Post Overview: Things to do in NYC in spring
Spring in New York City is a rebirth of life. Not only do the trees grow back their leaves, but locals are revitalized and charged up by the sun-rays like solar panels.
The city literally buzzes with music from cars, chattering locals and bustling footsteps. The excitement is akin to the first day of school, but people actually want to be there.
Not to mention the blooming flowers and cherry trees make New York City in the spring feel like a painting. Imagine putting an Instagram filter over the city that makes colors richer and everyone giddy.
That’s why visiting New York City in the spring should be on everyone’s bucket list. Not only is the city beautiful but there are so many things to do! Holidays are open for all to celebrate and new exhibits open in anticipation of returning tourists.
The hard part can be deciding where to start, but that’s why I’m here to help. Like many locals I hit the town hard in the Spring, eager to stretch to my legs after winter hibernation. I’ve found all the best annual things to do in New York City in the spring and put them into this post.
I’ve broken them down by free things to do, activities that cost money and festivals that take place in New York City in the spring. What do you say we cut the small talk and get to the good stuff?
Visiting New York City? If you haven’t decided where to stay (yet) check out our helpful guide on Where to Stay in New York City (The best neighborhoods for first timers +2 to avoid). Don’t have time? Here’s our favorite hotel in NYC, hands down.
Tips for visiting New York City in Spring
Wear comfortable walking shoes: You will be doing a lot of walking while exploring New York City in the spring. The subway is efficient but sometimes it’s better to walk between places to absorb more of the city. Bring your most comfortable pair of shoes because you’ll be getting those steps in, I guarantee it.
Start your day early: Crowds will slowly be coming back to New York City in the spring after winter. Start your day as early as possible and visit your “must see” places first thing.
Make reservations ahead of time: New York City is home to 8 million locals and many more annual visitors, so odds on that popular place you want to visit will have a line. If you’re visiting New York City in spring book reservations ahead of time, whenever possible.
A hat is non-negotiable: Want to enjoy the spring in New York City while looking like local? I have a tip: pick up this little gem! You’ll see them all over NYC for a good reason – they’re classic and provide coverage from the harsh sun. I own three of these hats, but who’s counting.
Things to Do in New York City in Spring
Free Spring Activities in NYC
Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day
Date: March 17, 2023
The St. Patrick’s Day Parade dates all the way back to 1762, meaning it’s a tradition older than America itself. In its 260+ year history the parade has become one of the most beloved things to do in New York City in the spring.
New York City’s robust Irish population and organizations help plan the event which celebrates the Patron Saint of Ireland. Over the years the event has transformed into a celebration of Irish culture as a whole, Catholic or not.
Contrary to other modern parades, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade doesn’t allow cars or floats. Instead there are 150,000+ marchers that make their way up Fifth Avenue past an estimated 2 million people!
Since the parade is one of the most popular events in New York City in spring you should expect crowds. The parade starts at 11AM at Fifth Avenue and 44th Street, and ends between 4:30 and 5PM at Fifth Avenue and 79th Street.
My suggestion is to try to get a spot near St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the most iconic church in NYC. It’s also one of the most popular sites along the route, so you’re going to want to want to show up early.
If you’re visiting New York City in the spring the St. Patrick’s Day Parade is one of the best events to attend. And if you choose not to partake – try to avoid Fifth Avenue, the crowds bring the city to a standstill!
Need help deciding how to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in New York City? We have you covered. Check out 12 EPIC Things to Do on St. Patrick’s Day in New York City.
Gawk at the Macy’s Flower Show
Dates: March 26 – April 10, 2023
One of the best free things to do in New York City in spring is to visit the annual Macy’s Flower Show. The entire store gets jam-packed with flower displays to welcome the season, making it a must-see attraction even if you’re not looking to shop.
At an impressive 2.5 million square feet, Macy’s in Herald Square is the biggest department store in the United States. Where else would you be able to squeeze in the thousands of colorful blooms that make up the flower show?
Not only is Macy’s Herald Square one of the prettiest places to visit in New York City in spring, it’s also one of the best-smelling. The flowers emit amazing, refreshing smells that make shopping scent-sational. ?
