Here are the five coolest things to do in and around NYC this week. We publish a new list every Wednesday, covering Thursday through Wednesday. Stay tuned for insider updates on restaurant openings, festivals, exhibitions, shows, weekend escapes, and more. Planning a trip? Check out the AFAR guide to New York.
September 17–20 | Art fair
Printed Matter’s NY Art Book Fair
Organized by Printed Matter, the annual NY Art Book Fair offers a dizzying array of art, artists’ books, zines, and more. With booths from over 370 artists and publishers from 28 countries, you’ll find everything from the quirky to the conventional, and the absurdly affordable to the rare and treasured. Last year the event attracted some 35,000 people, and it’s getting more popular. In addition to browsing, participants can attend a number of programs and special events. The Classroom, for example, is a series of informal, artist-led conversations and workshops.
Hours vary | MoMA PS1, 22-25 Jackson Ave., Long Island City | Free ($10 for preview night) | website
September 18–19 | Wine
If you think of winetasting as a snobby, elitist activity, then Wine Riot will shake up your assumptions of what it means to be an oenophile. With 250 wines to sample and hip sommeliers to help you navigate the selection, at the very least you’ll leave with a better sense of what you do and don’t like—which, say the founders of the event, is what it all comes down to. There will also be 20-minute wine crash courses, a wine 101 session to brush up on the lingo, a live DJ, a temporary tattoo station, a bubbly bar, and a photo booth for silly, tipsy photos.
Times vary | 69th Regiment Armory, 68 Lexington Ave., New York | $65 | website
September 19 | Food and culture
Viva la Comida
This vibrant annual festival, organized by the 82nd Street Partnership, celebrates the diverse food and culture of Jackson Heights, and is well worth a trip even if you’re not local to Queens. Restaurants, bakeries, and food carts will set up shop—past offerings have included everything from Tibetan momos to Colombian arepas—and there will be all sorts of live music, an interactive art exhibit, and plenty of kids’ activities, including a clown and face painting.
12–7 p.m. | 82nd St. and Roosevelt Ave., Jackson Heights, Queens | Free | website
September 21 | Opera season kick-off
If you’ve been craving a bit of highbrow culture, then rejoice at the start of the Metropolitan Opera‘s 2015–2016 season. It kicks off on September 21 with a new production of Verdi’s Otello, inspired by the Shakespeare play. Directed by award-winning Bartlett Sher and starring a spectacular cast of new stars and old favorites, this Italian-language opera is sure to be powerful. Other operas to grace the stage this season include La Boheme, The Barber of Seville, Don Pasquale, Madame Butterfly, and Tosca.
Dates and times vary | Metropolitan Opera House, 30 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York |(212) 362-6000 | From $25 | website
Philadelphia is less than two hours from New York by bus, train, or car. Brush up on your American history with visits to sites like the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and the Betsy Ross House. Or head to South Philly in search of the greatest cheesesteak and compare competing 24/7 eateries Pat’s King of Steaks and Geno’s Steaks. While you’re there, walk along Ninth Street to experience the city’s Italian markets, butcher shops, bakeries, and cafes (Di Bruno Bros. and Ralph’s Restaurant are worth checking out). If you have time, take a Mural Arts tour, too. Should you decide to stay over, boutique hotel Rittenhouse 1715, occupying a 1903 carriage house, is a lovely choice in a convenient location.
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 inquisitive toddler.