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Fireworks in NYC | © Anthony Quintano / Flickr
Fireworks in NYC | © Anthony Quintano / Flickr
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10 Unmissable Festivals and Events in New York City

Picture of Julia Goicochea
Updated: 3 February 2018
A city of eight million people and nearly as many cultural events can overwhelm even the biggest social butterfly. That’s why we’re sticking to the essentials, helping you make going out “in.” Here are the 10 unmissable festivals and events in New York City.
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NYC Restaurant Week

January 22 – February 9, 2018

It’s no coincidence that New York City has a food-related nickname. The Big Apple is chock-full of foodies, many of whom kick off their year at NYC Restaurant Week. This hugely popular event (actually occurring over three weeks) involves more than 380 New York restaurants, all of which offer special three-course menus for both lunch and dinner. This year’s winter session features deals from Le Coq Rico, Red Rooster Harlem, ilili, and more foodie favorites.

Various locations, New York, NY, USA

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NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade

March 17, 2018, from 11 am to 5 pm

The luck of the Irish must have rubbed off on New York City, which hosts the largest and oldest St. Patrick’s Day Parade in the world. Every March 17th, Manhattan’s famous Fifth Avenue comes alive with the sounds of bagpipes and marching band music, the cheers of approximately two million spectators, and enough green to make you forget it’s still winter. If you aren’t lucky enough to be in the crowd or one of the 150,000 marchers, you can watch the parade live at 11 am on NBCNewYork.com.

Fifth Avenue between 44th Street and 79th Street, New York, NY, USA

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Tribeca Film Festival

April 18–29, 2018

If there’s one event circled on every New York art aficionado’s calendar, it’s the Tribeca Film Festival. The 17th annual installment of Robert De Niro’s famous cinephile fest will take place this April when packages to see the hottest new films before the rest of the world start at just $55 for six matinee screenings.

Various locations in New York, NY, USA

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Shakespeare in the Park

May 29 – August 19, 2018

For easier-on-the-wallet entertainment, one need only wait one month until The Public Theater’s famous Shakespeare in the Park festival returns in May to New York City. Over their nearly 60-year run, these free Central Park plays, which have starred talents including Meryl Streep and Denzel Washington, have attracted more than five million theater fans. This year’s season will feature performances of Othello and Twelfth Night.

Delacorte Theater, 81 Central Park West, New York, NY, USA

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NYC Pride March

June 25, 2018, at noon

New York City is home to the largest pride celebration in the world, a march no local should miss. In 2017, 110 floats, 450-plus groups, and around 30,000 people marched down Fifth Avenue in support and celebration of the world’s LGBT population. With the 50th anniversary of The Stonewall Riots just around the corner in 2019, this year’s Pride March is expected to be bigger, better, and prouder than ever.

Fifth Avenue and East 36th Street, New York, NY, USA

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Feast of San Gennaro

September 2018

Hungry for fall entertainment? Join nearly one million locals and tourists in Little Italy for September’s annual Feast of San Gennaro. This year will mark the 92nd edition of this local tradition, when parades, free musical performances, and Italian-American eats take over the area for 11 days straight.

Little Italy, New York, NY, USA

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Village Halloween Parade

October 31, 2018, from 7:00 pm to 10:30 pm

This annual October 31st event is all treats and no tricks. Don your most creative costume (they’re required) to march in New York City’s iconic Village Halloween Parade, celebrating its 45th anniversary this year. Expect to be joined by hundreds of puppets, 53 bands, and thousands of costumed New Yorkers at the city’s own version of Carnival.

6th Avenue between Spring and 16th St, New York, NY, USA

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Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

November 22, 2018, from 9 am to 12 pm

In New York City, Thanksgiving means only one thing, the return of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade, which attracts more than 2.5 million spectators and around 22.3 million viewers on NBC, features some 30 parade floats, 10 marching bands, larger-than-life balloons, and even an early appearance from Santa Claus himself.

77th St and Central Park West, New York, NY, USA

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Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting

November 30, 2018

Shortly after Thanksgiving comes another holiday-related event, the Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting. Each year, thousands of people gather and millions tune in via television to witness the inaugural lighting of New York’s enormous evergreen, decorated with more than 25,000 lights. If you miss the big day, don’t worry: the tree remains lit until after New Year’s Day.

Rockefeller Center, New York, NY, USA

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New Year’s Eve in Times Square

December 31, 2018

Our favorite way to cap off the year (at least once) is at the world-famous New Year’s Eve in Times Square. Here, approximately one million people gather beneath an 11,875-pound ball (whose descent is watched by more than one billion people worldwide) to ring in the new year with live performances, confetti, and roughly one-eighth of their fellow New Yorkers.

Times Square, New York, NY, USA