9 Actually Fun Things to Do in New York This Weekend
Ride a giant Ferris wheel in the heart of Times Square.
By Juliet Izon – Thrillist
“Well kids, we’ve got a new Governor and it’s the end of August. And since we’re still spinning from the speed of both of those events, there’s only one thing to do: party like it’s the weekend because… it is.
And there is a lot to cram into these last few days of August, whether it’s a rooftop bar on Roosevelt Island (you heard that right), a giant Ferris wheel in the middle of Times Square, or a brand-new bistro airlifted seemingly straight from Paris. Read on for nine actually fun things to do, eat, and see this weekend in NYC.”
Grab Vietnamese food from a beloved pop-up
Friday, August 27 and Saturday, August 28
Rejoice: Ha’s Đặc Biệt, a popular Vietnamese food concept, has a brand-new location. Beginning on August 26 for a month-long stint, the pop-up shop will be operating out of KIT in Prospect Heights. Expect aromatic dishes like steamers served with lemongrass and shallot butter, plus booze from Black Cat Wines. Note: the dinners are first come, first served, but takeout is also available.
Cost: Prices vary
Escape to Paris at this new bistro
Jonathan Benno may be one of NYC’s most accomplished chefs, but until now, he’s never tried his hand at French bistro food. That all changes with the opening of Bar Benno this Friday at The Evelyn hotel. The menu will offer many French classics, including escargot with a garlic custard and parsley butter, and prime rib topped with Bordelaise sauce. Wash it all down with drinks made by Anibal Calcagno (Hancock St.); we like the Death by Ramos made with gin, absinthe, citrus, cream, egg white, and Champagne.
Cost: Entrees from $32
Sip rooftop cocktails with sweeping city views
Earlier this year, the opening of Graduate Roosevelt Island brought a serious dose of cool to the otherwise sleepy enclave. Now, there’s even a bigger reason to cross the Roosevelt Island Bridge: the hotel has opened Panorama Room, an 18th floor bar and lounge with sweeping city views. The very ‘gram-friendly space features 168 seats, a red marble bar, and retro velvet seating, plus sparkling and fortified wines, and innovative takes on martinis, like the draft espresso.
Cost: Cocktails from $16
Ride a giant Ferris wheel in the heart of Times Square
If you’re not going to make it to the county fair this year, we have the next best thing: a giant, 110-foot carnival ride in Times Square. The Times Square Wheel offers thrill seekers a chance to experience one of the most famous intersections in the world from a brand-new vantage point, namely, an extremely high one. Don’t forget to bring along friends to the Ferris wheel, either: each gondola can accommodate up to six people. We’re not saying you should have a mini-wedding wedding on one, but we’re not not saying that either?
Cost: Tickets from $20
Stock up on Jewish New Year sweets a little early
We know, we know, Rosh Hashanah isn’t technically until September 6th, but we’d like to make sampling your desserts ahead of time a new tradition. And, as any New Yorker worth their babka knows, there is nowhere better to snag Jewish holiday goodies than Breads Bakery. Their New Year treats are available starting this week; we love The Crown Medjool (get it?), a wreath-shaped laminated pastry with date and cardamom filling, and the stunning apple challah, stuffed with fruit and almond cream. While you can pick up in-store, we recommend preordering to avoid the crushing disappointment of watching someone else scoop up the last honey cake.
Cost: Pastries from $13.65https://38f7833e771d23048265ea780369e4ff.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
Get your fix of lumpia during Filipino Restaurant Week
Those who love Filipino food know its sweet-sour-salty flavors cannot be found anywhere else. So, whether you’re well-versed in pansit or have never tried chicken adobo, Filipino Restaurant Week offers all diners a chance to explore this unique cuisine. Participating restaurants, including Purple Yam, Bilao, and Flip Sigi, will serve three-course meals which all feature this year’s key ingredient: calamansi, a refreshing Filipino lime. And for more Filipino eateries in town, check out our list of the best in NYC.
Cost: Prices vary
Check out a pop-up festival that celebrates the benefits of sound on mental health
We all know music can influence our moods, but how much do you know about how sound affects your body and mind? Find out at Sounds Nice, a five-week event that explores all the ways sound can affect your mental wellbeing. Events this weekend include seminars on the science behind sound bowls, a Shabbat dinner with a live musical performance, and even a combo HIIT workout and sound meditation.
