Have you heard? The Super Bowl is coming to the Big Apple on Feb. 2, 2014! Well, not exactly, but New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium is close enough that NYC is positively overflowing with events thrown by people looking to celebrate — and cash in on — the second most-watched sporting event in the world. (The first most-watched is a soccer thing, but who in this great nation cares about that?) From Times Square’s Super Bowl Boulevard to star-studded concerts to stuff-your-face food fests, Super Bowl weekend is the time to spend some money, drink some beer, and revel in good old fashioned American decadence. Here are 12 of the best and brightest events happening on Super Bowl weekend.
1. Times Square’s Super Bowl Boulevard on Jan. 29-Feb. 1
For the four days before the Super Bowl, GMC is turning much of Times Square into a winter wonderland devoted to all things football. Take a ride down the 180-foot-long tobaggan run, check out Macy’s video projections of NFL footage, or take a picture with the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
DETAILS: 12pm-10pm; free; Broadway between 34th and 44th Sts.; nfl.com
2. The Puppy Bowl Experience at Discovery Times Square on Jan. 27-Feb. 1
For those who care more about the puppy halftime show than the game itself, Discovery Times Square is providing you a chance to get up close and personal with the adorable athletes. Learn about the history of the puppy bowl and watch some real-time competition on the field, then consider bringing home a furry friend of your own at one of the onsite adoption events.
DETAILS: hours vary; free; 226 W 44th St.; discoverytsx.com
3. DirecTV’s Celebrity Beach Bowl at Pier 40 on Feb. 1st
While many Super Bowl events are invite-only, this star-studded beach football is open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis (so get there early). Watch celebrities like Chrissy Teigen, Tracy Morgan and Guy Fieri square off against NFL stars like Joe Montana and Deion Sanders; then enjoy a post-game performance from pop-rock giant Paramore. Evening brings a VIP concert; past headliners include Justin Timberlake, Usher and Katy Perry, so you know it’s going to be big.
DETAILS: 10am-4pm; free; Pier 40, 353 West St.; facebook.com/directv/
4. Shape and Men’s Fitness Super Bowl Party at Cipriani on 42nd Street on Jan. 31
Mary J. Blige, John Legend and Marc Anthony are slated to perform at a swanky, 800-person sit-down dinner. American stand-up comedian Jeff Ross emcees, and there will be a fashion show put on by Czech model Petra Nemcova. Tickets are available to the general public, but they’ll cost you …
DETAILS: 7pm-11:30pm; $1,500 per seat; 110 E 42nd St.; wf-site.com
5. Bud Light Hotel at Pier 86 on Jan. 30-Feb. 2
A few thousand lucky VIPs, business associates of Bud Light and contest winners are about to spend four days living it up on this decked-out cruise ship complete with guest rooms, late-night dance parties, and a 300,000-square-foot event space. The Foo Fighters, The Roots and Imagine Dragons each headline their respective nights, with a tailgate party on Sunday.
DETAILS: 24/7; free with invite; Pier 88, W 48th St. and 12th Ave.; budlighthotel.com
6. ESPN Super Bowl party at Pier 36 on Jan. 31
Another invite-only concert, ESPN’s 10th annual Super Bowl bash features twerking connoisseur Robin Thicke and thoughtful rapper Kendrick Lamar alongside the DJing talents of Jermaine Dupri.
DETAILS: 9pm; free with invite; Pier 36 (299 South St.)
7. The 50 Yard Lounge and Jets House at 1 Penn Plaza on Jan. 29-Feb.2
For those willing to shell out for the VIP experience, the 50 Yard Lounge and Jets House is an appealing option. The food aspect is emphasized, with celebrity chefs including “Iron Chefs” Alex Guarnaschelli and Marc Forgione. Come hungry and thirsty to get your money’s worth. There will also be pro-athletes galore, celebrated mixologists and musical guests TBA.
DETAILS: 9am-3am; $400 per day; One Penn Plaza; 50yardlounge.com
8. Leather and Laces at Liberty Square Theater on Jan. 31-Feb. 1
For 11 years now, the Leather and Laces Super Bowl party has given regular Joes the chance to rub elbows with Victoria’s Secret angels and celebrities … provided they could afford the ticket price. This year’s proceedings are being hosted by the crazy beautiful Adriana Lima, Alessandra Ambrosio, Brooklyn Decker and Bar Rafaeli, with performances from magicians and select members of Cirque de Soleil, plus complimentary sushi and “specialty desserts.” Sexy!
DETAILS: 10pm-4am; from $950; 234 W. 42nd St.; leatherandlaces.com
9. Super Bowl Celebrity Bowling Classic at Bowlmor Chelsea Piers on Feb. 1
Amateur bowlers will team up with NFL players, members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Wounded Warriors Project to compete in this tournament benefiting the non-profit NFL foundation. Each bowler will go home with a limited edition Super Bowl XLVIII commemorative Bowling Ball, pin and shirt, and everyone is free to sample the “NY/NJ neighborhood of foods” buffet, as well as to attend the auction.
DETAILS: registration 10am, first ball 12pm; $750 to bowl, $250 to watch; Pier 60 (23rd St. and the West Side Highway); nynjsuperbowl.com
10. Gospel Celebration starring Patti LaBelle at The Theater at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 31
Those looking to get a little last-minute prayer in before placing a bet on the game might consider this giant gospel concert headlined by none other than Patti LaBelle, plus Natalie Grant, Tamela Mann and more. The officially sanctioned celebration donates a portion of its proceeds to charity; this year it’s St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.
DETAILS: 7:30pm; from $58; 7th Ave and 32nd St.; superbowlgospel.com
11. VH1′s Super Bowl Blitz Concert Series on Jan. 27-Feb. 1 in NYC
VH1 is taking things to the next level this year with a series of concerts around the city. On Monday, Jan. 27, J. Cole kicks things off in Queens, followed by Janelle Monae in the Bronx on Jan. 28, Fall Out Boy in Brooklyn on Jan. 29, TLC in Manhattan on Jan. 30, the Goo Goo Dolls in Staten Island on Jan. 31 and Gavin DeGraw in New Jersey on Feb. 1. Don’t despair if you can’t score tickets, as the shows will be streaming live on VH1.
DETAILS: various times; various prices; various locations; vh1.com
12. BrisketTown Super Tailgate Bowl-B-Cue at Villain on Feb. 2nd
If the sight of the pigskin makes you want to eat an actual pig, put on your fat pants and get thee to Villain, where Williamsburg’s Brisket Town is hosting an evening of beer, barbecue, and Big Game watchin’. A mere $55 gets you your first drink and a big pile o’ meat, while $99 renders your drinks unlimited.
DETAILS: 4pm-10pm; from $55; 50 N 3rd St., Brooklyn; briskettowntailgate.com
Click here to read more about our ultimate guide to Super Bowl 2014.