Address: 151 W 34th St., New York, NY 10001
Go Bird Watching in Prospect Park
Date: April 8, 2023
I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, a place revered for its outdoor activities but it wasn’t until I moved to NYC that I got into bird-watching. It’s shocking that the largest city in the U.S. is also home to such a robust variety of birds!
That’s why one of the best things to do in New York City in spring is to go birding, and the Prospect Park Audubon Center is here to help. The center is dedicated to protecting birds and their habitats and use education as a tool.
Luckily for us if you’re visiting New York City in spring you coincide with the Audubon Center’s seasonal reopening. It’s one of the best free events in April, running from 10AM to 1PM.
And this is just the grand opening. Keep an eye on the Audubon Center’s website for more fun events in New York City in spring. The most notable event is a weekly outing to go bird-watching with the Audubon Center’s experts.
Address: Audubon Center in the Prospect Park Boathouse, 101 East Dr, Brooklyn, NY 11225
Stroll the spring blooms in Central Park
Date: Early to mid April & Early to mid May
One of my personal favorite things to do in New York City in spring is to check out the blooms in Central Park.
Why is this my favorite thing to do in NYC in spring? The answer is simple: the colors are so vibrant they don’t seem real. Picture’s can’t even begin to do the park justice, at times it feels you’re swallowed by the blooms.
Let me share some spots in Central Park you can’t afford to miss when visiting New York City in spring:
- The Shakespeare Garden; four acres of flowers, trees and shrubs all mentioned in Shakespeare’s poems
- The Conservatory Garden; located in the northern end of the park, great for peaceful contemplation
- Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir; a 1.5 mile loop around the largest body of water in Central Park
Strolling Central Park taking in the tulips, cherry blossoms and sunshine can make even the grouchiest of people smile. That’s why it should be on your bucket-list of things to do in New York City in spring.
Check out the breathtaking cherry blossoms all over the city
Date: First week of April or the first week of May
One of the most popular things to do in the spring in New York City is to peruse alongside the blooming cherry blossoms. However, timing your visit with peak bloom can prove to be difficult.
My best piece of advice is to try and make a trip out either the first week of April or the first week of May (depending on the type of cherry blossoms you’re after). Yoshino cherry trees bloom in early April and are a light shade of pink. Kwanzan cherry trees bloom in early May and are a richer shade of pink.
Either way you essentially have about a month’s worth of cherry blossoms in New York City in the spring. New Yorkers treat the beautiful blooms as a sign that staying in town during the bone-chilling winter was worth it.
Further Reading: Looking for recommendations on where you’ll find the best cherry blossoms in New York City in spring? We got you covered! Here are 10 Breathtaking Spots for Cherry Blossoms in New York City.
Enjoy the Easter Parade & Bonnet Festival
Date: April 9, 2023
For more than 150 years New Yorkers have come together to show off their extravagant bonnets on Easter Sunday. The locals gather around St. Patrick’s Cathedral before parading down Fifth Avenue in one of the most unique traditions in New York City in spring.
The event has turned into an excuse for New Yorkers to get creative with their head wear, whether you’re observing Easter or not. The gathering starts in the morning, and at 10AM the parade takes off from 49th to 57th Streets.
There aren’t any forms to fill out, it’s just a good old fashioned community event. Participating is as simple as showing up in a fun hat and you’ll get to enjoy one of the best things to do in New York City in the spring.
Fun fact: It was Christian tradition to wear something new on Easter, and at the time hats were statement pieces. However it was the movie Easter Parade (1948) that really bolstered the event’s popularity.
Watch the New York Tartan Day Parade
Dates: April 15, 2023
If you don’t know what tartan is don’t be embarrassed, truthfully I didn’t either! So let me share what I learned with you. Tartan is a pattern in clothing consisting of vertical and horizontal lines AKA plaid.
The pattern is closely associated with the Scottish because of its prominence in their kilts. So shocker shocker, the New York Tartan Day Parade is a celebration Scottish culture and tradition, and one of the best things to do in New York City in spring.
