If I had to describe visiting New York City in April using only one word, I’d call it vibrant. An ensemble of pinks, reds and yellows culminate in a picture perfect display only made better by the shining warmth of the sun.
Enthusiastic locals emerge from their tiny apartments in search of happy hour and outdoor dining, flooding the street with scurrying feet and chatter. It feels like the city is re-balancing after its winter hibernation.
The climate is ripe for exploration and the days start getting long again (7PM sunsets, woop woop!). There’s little doubt as to why April is one of the best times to visit New York City, the city is charming and bright!
All this to say visiting New York City in April is a hopeless romantic’s dream come true, because no matter where you look the city is teeming with life. It’s no surprise movies, songs and books are written about this place.
So if you’re planning a trip and are looking for the best things to do in New York City in April I’m here to give you a quick run-down. This post will outline the can’t miss holidays and events so you can make the most of your visit.
Are you ready to get into it? Because I am!
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.
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Tips for Visiting NYC in April
- Pack an umbrella: Most of us grew up with the phrase “April showers bring May flowers” so it’s safe to assume some days of your visit to New York City in April will be wet. Don’t let this deter you from visiting, just bring an umbrella and keep an eye on the weather app, most rain comes in short bursts.
- Wear comfortable walking shoes: You will be doing a lot of walking while exploring New York City in April. 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: By no means is April in New York City peak tourist season, but crowds will slowly be coming back 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, and if there’s a popular place you want to visit odds are you’re not the only one. If you’re visiting New York City in April book reservations ahead of time, whenever possible.
April Weather in New York City
April averages: high 62° | low 44° | rains on average 8 days of the month
If you’re visiting New York City in April you’ll have some of the best weather for exploring. It’s not too hot and not too cold, perfect for all the walking you’ll be doing.
Plus, since most of the most popular attractions in New York City in April involve the outdoors you’ll be glad the average is a modest 62 degrees.
However if you plan on being out into the evening you’ll want to bring a coat. This is especially true if you plan on being near the water, where the wind can make it feel much colder.
Things to Do in New York City in April
Stroll the spring blooms in Central Park
Date: Early to mid April & Early to mid May
To start this list off strong, I want to start with one of my personal favorite things to do in New York City in April, which is to check out the spring blooms in Central Park.
Why is this my favorite thing to do in NYC in April? The answer is simple, the colors are so vibrant you can’t believe they’re real. Picture’s can’t even begin to do the park justice, in certain places it feels like you’re swallowed by the blooms.
Let me share some spots in Central Park you can’t afford to miss if you’re visiting New York City in April:
- 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 April.
Further Reading: Want more recommendations? Check out 5 Great Spots to Catch Spring Blooms in Central Park!
Check out Macy’s Flower Show before it’s gone
Dates: March 26- April 10, 2023
One of the best free things to do in New York City in April is to visit the annual Macy’s Flower Show. The entire store gets jam-packed with flower displays to welcome spring, 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 April, it’s also one of the best-smelling. The flowers emit amazing, refreshing smells that make shopping scent-sational. 😉
Address: 151 West 34th Street, 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. I treat finding new birds like a game and it’s a great way to be outside for a few hours.
That’s why one of the best things to do in New York City in April 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 April you coincide with the Audubon Center’s spring opening. It’s one of the best free events in New York City in April, running from 10AM to 1PM. Let me give you a quick rundown.
- From 10AM to 1PM is the “Bird Nerd Game Hour” which consists of educational and slightly competitive game.
- From 11AM to 12PM is the Animal Encounter, where you get to learn about the park’s wildlife.
- From 12 to 1PM is the Discovery Walk, where you learn to use binoculars and actually go out to identify some of the parks 250+ species of birds.
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 April. The most notable 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
Participate in Smorgasborg (Williamsburg)
Dates: Every Sunday starting April 3rd, 2023
If you consider yourself to be a foodie, even in the slightest, one of the best things to do in New York City in April is to welcome the return of Smorgasborg, also referred to as “The Woodstock of Eating.”
What is the Smorgasborg? It’s a popular open-air food market (more than 100 vendors) that draws in thousands of visitors and locals alike. This delicious, affordable and creative fare is guaranteed to please any palette.
