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Fleet Week New York, 2016
Fleet Week New York, 2016 | © Cpl. Todd F. Michalek / U.S. Department of Defense
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9 Things to Do During Fleet Week in NYC

Picture of Julia Goicochea
Updated: 9 May 2018
For more than 35 years, the month of May has brought thousands of Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard service members ashore to New York City. Traditionally, Fleet Week has provided New Yorkers the opportunity to learn from and mingle with servicemen and servicewomen. Continue this local tradition at the best things to do during New York’s Fleet Week.

Parade of Ships

The Parade of Ships, a longstanding tradition of Fleet Week, kicks off the festivities on May 23, 2018. Witness the arrival of the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard as they cruise New York’s Hudson River aboard historic vessels, massive warships, and other watercraft. The procession, which is free to attend, is visible from any of the city’s riverfront parks.

Tour a U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard Ship

Once the Parade of Ships’ participating vessels dock, civilians are free to climb aboard. From May 23rd through May 28th, you can explore select United States military vessels on guided tours led by the service members who use them. Daily tours are scheduled to take place in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Staten Island, ensuring that no New Yorker is left out on land.

See aviation demonstrations

Don’t forget about the other equipment used by the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. In between touring ships, cast your gaze upward to glimpse fighter jets, helicopter gunships, and more aerial vehicles in action during aviation demonstrations staged throughout the week.

An aviation demonstration
An aviation demonstration | © Hamish Weir / Unsplash

Catch a movie under the stars on a ship flight deck

New York’s Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum is a worthy attraction any time of year, but its Fleet Week programming particularly excites. Along with a free museum tour and a special Memorial Day ceremony, the museum will host a free screening of the thematically appropriate Top Gun on its flight deck on May 25th, waterfront city skyline views included.

Work out with Marines

See if your CrossFit classes have paid off when you join the U.S. Marine Corps for Marine Day on May 26th. Programming including a performance by the USMC Battle Color Detachment and interactive displays is earned only after you complete an Army-style workout class with Marine service members.

Freedom Run, Fleet Week New York, 2016
Freedom Run, Fleet Week New York, 2016 | © Sgt. Eric Keenan / U.S. Department of Defense

See Navy divers in action—sort of

Have you ever wondered just what a military-level diver does? This Fleet Week, discover the answer at Times Square, where U.S. Navy divers will probe the depths of glass tanks as they demonstrate Navy processes in full diving gear. This (educational, by Times Square standards) spectacle will be staged from May 24th through May 26th and is free to attend.

Dance the night away at a 1940s-inspired party

The World War II era is the inspiration behind the Intrepid Museum’s Battle of the Big Bands. Here, you’ll sport your finest vintage fashions on a 3,200-square-foot (297-square-meter) wooden dance floor as three local big bands battle it out to be crowned the crowd’s favorite. More than 80 performers, including swing dancers and DJs and a barbershop quartet, are featured on the guest list.

Dance and listen to music from another era
Dance and listen to music from another era | © Jens Thekkeveettil / Unsplash

Sing along to Broadway hits in this troops salute

Come Saturday, May 26th, and the hottest ticket in town will be Broadway Connected’s Broadway Salutes The Troops. Rub elbows with servicemen and servicewomen as you watch stage celebrities belt out hits from Broadway shows including Hamilton, Miss Saigon, Hair, Bye Bye Birdie, and more.

Meet the Fleet

It takes a special group of people to elicit such excitement from notoriously hard-to-impress New Yorkers. This Fleet Week, don’t miss out on meeting some of the nearly 5,000 service members who will arrive ashore hungry for a bite of the Big Apple.