NYC museums, events, performances: What’s reopening and what’s cancelled this year

December 1, 2020

When it comes to reopenings, we’re seeing a lot of positive news–most major museums reopened, we got to watch a baseball season, and the holidays are being reimagined. In other cases, reopening is further off–the Met Opera and Philharmonic cancelled their entire 2021 seasons, and Broadway will remain dark until at least June. But whatever the case, 6sqft has put together a list of reopenings, postponements, and cancellations for New York City’s many museums, performance venues, outdoor spaces, and events.


The city extended its executive order limiting event permits through December 31, 2020.

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree
The world-famous Christmas tree arrived in Rockefeller Center on November 14. As of December 3, those who want to see the tree in-person can reserve timed tickets. Guests will be directed to socially distant, four-person “pods” where they can see the tree for five minutes.

The Rink at Rockefeller Center
The ice-skating rink is open daily from 9am to 12am until January 17. Tickets start at $5.

Bryant Park Winter Village
Perhaps NYC’s most popular holiday market, the Bryant Park Winter Village opened on October 30 and will run through March 7, 2021. Guests are required to wear face coverings, there are reservations for the rink, and you’ll find a new layout of shops for optimal distancing.

Union Square Holiday Market
For the first time in 25 years, the Union Square Holiday Market has been cancelled.

Columbus Circle Holiday Market
For the first time in 25 years, the Columbus Circle Holiday Market has been cancelled.

Grand Central Terminal Holiday Fair
The holiday market that’s usually set up in Grand Central’s Vanderbilt Hall will be completely virtual this year. From November 16 through December 24, over 40 local vendors will be selling accessories, apparel, children’s gifts, home goods, holiday ornaments, and much more, available to purchase online.

Macy’s Santaland
For the first time since 1861, there will be no sitting on Santa’s lap at Macy’s this year. The retailer will instead put together a virtual Santaland where children can participate in an interactive holiday experience.

New Year’s Eve in Times Square
The Times Square Alliance announced that the ball will drop this year–virtually. This will be the first time in 114 years that the December 31 event will not have a crowd.

Coney Island Polar Bear Plunge
The 117th annual New Year’s Day tradition has been cancelled. In an effort to keep the inspiration behind the event, the Coney Island Polar Bear Club and the Alliance for Coney Island have opened a fundraising platform in hopes that its dedicated plungers will still consider donating to help the Coney Island community this holiday season.

The Tony Awards
The 74th annual Tony Awards were scheduled to take place on June 7, but the ceremony was delayed indefinitely in March after Broadway went dark. The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing have now announced that it will take place digitally this winter, with an exact date to come. The nominees were announced on October 15.


Broadway went dark as of 5:00pm on Thursday, March 12th and will stay this way until at least May 30.

Lincoln Center
Lincoln Center has cancelled all of its fall programming. As of now, the Great Performers series is scheduled to resume on February 6, 2021, and the David Rubenstein Atrium Season on a yet-to-be-determined date in February. The White Light Festival will not take place this year.

The Metropolitan Opera
After last performing on March 11, The Met Opera cancelled its entire 2020-2021 season, not reopening until September of next year.

NYC Ballet
The NYC Ballet has cancelled its fall 2020 season, which includes its popular holiday production of The Nutcracker, which was scheduled to take place from Friday, November 27 through Sunday, January 3.

New York Philharmonic
The New York Philharmonic has cancelled all performances through June 13, 2021.

Carnegie Hall
Carnegie Hall has cancelled its fall season, including all performances through January 6, 2021.


Phase four allows low-risk indoor arts and entertainment, including museums and aquariums, operating at 25-percent capacity. The indoor piece was postponed in NYC but rescheduled to Monday, August 24 with guidelines that include timed ticketing, pre-set staggered entry, face-covering enforcement, and controlled traffic flow.

New York Public Library
As part of a phased reopening, 50 branches of the New York Public Library are currently open for grab-and-go pickups and book returns.

Brooklyn Public Library
17 BPL branches are open for lobby service for quick transactions. The main branch will also offer “on-demand book service;” a second phase will give patrons access to the first floor for browsing and self-service kiosks.

Queens Public Library
15 QPL locations are open for grab-and-go service.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Met reopened five days a week, Thursday through Monday, as of August 29 with new social distancing measures. On Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays, it is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m and on Thursdays and Fridays from noon to 7 p.m. Temperatures are being checked, and timed tickets/reservations are required. The Cloisters, their branch in Washington Heights, reopened on September 12. The Met Breuer branch will not reopen; it will be taken over by the Frick.

Museum of Modern Art
MoMA reopened on August 27. Hours are 10:30am–9:00pm every day, with Mondays reserved for members and their guests. Timed tickets are available online only. MoMA PS1 will follow the same opening and free-admission dates, but hours will be 12-6pm Thursday through Monday.

