Don't have any plans for the weekend? We're here to help.
There are plenty of reasons to get out of the apartment and experience real life.
Here are our picks for things to do in your city this weekend.
Paint like Rothko (Dec. 15)
Learn about the materials and techniques of late painter Mark Rothko and make your own abstract expressionist works at a painting party from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday at Beyond Studios in Brooklyn. Corey D'Augustine, a Guggenheim conservator and teacher at NYU, Pratt and MoMA, will lead the session, which includes art materials. (272 Seigel St., $65 to $75, 917-975-9546, ArtsClubNYC.com)
Pac-Man tournament (Dec. 15)
Put your Pac-Man skills to the test Saturday evening, when Brother Jimmy's Murray Hill hosts a tournament on its 8-foot Pac-Man machine. The first 10 contestants will receive free gift bags, and the first 50 earn complimentary beverages. (181 Lexington Avenue, 7 to 10 p.m. EventBrite.com)
Sugar x Spice Holiday Makers Market (Dec. 16)
More than 30 independent vendors from the borough will be selling their handmade wares, including apothecary, home goods, jewelry, comics and zines, feminist art prints, handmade and customized clothing, tarot and spiritual goods, at the Brooklyn Bazaar. There will be special gift bags for shoppers when they arrive, a wintry photo booth, a free card-making station, and a festive cocktail bar. (1 to 6 p.m., 150 Greenpoint Ave., sugarxspicemarket.com)
Take part in a daytime ‘Jazz Age Tea Dance’ (Dec. 16)
Swap Brooklyn's signature indie sound for waltzes, fox trots and other dance moves your grandmother might be too young to remember at this Jazz Age Tea Dance with music by Michael Arenella and his Dreamland Orchestra. Arrive at 2 p.m. for a dance lesson with Lindy Hop specialist Roddy Caravella. ($35 to $70, 2 to 6 p.m., The Bell House, 149 7th St., Brooklyn, thebellhouseny.com)
Female-owned holiday pop-up (Dec. 15, 16)
Female-owned vendors and businesses will be in the spotlight at Soho's Artists & Fleas for a holiday pop-up shop this weekend. The showcase, sponsored by the We Are Women Owned events platform, will feature vendors like Indigo Pony, Social Sunday, The Style Theory Collective, Poppy Row and more from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. The first 25 guests to RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org will receive a We Are Women Owned tote bag and sticker. (568 Broadway, WeAreWomenOwned.com)
Cocoa & Carols Holiday Cruise (through Dec. 30)
Carol literally around Manhattan aboard a cruise ship decked out with holiday decor and full of wine, beer, champagne, and (spiked) gourmet hot cocoa. Classic Harbor Line's Cocoa & Carols Holiday Cruise takes off from Chelsea Piers and serenades you with live carols and a free drink. ($64, 5:15 and 7:45 p.m., West 22nd Street and Hudson River, sail-nyc.com)
The Strategist's holiday pop-up shop (through Dec. 23)
New York Magazine has made its foray into retail with the "I Found It At The Strategist" pop-up, which features the magazine's favorite health and beauty products, including a chlorophyll mask, a charcoal-infused face towel, Aubrey Plaza's Travel Kit, snail essence, setting powders and more, and has events that offer free blowouts, facials, makeup applications and master classes. (347 West Broadway, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., nymag.com)
'Christmas in Hell' at the York Theatre Company (through Dec. 30)
Old Bethpage native Garry Apple has done the book, music and lyrics for a new musical comedy, "Christmas in Hell," now being performed by the York Theatre Company. We're warned that it's more naughty than nice. It's rated PG13 for explicit language. (From $67.50, the York Theatre Company, Saint Peter's, 619 Lexington Ave., yorktheatre.org)
'What the Dickens?' Reading of 'A Christmas Carol' (Dec. 15)
Performers and writers are gathering at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe to do a reading of "A Christmas Carol" as audience members sip on hot cocoa, mulled wine and peruse the bookstore. All books and merch will be 10 percent off. (Free, noon to 4:30 p.m., 126 Crosby St., eventbrite.com)
See 'Rated X' films at the Quad Cinema (through Jan. 8)
