Where (& How!) to Celebrate Día de los Muertos in NYC

decorative skulls for Dia de los Muertos Jeremy Lwanga via unsplash

When Halloween is over, there’s still one more “spirited” holiday worth celebrating in New York—and that’s the Day of the Dead

Before you say goodbye to the ghosts of Halloween, give the spirits of the dead one final sendoff by celebrating Día de los Muertos—otherwise known as Day of the Dead. This holiday, celebrated in Mexico and other parts of Central and South America, is held on Nov. 1 and 2 but isn’t actually related to Halloween. While Halloween is all about scaring evil spirits away, the Day of the Dead is welcoming the spirits of lost loved ones back into the land of the living for one day of celebration and remembrance. This is done with offerings, stories of gone loved ones, colorful sugar skulls, bright arrangements of flowers, and other festive activities. Unlike Halloween’s subtext of darkness and terror, Día de los Muertos is actually about bright colors and joy.


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Sing, dance, and celebrate those who have passed with these family-friendly Day of the Dead events in 2022 around NYC—and beyond!

Related: A Taste of Latin America: Our Favorite Restaurants from Each Latinx Country

Día de los Muertos Family Day at Green-Wood Cemetery

What better place is there to celebrate the souls of the dead than in a cemetery. Green-Wood Cemetery welcomes families for an afternoon of crafts, food and other fun celebrations for kids and adults of all ages. Learn about the holiday and participate in festive themed activities as you dance, decorate, and share memories. Although this event is free, registration is recommended so the cemetery can know how many people to expect.

Cost: Free
Tue., Nov. 1, 3:30-6 p.m.
Rain Date: Wed., Nov. 2, 3:30-6 p.m.
Green-Wood Cemetery Modern Chapel
Enter at 500 25th St.
Sunset Park, Brooklyn
Online: green-wood.com

Mexican Myth, Legend, and Ancestry Performance at the Kupferberg Center

The Mexico Beyond Mariachi ensemble has a special treat for families: a bilingual, multimedia performance for families all about the Day of the Dead! Performed at the Kupferberg Center for the Arts, the ensemble will play music, dance, and share stories myths and legends surrounding the celebration. Follow along with a story that spans over 600 years and shares traditional song and dance surrounding legends like La Llorona, the seasonal dance of the “Viejito,” the story of Doña Panchita’s close brush with death, and much more. Colorful costumes complete the entertaining and educational show that’ll keep every member of the family glued to the stage.

Cost: $15
Sun., Nov. 6, 3 p.m.
Colden Auditorium
153-49 Reeves Ave.
Flushing, Queens
Online: kupferbergcenter.org

Folk Art: Mexican Day of the Dead at Pelham Art Center

Head to the courtyard of the Pelham Art Center for a celebration led by Zafiro Romero-Acevedo, a teacher and artist from Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico. Learn about the history and traditions of the day through performances by the Telpochcalli Traditional Mexican Performing Arts and Theater, and hand-on workshops and demonstrations. Costumes are welcome!

Cost: Free
Sat., Oct. 29, 12-2 p.m.
Pelham Art Center
155 Fifth Ave.
Pelham, NY
Online: pelhamartcenter.org

Día de los Muertos Family Art Projects at Wave Hill

This Family Art Project at Wave Hill will have kids (and their caretakers) make a one-of-a-kind nicho box. These traditional Mexican shadow boxes will be decorated with natural material and found objects, and will house memories of a loved one who has passed.

Cost: Free with admission
Sat., Oct. 29. & Sun., Oct. 30, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Wave Hill
4900 Independence Ave.
Riverdale, Bronx
Online: wavehill.org

Related: The Best Costume Shops for Kids in NYC

Día de los Muertos Celebration at the National Museum of the American Indian

The National Museum of the American Indian is putting on a celebration to remember those whom we’ve lost. The museum will put on two performances by the Aztec dance troupe Cetiliztli Nauhcampa, featuring traditional dances from the area. There will also be a community ofrenda (altar) to honor our ancestors, where offerings can be left.

