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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Feast of San Gennaro
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.