101 things to do in New York City in the spring

The weather's fine---get outside and do something.

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  • Photograph: Joseph O. Holmes, courtesy Brooklyn Botanic Garden

    101spring701cherrybbg

    61. Eyeball the blooms at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

  • 101spring702conservatorygarden

    62. ...or the Central Park Conservatory Garden

  • 101spring703govislandgirltalk

    63. Shake your thang on Governors Island. Pictured: Headliner Girl Talk

  • Photograph: courtesy of www.flickr.com/idontlikeribena

    101spring704nyaquarium

    64. View sharks from a safe distance at the New York Aquarium

  • 101spring705propsectparkaudubon

    65. Spot birds in Brooklyn. Pictured: Prospect Park Audubon Center

  • Photograph: courtesy of www.flickr.com/ukanda

    101spring706aquaduct

    66. Bet on ponies. Pictured: Aqueduct Racetrack

  • Photograph: courtesy of www.flickr.com/asterix611

    101spring707aidswalk

    67. Join the AIDS Walk New York

  • 101spring708streetfair

    68. Stroll through street fairs on the weekend

  • Photo by Paul Ramrez Jonas, courtesy Creative Time

    101spring709freshkills

    69. Explore Freshkills Park

  • Photograph: courtesy of the MET

    101spring710-alexandermcqueen

    70. See Alexander McQueen's mind-bending dresses at the Met

Photograph: Joseph O. Holmes, courtesy Brooklyn Botanic Garden

101spring701cherrybbg

61. Eyeball the blooms at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

61. Eyeball the blooms at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Stop by this 52-acre garden for the Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival (Apr 30--May 1 10am--6pm; $15, students and seniors $10, children under 12 and members free), a Japanese spring celebration featuring authentic ikebana floral arrangements, dance and drumming performances, tea and more. Every Saturday from 10am to noon, you can take in the grounds, as picturesque as any you'll find in the borough, and their bevy of blooming flowers for free. Before your trip, make sure you consult the garden's site for the precise location of currently blooming varieties. 900 Washington Ave at Eastern Pkwy, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn (718-623-7200, bbg.org). Through Mar 13 Tue--Sun 8am--4:30pm; Sat, Sun 10am--4:30pm; $10, seniors and students $15. Mar 15--Nov 7 Tue--Sun 8am--6pm; Sat, Sun 10am--6pm; $15, seniors and students $10.

62. ...or the Central Park Conservatory Garden
This garden will soon be overrun with brides and their entourages, but for now, it is a flowering paradise that begs to be strolled at a leisurely (dare we say Victorian?) pace. Overexertion is strongly discouraged in this Eden, which is divided into three sections (Italian, English and French) (East side between 104th and 106th Sts; enter at Fifth Ave and 105th St; 212-310-6600, centralparknyc.org). Another romantic option is the Shakespeare garden, featuring blooms from the bard's poems. For a view overlooking the garden, walk a loved one up to the long, curved Charles B. Stover Bench. Its design conducts sound along the bench's length, so you can whisper sweet nothings to each other from its far-away ends. (West side between 79th and 80th Sts, enter at Central Park West and 81st St; 212-310-6600, centralparknyc.org)

63. Shake your thang on Governors Island
Anticipate all of this summer's awesome outdoor concerts by going to the first-ever Governors Ball Music Festival, which goes down at the tail end of spring. Take a free ferry over to see sets by mash-up maestro Girl Talk, prolific Outkast rapper Big Boi, rising electro star Pretty Lights and others who will keep a young, ready-to-party set moving. Tickets are on sale now—nab 'em quickly, as they'll go fast. For more must-see shows this season, consult our list of the best spring concerts in NYC. Governorsballmusicfestival.com. June 18 noon; $75--$150.

64. View sharks from a safe distance at the New York Aquarium
At this Coney Island staple, you can see eerie moon jellyfish, fierce sharks and adorable black-footed penguins. And don't miss the ongoing sea lion show: Duke is the scenery-chewing diva of the aquarium's pinniped spectacular. Surf Ave at W 8th St, Coney Island, Brooklyn (718-265-3474, nyaquarium.com). $13, seniors $10, children $9.

