what’s new and exciting in comedy before it hits the big or small screen.
Parked in the heart of Times Square, this is the appropriately premier landing place when the biggest names in comedy come to NYC. It’s not all boldface names, however: the club frequently hosts rising stars eager to make a name for themselves. In a city like New York, there’s no shortage of talented acts just waiting for their big break, and there’s likely no better environment to enjoy them than at this 300-seat, architecturally significant space on the Great White Way.
The Creek and the Cave
With a name that sounds decidedly dour, you might be forgiven for confusing this locale for the latest farm-to-table eatery in Long Island City. Instead, you’ll find Mexican eats described as “serviceable” and some of NY’s most scrumptious comedy fare. With multiple spaces and an expansive patio, this is the kind of place comedy lovers of all stripes can show up and find something worth laughing at. While you’re in Queens, consider Jackson Heights for dinner before you hit the Creek for a buffet of laughter.
The neighborhood that was once home to America’s original humorist happily carries on that tradition in the 21st century. At this Gramercy area club, however, the menu is almost as enticing as the humor. Home to a critically-acclaimed chef serving up high-quality food and cocktails, The Stand promises a night of great eats and belly laughs. Now that they’ve moved to their current location to accommodate larger crowds, rest assured you won’t feel stuffed in when you take your seat. That comes once you’re through with dinner.
Do you experience sleepless nights wondering about alternative names for the artichoke, the number of stars on the European Union flag, or who invented the rabies vaccination?
For New Yorkers looking for a nerdy spin on the usual night out with friends, trivia is exactly what the doctor ordered. These five locales are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to fact-filled nights on the town in all five boroughs. Study (and bottoms) up!
Indian Road Cafe
This rustic eatery is certainly uniquely situated–you’ll find it all the way at the northern tip of Manhattan, on the edge of Inwood Hill Park. 218th Street is home to one of New York’s most fun and fascinating trivia nights, with an appropriately colorful MC known only as Mr. Phil. Prizes for winners include t-shirts, free drinks, gift cards and more. A haven for the truly obsessed, Indian Road hosts a robust online presence for their trivia night, with a detailed scoreboard and standings.
This Chinatown hotspot might be best known for their creative cocktails and underpriced oysters, but don’t let the chic decor fool you. Every Tuesday this is the venue for one of the city’s most challenging and off-kilter trivia nights, complete with a $100 grand prize. Show up a little early to enjoy their unique happy hour selection before the Q&A crowd gets going.
Looking for even more gaming fun with your trivia? Parkside Lounge on East Houston Street may become your home away from home. Before or after the trivia rounds, partake in any of their other forms of entertainment like a photo booth, Pac-Man and foosball, an old-school jukebox and more. Bring 3 of your brainiest buddies, but no more than that–4 person teams are the strictly followed rule here.
Videology Bar & Cinema
If movies are your thing, arrive early to test your knowledge at Williamsburg, Brooklyn’s Videology: their trivia night is so popular that people are often turned away at the door. It might be tough to find a more appropriate place for movie trivia, as Videology functions as both a bar and an independent cinema, playing cult favorites and obscurities from every era of film. Winners of these trivia rounds can get rounds of free drinks or even a two-hour private party in the screening room!
The Strand Smokehouse
A neighborhood with some impressive future neighbors, Astoria in Queens currently hosts one of the most unique trivia spots in any borough. When the sun goes down, this hotspot for smoked meat and bourbon fills up with an audience hungry for the greatest sustenance of all: knowledge. Winners can earn a $50 tab, a round of shots or even a free day of rock climbing.
Want even more options? The city’s got tons, so you won’t have to rush to find a favorite.. There’s no shortage of quizzical fun to be had any night of the week, and no better competition than the multitude of minds in New York City. Better start studying!
Looking for more NYC nightlife? Read our guide to the Best Free Music Spots or keep it on the hush at one of the city’s Coolest Speakeasies.
The best things in life are indeed free, and no event proves that as well as a free concert. This being the city that never sleeps, almost every night of 2019 in NYC will feature a no-cost world-class concert experience for music lovers of all stripes. After we’re done ringing in the new year, there’s no reason to press pause on having a good time out in the city. Here are 4 hot spots to find live music that won’t put any stress on your wallet.
Lost in Music Pop-Up (201 Mulberry Street)
New Yorkers are no strangers to the coolest pop-up experiences, so when Sony opened Lost in Music this past fall, the free and immersive tech and music showcase was right at home. From now until February, visitors to this spot in SoHo can check out a walkthrough audio zone that has to be seen (and heard) to be believed. But come around on Fridays for the headlining event: live performances from artists like A$AP Ferg, Zara Larsson, and Lauren Jauregui, with many more still to come. The shows are simulcast live on YouTube, but as any music fan knows, you just gotta be there!
Bar Chord (1008 Cortelyou Road)
Music lovers who are a little more analog-inclined might look to Cortelyou Road in Brooklyn, where Bar Chord serves up great drinks with live music most days of the week at no extra charge. There’s a weekly Jazz Jam on Sunday nights, and a visit on any other night can find you jamming to salsa, hard rock, country and everything in between without a strobe light in sight. Right off the F train, the good times on offer make a trip to the Ditmas Park neighborhood in Brooklyn well worth it, no matter which corner of the city you’re hailing from.
