New York City events calendar for January 2016. Best festivals, fairs, fun things to do, Martin Luther King Day events, kids activities, free entertainment, NYC, New York.

Best events for 12 months
New York City
Best events for 12 months
January 2016
January 2016

Enjoy the best New York City events, festivals, and things to do with this calendar of events.

Mileage is from Rockefeller Center in downtown New York City, New York.

Poetry marathon

January 1, 2016

2.3 miles south

Hear 140 poets read works from 2 p.m. until after midnight at New Year’s Day Marathon Benefit Reading at St. Mark’s Church in-the Bowery.

Polar plunge

January 1, 2016 (1 p.m.)

19 miles south

Join the Coney Island Polar Club when they wade into the Atlantic Ocean to celebrate the new year with a New Year’s Day Swim or watch from shore. Donation.

Christmas spectacular

January 1 - 3, 2016

0 miles

Radio City Christmas Spectacular is 90-minutes of dance, fireworks, and a flying Santa at Radio City Music Hall. Pre-show, meet a Rockette or Santa, and admire 10,000 crystals hanging in the Grand Foyer.

Winter in Bryant Park

January 1 - 3, 2016

0.5 miles south

Winter Village at Bryant Park has 125 holiday kiosk shops, an ice-skating rink open until spring, and a Tree Lighting Skate-tacular in Dec. Free unless you rent skates.

Holiday Train Show

January 1 - 18, 2016 (also Dec.)

12 miles north

Watch model trains zip around miniature New York landmarks made of plant materials, and enjoy kids’ activities at the Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden. Closed Nov. 23, 26, 30; Dec. 7, 25; Jan. 4, 11.

Stephen King thriller

January 1 - Feb. 14, 2016

0.6 miles SW

Bruce Willis and Laurie Metcalf star in suspenseful, stylish, and scary Misery at Broadhurst Theatre.

Gritty drama by Arthur Miller

January 1 - Feb. 21, 2016 (also Dec.)

0.5 mile SW

A View From the Bridge is a passionate tragedy about an immigrant longshoreman set in 1950s Brooklyn, at Lyceum Theatre. Discount tickets $59.

Blue Man show

January 1 - June 26, 2016

2.3 miles south

Blue Man Group is back with a new stage show that combines comedy, art, science, visual effects, and music at Astor Place Theatre. Discount tickets $59.

Popular musical: Fantasticks

January 1 - July 3, 2016

0.2 miles west

The Fantasticks is a funny and romantic musical entertaining audiences since 1960, at intimate Snapple Theater in Times Square. Discount tickets $15.

Family musical

January 1 - July 3, 2016

0.6 miles SW

Based on a book by Roald Dahl, Matilda the Musical is about a girl who dares to take a stand and change her destiny, at Shubert Theatre. Discount tickets $59.

Romantic musical

January 1 - Dec. 31, 2016

0.7 miles west

Based on a 1912 novel, Daddy Long Legs is a musical about a girl’s correspondence with an anonymous benefactor as she matures into an intelligent and witty woman, at cozy Davenport Theatre. Discounts tickets at Goldstar and Groupon and LivingSocial.

Fresh jokes

January 2, 2016 (7 to 9 p.m.)

8 miles south

Hear 50 comics each present a first new joke of the year at 50 First Jokes at the Bell House in Brooklyn.

The Nutcracker

January 2 - 3, 2016 (begins Nov. 27)

1.2 miles NW

George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker is a holiday tradition with old-fashioned costumes, a tree that grows before your eyes, crystal-shaped snowflakes, fine choreography by New York City Ballet, and Tchaikovsky’s captivating music at Avery Fisher Hall.

Daily tree lighting

January 2 - 6, 2016

1.7 miles north

Watch the lighting ceremony for a Christmas tree adorned with 18th-century Neapolitan angels and cherubs at the Christmas Tree and Neapolitan Baroque Crèche in The Metropolitan Museum of Art at 4:30 p.m. (plus 5:30 & 6:30 p.m. on Fri. and Sat.).

Cocktails at the train show

January 2 - 16, 2016 (see dates below)

12 miles north

Sip a cocktail under holiday lights; see model trains circle a miniature New York; and watch ice carvers at Bar Car Nights at the Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden for age 21+. Open 7 to 10 p.m. on Nov. 21; Dec. 4, 5, 18, 19; Jan. 2, 8, 9, 15, 16.