The parade runs on 6th Avenue between 45th and 55th streets, and begins at 2PM.
The event is one of the best things to do in New York City in the spring, especially if you have kids because of the clean entertainment. The bagpipes are always a hit with my nieces who spend a at least a week after the parade marching around air bag-piping.
The parade is made up of more than 3,000 participants that include dozens (if not hundreds) of bagpipers, Highland dancers, Scottish dog breeds and organizations.
The best part is that this is one of the best free events in New York City in spring, you can even march for free! Even if you’re not Scottish, you can join the marching group dubbed Friends of Scotland and show your support (just be sure to register ahead of time).
Bring your pillows to International Pillow Fight day
Dates: April 15, 2023
Perhaps one of the strangest (and oddly most satisfying) things to do in New York City in the spring is to whack people with pillows. I’m talking about at International Pillow Fight Day, that is!
Held at Washington Square Park folks from all over gather with pillows in hand and participate in the unique NYC spring event. You’re not going to want to roll any heads though, so don’t be overly aggressive (or swing at people with cameras!).
Honestly, it’s quite fun and ridiculous enough that everyone is able to let loose and have a good time. So if you have a spare pillow and don’t mind the sight of feathers flying everywhere this is one of the best events in New York City in spring.
Address: Washington Square, New York, NY 10012
Take the tram to Roosevelt Island to have a picnic under the cherry blossoms
Dates: The cherry blossoms happen in early April through early May
The views of NYC from the Roosevelt Island tram are some of the best in the city, which is why I consider this one of the best things to do in New York City in the spring.
The tram takes you from the Upper East Side to Roosevelt Island for the price of a subway ride ($2.75).
The trip to Roosevelt Island is a nice way to escape the bustle of the city and have a moment of calm and quiet while still seeing the iconic NYC skyline.
Make sure to swing by Four Freedoms Park on the island (it’s beautiful) and rest your legs on the many benches provided. It’s one of the most popular places in New York City in the spring thanks to the abundant blossoming cherry trees that make the island feel like a magical sanctuary, and if you visit early you’ll likely have it to yourself.
Welcome back street markets
Dates: End of April through the fall
You might be surprised to learn that a city as big as New York has street fairs, but locals have an impressive appetite for small-businesses and artists. That’s why one of the best things to do in New York City in the spring is to peruse the endless vendors and shop local!
Everything from original art pieces to adorn your apartment, to redesigned clothing and vintage items are available. Half the time I visit one of New York City’s spring fairs I don’t even intend to buy anything, I just like to browse.
The sunny, warm weather brings locals out en masse and the fairs often have music and food available putting everyone in good spirits. You never know what you’ll find, who you’ll meet or what you’ll eat, it’s an adventure in and of itself!
Visiting New York City in the spring and need suggestions? Here are my favorite recommendations:
- Sundays in Dumbo: An extension of the Brooklyn Flea, reopens on April 1st at 80 Pearl St. in Brooklyn
- Hester Street Fair: Reopens on April 22nd (don’t go to Hester St. the market lost its original location’s lease but kept its name, now it’s on Pier 17)
- Greenpoint Terminal Market: Reopens on April 30th at 2 Noble Street, Brooklyn and offers stunning views of Manhattan
Want more suggestions? Let us know in the comments if you’d like to see a post dedicated to the best street fairs in New York City!
Catch the sunset on Pier 35
Dates: All of spring
For those searching for a relaxing way to wind down at the end of the day one of the best things to do in New York City in spring is to head over to Pier 35 to catch the sunset.
The pier is located on the Lower East Side and is about a 2 mile stretch of seating, walking paths and bikeways. The waterfront views along the East River are hard to beat especially when you get views of both the Brooklyn bridge and Manhattan bridge.
But what makes visiting Pier 35 one of the best things to do in New York City in spring is the fact that the pier has giant swings for folks to soak in the sunset from. Yup you read that right! Swings the size of a park bench are found on an elevated platform on the pier giving unobstructed views of the river — giving you the perfect sunset watching spot.
