From music to food and popular TV (with a side of binge drinking) to an international literary festival, New York is really showing off its diversity of activities this week. Check out the music from Jerry Joseph’s latest album at Mercury Lounge, eat your heart out at the first Queens International Night Market of the season, raise a glass to the return of Game of Thrones, or get your cultural fix at one of the many events from the PEN World Voices Festival. If you need a break from New York, then check out all the cultural and culinary offerings in fabulous Chicago instead.
AFAR Local is our weekly insider guide to the best of what's happening in cities around the U.S.
April 21 | Concert
Jerry Joseph and the Jackmormons
Jerry Joseph might just be the most prolific musician you’ve never heard of. With some 30 albums in his 30-year career and around 150 tour dates annually, he is a dedicated songwriter and performer. An avid traveler, Joseph most recently spent time teaching at an underground co-ed rock school in Kabul, Afghanistan, where the seeds for his newest album, By The Time Your Rocket Gets To Mars, were planted. This show, which Joseph will play with his frequent companions the Jackmormons, will celebrate that album’s release.
7:30 p.m. | Mercury Lounge, 217 E. Houston St., New York | From $10 | website
April 23 | Food
Queens Night Market
Back by popular demand, the Queens Night Market starts up again this week. With 50 carefully selected food vendors hawking dishes from all over the world—and none at over $5—it’s truly an opportunity to eat your way around the globe without leaving the city. Inspired by the nighttime open-air markets that are common throughout Asia, food will be available from a wide variety of people, from professional chefs to Tibetan grandmothers. There will also be performances by an electric violinist, hula dancers, and more. The market will run on Saturday nights through August 20.
6 p.m.–12 a.m. | New York Hall of Science in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens | Free | website
April 23–24 | Escape the city
For a fun city break that’s only a short plane ride away, hop a flight to Chicago, where things are just warming up. There is no way you’ll pack everything you want to do into one weekend, so check out our guide for if you only have three days in Chicago to get you started. You’ll want to stop in the amazing museums and galleries the city has to offer, eat some deep-dish pizza, and discover the bumping nightlife. There’s amazing food, whether you feel like an upscale meal from an award-winning chef or cheap eats in between thrift shopping. Be sure to study our guide on where to stay in Chicago as well for some hot tips on the best accommodations in town.
April 25–May 1 | Literature festival
PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature
Now in its 12th year, the star-studded PEN World Voices Festival kicks off April 25 and will run through May 1. Featuring over 150 writers speaking, reading, and conversing at venues throughout the boroughs, this year’s festival highlights the literary landscape of Mexico in particular. Though Mexico is the focus, writers from the Netherlands, Cuba, Israel, Russia, Japan, Poland, France, Turkey, El Salvador, Hungary, and many other countries will also be represented. The festival starts with “Opening Night: The Drug Edition,” in which authors including Marlon James and Anne Enright will delve into all facets of drug use, from why people take them to the multi-billion dollar industry behind them. On Tuesday alone there are nine PEN events throughout the city, so check the schedule for details.
Times, locations & prices vary | website
A native New Yorker, Katherine is a freelance food and travel writer who has eaten her way across the globe and is always on the lookout for her next great meal. She is an avid reader, insatiable traveler, sometimes photographer, and mom to an inquisitive toddler.
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