Just in time for Christmas comes this 50th annual celebration of the MPAA's controversial, often misused and now-axed X rating. Titles include "A Clockwork Orange," in photo; "Klute," "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre," "Fritz the Cat" and "The Evil Dead." ($16 for single screenings and $60 for five-film passes, the Quad Cinema, 34 W. 13th St., quadcinema.com)
Handel's 'Messiah' with the NY Philharmonic (Dec. 14,15)
For this performance of Handel's oratorio, "Messiah," conductor Jonathan Cohen will lead the New York Philharmonic with soprano Lauren Snouffer and the Westminster Symphonic Choir, to be directed by Joe Miller. The rousing "Hallelujah" chorus will always get you in the spirit. (From $49, 7:30 p.m., David Geffen Hall, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, nyphil.org)
Walk the Village while creating an aural experience (Dec. 16)
Participants in "Unsilent Night" will receive a copy of one of four tracks to play via cassette, CD or Mp3 -- then everyone proceeds through Greenwich Village while simultaneously playing their portion of Phil Kline's composition. First held in New York 26 years ago, the event now takes place at locations across the nation -- but the original happening is still on. Dress warmly and bring your own boombox or other sound player. (Free, 6 p.m. but meet at 5:45 p.m.,starts at Washington Square Park and ends at Tompkins Square Park, unsilentnight.com)
‘The Hard Nut’ at BAM (Dec. 14-16, 20-23)
The season does call for performances of "The Nutcracker," but for those who'd prefer a fresher take on the tale, Mark Morris's "The Hard Nut" might be the right fit. A classic in its own right, this version of the ballet is itself almost 30 years old -- a reimagining resplendent with cartoony costume, modernized characters and comical moments, all set to the Tchaikovsky score. ($25 to $125, BAM Howard Gilman Opera House at Peter Jay Sharp Building: 30 Lafayette Ave., Brooklyn, bam.org)
'Too Hot to Handel: The Gospel Messiah' (Dec. 15)
This 'Messiah' is unlike any other. Introducing latin rhythms, jazz improvisation and gospel harmony, the Washington Heights Chamber Orchestra, the Fort Washington Community Choir, composer/conductor Chris Whittaker and others are performing the popular music in Washington Heights-style. Guest soloists include Angela Birchett ("The Color Purple," "Smokey Joe's Café"), Anwar Robinson ("American Idol" finalist, "Rent") and Yancy Garcia. ($15-$75; 3 p.m., 4140 Broadway at 175th Street, unitedpalace.org)
Christmas concerts with Trinity Church (Dec. 13-24)
Trinity Church Wall Street has a lot going on for Christmas this year, including a Christmas carol reading, a ceremony of carols, a Christmas Eve candlelight a midnight mass, and community caroling event.
Handel's "Messiah" (Dec. 13, 14, 16, 17): The Choir of Trinity Wall Street and Trinity Baroque Orchestra, with conductor Julian Wachner, will perform the classic at 7:30 p.m. on these dates, except for on Dec. 16, when it will be at 3 p.m. $25-$100.
"Compline by Candlelight: Ceremony of Carols" (Dec. 16): The Trinity Youth Chorus performs "Ceremony of Carols," Britten's set of ancient Christmas texts, at 8 p.m. Free.
"Comfort at Christmas" (Dec. 16): A service for those in grief or who have experienced loss can come to this service for meditative music, prayer, and a quiet space for comfort and support. It will be Led by the Rev. Alfred Loua and the Rev. Kristin Miles. Music is provided by Anne Damassa. Refreshments will be served as well. Free.
'Twas the Night Before Christmas' reading (Dec. 16): Assem. Al Taylor of Upper Manhattan reads the classic poem at the Church of the Intercession at W. 155th St. Free.
Community Carol Sing (Dec. 22-23): Head to St. Paul's Chapel to sing Christmas favorites with Downtown Voices, the Trinity Youth Chorus, and Trinity's new music orchestra, NOVUS NY, at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 22 and at 3 p.m. on Dec. 23. $10-$25.
Christmas Eve events (Dec. 24): The candlelight Christmas mass will take place at midnight in St. Paul's Chapel with carol singing, music by the choir and a eucharist by the Rev. Elizabeth Blunt and the Rev. Dr. Mark Francisco Bozzuti-Jones. At 3 p.m., the church will host its family eucharist with giant puppets, a children's sermon and the Trinity Youth Chorus. Then from 9 to 10:45 p.m., the traditional service will start with a 40-minute prelude of choral music and carols, followed by a choral eucharist. Free.