Free days at Wave Hill

January 2 - Dec. 31, 2016 (Tues. & Sat.)

12 miles north

Enjoy Wave Hill cultural center and its 28-acre public garden overlooking the Hudson River in the Bronx on Target Free Days. Free entry if you arrive by noon.

Star Wars exhibition

January 4 - May 30, 2016

0.5 miles SW

See 77 costumes worn in all seven films at Star Wars and the Power of Costume at Discovery Times Square.

Discount VIP tickets $28.

Experimental theater

January 5 - 17, 2016

2.6 miles south

See contemporary theater and dance performances and premieres at COIL in Performance Space 122.

Three kings parade

January 6, 2016 (11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.)

3 miles north

Children wearing crowns join real camels, sheep, a donkey, colorful puppets, musicians, and community leaders dressed as kings in the festive Three Kings Day Parade and Celebration in East Harlem. Free.

Boat show

January 6 - 10, 2016

1.5 miles SW

See new boats, marine gear, and accessories plus workshops and TV celebrities at the New York Boat Show at the Jacob Javits Convention Center.

Innovative theater festival

January 6 - 17, 2016

NYC locations

See cutting-edge theater from around the world, live and recorded, at Under the Radar. Some performances have post-show talks or after-parties.

New opera and theater

January 6 - 17, 2016

NYC locations

Prototype: Opera/Theatre/Now offers seven visionary opera-theater and music-theater works.

Squash championship

January 7 - 14, 2016

0.5 miles south

See world-class squash players compete at Grand Central Terminal in the Tournament of Champions.

Experimental art

January 7 - 17, 2016

3.8 miles south

American Realness Festival features 71 performances of 20 productions, plus exhibitions, mostly at Abrons Arts Center.

Travel show

January 8 - 10, 2016

1.5 miles SW

Hear travel tips from experts, browse hundreds of travel booths, watch cultural performances, and try international foods at the New York Times Travel Show in Javits Convention Center.

Alternative wedding show

January 9, 2016 (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.)

7 miles south

Find vendors of handmade items and innovative services for unique weddings at Lovesick, plus fashion makeovers, neo-burlesque performances, live music, and a bar in Brooklyn.

No pants on the subway

January 10, 2016

NYC locations

Liven up winter by joining thousands who follow the instructions for taking a No Pants Subway Ride, followed by an after party at Webster Hall. Free.

French casserole cook-off

January 10, 2016 (12 to 3 p.m.)

2.5 miles south

Taste competing chefs’ versions of this slow-cooked casserole from the south of France made with meat and beans at Cassoulet Cook-Off at Jimmy’s No. 43.

Jazz festival

January 13 - 17, 2016

NYC locations

Winter Jazzfest includes 100 groups playing at 11 venues in the Village. Buy a day or weekend pass.

Jewish film festival

January 13 - 26, 2016

1.5 miles NW

The New York Jewish Film Festival showcases films that investigate, record, and celebrate the Jewish experience at Walter Reade Theater in Lincoln Center.

Weird films

January 14 - 17, 2016

3.1 miles south

Philip K. Dick Science Fiction Film Festival [sound] screens dozens of unusual films at Tribeca Cinemas.

Dance celebration

January 15, 2016 (8 p.m.)

14 miles west

MLK Celebration includes performances by the legendary Dance Theatre of Harlem plus a guest speaker at Prudential Hall in Newark, NJ.

Balkan festival

January 15 - 16, 2016

8 miles south

Zlatne Uste Golden Festival is a music and dance festival with 60 bands on 4 stages, vendors of Balkan art and textiles, and Middle Eastern refreshments at Grand Prospect Hall in Brooklyn.

Knitting show

January 15 - 17, 2016

0.4 miles SW

Vogue Knitting Live features knitting classes, fashion shows, and vendors at New York Marriott Marquis.

Bull riding

January 15 - 17, 2016

1.2 miles SW

Professional Bull Riders take on the fiercest bucking bulls at Madison Square Garden.

Beer and whiskey tasting

January 16, 2016

2.2 miles south

Sample beer and whiskey with live entertainment (burlesque, jazz, circus) and food for sale at East Ville Des Folies - Acte Quatre in Webster Hall.

Diverse music fest

January 17, 2016

2.2 miles south

Enjoy 12 musical acts on 3 stages from countries all over the world at globalFEST at Webster Hall.