65. Spot birds in Brooklyn
The National Audubon Society classifies Prospect Park as an Important Birding Area for the many species (more than 250 of them, in fact) that migrate through it. This season you may see the American Gold Finch, Baltimore Oriole and Blue Jay. Learn how to find them on these open walks; binoculars are provided. Prospect Park Audubon Center, Ocean Ave at Lincoln Rd, Prospect Park, Brooklyn (718-287-3400, prospectpark.org/audubon)

66. Bet on ponies
Corral your crew and head to the races for a day of equine-inspired revelry at Aqueduct Racetrack (110--00 Rockaway Blvd at 110th St, Jamaica, Queens; 718-641-4700, nyra.com; races Wed--Sun 1--5pm; through Apr 23). Admission to both the grandstand and the clubhouse is free (though you may want to bring some cash to pay your bookie). Starting April 29, the action moves to Belmont Park and the price goes up a whopping three bucks. In planning your race-day wardrobe, keep in mind that there is a "tradition of elegance" at the track. You don't have to dress to the nines, but an ascot never hurt anyone (2150 Hempstead Tpike between 125th St and Belmont Park Rd, Elmont, NY; 516-488-6000, nyra.com; Wed--Sun 1--5pm; grandstand $3, clubhouse $5; Apr 29--July 17).

67. Join the AIDS Walk New York
You're good at walking. Deploy your talent for a great cause: This 10K (6.2-mile) walk begins and ends in Central Park. Registration is free, but the more money you raise, the better you'll feel at the finish line. Enter at Fifth Ave and 59th St (212-807-9255, aidswalk.net). May 15; sign-in 8:30am, opening ceremony 9:15am, walk 10am.

68. Stroll through street fairs on the weekend
It's that time of year: New York's craziest microcommunities come out and make a spectacle of themselves on the streets. Celebrate everything from Romania Day (Broadway between Battery Pl and Cedar St; May 1) to the Flatbush Avenue Festival (Flatbush Ave between Cortelyou Rd and Parkside Ave, Flatbush, Brooklyn; May 22).

69. Explore Freshkills Park
Since 2001, the city has worked on transforming a ginormous landfill on Staten Island into a public park more than twice the size of Central Park. While work continues, your only chance to see the wetlands, meadows and birds of Freshkills Park is on a free two-hour tour (by bus and foot). Last year, killdeers, ospreys and even a bald eagle were spotted, so keep your eyes peeled. Register at nycgovparks.org to secure a place. Meet at Eltingville Transit Center, 90--98 Wainwright Ave at Richmond Ave, Staten Island (212-788-8277). Next tour Mar 27 at 10:30am; free.

70. See Alexander McQueen's mind-bending dresses at the Met
Fashion-forward folks will marvel at the Costume Institute's "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty," a tribute to the late fashion designer. Peruse 19 years' worth of the insanely talented Brit's creations, spanning from his first postgrad show to his final posthumous one in Paris last year. Not a fashionista? Try one of these other blockbuster museum shows. 1000 Fifth Ave at 82nd St (212-535-7710, metmuseum.org). May 4--July 31. Suggested donation $20, seniors $5, students $10, members and children under 12 free.

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11 comments
Heidi
Heidi

This really helped me a lot

SBU Philosophy & Art Conference and Exhibition
SBU Philosophy & Art Conference and Exhibition

The 5th Annual Stony Brook University Philosophy and Art Conference & Art Exhibition taking place in Manhattan at the AC Institute in Chelsea on March 30-31. The Masters program in Philosophy and the Arts at Stony Brook University in Manhattan focuses on intersections of art and philosophy. In an effort to encourage dialogue across disciplines, we offer this conference and concurrent month-long exhibition as an interdisciplinary event and will present participants working in a variety of fields and media to respond to this year's topic: Still Life? Dr. David Wood, Keynote Speaker Professor of Philosophy, Vanderbilt University Artist Speaker Reynold Reynolds, Berlin-based experimental filmmaker March 30-31, 2012 The conference is free and open to the public!

maweejik
maweejik

This is an awesome list! New York is one of my most favourite cities. Like Paris or London, I can spend all day wandering the museums. I'm trying to get my site off the ground here, as I think this is a community that would really appreciate it. It's a labour of love on my part, so I'm hoping for good things. The goal is to be able to meet up with others to go and do some of this cool stuff, when you are new or just looking to meet other people. Check it out, it's www.maweejik.com, and just started this week. If you think it's a cool idea, share with your friends, so I'll have a million people to do stuff with next time I'm in town :)

TONY
TONY

Glad you like, Codina --- we'll post 101 things to do in the summer in early June. Stay tuned!

codina
codina

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS! ive been looking for a guide like this for awhile, im new to the city and want to explore so this is great!!! will there be some strictly summer stuff too?

Anonymous
Anonymous

#80, Beer For Beasts, was on MARCH 26, NOT May 26...

Amy
Amy

re: #5, are the Staten Island Yankees having a home-opener this year?

Anonymous
Anonymous

1 out 101 done. Yes! haha. See ya'll at the others.

Ace5O
Ace5O

I'm going to try to do as many of the 101 as possible, and I will be chronicling my experiences on my blog. I'm putting down the controller for awhile, leaving my man cave and hitting the streets of NYC. Check it out, and if you've done any of these things already, I'd def be down for some insider's tips. Thanks for all the suggestions TimeOut NYC!