Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a tradition in Mexico that reunites the living and dead. During this holiday people mourn and celebrate their loved ones who have passed by creating ofrendas (offerings) to them, sharing memories, and spending time in their spiritual presence. Taking place Tuesday, November 1 through Wednesday, November 2, this holiday is celebrated many different ways, and there’s no shortage of events around the city.
Here are 10 ways to celebrate Día de los Muertos around NYC this year:
1. Learn the history of one of Mexico’s richest traditions through performance and demonstration
Head to Pelham Art Center’s courtyard for a folk art celebration of Day of the Dead with renowned artist & educator Zafiro Romero-Acevedo. Zafiro Romero-Acevedo was born in Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico and has been living in Yonkers since the 1980s. She’s been teaching Mexican Folk Art passionately and patiently for more than two decades in the NY Tri-State area, Rockland County, Duchess, & Putnam County. The event is free and open to all, and costumes are encouraged! Learn more here.
Where: Pelham Art Center – 155 Fifth Ave.
When: Saturday, October 29, 12p.m. – 2p.m.
2. Create an art project with the whole family
Celebrate this special Mexican cultural holiday at Wave Hill and create your own nicho box, a small shadow box filled with meaning and purpose that honor a lost loved one. You can decorate your box with objects and natural materials and make it special to you. Learn more here.
Where: Wave Hill – 4900 Independence Ave.
When: Saturday, October 29, 10a.m. – 1p.m.
3. Build altars for los muertos at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine
Drop off photos or small mementos to honor your loved ones in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine’s altar on Saturday, October 29, from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., and Sunday, October 30, from 12p.m. – 1p.m. Then join the Cathedral for services of commemoration for the dead on Tuesday, November 1, All Saints Day, and Wedensday, November 2, All Souls Day. Learn more here.
Where: Cathedral of St. John the Divine – 1047 Amsterdam Ave.
When: Drop off stuff for altar – October 29, from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., and Sunday, October 30, from 12p.m. – 1p.m. / Services of commemoration – Tuesday, November 1, All Saints Day, and Wedensday, November 2, All Souls Day
4. Enjoy an acclaimed, theatrical production about the culture, history and traditions of Mexico
The Sheen Center presents a theatrical production about the culture, history and traditions oof Mexico, created by Mexico Beyond Mariachi (MBM) – a Music and Dance company whose theatrical productions are intended to redefine the perception of Mexican culture for the next generation. Dia de Los Muertos is a bilingual, family friendly, interactive multimedia performance show told through storytelling, live music, and dance.
Where: The Sheen Center for Thought & Culture – 18 Bleecker St.
When: Sunday, October 30, 1p.m.
5. Take part in a weeklong Dia De Los Muertos celebration on NYC’s only floating Mexican restaurant
La Barca Cantina offers Mexican fare and delicious cocktails afloat, and they’re hosting a weeklong celebration for Dia de los Muertos from October 27th to November 1st, complete with themed-cocktails, sugar skull paintings, and Oaxacan art vendors. Brunch will be held on Saturday & Sunday, featuring a live mariachi band. The festivities will end with the boat’s first-ever Día de los Muertos Fiesta. Learn more here.
Where: La Barca Cantina – Pier 81, 41st Street and 12th Avenue
When: Now – Tuesday, November 1
6. Indulge on specialty mezcal cocktails and authentic Mexican cuisine 47 stories above the city
Darling, located on the 47th floor of Park Lane New York, is hosting their own Dia De Los Muertos Celebración where guests will be able to sip on specialty mezcal cocktails, feast on authentic Mexican cuisine, and enjoy surprise entertainment throughout the evening. Learn more here.
Where: Darling – 36 Central Park South
When: Tuesday, November 1, 7p.m.
7. Discover the rich history and traditions associated with Dia de los Muertos at Green-Wood Cemetery
Green-Wood Cemetery is hosting a day where visitors can discover the rich history and traditions associated with Dia de los Muertos through crafts, activities, and food. The event is free and perfect for the whole family. Learn more here.
Where: The Green-Wood Cemetery – 500 25th St.
When: Tuesday, November 1, 3:30p.m. – 6p.m.
8. Decorate sugar skulls, enjoy performances, and more at the Flatiron Plaza
For the first time ever, the Flatiron NoMad Partnership is bringing the Día de Muertos celebration to the Flatiron North Plaza. This free event will feature performances, creative activities, photo ops, and more. Learn more here.
Where: Flatiron North Plaza
When: Wednesday, November 2, 12p.m. – 4p.m.
9. Enjoy an outdoor market with food and shopping, colorful art installations, & more at Rockefeller Center
From Thursday, October 27 through Wednesday, November 2, the iconic Plaza is hosting their second annual “Mexico Week,” which will include everything from an outdoor market with food and shopping to colorful art installations to cultural activities to celebrate the “Day of the Dead.” Learn more here.
Where: Rockefeller Center
When: Now – Wednesday, November 2
10. Surround yourself with gravestones, custom built altars, hanging marigold, & more
This year, for the second time, The Garret Coctelería is hosting an immersive fall pop-up, Coctelería de los Muertos, in honor of this holiday! Be transported straight to Mexico in a space filled with gravestones, custom built altars, hanging marigold, and more to honor los muertos. Guests can dine and sip on tasty cocktails while pouring one out for those who have passed, and even enjoy weekly DJ’s and more. Learn more here.
Where: The Garret Coctelería – 349 Broome St.
When: Now – Saturday, November 19