There’s a total of four swings and since they are a popular thing to do in New York City in spring, expect to have to wait. Luckily there are other epic view points on Pier 35 so waiting isn’t all that bad.
Address: Pier 35, FDR Dr, New York, NY 10002
Walk the High Line
Dates: All of spring
The High Line is one of the most unique parks in New York City. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, High Line Park was born from an eye-sore.
The elevated tracks this NYC park was built on were originally used by freight trains delivering cargo to the city. A practice that became moot with the rise in trucking.
For ages, the railroad track was abandoned and neglected but the High Line opened in 2009 and became an instant success. The elevated promenade stretches 1.5 miles and receives an average of 8 million visitors annually.
If you’re wondering what makes the High Line a can’t miss park when visiting New York City in the spring I’m going to give you more than 150,000 reasons: plants. Indeed, more than 150,000 plants adorn the park and in the spring they’re a sight for sore eyes.
Just take a gander at the High Line’s website and you’ll learn all about the curated “garden zones” meant to inspire. They didn’t just throw seeds and hoped they’d stick, the park truly made an oasis in the city.
My favorite of which are the magnolia trees, which bloom in May. You’ll find them in the “Flyover” garden zone, between 25th and 27th Streets (around the middle of the High Line) and the blooms can grow up to 12 inches. They single-handedly draw me to the High Line every New York City spring.
As a local, I can tell you that I thoroughly enjoy visiting the High Line regardless of how many times I’ve seen it. And every spring this New York City park swells with giddy tourists, so the people-watching opportunities are endless.
Sign up for Yoga in Bryant Park
Date: End of May
Bryant Park can be found nestled behind the New York Public Library in the shadow of the Empire State Building. It’s one of the best parks in New York City and made even more popular thanks to a plethora of year round activities, one of which is free yoga.
Attending a class is one of the best free things to do in New York City in the spring, all you have to do is bring your own mat. Experienced instructors will guide you through a class that both experienced and novice yogis will enjoy.
Since Yoga in Bryant Park is one of the most popular things to do in New York City in the spring you will need to register online ahead of time. The exact dates have yet to be announced, but I’ll update this post when I know more.
Fun Things to Do in New York City in the Spring (Admission Required)
Visit the Met Cloisters
Date: All of spring
Have you ever wanted to tour a medieval castle? The kind you see in movies or textbooks made of stone, with beautiful courtyards and impressive architecture? Because you don’t have to travel out of NYC to visit one.
Just take a trip to the Met Cloisters, an extension of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met) dedicated to Romanesque and Gothic periods of architecture and art. Visiting is one of the best things to do in the spring in New York City because the courtyards are green and in full bloom.
The entry fee is the same as a visit to the Met (and pay what you wish for New York residents) and the Cloisters are easily accessible in Fort Tryon park (which is in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan).
Truthfully I’ve been to the Cloisters at least a dozen times, and at this point I treat it more as a park than a museum. It’s one of the most peaceful places in New York City in the spring and doesn’t get as crowded with the same amount of tourists.
Dates: 99 Margaret Corbin Dr, New York, NY 10040
Spend the evening at a rooftop bar
Date: All of spring
Few things are as iconic in New York City as visiting a rooftop bar. In fact, when I have friends visiting from out of town the first thing I’m asked is which rooftop bars I recommend (Yes, I’m the boozy friend).
And sure, rooftop bars are open year-round, but if you’re visiting New York City in spring you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you don’t go to at least one.
The sun sets after 7PM in New York City in the spring so you don’t have to plan a date super early like you do in the winter to catch the sunset. Plus, most of the walls meant to keep the place warm come down, so it’s all open air, baby.
If you’re visiting New York City in spring and need suggestions, here are some of my favorite rooftop bars:
- Westlight | 111 N 12th St, Brooklyn, NY 11249
- Castell | In the AC Hotel, 260 W 40th St, New York, NY 10018
- Mr. Purple | 180 Orchard St 15th floor, New York, NY 10002
We have yet to put out an article on our favorite rooftop bars in the city, but we have one specific to the Lower East Side. If you’re visiting New York City in the spring and are staying in the neighborhood read this article.
