9 Actually Fun Things to Do in NYC This Weekend
A new French and Mexican themed bar, Detroit-style pizza, and the much anticipated return of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
By Juliet Izon – Thrillist
“The week after Thanksgiving always feels unbearably long (remind us why we have five-day workweeks, again?), but we’ve finally made it to the other side. To celebrate this first weekend in December, we have plenty of cold weather-friendly activities for you. Instead of one fondue night, why not have two, or three? And if cheese isn’t your thing, what about a new restaurant and bar serving French and Mexican food? Finally, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater also makes its much anticipated return since the pandemic.
Read about all of these, plus other actually fun stuff to eat, drink, and do this weekend in NYC”
Cozy up for dinner at this new American bistro
In case you didn’t realize, it’s rib-sticking-dinner weather. And we can think of no better place to celebrate than the newly opened Marian’s on Greenwich Ave. Helmed by chef Christian Rowan (Eleven Madison Park, Le Bernardin), the menu features comforting dishes like mushroom cavatelli, roasted squash with brown butter crumble, and hanger steak topped with red wine jus. And for dessert, don’t miss the seasonal, housemade pop-tart; it’s currently a spiced quince and brown sugar-cream cheese filling.
Cost: Entrees from $24
Take a trip to Spain by way of Greenpoint
Outdoor lunches by the water will need to wait until next year, but if you close your eyes while at El Pingüino, you can almost smell the salty Mediterranean breeze. This new innovative Spanish spot from chef Nick Padilla (Alameda, Momofuku Ssäm Bar), bar director Mike Zorman and John Ortiz brings both Mediterranean and Latin American seafood dishes to Brooklyn, with plates like anchovy skewers with olives and peppers, or conservas (Spanish tinned seafood). Wash it all down with a variety of Spanish wines, or a glass of sherry, port, or amaro.
Cost: Tapas from $2.50
Grab a French and Mexican-influenced cocktail at this new bar
Endless Hospitality is the team behind popular watering holes like Goodnight Sonny and The Wayland, so it’s little surprise that their newest spot, Bar Lula, is already garnering serious attention. What sets this spot on First Ave. and St. Mark’s apart from others is its innovative menu: the cocktails and food here are inspired both by French techniques and Mexican ingredients. We recommend grabbing share plates like warm winter carrots topped with habanero pepper and crispy garlic, or agave-roasted squash with chorizo. As for tipples: expect unique takes on classic drinks, like the Mexican Mai Tai made with mezcal, Martinique rum, avocado orgeat, coconut, and orange juice.
Cost: Cocktails fromm $16; share plates from $9
Grab Detroit-style pizza at this Rockefeller Center pop-up
This is controversial, but we’ll say it anyway: Detroit-style pizza is… also good? If you’re willing to branch out from our beloved New York slice this weekend, we have the ideal spot to expand your horizons. Ace’s Perfect Pizza is a new pop-up from chef and owner Matt Etchemendy serving both Detroit-style square pies and Long Island-inspired grandma slices. Toppings range from the usual suspects—cheese, pepperoni—to more unique options like white sesame and in-season vegetables. Look out for the restaurant’s brick-and-mortar shop to open early next year.
Cost: Pizzas from $7 for a half-square
Treat yourself to a performance from one of America’s foremost dance troupes
After a far-too-long pandemic pause, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is finally back on stage at New York City Center. The three-week long engagement starts this week and features a repertory of premieres as well as Ailey classics. This Friday, catch the world premiere of For Four, a piece for four dancers accompanied by the music of Wynton Marsalis, along with Ailey’s Resident Choreographer Jamar Roberts’ Holding Space, a piece that was created during the pandemic.
Cost: Tickets from $29
Impress your family with gifts from this French holiday market
Friday, December 3; 6 pm-9 pm
Even if Paris isn’t on your agenda this winter, you can still go shopping like a true Frenchperson at the French Wink Holiday Market at Coucou. For one night only, Coucou French Classes and French-themed boutique French Wink will partner to offer a variety of goods sourced from the country, ranging from Bio Milk probiotic French skincare to Pompon de Brest chocolates to Tissage Moutet dish towels. And of course, you can expect plenty of French hors-d’oeuvres and sips.
Cost: Free with registration
Check out this circus on wheels
Saturday, December 4
Brownsville and Astoria
The circus is coming to town this weekend, but Bindlestiff Family Cirkus definitely doesn’t resemble the big tops of your childhood. Their Frostbite Follies Holiday Tour is not only performed on top of flatbed trucks, parade-style; the shows are also entirely free. The company’s aim is to bring the fun of the circus to the areas of NYC that were hit hardest during the pandemic or places that have minimal arts programming. Catch them this weekend in Brownsville and Astoria, but they’ll also be performing for the next few weekends in December. Expect all your favorite circus acts, from clowns to aeralists to foot jugglers.