Cost: Tickets from $30 per person
Raise funds for NYC’s LGBTQ community during this monthlong event
Sunday, August 29
Starting this Sunday, the 275 Challenge encourages participants to push themselves physically or creatively for 27.5 days, while also raising funds for The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center. There are four types of challenges available (cycling, running, walking, or creating) and those who join can set their own goal, whether it be a mileage number or baking a cake every day. And, if you need extra motivation, the closing celebration on Saturday, September 25 includes a lively party on Pier 84.
Cost: Free to join, and there is no fundraising minimum
Be one of the first to try this shared kitchen’s dine-in program
Lower East Side
Those in the food industry are familiar with Nimbus as a shared commissary space, but starting this weekend, regular folk will get a (literal) taste of what happens behind the scenes. Customers will be able to order from any of the businesses who operate out of the space and sit down to dine in a front-of-house space. And this ain’t your grandma’s food hall: some of NYC’s most famous restaurants are here, including Di Fara Pizza, Morgan’s Brooklyn BBQ, and Caracas Arepas Bar.
Cost: Prices vary
Want more Thrillist? Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, TikTok, and Snapchat.Juliet Izon is a contributor for Thrillist.
Thrillist, a site with tons of food, drink, travel & entertainment info, introduces folks to the coolest things to do in NYC (and other places when you are traveling). I like to check them out regularly. You should, too.
Best new restaurants in NYC
If you are looking for some of the best info on food and drink, restaurants and eating in New York City, then you want to head to New York magazine’s Grub Street.
Right now you want to check out: The Return of Restaurants
“Make up for lost meals. No takeout, no pasta kits, just 66 of the best new (or newly relevant) places to eat.” – Edited by Rob Patronite and Robin Raisfeld,
Here are 3 more of my faves:
Meet in Midtown for Hunanese
Blue Willow / 40 W. 56th St.
When this terrific Hunan restaurant opened last year just down the street from Trump Tower, the owners had trouble attracting customers because security arrangements limited access to the block. But true fans of Hunan cuisine — which can be just as spicy as Sichuan, with a broader array of sharp flavors — have a way of sniffing out talent and overcoming obstacles in their path, and Blue Willow gradually became a word-of-mouth hit, especially among Chinese Americans. Now, with the barriers gone, the restaurant draws diners looking for dishes like house-smoked Hunan bacon (thick swatches of pork belly stir-fried with cloves of garlic) and “snow red greens” (minced mustard greens riddled with pickled red chiles). —R.C.S.
Share Thai Disco Fries at a New-Wave Diner
Thai Diner / 186 Mott St.
It’s clear while sitting at Thai Diner’s packed outdoor setup on Mott and Kenmare that Nolita, a reliably bustling corner of the city that felt eerily quiet throughout the past year, is very much alive these days. At this, Ann Redding and Matt Danzer’s latest spot, they’re serving Uncle Boons (RIP) favorites, such as khao soi and crab fried rice, alongside cheeseburgers, fried-chicken sandwiches, and Thai disco fries smothered in curry sauce, which we recommend pairing with a notably strong martini while ogling the ecstatic-to-finally-be-out-and-about passersby. —R.P.S.
Gorge on Russian Spa Food
Matryoshka at Wall Street Bath & Spa 88 / 88 Fulton St.
The Russian bathhouse isn’t just about cleansing; it’s about restoring and nourishing, which is why the indoor-dining ban hit the banya so hard. You were permitted to sweat it out on Fulton Street, but you couldn’t seek rejuvenation through hot borscht and cold beer. Now, after a few rounds in a sauna set to a screaming 220 degrees, you can once again bring your body back to life in a cafeteria with other dripping-wet patrons wearing very few clothes. Consider filling up on slippery Siberian pelmeni drenched in butter, fried potatoes slicked with enough garlic to qualify as a medicinal supplement, and Georgian lamb soup that will scorch your tongue for days, which means it’s precisely the right temperature.—R.P.S.
Also see Eater New York’s interactive map that highlights
these 66 restaurants that deserve your attention.