Admire The Orchid Show at the New York Botanical Garden
Dates: February 18 – April 23, 2023
I have more than one friend who is obsessed with flowers, and I bet you do too. Why not take them to the Orchid Show at the New York Botanical Garden, one of the best things to do in New York City in the spring.
This year is the 20th annual Orchid Show, and the botanical garden has partnered with artist Lily Kwong to design the exhibition. Over 1000 orchids will be in full bloom bringing vibrant colors to the concrete jungle.
The show opens to the public on February and runs until April. Be sure to purchase tickets online and enjoy one of the best things to do while visiting New York City in the spring!
Address: 2900 Southern Blvd, The Bronx, NY 10458
Visit the Museum of Failure at Industry City
Date: Opens on March 17, 2023
Very few people succeed without failing (if you do, I’m envious) but most slip-ups are held close to your chest, hidden from the world. The Museum of Failure is changing that by covering some of the most interesting failures.
From big companies like Google attempting something new only to fall on their face to ingenious ideas that had potential but crashed and burned, nobody is safe. The museum covers more than 150 failures!
And one of the best things to do in New York City in the spring is to swing by the temporary museum at Industry City in Brooklyn. Industry City is a collection of stores and restaurants housed in old warehouses, so they have plenty of room for the museum to set up shop.
Truthfully it’s a lighthearted walk through but serves as a reminder that no matter who you are or what you’ve done, you’ll embarrass yourself at times (and that’s okay!). Not to mention out of our failures come some of our best ideas, so why not stop by the museum during your visit to New York City in spring.
Address: Industry City, 900 3rd Ave, Brooklyn, NY
Support a team at the March Madness East Regional Semi Finals
Dates: March 23 – 25, 2023
March Madness is the annual tournament that determines the men’s collegiate basketball national champions that takes place, you guessed it, in March.
It’s also one of the biggest sporting events in America. The single-game elimination tournament is viewed by roughly 100 million people on television, but you can see it live if you’re visiting New York City in the spring.
Every year tens of millions of folks fill out brackets predicting the winner of each of the 67 games, even though there is only a 1 in 9.2 quintillion chance of getting them all right.
Can you imagine the thrill of cheering on a team knowing your bracket is hinged on the teams playing? The East Regional Semi Finals will be played in New York City on March 23rd and 25th at Madison Square Garden.
We don’t know which teams will make it that far into the tournament (it’s win or go-home), but the thrill of college basketball is unparalleled no matter who’s on the court. Tickets are already available for both the 23rd and the 25th online so pick yours up if you’re visiting New York City in spring.
Address: Madison Square Garden, 4 Pennsylvania Plaza, New York, NY 10001
Attend the Affordable Art Fair
Dates: March 22 – 26, 2023
I know I’m not the only one who wants to decorate my apartment with beautiful, unique pieces of art. The issue I run into is that I don’t want to waste my money on mass-produced, replicated artwork made in factories.
I want original art made by real artists, but I don’t have the cash to shell out on expensive pieces. That’s why one of my favorite things to do in New York City in the spring is to visit the Affordable Art Fair!
Held over the course of four days you’ll have a chance to peruse art at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Chelsea. You’ll also have the chance to take some home if you find a piece you like! Pieces range in price from $100-$12,000.
Even if you don’t intend to buy perusing the fair is one of the best things to do in New York City in the spring. Entry starts at a north of $20 and can serve as a cute date or excuse to get out of the house.
Address: Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 West 18th Street, New York, NY 10011
Partake in Smorgasburg
Date: Opens March 31 and continues every weekend until the fall
Attention foodies! Spring in New York City brings the anticipated return of Smorgasburg, the largest weekly outdoor food market in the U.S. Vendors from all across the Big Apple pitch canopies and come together enabling you to try a variety of the city’s best cuisines all in one place.