Concerts At One (75 Broadway)
Visitors to Trinity Church in Lower Manhattan (right off Wall Street) are usually there to see a National Historic Landmark, one of the gems of New York City. Those who show up on a Thursday afternoon at 1 pm, however, are treated to a free classical music show inside the hallowed walls of the church. The Monday editions are held at nearby St. Paul’s Chapel, so twice a week tourists and NYC natives alike can take in a refined bit of culture, free of charge.
SummerStage (various locations)
While temperatures drop, it may seem like a long time away but this summerlong, citywide festival of free shows is always worth the wait. While the best-known venue is Central Park, there are annually around 15-18 city parks across all five boroughs that participate, putting on top-notch performances. Last year’s slate of performers included the Metropolitan Opera, old-school rappers EPMD and Big Daddy Kane, and enough jazz, classical, and world music vibrations to make fans of any genre get up and dance. 2019’s lineup will be announced in the spring, so keep your summer calendars at the ready!
Ah, summer in New York City! It simply can’t be beat—even when you’re beating the heat. Grab a treat from an ice cream truck, nap in Central Park, have a ball on Fire Island, and much, much more. Do you feel that NYC summer groove yet?
From cultural festivals to happening concerts to refreshing swims, the big city offers it all during this time of year. Without further ado, let’s take a look at six summer events in NYC that you absolutely have to attend. You should probably start requesting vacation days…like right now.
1. Experience literary masterpieces at Shakespeare in the Park
All summer long at Delacorte Theater in Central Park
Even if you didn’t forget all those awesome lines from Macbeth, Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, and all the other great works, you know Shakespeare is best enjoyed live. Bring some popcorn and soda to the 1800-seat Delacorte Theater in Central Park and enjoy a professionally-performed Shakespeare play—for free!
Free tickets are distributed every day there is a performance starting at 12 p.m. Check the performance calendar in advance, as tickets go fast.
2. Listen to the music at Panorama Music Festival
July 27-29 at Randall Island’s Park
Though Panorama Music Festival just launched in 2016, it’s already one the biggest music festivals in NYC. It’s easy to see why, with some of the biggest names in hip hop, electronic, and rock music coming to perform.
This year’s lineup is stacked. Feature acts include Migos, Gucci Mane, David Byrne, Charlotte Gainsbourg, DJ Python, Jhene Aiko, The War on Drugs, Lil Wayne, and numerous other great groups and individual talents. Clearly, you should be there, too! Grab a shiny glow stick, some retro sunglasses, and whatever other concert gear you need—and go.
3. Dance the night away at Midsummer Night Swing
June 26-July 14 at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Remember this saying: Summer is for dancing. Wait, is that a saying? Regardless, take those words to heart—and head to Midsummer Night Swing during late June and the first half of July.
The dance floor at Lincoln Center opens each night at 6 p.m. There are group dance lessons from 6:30-7:15 p.m., which are then followed by live sets. There’s also a silent disco party that starts at 10 p.m. (it’s quite the scene). Be sure to book your tickets in advance, as they sell quickly.
4. Watch pro eaters at Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest
July 4 at noon. at Coney Island USA
Admit it: You’re intrigued by what it takes to win the Mustard Belt. In the men’s competition, Joey Chestnut won the 2017 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest by eating an event-record 72 hot dogs in 10 minutes; in the women’s competition, Miki Sudo won by devouring 41 hot dogs in 10 minutes. Yes, those amounts in that time frame are mind-boggling—which is why the event is a must-attend. The contestants have a unique mix of true grit and highly expandable stomachs that you just won’t find anywhere else.
Even better, you can combine attending the hot dog eating contest with spending a day at Coney Island. Just thinking about all the candy, rollercoasters, and sand to enjoy at Coney Island should have you jumping for joy already.
5. Get out in the streets for the NYC Pride March
June 24 at noon, beginning at 7th Avenue and 16th Street
The NYC Pride March began in 1970, and is now the biggest Pride celebration in the world. In 2017 alone, there were more than 450 marching contingents. Famous celebrities, politicians, activists, and artists are always in attendance.
The 2018 theme, “Defiantly Different”, is about showing power and togetherness in the face of adversity. There are expected to be more than 40,000 marchers and 100-plus colorful floats. Grand marshals include Billie Jean King, Kenita Placide, and Tyler Ford. The march ends at 29th Street and Fifth Avenue, so look for a spot early somewhere along the parade route (or march in it!).
6. See dragons on water at the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival
August 11-12 at Flushing Meadows Park
The traditional Chinese Dragon Boat Festival (‘Duanwu’ Festival) commemorates the ancient poet Qu Yuan’s suicide with a spirited aquatic racing competition. In 278 BC, out of concern for his homeland, Qu Yuan jumped into the water and drowned himself. Local fishermen attempted but failed to save him by throwing rice dumplings to feed the fish (so the fish wouldn’t eat the poet). This is the history behind Dragon Boat Racing.
Each year in Queens, this history is remembered with the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival, where roughly 180 dragon-boat teams from around the globe race for glory. While attending, enjoy traditional food, martial arts demonstrations, lion dance performances, and more.