One of the best things to do in New York City in April is meeting up with friends and jumping from vendor to vendor trying all the delicious food.
Also, don’t just take my word for it. This event is so popular it draws 20,000 – 30,000 visitors every weekend!
Address: Marsha P. Johnson State Park | 90 Kent Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211
Celebrate National Burrito Day
Dates: April 6, 2023
It feels like there’s a national day for every random item under the sun at this point. So of course, why would burritos be any different? But hey – you don’t have to twist my arm, I’ll schedule a burrito eating day happily.
Since the Big Apple is known for its exquisite cuisine one of the best things to do in New York City in April is to find the best burritos in the city to celebrate with.
It sounds so silly but between food trucks, restaurants and the power of social media — the competition is steep. Not all burritos are created equally!
If you’re visiting New York City in April and need help deciding where to start here is a list that may be helpful:
- Zaragoza | 215 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009
- Electric Burrito | 81 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10003
- Summer Salt | 30 E 23rd St, Storefront, NY 10010
Check out the breathtaking cherry blossoms all over the city
Date: First week of April or the first week of May
The question I get asked most about visiting NYC in April, is it really worth it? And without getting too into the weeds I can confidentially say it is! And that’s largely thanks to the impressive cherry blossoms making an appearance throughout the city.
It can be difficult planning the right time to visit New York City in April in order to catch cherry blossoms in peak bloom. 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 since that’s when the two most prevalent types of cherry trees in NYC are blooming.
New Yorkers take the sight of cherry blossoms as a sign that staying in town during the bone-chilling winter was worth it. In return we get to experience one of the best things to do in New York City in April, just strolling the blooms.
Further Reading: Don’t know where to start? We got you covered! Here are 10 Breathtaking Spots for Cherry Blossoms in New York City.
Grab a cold one on national Beer Day
Dates: April 7, 2023
Remember that thing I said about random national days being celebrated? Well folks, next on our list of the best things to do in New York City in April is to celebrate national Beer Day!
Does it get more American than a good ol’ cold beer and burger? New York City wears many crowns and finding a spot to grab a brew won’t be an issue. Between bars, breweries and bodega’s not only is having a beer one of the best things to do in NYC in April, it’s one of the easiest things to find.
If at all helpful, here is a round-up of some of our favorite spots:
- 20 Buzz-Worthy Breweries in New York City
- 12 Incredible Irish Pubs in New York City
- 10 Memorable Manhattan Bars Everyone Should Visit
- 10 Thirst-Quenching Brooklyn Breweries
Attend a baseball game (MLB Season Begins)
Dates: Season starts March 30, 2023
I’m going to let you in on a little secret, you don’t need to be a sports fan to enjoy watching baseball. Well, let me rephrase that, you don’t need to like the sport to enjoy going to the games.
One of the best things to do in New York City in April is to welcome back the MLB season. New Yorkers take things very seriously so baseball shouldn’t be any different. The loyal fan base mixed with nachos and alcohol is bound to create a tumultuous atmosphere.
By no means am I a sports fanatic but attending a baseball game is one of the best things to do in NYC in April, I can’t help but be affected but the contagious excitement. The uproar can be heard from outside the stadium and you’ll find it’s easy to blend in and act like you know what you’re doing (when in doubt, high five strangers!).
New York has two teams you can cheer on, here are the schedules so you can better plan your visit to NYC in April. New York Yankee’s Schedule & New York Met’s Schedule
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 parade is one of the best events in New York City in April, whether you choose to participate or just admire the parade of locals in fancy hats.
The event has turned into an excuse for New Yorkers to get creative with their head wear. The gathering starts in the morning around St. Patrick’s Cathedral and at 10AM the parade takes off up Fifth Ave from 49th to 57th Streets.
Originally it was Christian tradition to wear something new on Easter, and at the time hats were statement pieces akin to what shoes are now. However it wasn’t until the movie Easter Parade (1948) that prominently featured the Easter Parade down Fifth Ave that the event really picked up steam.
Who would’ve known a movie released 75 years ago would spurn one of the best annual events in New York City in April, the Easter Parade & Bonnet Festival.