Smorgasburg is hosted in 3 NYC neighborhoods. On Fridays they set up shop outside the World Trade Center in Manhattan, Saturdays is the original (and most popular) location in Williamsburg Brooklyn and Sundays they’re in Prospect Park, also in Brooklyn.
With more than 60 vendors you’ll find a broad variety of eats, and if you do it right you’ll have to be rolled home. Plus, the portions at Smorgasburg are usually on the smaller side, enabling you to try a plethora of options.
And if you really want to try it all I suggest you to bring a friend in order to split meals. My wife and I make sure to visit a handful of times during spring in New York City. There will undoubtedly be vendors you find yourself in line for more than once.
Address: Marsha P. Johnson State Park in Williamsburg, World Trade Center in the Financial District and Prospect Park in Brooklyn
Celebrate your favorite holiday 1,000 feet in the air
Date: All of spring, St. Patrick’s Day March 17 and Easter Sunday April 9
Visiting New York City in spring and not checking one of the five epic observation decks is like visiting Paris and not checking out the Eiffel Tower — unforgivable.
I know it may feel like a tourist trap (and it can be) but experiencing the iconic views from an observation deck is something everyone should do at least once. The unforgettable NYC skyline gets etched into your brain and the unobstructed views are breathtaking.
Now the question becomes which observation deck is worth it. If you only have time to visit one spot while visiting New York City in spring I recommend Summit One Vanderbilt.
Not only does it offer some of the most epic views, it’s chock full of things to do in New York City in spring.
If you’re in town for Easter, Summit One Vanderbilt is hosting an Easter egg hunt on April 9th. It’s something the whole family can participate in. Or if St. Patricks day is more your vibe, on March 17th Summit One Vanderbilt will be throwing a St. Patty’s day bash with green beer in their cafe located on the 93rd floor.
Regardless of when you visit, one of the best things to do in New York City in spring is to celebrate your favorite holiday over 1,000 feet in the air.
Plan a photoshoot amongst the spring blooms at Serra By Birreria
Date: All of spring
Serra By Birreria is located on the rooftop of Eataly in the Flatiron District, and it’s Italian name roughly translates to greenhouse brewery. The seasonal restaurant serves delicious Italian food and (very) well crafted cocktails.
Spring has sprung with at Serra By Birreria and the winter decorations take a back seat while floral fixtures take over the space. One of the best things to do in New York City in spring is making reservations here and having a mini photo shoot.
The back corner is adorned with faux blooms and outfitted with comfy chairs to create the most charming backdrop for a photo. But if having a photo-shoot in a public spaces makes your nervous, no worries!
Serra By Birreria makes sure every corner of this restaurant is picture perfect. The ceiling is dressed in greenery, lights and vines making it easy to snag a photo right from your table without having to get up.
Aside from the never ending photo opportunities, visiting Serra By Birreria is still one of the best things to do in New York City in spring for the menu alone. I recommend ordering whatever the seasonal dish is while visiting NYC in the spring.
Date: 200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010
Ride the SeaGlass Carousel at Battery Park
Date: All of spring
Battery Park is the southernmost point in Manhattan and while strolling through it you’ll catch glimpses of the Financial District and the Statue of Liberty. You’ll also find a modern carousel that’s fun to look at and even more to ride.
That’s why of the best things to do in New York City in spring, especially if you have kids, is to visit the SeaGlass Carousel in Battery Park. Although the carousel is open year round the spring season brings out the best of the park and makes the day more enjoyable.
Instead of horses you get to ride in illuminated fish that replicate those found at the bottom of the ocean. My suggestion is to visit at night, when the fish are brightest and the neon colors are the most magical.
Address: Water St &, State St, New York, 10004
Welcome back night markets
Dates: Late April until October
After moving to New York City, I quickly realized something… I love markets! I know it sounds so silly but never in my life have I ever had this kind of access.
Exploring a night market is one of the best things to do in New York City in the spring. The amount of food, drinks, art and live performances right at your fingertips under the same roof? Insane!
Living on the Upper West Side, I’m partial to the Uptown Night Market. Between April and November, on every second Thursday of each month I am blessed with this spectacle.
