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Welcome back to campus. Hope everyone has enjoyed their break! As midterms are coming to a close (for the most part), you may be looking for things to do in your spare time. Don’t fret—we’ve got you covered.

Here’s our list for the top five events and activities to do in NYC this month:

1. Head to Salon du Chocolat

Salon du Chocolat is an upcoming grand chocolate festival happening at the Javits Center on Nov. 16 and 17. The festival characterizes itself as being a “global celebration of chocolate and pastry that will enchant, fascinate, and indulge all your senses.” If you’re interested, check it out.

The event is going to have live demos of chocolate and pastry making, a fashion show where people wear chocolate sculptures, displays of huge chocolate figurines (the theme will be revealed at the event!), and much more!

Right now, tickets are on Eventbrite for $25 per person each day—if you want to go to both days of the convention, you have to buy two tickets. For more information on the event, click this link. Also, if you’re interested in purchasing tickets, click here.

2. The Big Apple Film Festival

If you’re into movies, then the Big Apple Film Festival (BAFF) is for you! Taking place from Nov. 18 to 21 at the Cinépolis Theater in Chelsea, BAFF is the place to go to see new movies from primarily independent filmmakers. They’re airing a range of films including animated shorts, documentaries, and even music videos.

There are different blocks during which BAFF shows each group of films; check out the overall schedule here. Tickets are roughly $20 per block of time.

If you’re a film major or just interested in cinema, you should also check out the BAFF Film and Screenwriting Conference! BAFF is bringing in a host of speakers from all over the industry, and the conference also takes place from Nov. 18 to 21 at the Cinépolis Theater (260 W 23rd Street), starting at 6:30 p.m.

If this sounds like your thing, check it out! It does take place during the week, so keep that in mind as you decide whether or not to go to the event. For more information, check out BAFF’s website here.

3. Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

If you’re in NYC or the tri-state area during Thanksgiving break, then you should definitely check out the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Nov. 28! The parade is pretty iconic and is almost always broadcast nationally during Thanksgiving.

From 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., the parade will be making its way through Manhattan—it starts at West 77th Street and Central Park West and will head all the way toward Macy’s Herald Square. However, not all of the stops will have public viewing—and Macy’s does note that some individuals camp out from 6 a.m. to see the parade along Central Park West. If you want to arrive later, head down to Sixth Avenue between 59th Street and 39th Street (keep in mind, though, that 38th Street through 34th Street and Herald Square don’t have public viewing options).

Also, if you’re free from 1 p.m to 8 p.m. on Nov. 27, the day before the parade, you can head to the area around the American Museum of Natural History to see the balloons being inflated!

It’s honestly going to be a sight to see—there will be a mass of balloons of various characters, floats, famous musicians and celebrities including the Black Eyed Peas and Ciara, and much more! For more information, check out the main website here.

4. NYC Winter Lantern Festival

If you’re down to see beautiful lanterns in the shapes of animals, plants, and even dragons, then the NYC Winter Lantern Festival is right for you! This festival is located on Staten Island—so it’s quite far away—but it’s well worth the travel.

The festival organizers claim that nearly a thousand lanterns will be on display, so you definitely have a lot to check out! There are also scheduled performances, including a Tibetan folk dance and plate- and bowl-spinning. Finally, the festival organizers are planning on serving food with an “Asian flair” over its duration.

If you can’t make it to Staten Island, there’s currently a lantern pop-up at Liberty Park by the World Trade Center! It features lanterns in the shape of the animals of the Chinese zodiac. Hurry though, because this will end on Nov. 16!

The NYC Winter Lantern Festival on Staten Island begins on Nov. 20, so go check it out once it opens! Tickets cost $18 for students, but you must have your ID on you when you check in at the event. For more information, check out the website for the festival here.

5. Explore somewhere new!

If you have the time and enough trips on your MetroCard, you can explore pretty much anywhere in the city! If you haven’t been to Midtown or downtown that often, just take the 1 train all the way down and see where you end up. Or, you could head to the Brooklyn Bridge and take a walk!

Several huge events are taking place this month, but if heading into the city and exploring it in your free time is more your style, that’s also a totally valid option. Just make sure you wear warm enough clothing, bring an umbrella in case it rains, and you’re all set.

Hopefully this will help you live your autumn in New York to the fullest. Have a fabulous November, and here’s to the rest of this semester!

Staff writer Abhishek Hariharan can be contacted at Follow Spectator on Twitter @ColumbiaSpec.

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