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Courtesy of New York Botanical Garden
Courtesy of New York Botanical Garden

21 Things to Do in Spring in New York City

Picture of Julia Goicochea
Updated: 9 January 2018

In New York, once the city begins to bloom, so do locals’ social lives. As dependable as the changing of seasons, New York City’s entertainment and events scene returns to life come springtime. From flower-filled exhibits to equally attractive art shows and beyond, here are 21 things to do in spring in NYC.

The Orchid Show at New York Botanical Garden

If winter’s barren urban landscape has gotten you down, you won’t want to miss the annual Orchid Show at the New York Botanical Garden. Thousands of orchids will transform the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory at this Bronx-based attraction into a flower-filled oasis you won’t believe is in New York City.

Root for the home team at one of New York City’s sports stadiums

Sports fans, rejoice! Spring marks the return of your favorite New York teams, including the Yankees and the Mets, who you can catch live at home games starting from February 23, 2018. Tip: Even strangers to the sport of baseball will appreciate the Yankee Stadium and Citi Field, each featuring high-end food stalls that put peanuts and Cracker Jacks to shame.

Affordable Art Fair

After you’ve finished “spring cleaning,” you may find your apartment has become as bare as the trees outside. Snag high-quality art at low-end prices at the annual Affordable Art Fair, returning to New York City from pop-ups in Milan and Brussels this March.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade

A New York City tradition, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade has been a top springtime attraction for 257 years. Progressing up Manhattan’s famous Fifth Avenue from 44th Street all the way to 79th Street, the parade promises street food, bagpipes, and, if you’re lucky, an invite to the pub afterward.

Central Park boat ride

Romance blooms on the Central Park Lake, a 22-acre body of water that you can explore from a rowboat for two from the park’s famous Loeb Boathouse. Just $15 an hour grants you this ideal springtime date—and a good chance of extending your spring fling for another season.

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Courtesy of Central Park Boathouse

Tribeca Film Festival

Catch before-they-break films at the 2018 edition of the Tribeca Film Festival, a much-anticipated annual event co-founded by actor (and proud New York local) Robert De Niro. The cost of tickets to talks, matinees, and much more range from $12 to $225 at this film-industry favorite.

Frieze Art Fair

Art enthusiasts wait with bated breath for the annual return of Frieze Art Fair, an event uniting more than 1,000 artists from 130 global galleries on Randall’s Island. Sit in on one of the fair’s famous talks or snag a masterpiece-in-the-making from one of its artists while enjoying views of the New York City skyline, a masterwork in its own right.

Women’s History Month

March marks the return of Women’s History Month, a period celebrated by millions of New Yorkers at events across the city. Last year, events celebrating sisterhood included the Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon: Art + Feminism, A Day Without a Woman, and discount deals from local businesses catering to women.

Macy’s Flower Show

Florals for spring are groundbreaking when they come courtesy of department store royalty like Macy’s. In commemoration of the spring season (of both nature and the fashion industry), Macy’s marquee stores in New York and beyond host a two-week flower show featuring nearly one million flowers, plants, and trees.

New York’s Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival

For nearly 150 years, it’s been a tradition in New York to celebrate Easter not with a formal meal but with (what else?) fashion. Don your most head-turning topper for the Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival, an annual event that takes people-watching, street style, and outrageous New York City outfits to a new extreme.

Visit a New York City beach

Feel the sand between your toes again (and the still-chilly sea water if you dare!) at one of New York City’s beaches. Coney Island, Rockaway Beach, and more of your favorite summer spots officially re-open in May.

Bike Month

May is Bike Month in New York, the only city where cycling is regarded as both a mainstream means of transportation as well as a daring feat versus New York City drivers. Celebrate cycling at the annual TD Five Boro Bike Tour, the country’s largest charitable bike ride boasting over 32,000 participants, a 40-mile (64-kilometer) route, and—music to a cyclist’s ears—not a single car in sight.

New York Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2018

Come spring and local fashion-fanatics (so, all New Yorkers) are lucky to host one of the industry’s top calendar events in their own backyard. New York Fashion Week returns to the city this February when international designers will unveil their Fall/Winter 2018 collections to the press and general (and exceptionally well-dressed) public.

SummerStage

The city’s favorite summer spot may not heat up until late June, but for excited entertainment fans, SummerStage provides a springtime preview of what’s to come. Events including a preview showcase and cocktail reception will sate your SummerStage cravings as early as January 2018.

Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival at Brooklyn Botanic Garden

In New York City, cross-cultural experiences are always in season. The annual Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival at Brooklyn Botanic Garden is a local favorite, celebrating Japanese culture with a lush cherry blossom-filled landscape, origami demonstrations, and because it is Brooklyn, after all, a playful cosplay fashion show.

Pillow Fight NYC

This one’s for you, kids at heart. On April 7, 2018, enjoy a throwback to your sleepover days at Pillow Fight NYC, a surprising phenomenon bringing countless strangers to Washington Square Park for a wholesome pillow fight.

Asia Week New York

Eastern culture arrives on the East Coast with the return of Asia Week New York. Packing plenty into its 10-day span, this annual celebration of Asian art includes exhibitions from almost 50 dealers, auctions, curator-guided tours of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Asian art galleries, and much more.

Fleet Week

An oldie but a goodie, Fleet Week has been a favorite springtime tradition in New York well before the first official celebration took place in 1982. Everything from concerts to military displays to parades is on offer during this maritime May event.

Easter restaurants

The OpenTable deals on Easter meals are a cause for celebration in themselves. Celebrate Easter (or just Sunday!) at restaurants around the city, all offering special prix-fixe menus for brunch, lunch, or dinner that everyone is sure to savor.

Free Summer Movies in New York City parks

Don’t let the name confuse you—the Free Summer Movies fest hosted by the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation kicks off each spring in May. The event raises the bar on movie nights everywhere and screens films spanning genres from noir to comedy free of charge in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx.

Holi Hai on Governors Island

Celebrate Indian culture (and put any forgotten outfits to good use) at the annual Holi Hai festival on Governors Island. Here, you’ll decorate your fellow celebrants with brightly colored powders, dance to live music, and enjoy Indian delicacies.