Everyone has heard of bar hopping, but have you ever heard of vendor hopping? That’s exactly where I’ll be every spring in New York City. This is one of the best things to do in New York City at night if you’re into trying a little bit of everything.
Enjoy authentic savory food or chilled sweet treats, catch whatever live performance is happening and soak in the the beauty that is spring nights in New York City.
Below I’ll outline some more popular night markets that open in New York City in the spring:
- Queens Night Market: Every Saturday starting April 29th until October
- Brooklyn Night Market: Last Monday of every month beginning May 29 until October
- Bronx Night Market: Last Saturday of every month beginning April 29 until October
Take a class at The Brooklyn Grange (Rooftop Farm)
For anyone with a green thumb, one of the most interesting things to do in New York City in spring is to sign up for any of the events hosted at the Brooklyn Grange.
The Brooklyn Grange is the leading rooftop farming business in the country. With the mission to promote a sustainable urban living lifestyle, the grange is constantly offering educational courses and dinners.
During spring in NYC you can sign up for events like planning your own urban vegetable garden, exploring different fermentation methods and botanical sketching + illustrating to name a few.
Even if you don’t think you have an interest in the programming, I still consider visiting one of the best things to do in New York City in spring simply for the beautiful rooftop space and killer views of Manhattan.
Enjoy lunch under the spring blooms at Laduree SoHo
Dates: To catch the blooms try to visit March-April
There are few things to do in New York City in spring as magical or memorable as grabbing a bite to eat at Laduree in SoHo. The popular French bakery & restaurant is perfectly Parisian and well-known for the macarons.
The back patio specifically is a can’t-miss experience during the warmer months.
With cherry blossoms blooming, the patio is showered with falling blossoms creating the most picturesque backdrop. Pink petals fall to the ground mid-meal and cover the table and ground.
It’s seriously one of the most beautiful sights to behold! It feels like a scene straight out of a movie. Truthfully speaking, the food is a tad overpriced and mediocre, but if you visit during the weekdays at off hours, you can get away with ordering coffee and a treat. The macarons have a cult-like following and are some of the best in NYC.
I will say, unfortunately this is one of the worst things to do in New York City in spring if you struggle with allegeries!
Visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art (+Rooftop Garden)
Date: Opens May 18, 2023
Founded in 1870, the Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met) is often considered the best museum in New York City, and it’s not hard to see why.
With more than 2 million pieces of art spanning 5,000+ years, the Met is the largest museum in the country and the fifth largest museum in the world. Averaging 6 million visitors per year, it’s also the most visited museum in New York City.
But let me share a local tip with you – one of the best things to do in New York City in the spring is to sneak away to the Met’s rooftoop for a cocktail. This might sound like a secret hangout for the museum’s executives but on the contrary, the Cantor Rooftop Garden is open to the public.
In simple terms it’s a rooftop bar overlooking Central Park. You have access to it with standard admission and every spring the New York City museum decorates the rooftop with new exhibits. You’ll also be able to purchase snacks or drinks and hang out (my suggestion is to try to visit for sunset).
Address: 1000 5th Ave, New York, NY 10028
Popular New York City Spring Festivals
Catch a show during Off-Broadway Week
Dates: February 15th to March 5th, 2023
A Broadway theater is described as a professional theater that has 500 seats or more, and Off-Broadway means the theater holds less than 500. Similar to Broadway Week, Off Broadway Week offers a two for one deal on tickets.
It’s one of the best reasons to visit New York City in the spring, especially if you’re a theater geek (like me). The smaller theaters already offer a great value on live entertainment, and even more so during Off-Broadway week.
Check out the artwork during Asia Week New York
Dates: March 16 – 24, 2023
Asia Week is meant to shine a light on underappreciated Asian Art, and takes place in New York City in the spring. During the course of the week galleries all over NYC will display paintings and sculptures made by Asian artists.
Some of the art is for sale, so if you’re in the market for high quality pieces this is one a can’t miss spring event in New York City. There’s also events highlighting the contributions Asians have had to the world-wide art scene.
