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Siren 2008 | © Taís Melillo/Flickr
Siren 2008 | © Taís Melillo/Flickr
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13 NYC Festivals To Get Excited About In 2016

Picture of Ashley Jones
Updated: 24 April 2017
Although Christmas and New Year’s Eve are still coming to help celebrate the end of another year, there is no time like the present to start planning festivities to make 2016 even better. No matter what time of the year, New York City is alive with some of the most exciting and entertaining activities. Here are 13 festivals to get excited about for every month of 2016!
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Beer, Bourbon, and BBQ Festival

What better way to bring in the new year than with the Beer, Bourbon, and BBQ Festival? On January 30th, head over to the Chelsea neighborhood for beer and bourbon sampling, BBQ tasting, and great upbeat music. Although tickets can get a little pricey, the bottomless refills of beer and bourbon definitely compensate for it. Tickets go FAST and always sell out. Check out the festival’s website for admission ticket info!

Beer, Bourbon, and BBQ Festival, 608 West 28th Street, New York, NY, USA

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Central Park Ice Festival

Though the Central Park Ice Festival has yet to be dated, the event will be in full effect in February 2016. Numerous incredibly talented carvers will be showcasing their work in the form of romantically themed ice sculptures, complemented by beautifully colored decorative lights. Stroll through with friends or loved ones to observe this unique and impressive artistry, all for free!

Central Park Ice Festival, Naumburg Bandshell, Mid-Park at 72nd Street, New York, NY, USA

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Coffee and Tea Festival NYC

New Yorkers rely and thrive on daily doses of coffee or tea and sometimes, when it’s necessary, a combination of both. So March 19-20 will be a very exciting two days at the Brooklyn EXPO Center. For their 11th year, the Coffee and Tea Festival NYC will be dazzling caffeine and herbal lovers with over 60 vendors offering mouthwatering samples of teas, coffees, and tasty treats. Purchase the popular ‘rush hour’ tickets to gain admission to the venue between 3-5pm for under $8!

Coffee and Tea Festival NYC, 72 Noble St, Brooklyn, NY, USA

Tribeca Film Festival

The Tribeca Film Festival is one the most highly anticipated film festivals in the U.S. The festival is responsible for consistently showcasing some of the most emotionally charged independent and mainstream films starring some of the biggest names in cinema. The Hudson pass admission ticket gives individuals access to all 12 days of film and festivities at an incredibly hefty price. If you don’t want to spend the big bucks, individual tickets for screenings and talks are also available for purchase.

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Ninth Avenue International Food Festival

The Ninth Avenue International Food Festival is an exciting cultural celebration set for May 15th in 2016. This family-friendly event features global ethnic food, music, dance, and art, as well as amusement rides and games for the younger attendees. Celebrate diversity all the way from 42nd to 57th street! Admission is free for all.

Ninth Avenue International Food Festival, 9th Avenue and 42nd Street, New York, NY, USA

Lower East Side Festival of the Arts

New York is known as a nurturing hub for the artistic individual. The Lower East Side Festival of the Arts celebrates former, current, and aspiring artists of various media in a weekend of showcases and performances. This festival promises an incredibly lively and entertaining experience. Admission is still free after so many years!

Make Music New York

What a more perfect way to welcome the summer season than with some celebratory musical events? Make Music New York offers thousands of free concerts from 10am-10pm. Musicians quite literally take over the entire city, performing all different genres of music in plazas, parks, sidewalks, and gardens. Step outside on June 21st and look out for open musical festivities to join in on!

Fresh Fruits Festival

The Fresh Fruits Festival, like many others on this list, celebrates open artistic expression. However, in addition to artistry, the festival rejoices diversity in their performers and attendees in terms of sexual orientation, ethnicity, and gender. Join this inspiring, ever-growing event July 11-24!

Waku Waku

Waku Waku is a very unique experience in which Japanese pop-culture meets Brooklyn pop-culture. The atmosphere of the festival is very accurately described by its name which translates to ‘excitement in a dream-like state.’ This festival celebrates anime, fashion, art, and food in an incredibly unique way. Don’t miss out on this cross-cultural experience!

Brooklyn Book Festival | © editrrix/Flickr
Brooklyn Book Festival | © editrrix/Flickr

Brooklyn Book Festival

The Brooklyn Book Festival is the largest free literary event to take place in the big city. The event is highly anticipated each year as hundreds of well-read individuals flock to the endless meet and greets and popular seminars. Events will take place between September 12-18. Keep an eye on the festival’s website for the line-up of authors and their talks. Attendees are let in on a first come, first serve basis so be sure to get there relatively early to beat the crowds!

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Harvest Fest and Pumpkin Patch

Fall is largely celebrated in New York with events from Oktoberfests to the annual Halloween Costume Parade. To embrace the crisp fall season and the Halloween holiday, take the entire family to the Queens Botanical Garden Harvest Fest and Pumpkin Patch. This festival includes pumpkin picking, nature walks, games, rides, and numerous food and craft vendors. This is a great chance to escape the everyday hustle and bustle of New York City!

Harvet Fest and Pumpkin Patch, Queens Botanical Garden, 43-50 Main St, Queens, New York, NY, USA

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Winter’s Eve at Lincoln Square

While many New Yorkers do not enjoy the shift in weather and the snow that never disappears but just simply turns to black slush, not one person can deny the holiday spirit that surrounds Lincoln Square for the Winter’s Eve celebration. Complete with musical and theatrical performances, games, ice skating, and other miscellaneous activities, the night is topped off with the tree lighting ceremony. Enjoy the cold (if it actually is cold in December next year)!

Lincoln Square, New York, NY, USA

SantaCon NYC

Individuals have gotten more and more creative for this annual event. SantaCon NYC is often misrepresented as a simple bar crawl composed of hundreds of drunk Mr. and Mrs. Clauses. However, the event is actually an extremely charitable one with participants’ monetary donations going to numerous charitable causes. The SantaCon website explains their entire mission and notifies attendees of where to meet and the bars and venues that cater to the jolly spirit.

By Ashley Jones

After graduating from Carlow University in Pittsburgh this past spring with a B.A. in English and Education, Ashley moved to New York City where she currently works as an editor. She enjoys reading, writing, red velvet cupcakes, and getting hopelessly lost in her adventures around her new city.