Turn in your ice-skates for roller-blades at Flipper’s Roller Rink
Dates: Roller-Rink begins in April (date TBD)
As the sun starts slowly creeping back to New York City in April that can only mean one thing. It’s time to hang up the ice skates and dust of the roller-blades.
The Rockefeller Center has been an iconic destination for New Yorkers to ice skate since 1936. In an attempt to keep the magic alive, Flipper’s Roller Rink now takes over the space in the warmer months. Creating a space where skating is alive and well — just no longer on ice.
One of the best things to do in NYC in April is to rent a pair of roller-blades and skate right in the heart of Manhattan. Soak in the bustling atmosphere whilst participating in one of the most popular spring activities in New York City.
Address: 600 5th Avenue, Rockefeller Center, New York, NY 10020
Get tickets for the Orchid Show at 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 April.
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 April with a friend.
Address: 2900 Southern Blvd, The Bronx, NY 10458
Check out the New York International Auto Show
Dates: April 7 – 16, 2023
I haven’t owned a car since moving to New York City seven years ago (the subway is one of the biggest pros of living in NYC), but I don’t miss a chance to visit the International Auto Show. I’m drawn to the idea of seeing what’s new and flashy, and dreaming of cars I can’t afford.
As one of the best things to do in New York City in April the event provides the chance to check out all the newest cars, from everyday drivers to luxury cars only afforded by the wealthiest crowds.
Essentially the event is all about building positive PR, so car manufacturers bring cars decked out with all the bells and whistles available. You’ll have the opportunity to sit in cars, see proto-types and learn about new features.
The New York International Auto Show is a great opportunity for a unique date. Even if you don’t care for cars odds are you know someone who does, so why not treat them to one of the best things to do in New York City in April?
Tickets are available online and come in a variety of different price points. There are group discounts, special rates for children and even early access tickets.
Address: Javits Center, West 34th Street, New York
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. 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 April, 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 marching around air bag-piping after the parade.
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 April, 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 15th
Shocker shocker, another national “something” day has made our list of the best things to do in New York City in April! However, this is event is international so I can’t leave it off the list, right?
Perhaps one of the strangest (and oddly most satisfying) things to do in New York City in April is to whack people with pillows. Held at Washington Square Park, folks from all over gather with pillows in hand and participate in the worlds largest pillow fight.
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 April.
Address: Washington Square, New York, NY 10012
Go on the hunt for blooming Tulips
Dates: Generally from end-of-April to early-May
As a local, I’ve spent my fair share of time searching for tulips in New York City in April. Tulips are my favorite flowers because they symbolize the start of spring and the end of winter, which always overstays its welcome.
If you’re visiting New York City in April you might be shocked at how much greenery there actually is. Sure, Central Park is a behemoth of a park but even in-between city blocks you’ll find community gardens, displays and storefronts adorned with spring blooms.
There’s nothing I love more than wandering the busy streets of NYC while the pops of color from tulips stay steady in my periphery. In a city made of metal and concrete, vibrant shades of yellows, pinks and reds are a spry touch.
Here are a spots teeming with Tulips I recommend checking out if you’re visiting New York City in April:
- Shakespeare Garden in Central Park (my favorite)
- The Brooklyn Botanic Garden
- New York Public Library
Further Reading: 10 Outstanding Spots to Find Tulips in New York City.
Head to a Rooftop Bar
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 April 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 April so you don’t have to plan a date super early like you do in the winter to catch the sunset. Plus, most walls meant to keep the place warm come down so it’s all open air, baby.
If you’re visiting New York City in April 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 April and are staying in the neighborhood read this article.
Visit one of New York City’s Blooming Parks
Date: All of April
Ask any New Yorker how they stay sane while living in the concrete jungle and they will inevitably start listing a handful of the best parks in New York City. Visiting New York City in April is the perfect time to pay them a visit.
NYC takes public recreation very seriously and the proof is in the pudding. There are more than 1,700 public spaces and green spaces in New York City. Imagine!
Not only is the greenery coming back, but locals swarm the parks like moths to a flame. There are vendors, musicians, performers and more providing an added layer of life to the parks.