Eat a pot of melted cheese for dinner because you can
There’s never really a wrong time for fondue, but post-Thanksgiving generally seems to be high season for the cheesy variety. This weekend, why not try your own fondue crawl through some of NYC’s best versions? First up: Austrian restaurant Schilling, which just launched a new fondue recipe made of local cheeses, apple brandy, and white wine and is served with seasonal meats, fruit, and veggies. Also reopened for the season is Hütte, the quasi-secret restaurant hidden behind Schaller’s Stube. They’ll have both cheese and chocolate fondue for guests looking to double-dip. If a more immersive experience is what you’re after, book a cozy yurt at the Winter Garden at The Standard, East Village; menu options include fondue, warm apple pie, and plenty of spiked winter drinks. And of course, no fondue lover should skip Cafe Select, one of NYC’s most famed places for that classic Swiss dish. Here, you can choose from six varieties, including a wild mushroom or dark beer.
Support locally owned businesses at this fair
Weekend-long; 11 am-7 pm
Looking for a present for someone who is just impossible to shop for? We got you: head to The Holiday Makers Show at City Point this weekend. The fair will feature over 40 different businesses (75% of which are women-owned and 25% black-owned), including cards from Black Lamb Handmade, Natchie Art’s pajamas for children and adults, and sustainable jewelry made from recycled metal by Mottive inc. And if that’s not enough to lure you in, there will even be a “hip” Santa worthy of the show’s Brooklyn location.
Cost: Free to enter
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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.
So many great things to see and do, places to eat and drink in NYC.
How to find them? Here are 6 more of my fave NYC suggestions:
Here Are The 5 NYC Restaurants On The NY Times’s Best Places To Dine In America For 2021 – Secret NYC
How To Celebrate Christmas In NYC: A Guide for Tourists – Gotham Mag
RiseNY Brings New York City a Flying Theater Ride – ThemeParkInsider
The 16 best beer bars in NYC right now – TONYT
Top 10 Secrets of NYC’s Upper West Side – Untapped New York
The Best Taiwanese Restaurants In Flushing – Flushing – New York – The Infatuation
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, Photographs by Dina Litovsky
Here are 3 more of my faves:
Eat All Your Chinese Vegetables
Fat Choy / 250 Broome St.
It’s one thing to offer a $335 meat-free menu for the one percent (see Eleven Madison Park 2.0). It’s another to charge $10 and under for veggie-centric Chinese food for everyone: the curious carnivores, the certified vegans, and the dedicated superfans like Deborah from the Upper West Side, who loves the food and the vibe so much she literally hiked down the West Side Highway from 88th Street to Broome and Orchard one recent Saturday afternoon just to tuck in to paper-boatloads of chewy rice rolls topped with gai lan and juicy bok choy showered with crispy fried garlic. We know she did this because Fat Choy is the kind of place where diners who have navigated the scrum of Lower East Side streeteries — bars, vegan-cupcake shops, more bars — start conversations with strangers to recommend dishes, offer bites, and generally share communal moments of vibrantly flavored, inventively conceived culinary bliss. —Rob Patronite and Robin Raisfeld
Sip a Sazerac in a Secret Garden
Villanelle / 15 E. 12th St.
This elegant Greenwich Village establishment has flown so far under the radar that many regulars (ourselves included) were afraid it would close forever when disaster struck. Miraculously, unlike with the still-shuttered Gotham Bar & Grill across the street, the opposite has happened. Owner Catherine Manning fitted the space out back with tables and little enclosed “garden rooms” that have become a hit during the outdoor-dining craze. The Sazeracs we enjoyed on a recent summery evening were exceptional, and you can also addle yourself with $9 cocktails during the new happy hour. The talented young chef Tyler Heckman (Ferris, Le Turtle) took over the kitchen last fall, and he’s slowly added the kind of variety and style to the aggressively seasonal menu (braised spring lamb on our visit, white-asparagus velouté, gnocchi with escargot) that threatens to turn this sleepy local favorite into a proper big-city dining destination. —Adam Platt
Sample the Latest Fusion Cuisine on New York’s Original Open Street
The Migrant Kitchen / 45 Stone St.
Long before 2020 brought alfresco eating to every corner of our city, Stone Street was a pedestrian paradise, and it still is, a cobblestoned car-free wonderland for outdoor pints, pizza, and mozzarella sticks. The Migrant Kitchen, which opened last fall, brings Middle Eastern–Latin fusion to this Fidi pub-grub zone. Owner Nasser Jaber, who operates out of the Dubliner bar’s kitchen, sends out sumac-butter-slicked fried-chicken-and-falafel waffles, mariquitas (fried plantain chips) nachos, and pastelon mahshi, a Dominican-style maduros-and-beef riff on the traditional Palestinian stuffed gourd. And since many office workers are still Zooming in from home, Stone Street feels distinctly chiller and less suits-y these days. —Ryan P. Sutton
Also see Eater New York’s interactive map that highlights
these 66 restaurants that deserve your attention.