'Christmas in America' (through Dec. 24)
Industry City is celebrating the holidays with visits from Santa, a giant mural of the Grinch inside an elevator and a photography exhibit called "Christmas in America" by artist Jesse Rieser. The exhibit, which includes photos across eight years, depicts the different traditions and ways Americans celebrate the holiday season around the country. For those who go, Santa Claus will arrive on a forklift and take photos from noon to 4 p.m. on weekends. And don't miss the Grinch elevator. (Free, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., 241 37th St., Brooklyn, industrycity.com)
Metrograph Holiday Book Fair (Dec. 15-16)
Metrograph's Holiday Book Fair will feature hundreds of newly acquired rare and vintage cinema books, out-of-print monographs, periodicals and ephemera, including a biography of Barbara Stanwyck to treatises on film. (11 a.m. to 6 p.m., 7 Ludlow St., metrograph.com)
'Wreath Interpretations' (Dec. 10-Jan. 3)
Peruse through unique and unconventional wreaths from nearly 40 fine artists and designers who formed their works with piano keys, pasta, plastic bottles, various tools ("Domestic Artifacts" by Liz York, pictured), foam ears, tree tags and art supplies among other unusual objects. The exhibit opens with a reception Dec. 10 from 6 to 8 p.m. (Free, 9 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 830 Fifth Ave., nycgovparks.org)
FAD Market Holiday Edition (Dec. 15-16)
FAD Market's "Holiday Edition" can be found at three different Brooklyn locales each weekend in December from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and promises to show off "one-of-a-kind" items from more than 150 independent designers of art, jewelry, clothing, bath and body care, and more. (Free, the Brooklyn Historical Society at 128 Pierrepont St., fadmarket.co)
See an adaptation of James Joyce's 'The Dead' (through Jan. 13)
Immerse yourself in James Joyce's novella at "The Dead, 1904," with a production that will travel through three floors of a 1900 town house (stopping in the dining room where dinner will be served). With Melissa Gilbert and Rufus Collins, pictured. ($300 includes dinner, the American Irish Historical Society, 991 Fifth Ave., irishrep.org)
Dive into Warhol at the Whitney (through March 31)
In what the Whitney is describing as its largest monographic exhibition yet, this look back at the works of Andy Warhol is curated to show how the artist moved forward from a 1968 assassination attempt to grow, take even more risks and venture into creatives places even he hadn't considered. "Andy Warhol -- From A to B and Back Again" features works and materials found following his death in 1987, demonstrating that a man whose work often seemed before his time may is still extraordinarily relevant. ($25, Whitney Museum of American Art, 99 Gansevoort St., whitney.org)
See Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken's holiday show (Dec. 7-30)
It's a blast from the past, as the "American Idol" favorites team up for "Ruben & Clay's first annual Christmas Carol Family Fun Pageant Spectacular Reunion," an evening of holiday music and comedy. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the National Inclusion Project. (From $39, Imperial Theatre, 249 W. 45th St., telecharge.com)
'A City for Corduroy: Don Freeman’s New York' (through June 23)
A new exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York, "A City for Corduroy: Don Freeman's New York," provides a sweeping look at his life's work in three sections, "City Life," "Stage Life" and "Corduroy and Friends." The author wrote 40 books that included characters who lived and worked at well-known landmarks, including Norman the Doorman, a mouse who stands sentry at the art museum; Hattie, the backstage bat who lived at the Lyceum Theatre; and Maestro Petrini, the mouse who works at the Metropolitan Opera. But Corduroy, the stuffed bear in need of a button for his green overalls, is the most beloved. ($18, 1220 Fifth Ave., mcny.org)
'A Christmas Carol' at The Merchants House (through Dec. 29)
John Kevin Jones stars as Charles Dickens reciting "A Christmas Carol" as visiting New York City in 1867. The show runs Tuesdays through Sundays and on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Preshow tickets can be purchased for a discussion with "Dickens" over traditional Dickensian Christmas fare such as mulled wine and mince pies. There will also be Victorian carolers on Dec. 23 and 24. Go to merchantshouse.org for tickets -- regular performances are $30-$105 and preshow tickets cost $30.
