Spring is one of the most beautiful seasons in New York – begins on March 21st and ends June 20th. And while New York offers countless activities and attractions year-round, you can still take advantage of the city’s seasonal programming. Today, I’m going to give 30 tips on things to do during this season in the city. Before anything else, it is worth a general overview of this period, which is the famous half-season: it starts cold and ends warm. That means you still have to wear warmer clothes at the end of March and during the month of April, but in May the scenario tends to improve a lot – I consider May and June two great months for those who do not like extreme temperatures. But, remember: check the weather forecast before your trip to decide what to pack. The first half of spring is very unstable, hence the importance of you checking the forecast days before boarding.
1. Cherry Blossom – First of all, it’s worth remembering: there’s a specific (and short!) period to see the cherry blossom in New York. They start appearing at the end of March. The peak bloom begins in the second half of April and runs until the first week of May. Obvious that these are predictions. Spring weather is kind of crazy and the higher the temperatures, the faster the blooming. But overall, this is the average. On the Brooklyn Botanical Garden website, you can follow the status of bloom through CherryWatch.
2. Smorgasburg –One of the coolest outdoor things to do in New York is undoubtedly Smorgasburg. It is a unique opportunity for those who are foodies, besides being a super cool and local thing to do. Smorgasburg is seasonal, meaning it does not go all year round – it starts at the beginning of April and runs until October, featuring 100 flame-grilling, live-torching, head-spinning, and lip-smacking entrepreneurs pursuing their dreams for crowds of 20,000 people in the most exciting food environment anywhere.
3. Frieze New York – it is one of the most famous art fairs in the city and happens every year in early May in a giant tent on Randalls Island. This fair lasts two days and brings together the most important art galleries in the world, which represent more than 1000 important artists. Click here to check details, dates and buy your tickets.
4. Rooftop do Met – few people know, but in addition to the amazing collection of art works, sculptures, and other artifacts, the Metropilitan Museum of Art has a seasonal rooftop – which is only open during the warm months. Every season, the rooftop has some exhibition. Besides that, the rooftop has a good open area with beautiful views of Central Park and also a bar serving drinks. A delight! Remember that the ticket to the Met $25.
5. Tribeca Film Festival –is probably the most important film festival in the city and runs from the end of April to the beginning of May, and features not only movies, but also panels and talks with special guests.
6. Highline Park – this park is one of the most well-known tourist spots in the city and it is special because it is a park built on an old elevated train line, and now is a public space for residents and tourists to enjoy. From April to October, there are free tours offered by the park’s management. Click here for more details.
7. Rooftops – we know spring is here when rooftop season starts! It is one of the best things to do in New York: having a drink at the end of the day in a place like this. The energy is so good!
8. Picnic – Few simple things in life are as great as sitting in a park to relax, read a book, and eat delicious foods. And I always recommend this kind of thing to anyone visiting the city during the warm weather period. It’s a very New Yorker thing.
9. Luna Park / Coney Island – in early April, Luna Park, in Coney Island, Brooklyn, opens its season, which runs until late October. Even if you are not the person that loves amusement parks, it’s worth visiting the place, which has a very different vibe from Manhattan. Eat a hot dog, go for a walk on the beach, enjoy the late afternoon … it’s delicious!
10. Dance Party Bryant Park – Dance Party includes live bands and expert dance instruction for a memorable night of dancing on select Wednesday evenings. All ages are welcome to explore a different dance genre each week. “Notable instructors plus amazing live music” (TimeOut New York) makes Dance Party a can’t miss event.. More info!
11. North River Lobster Co – this boat is located on Pier 81 and has a lobster and seafood menu as well as drinks and cocktails. There are three decks, and the boat has an open rooftop. Every 45 minutes, the boat leaves the Pier northwards, providing beautiful views of the city. Admission costs only $10 per person, and you can stay as long as you want. The menu has food and beverage options starting at $10. It is worth remembering that the boat begins its season in April and continues until the end of fall. Check the schedule.
12. Tulip Time! Experience spring with a visit to Queens Botanical Garden during TULIP TIME! Celebrate spring bulb flowers during the peak of tulip season. See over 16,000 tulips and tens of thousands of daffodils, and take part in the festivities. Check details.
13. Rooftop –one rooftop is not enough – I guarantee that after going to the first one, you will want to repeat the experience. Then, add to the list Mr. Purple, who is usually super busy on weekends.