Cost: Free
Sat., Oct. 29, 1-2 p.m. and 3-4 p.m.
National Museum of the American Indian
1 Bowling Green
Financial District, Manhattan
Online: americanindian.si.edu (1-2 p.m.) and americanindian.si.edu (3-4 p.m.)

Day of the Dead 5K and Half Marathon at Flushing Meadows

Stay fit while you celebrate at this 5K and half marathon from Never Stop Running. Run (or walk) past the Unisphere (twice!), around the Fountain of the Planets and finish where you started, near the Queens Theater. The race will happen rain or shine, so get ready for a day out no matter the weather—though there’s also a virtual participation option if you’d rather use the treadmill or your local track. Participants in the marathon at the park are welcome to dress up in themed costumes, and all runners will get a themed shirt and participation medal.

Cost: Starts at $30
Sun., Oct. 30, 9 a.m.
Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens Theater
14 United Nations Ave. S.
Corona, Queens
Online: events.elitefeats.com

Mano a Mano Day of the Dead

Mano a Mano has a number of chances to celebrate the Day of the Dead. Stop by the Hispanic Society Museum and Library for a performance by singer Claudia Valentina Montes and interactive art stations. Or, come to St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery for a number of themed activities, including arts and crafts, live music, poetry readings, and the chance to leave an offering at the altar to honor the dead.

Cost: Free
Sat., Oct. 15
Hispanic Society Museum & Library
3741 Broadway
Washington Heights

Multiple dates and times
St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery
131 East 10th St.
Lower Manhattan
Online: manoamano.nyc

Celebrate Día de los Muertos at Brooklyn Children’s Museum

The Brooklyn Children’s Museum will be holding a two-day workshop where kids can make their own offerings for loved ones they’ve lost. Led by Brooklyn-based artist Mincho Vega, the event will also feature traditional celebrations of the Day of the Dead, including art, music, dance performed by Cetiliztli Nauhcampa, face paintings, traditional foods, and more.

Cost: Free with admission
Sat., Nov. 5-Sun., Nov. 6
Brooklyn Children’s Museum
145 Brooklyn Ave.
Online: brooklynkids.org

Related: Fall Activities You Won’t Want to Miss If You Live in NYC​

Mexico Week: Día de Muertos at Rockefeller Center

For a second year in a row, Mexico Week is returning to Rockefeller Center. Visit from Oct. 27 to Nov. 2 to see elements of Mexican heritage, culture, and history brought to life in the plaza. The centerpiece will be the ofrenda—altar for offerings—which will honor modern Mexican sculptors. The display will also feature two alebrijes by Cesar Menchaca: Huge, colorful sculptures of a jaguar and a Quetzalcoatl. Throughout the space, you’ll also be able to spot catrinas by Menchaca, which are skeleton figures dressed up glamorously as Mexican and American stars.

Cost: Free
Thurs., Oct. 27-Wed., Nov. 2
Rockefeller Center
45 Rockefeller Plaza
Online: rockefellercenter.com

Super Family Saturday: Día de los Muertos at Nassau County Museum of Art

Located about an hour from central NYC, this celebration at the Nassau County Museum is worth the trip. The event is split into two timed sessions and will feature hands-on art-making stations, music, performances, and more details to be revealed. Advanced registration is required. While you’re there, take the chance to explore the museum’s current exhibit, “Other Worlds Than This”—a look beyond our world into the fantasy and spirit realms beyond—which is leaving on November 6.

Cost: $20/adult, $10/child
Sat., Nov. 5, 10-11:30 a.m. and 12-1:30 p.m.
Nassau County Museum of Art
One Museum Drive
Roslyn Harbor, NY
Online: nassaumuseum.org

El Día de los Muertos by the Arts Council of Princeton

Head to Princeton for a free outdoor festival, featuring Mariachi music, dance performances, food vendors, and hands-on art workshops and projects themed around traditional Mexican folk art. Leave an offering to a loved one at the community altar, make sugar skulls, create decorations with flowers, and much more—all located about half an hour out from central Manhattan!

Cost: Free
Sat., Nov. 5, 3-5 p.m.
Arts Council of Princeton
102 Witherspoon St.
Princeton, NJ
Online: artscouncilofprinceton.org

 

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