Whitney Museum of American Art
The Whitney reopened on September 3. Hours are Monday and Thursday from 11:30 am–6 pm, Friday from 1:30 pm–9 pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 1 pm–6 pm. Extended member hours are Monday and Thursday from 6 pm–7 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 10:30 am–1 pm. All visitors will have their temperatures taken upon arrival.

The Guggenheim reopened on October 3. Advance, timed tickets are required. Hours are Thursday through Monday from 11am to 6pm; members-only hours are Monday from 6–8pm.

American Museum of Natural History
The museum reopened on September 9. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. AMNH will use a timed-entry reservation system to restrict attendance, and tickets must be purchased in advance. Some halls and exhibits will be unavailable during this phase of reopening.

Museum of the City of New York
MCNY opened an outdoor component of their fall exhibit about the coronavirus in NYC, New York Responds: Beyond Covid. They reopened the indoor museum on August 27 and are open Thursday–Monday from 10am-6pm. 10–11am on Thursdays will be a designated hour for seniors and other high-risk individuals.

El Museo del Barrio
The museum dedicated to Caribbean and Latin American arts and cultural history reopened on September 12, open Saturdays and Sundays from 12-5pm. Admission is pay-what-you-wish with a suggested donation of $9.

New-York Historical Society
On August 14, NYHS reopened with a free, outdoor exhibition, Hope Wanted: New York City Under Quarantine, in its rear courtyard. On September 11, the Museum reopened indoors, with new safety protocols in place. Timed-entry tickets are required for both indoor and outdoor exhibits.

The nonprofit cultural and community center has had a ton of virtual programming throughout the pandemic, and they’re now holding small, socially-distanced classes for adults and children including their May Center fitness and gymnastics offerings, after school program, nursery school, musical theater classes for kids, and art classes in fine arts (painting, etc), jewelry and ceramics. In the coming weeks, as they mark the 90th anniversary of Kaufman Concert Hall, 92Y will begin taping classical music concerts and its popular Lyrics & Lyricists shows under rigorous safety protocols, before an empty house, for airing virtually.

Brooklyn Museum
The Brooklyn Museum reopened its 1st and 5th floors on September 12, finally debuting its new exhibit Studio 54: Night Magic, which was scheduled to open in March. Through November 11, there is a sunset outdoor video screening on Wednesdays and Sundays at 6pm. Admission is pay-what-you-wish, and hours are Wednesday-Sunday from 11am to 6pm with extended hours until 8pm on Friday and Saturday.

Statue of Liberty MuseumEllis Island National Museum of Immigration
The National Park Service reopened both museums on August 24. Liberty Island’s grounds were previously opened on July 20, but the Statue of Liberty interior remains closed.

9/11 Memorial & Museum
The 9/11 Memorial reopened on Saturday, July 4. Visitors are required to wear masks, with social distancing in place. The 9/11 Memorial Museum remains temporarily closed.

New Museum
This contemporary art museum reopened on September 15.

Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust
The museum at the southernmost tip of Manhattan reopened on a reduced schedule in September with timed tickets. They extended their award-winning exhibit Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away. through May 2, 2021.

The Morgan Library & Museum
The Morgan reopened on September 5 with hours Wednesday to Sunday from 10:30am to 5pm; 10:30am to 11:30am on Wednesday and Saturday are reserved for members.

The Frick Collection
The Frick is set to begin its first major renovation in 85 years; it will reopen in early 2021 at the Frick Madison.

Tenement Museum
This Lower East Side museum educates about the city’s immigrant history, but since most of their programming consists of indoor tours of former cramped tenements, it’s difficult to reopen. However, as of September 12, they restarted their outdoor walking tours for single household groups.

The Jewish Museum
The Jewish Museum is now open with free admission through December 31, 2020. Visitors must reserve timed tickets, and new hours are Friday through Monday 11am-4pm and Thursday 11am-8pm.

The Rubin Museum
The museum dedicated to Himalayan art, ideas, and culture reopened on September 12. Timed entry tickets are available, and the Rubin resumed its normal hours five days a week: Thursday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM, and Friday from 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM, with free admission from 6:00 to 10:00 PM.

Museum of the Moving Image
The Astoria museum remains closed.

Bronx Museum of the Arts
The museum reopened on September 9 with new reduced hours from 1-6pm Wednesday through Sunday; admission is free.

Queens Museum
The museum is open. All visitors must reserve a timed entry ticket, which are free. Hours are Wednesday through Friday from 12pm to 5pm and Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 5pm. Temperatures will be taken at entry.

Intrepid Museum
The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum reopened on September 25. Most exhibitions, the entire collection of aircraft on the flight and hangar decks, as well as the Space Shuttle Pavilion, which houses the space shuttle Enterprise, will all be open.

The Shed
Hudson Yards’ multi-disciplinary arts center remains closed for public performances, but on October 16, they reopened for a new solo exhibition Howardena Pindell: Rope/Fire/Water, which examines “the violent, historical trauma of racism in America and the therapeutic power of artistic creation.” The Shed will be open Thursday through Sunday from 11am to 6 pm.