14. Grand Banks – it is a bar and restaurant that sits on a … boat! Hand-built and christened in 1942, the F/V Sherman Zwicker is the last original saltbank fishing vessel in existence. It is always moored – more precisely at the Hudson River Park, at Pier 25 – but it tends to shake a little. As it is an open boat, the place only opens for a period of the year – from mid-April to mid-October. You can either get a drink and hang out, near the bar, or see the host to get a table.
15. Ride a bike – with the warm temperatures, change a day on the subway for a day riding a bike. There are several spots for you to enjoy a ride, but I’ll leave a tip less obvious than Central Park: the Hudson River Park, which is in West side of Manhattan, on the edge of the Hudson River, and is spectacular at the end of the day.
16. Boat ride at Central Park – Another cool idea is to rent a boat in Central Park – it costs $ 15 an hour and each boat holds up to four people. But, if you want an upgrade on the tour, how about experiencing the gondola? Yes, you can take a gondola ride in Central Park.
17. Governors Island – this island was as a military base for nearly 200 years and is only half a mile south of Manhattan. It has amazing views! The island is open from May to October. You will find a lot of parks, playgrounds, food trucks, and more!
18. Free Summer Movies -Noir, romance, action, sci-fi, and comedy–Parks has movie screenings for all types of film buffs during spring – and summer. Bring your blanket to sit, something to eat and enjoy your New York time! Check the schedule!
19. Trapeze classes- Anyone who has watched Sex and the City will remember that in one of the episodes Carrie appears practicing trapeze. The place is the New York Trapeze School, with locations at Pier 40 (Manhattan) and Brooklyn. The season at Pier 40 runs from April to October
20. Rooftop – another one, why not? Arlo SoHo always has a special spring decoration! Worth checking out!
21. Five Boro Craft Beer Fest – an open bar beer festival with local and out of state brewers serving over 100+ Craft Beers, with live music. Check out tickets and dates.
22. Manhattan By Sail – Manhattan by Sail operates with two boats: Shearwater and Clipper City. Each of these boats makes several tours, at different times, with different proposals. I suggest Sunset Sail, for obvious reasons.
23. Wolrd’s Fare – The World’s Fare is a grand celebration of equality and the diversity of New York City paying homage to the great Fair of 1964. Over 100 vendors from over 100 cultures will come together again to unite through authentic food, drink and music curated by New York City’s leading taste makers. Discover the World this Spring at Citi Field. Check out more details!
24. Spring Fling – Prospect Park Alliance celebrates spring in Prospect Park with a full weekend of special events and activities that brings together the entire community! – check the calendar.
25. Fleet Week – is the city’s time-honored celebration of the sea services. It is an unparalleled opportunity for the citizens of New York and the surrounding tri-state area to meet Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen, as well as witness firsthand the latest capabilities of today’s maritime services. The weeklong celebration has been held nearly every year since 1984.. Check the schedule.
26. Shakespeare in the Park – a New York classic. Produced by The Public Theater, it happens every year at Delacorte Theater, Central Park and admission is free. As the name suggests, these are theatrical productions based on Shakespeare. They are always two plays a year, and the first one happens from the end of May to the middle of June. Check the schedule by clicking here. Free tickets are distributed on each day of the performance at noon (but the queues start well before!). You can also try your luck with the lottery through the TodayTix application.
27. Mad Sq eats -Mad. Sq. Eats brings the diverse flavors of the city’s best restaurants and food entrepreneurs to Worth Square, a prime location in the heart of New York’s historic Flatiron District. The highly anticipated bi-annual event draws hungry crowds of neighborhood residents, workers, and tourists who enjoy this unique opportunity to savor offerings from buzzworthy eateries. Check out the dates.
28. Rosas – June is the month of the roses. The New York Botanical Garden and the Brooklyn Botanical Garden feature gardens with several roses varieties. The bloom usually happens between the 8th and 10th of June. The two gardens usually promote a special event on a weekend to celebrate. Check details by clicking here.
29. Roosevelt Island – this residential island located between Manhattan and Queens provides a great tour – and is a good place to get away from the crazyness of Manhattan. The good thing about visiting the place in the spring is that it is not so cold!
30.Brooklyn Flea Record Fair – this event takes place next to Smorgasburg in East River State Park. The 50+ vendors include record labels, vintage collectors, and cool shops, plus DJs. Check the dates.
Laura Peruchi is a Brazilian blogger, author, and entrepreneur. She has lived in Manhattan with her husband since 2014. Since then, she has shared on her blog varied content about the Big Apple. From travel tips, including unusual things to do, shopping tips, etiquette, restaurants, and a lot more, her blog has become a reference in Portuguese (also available in English) for anyone planning a trip to New York City.