MLK celebration

January 17, 2016 (3 to 5 p.m.)

4.2 miles north

WNYC’s Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration is a panel discussion at the Apollo Theater. Free registration.

Gospel R & B concert

January 17, 2016 (4 p.m.)

10.6 miles east

Bebe Winans: A Special Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration promises “powerful vocals that soar, harmonies that chime, and lyrics that touch the heart and soul” plus a keynote address at the Kupferberg Center in Queens.

MLK gospel show

January 18, 2016 (12:30 p.m.)

0.7 miles SW

Harlem Gospel Choir performs a foot-stomping, hand-clapping, joyous gospel show to celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. at B.B. King Blues Club. Food minimum at tables.

MLK Day tribute

January 18, 2016 (10:30 a.m.)

6 miles south

Brooklyn Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. includes a keynote speaker and choir in BAM Howard Gilman Opera House at Brooklyn Academy of Music. Tickets are available onsite at 8 a.m. Free.

MLK Day concert

January 18, 2016

10 miles south

Pre-register and arrive early for a seat at A Shared Dream tribute and concert, which includes a gospel singer, bands, and more at Brooklyn College. Free.

Bronx restaurant week

January 18 - 24, 2016

10.5 miles north

Enjoy a fixed-price lunch or dinner on the eastern end of the Bronx during Throggs Neck Restaurant Week.

NYC Restaurant Week

January 18 - Feb. 5, 2016

NYC locations

Get a special deal on a 3-course lunch or dinner at 300 restaurants during NYC Restaurant Week, not on Saturdays. Repeats in July.

Broadway discount week

January 19 - Feb. 5, 2016

0.5 miles west

Get 2-for-1 deals on select theater shows during Broadway Week. Repeats in Sept.

Ceramics show

January 21 - 24, 2016 (preview Jan. 20)

1.8 miles NE

New York Ceramics & Glass Fair features exhibits by 30 galleries at Bohemian National Hall.

Odd art

January 21 - 24, 2016

1.8 miles south

Outsider Art Fair shows self-taught art created outside the mainstream at Metropolitan Pavilion. See photos.

Dance festival

January 21 - 31, 2016

8.2 miles south

FLICfest (Feature-Length Independent Choreography) is a festival of feature-length dance, with complete works by six choreographers, plus informal late-night cabarets, at Irondale Ensemble Project in Brooklyn.

Antiques show

January 22 - 31, 2016 (party Jan. 21)

1 mile north

View and purchase exceptional antiques ranging from ancient Roman glass to mid-century modern from 73 exhibitors at the Winter Antiques Show at the Park Avenue Armory. No baby strollers on weekends.

Film festival

January 22 - 31, 2016

13 miles north

The Bronx International Film Festival [slow website] screens local and international films at Lehman College, 250 Bedford Park Boulevard W.

Snow sports in the park

January 23, 2016

1.2 miles north

Enjoy skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and sledding during Winter Jam, when the Central Park bandshell area is covered with blown-in snow. Bring equipment or borrow it free. Bring photo ID for sports. Free.

Pinot Noir tasting

January 23, 2016

2.8 miles south

Taste 100 pinots from 35 producers on Sunday at New York City Pinot Days at City Winery on Varick Street.

Creative percussion show

January 27 - June 26, 2016

0.5 miles SW

STOMP has high-energy dance, acrobatics, comedy, and nonstop rhythym from unusual instruments at the Orpheum Theatre. Discount tickets at Goldstar and Groupon.

Wild films

January 28 - 31, 2016

1.2 miles north

New York Wild Film Festival shows 20 films about wildlife and wild places at The Explorers Club.

Swimming pool party

January 30, 2016 (8 p.m.)

0.3 miles SW

The infamous Birthday Pool Party returns with a cash bar and DJ music at Room Mate Grace Hotel for people 21+ who look good in bathing suits. (Moved from Jan. 23 due to weather.)

Beer, bourbon, barbecue

January 30, 2016

2 miles SW

Sample beer, taste bourbon, hear bluegrass music, and eat barbecue at the Beer, Bourbon, and BBQ Festival in Manhattan at 608 W. 28th Street.
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© January 2016 calendar of events in NYC, NY. Best events, fairs, festivals, and things to do in New York City, New York.