If you’re visiting New York City in April here are the parks I recommend you visit:
- Central Park, centrally located in Manhattan and the most iconic park in NYC
- Prospect Park, one of the biggest and best parks in Brooklyn
- Bryant Park, small and surrounded by towering office building and the New York Public Library
- The Highline, an old railway track transformed into an elevated park in Chelsea
For more suggestions read 15 Iconic New York City Parks You Can’t Afford to Miss.
Soak in the sun with a picnic in Sheep Meadow
Date: All of April
Sheep Meadow is arguably the most popular spot in Central Park. On a warm spring day the 15-acre meadow swells with up to 30,000 people, it’s a sight to behold!
It’s a spot you can’t afford to miss if you’re visiting New York City in April, it’s jaw-dropping. Add in the impressive skyline dubbed Billionaire’s Row and it’s hard to picture a more quintessential Spring Day in NYC.
You’ll find people tossing around a football, reading a book and the occasional sun-tanner (although that happens much more in the summer when it’s warmer). Getting some fresh air is one of the best things to do in New York City in April, and there are few spots better suited than Sheep Meadow.
What most of these folks don’t know is that Sheep Meadow is aptly named because it was literally a sheep meadow back in the day. The lawn was peppered with grazing sheep on a mission to keep the meadow manicured. The sheep were removed in 1934 but the name stuck. Read more interesting Facts About Central Park here.
Address: Sheep Meadow is in the southern end of Central Park, sandwiched between Tavern on the Green and The Mall. Both Apple and Google Maps can direct you to it, and if you’re lost just ask folks at the information booths sprinkled around the park.
April Festivals in New York City
New York International Music Festival
Dates: April 11, 2023
Taking over Carnegie Hall (one of the most iconic buildings in NYC) is the New York International Music Festival. Made up of an array of bands, orchestras and choirs it’s one of the best festivals in New York City in April.
The participants come from all around the world and are either youth, high-school or college level musicians. The talent these kids possess is astounding and makes you do a double take on your own self-discipline (LOL).
Plus at $40 a ticket this is one of the most affordable festivals in New York City in April. If you’ve always wanted to visit Carnegie Hall but couldn’t justify the steep prices, here’s your chance!
Address: 881 7th Ave, New York, NY 10019
Earth Day (Multiple Festivals)
Dates: April 22nd
Some might not immediately associate Earth Day as a big event in New York City in April, you know considering the towering skyscrapers, millions of cars and urban life in general. However New Yorkers by and large 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 is this a benefit because of the lack of 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 Earth Day Festival annually in New York City in April. Environmental groups teach us how to save the planet 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 April because there will also be free crafts!
Another popular Earth Day event taking place this April in New York City is the Randall’s Island Earth Day Festival. Like the Union Square festival, this is one of the best things to do in New York City in April with kids. There will be book readings, face painting, nature based crafts and more all emphasizing how and why we need to save our planet.
Best Things to Do in NYC during April (Post Summary)
- Celebrate Earth Day
- New York International Music Festival
- Soak in the sun with a picnic in Sheep Meadow
- Visit one of New York City’s blooming parks
- Head to a Rooftop Bar
- Go on the hunt for tulips
- Join the worlds biggest pillow fight
- Watch the New York Tartan Day Parade
- Check out the New York International Auto Show
- Get tickets for the Orchid Show at New York Botanical Garden
- Turn in your ice-skates for roller-blades at Flipper’s Roller Rink
- Enjoy the Easter Parade & Bonnet Festival
- Attend a baseball game (MLB Season Begins)
- Grab a cold one on national Beer Day
- Check out the breathtaking cherry blossoms all over the city
- Celebrate National Burrito Day
- Participate in Smorgasborg
- Go Bird Watching in Prospect Park
- Check out Macy’s Flower Show before it’s gone
- Stroll the spring blooms in Central Park
Map of New York City April Activities
And there you have it, folks. My list of the best things to do in New York City in April. I hope you found the post helpful. Cheers!
Zoe Seda says
I have read a few of these posts and am very impressed. You content is both relevant & comprehensive. Usually “helpful” websites about NY NEVER list free events.