For a full list of participating galleries, auction houses and museums visit Asia Week’s official website. There’s also a schedule of events you’ll be able to check out.
Celebrate Earth Day (Multiple Festivals)
Dates: April 22nd
Some might not immediately associate Earth Day as a big event in New York City in spring considering the towering skyscrapers, millions of cars and urban life in general.
However New Yorkers care about the planet so Earth Day is chock-full of fun and sustainable things to do.
For starters the New York City Deportment of Transportation will be shutting down car traffic on streets in all five boroughs. Not only does this reduce pollution, but the streets flood with locals taking advantage of the car-free streets playing games, walking their dogs and riding bikes. Exact streets and times TBA.
Union Square Square Park also hosts an annual Earth Day Festival in New York City in April. Environmental groups teach sustainable practices and live music makes a party of it.
If you have little ones this is one of the best events in New York City in spring because there will also be free crafts!
Another popular Earth Day event taking place this spring in New York City is the Randall’s Island Earth Day Festival. There will be book readings, face painting, nature based crafts all emphasizing how and why we need to save our planet.
Gawk at Navy ships during Fleet Week
Dates: May 24 – 30, 2023
Fleet Week is an annual celebration of our armed forces, specifically those who spend time on the water. The Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard all participate, docking ships and bringing their servicemen and women to New York City in the spring.
Civilians can take a peek behind the curtain and tour active military ships. You’ll also get to attend events meant to showcase the skills of our armed forces (like a martial arts class that took place in Times Square in 2010).
During the spring festival in New York City military personnel also get to explore the Big Apple, some for the first time. The city becomes littered by thousands of military members in uniform!
Locals take advantage of Fleet Week and stop the servicemen and women in the streets for a photo or to shake their hands. It’s also not uncommon to buy the military members a drink as a show of thanks for their service.
Visit the Military News website for a rundown of events and where they’re taking place. Most are free and kids are welcome, which makes this one of the best things to do in New York City in the spring with little ones.
Average Spring Temperatures in NYC
Spring is the second best time to visit New York City thanks in large part to the weather. Mild temperatures offer comfortable days for exploring and the parks are blooming with color.
Fashion options are endless. You don’t have to worry about covering a great outfit under layers of jackets like you do in the winter. And being out late is enjoyable again since the temperature doesn’t drop to Antarctic levels!
- Average temperatures in New York City in March: 52° / 36°
- Average August temperatures in New York City in April: 64° / 45°
- Average September temperatures in New York City in May: 72° / 54°
Spring in New York City (Post Summary)
- Gawk at Navy ships during Fleet Week
- Celebrate Earth Day
- Check out the artwork during Asia Week New York
- Catch a show during Off-Broadway Week
- Visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art (+Rooftop Garden)
- Enjoy a bite under the spring blooms at Laduree SoHo
- Take a class at The Brooklyn Grange
- Welcome back night markets
- Ride the Seaglass Carousel at Battery Park
- Plan a photoshoot amongst the spring blooms at Serra By Birreria
- Celebrate your favorite holiday 1,000 feet in the air
- Partake in Smorgasburg
- Attend the Affordable Art Fair
- Support a team at the March Madness East Regional Semi Finals
- Visit the Museum of Failure at Industry City
- Admire The Orchid Show at the New York Botanical Garden
- Spend the evening at a rooftop bar
- Visit the Met Cloisters
- Sign up for Yoga in Bryant Park
- Walk the High Line
- Catch the sunset on Pier 35
- Welcome back street markets
- Take the tram to Roosevelt Island to have a picnic under the cherry blossoms
- Bring your pillows to International Pillow Fight day
- Watch the New York Tartan Day Parade
- Enjoy the Easter Parade & Bonnet Festival
- Check out the breathtaking cherry blossoms all over the city
- Stroll the spring blooms in Central Park
- Go Bird Watching in Prospect Park
- Gawk at the Macy’s Flower Show
- Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day
Map of New York City Spring Activities
And there you have it, the best things to do in New York City in spring according to yours truly. Let us know if you think we missed a spot. Enjoy the blooms and sunshine.