Flatiron Cheer Dec. 1-23
Join in on a whole month of free activities and holiday-themed walking tours from the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership each Sunday in December. Catch free live performances and activities, including Winter Wellness Wednesdays and chances to win giveaways. flatirondistrict.nyc)
Accumulations: Hanukkah Lamps (through Feb. 9)
"Accumulations: Hanukkah Lamps," is the Jewish Museum's collection of more than 80 Hanukkah lamps that come from four continents across six centuries. The collection contains almost 1,050 pieces and was amassed over 114 years. Each lamp is unique in its design, decoration and the way it was created. ($18, Saturday through Tuesday, 11 a.m. to 5:45 p.m.; Thursday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Friday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., 1109 Fifth Ave., Manhattan TheJewishMuseum.org)
Celebrate 60 years of Alvin Ailey (Nov. 28-Dec. 30)
In celebration of its 60th anniversary, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is doing a monthlong stint at New York City Center featuring premieres from some of its lauded choreographers.The two-act ballet "Lazarus" (pictured) from Rennie Harris and "The Call" from Ronald K. Brown are part of the program, as is "Kairos," a contemporary piece from Wayne McGregor and "EN" from Jessica Lang, who is making her choreographic debut at Ailey with this, her 100th ballet. ($29-$159, twice on Saturdays and Sundays, New York City Center: 131 W. 55th St., alvinailey.org)
Get in the holiday spirit at Miracle (Nov. 23-Dec. 31)
Popular Christmas-themed pop-up bar, Miracle, is returning with four locations, including one in Brooklyn for the very first time. Each bar is decked out with fun and festive decorations, from Santa statuettes to sparking garland, packaged presents and fake snow. Themed drinks go for $14-$16 and shots priced at $7. One of the drinks, "The Christmas Carol Barrel," pictured, contains aged rum, Aquavit, Amaro, pumpkin pie, Demerara syrup, lime, vanilla, and Angostura bitters.The bars will open on Black Friday at Boilermaker at 13 First Ave.; at Mace at 649 E. Ninth St.; 505 E. 12th St.; and on the corner of Bedford Avenue and Grand Street in Williamsburg. miraclepopup.com
See two short plays by Ireland's Brian Friel (through Dec. 23)
"Two by Friel" features short plays by Irish playwright Brian Friel. "Lovers: Winners," is a 1967 work about two teen lovers (Aoife Kelly and Phil Gillen, pictured), and "The Yalta Game," is a 2001 piece adapted from a Chekhov story. ($50, The Irish Repertory Theatre, 132 W. 22nd St., irishrep.org)
Bill Duke retrospective (through Dec. 15)
In honor of his appearance in this year's action-horror film "Mandy" comes a retrospective devoted to familiar character-actor Bill Duke. Included are the vintage 1980s titles "Commando" and "Predator" (pictured, with Duke at far right), and three of Duke's directorial efforts, notably his 1991 period-piece "A Rage in Harlem." ($15, Metrograph, 7 Ludlow St., metrograph.com)
The art of jewelry at the Met (through Feb. 24)
Jewelry can demonstrate wealth or declare love -- but do you recognize it as an art form? "Jewelry: The Body Transformed" looks back through history to review the power and influence of extravagant adornments with more than 200 pieces, including "Oh I am Precious #7," pictured, by artist Eugene Pijanowski. ($25, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Ave., metmuseum.org)
Ride the Holiday Nostalgia Trains (Sundays through Dec. 31)
Swipe your MetroCard ($2.75) for a ride on a vintage 1930s R1-9 train, which will take you on a unique route, starting at the Second Avenue F station in Lower Manhattan and heading uptown along Sixth Avenue to Rockefeller Center before switching over to the Central Park West line with stops at Columbus Circle and 125th Street in Harlem. The trains, which operated between 1932 and 1977, feature paddle ceiling fans, vintage advertisements, incandescent light bulbs and rattan seats. Check out the schedule here.
Go window shopping
Soak in the holiday spirit by spending time in front of the city's many holiday window displays, from Bloomingdale's "Grinch"-themed windows (pictured) to Bergdorf Goodman's candy land. Check out what is up this year in our holiday windows roundup.
Free day at the Whitney Museum (Fridays)
Pay what you want to get into the Whitney on Friday evenings. The museum has 63,000 square feet of exhibition space and has about 15,000 pieces of work by artists like Willem de Kooning, Edward Hopper, Georgia O'Keeffe and others. (7 to 10 p.m., 99 Gansevoort St., facebook.com)
Drag Queen Brunch (every Sunday)
Make your brunch a little more glamorous with Toro Loco's Sunday Drag Queen Brunch, featuring performances from the city's best drag queens and live music, like electronic saxophonist @livesax. For $50 per person, you'll get two hours of unlimited share plates and up to five signature brunch cocktails each. (15 Stone St., 917-262-0444, toroloconyc.com)
Tour Ellis Island's hospital
Empty for nearly 70 years, this space, best-known as an entrance point for turn-of-the-last-century European immigrants, also has a history of holding the ill who arrived but weren't deemed healthy enough to enter. This around two-hour tour of the century-old disease wards shows how those treated and held here ate, lived and, sometimes, died. Dress for the weather; closed-toe shoes are mandatory. Not wheelchair-accessible; children must be 10 or older. ($75, 2 p.m. most Saturdays and Sundays until the end of 2018, Ellis Island: Statue of Liberty National Monument, untappedcities.com)