Edge, the 1,100-foot-tall outdoor observation deck at Hudson Yards, reopened on September 2, with new timed-entry tickets and public health measures.

Hudson Yards’ climbable art piece also reopened on September 2.

Empire State Building Observatory
The Empire State Building’s 86th- and 102nd-floor observatory spaces opened on July 20 with a new air purification system in place. Capacity is reduced by more than 80 percent, temperatures will be checked, and face coverings are required.

One World Observatory
The public observatory on levels 100, 101, and 102 of One World Trade Center resumed two-day weekend operations as of Saturday, November 14, with adjusted hours of operation of 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Top of the Rock
The observation deck at 30 Rockefeller Center reopened to the public on August 6. Top of the Rock has a substantial amount of open-air space, which measures about 9,500 square feet. The 70th-floor observation deck will be open seven days a week, from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tickets are $38 for adults and $36 for seniors aged 62 and older. Children are free from August 6 through Labor Day.

Poster House
The first museum in the U.S. dedicated exclusively to posters reopened on August 31.

Circle Line Cruises
New York’s popular cruise company reopened on July 20. Cruises will operate at 50 percent capacity, and a number of sanitizations and social distancing measures have been put in place.


Phase four allowed low-risk outdoor arts and entertainment, including zoos and botanical gardens, operating at 33-percent capacity. 

NYC Public Parks
All city parks (Central Park, Prospect Park, etc.) are open, as are park restrooms. Playgrounds within city parks are open, but face masks and social distancing are required.

As of July 6, when the city entered phase three, outdoor recreation like basketball, handball, tennis, bocce, and volleyball were allowed to resume. Dog runs also reopened.

Open Streets
NYC now has nearly 80 miles of open streets, the most in the nation. Mayor de Blasio has committed to opening 100 miles of streets to pedestrians and bicyclists during the pandemic.

Community Gardens
GreenThumb community gardens are now open to the general public, but this is garden-dependent, so check to see the policy of your garden.

GrowNYC’s greenmarkets and farmstands are open with social distancing. A few are closed, and they are listed in the link above.

The High Line
On July 16, the High Line reopened to the public with a timed entry system. Free reservations are required.

Governors Island
Governors Island is currently closed for the season and will reopen in spring 2021.

Brooklyn Bridge Park
The Park remains open with social distancing requirements, but certain areas have been closed.

Domino Park
Domino Park remains open and has installed social-distancing circles for visitors.

Socrates Sculpture Park
This outdoor museum in Astoria is technically a public park and therefore has remained open during its normal hours (9 am to sunset) for free.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden
The garden reopened on August 7 with a new timed-entry reservation system. New hours include Tuesday, Wednesday, and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. During the garden’s opening weeks, free tickets are available.

New York Botanical Garden
The New York Botanical Garden reopened on July 28; everyone must reserve timed-entry tickets in advance.

Bronx Zoo + Central Park Zoo + Prospect Park Zoo + Queens Zoo
All Wildlife Conservation Society zoos in NYC reopened on July 24. All visitors must reserve a date-specific ticket in advance.

Wave Hill
The Bronx’s 28-acre public garden Wave Hill reopened on July 30; all guests must reserve an admission ticket in advance.

Snug Harbor
On Staten Island, the Snug Harbor cultural center and botanic garden has kept its main outdoor grounds and gardens open to the public, however, the Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art and the New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden are closed until further notice. All public programming is also postponed. A drive-through testing site has been set up at the West Gate.

Queens County Farm Museum
The historic site fully reopened to the public on August 2. The 47-acre Queens County Farm Museum will also open its first-ever-site-specific art installation “Cover Crop” by artist Aaron Asis. Socially distanced visitors can walk the historic grounds, take a hayride, feed goats, and meet farmers.


As of phase two, restaurants were allowed to open for outdoor dining, which Mayor de Blasio has made permanent and year-round. More than 10,000 restaurants are currently participating in outdoor dining, and the city expanded this to 76 open streets. Indoor dining began on September 30. Capacity is limited to 25 percent with strict coronavirus-related regulations in place.


Phase four allowed professional sports without fans.

Sports leagues in city parks
As of September 15, the Parks Department resumed issuing permits for organized, low-risk youth sports like baseball, softball, and soccer. Permits will be for youth leagues, but adult sports leagues will still be able to use any field that is not taken by another group.



6sqft will be updating this list as more announcements are made. The last update was on December 1, 2020. Note that this is not a full list, and it was not issued by a government agency. 

Lead image: Guggenheim photo by Taylor Heery on Unsplash; Broadway photo by Sudan Ouyang on Unsplash; Bryant Park Winter Village photo by Colin Miller; Rockefeller Center photo by Michael Vadon via Wikimedia 

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