Hark, glorious spring! The season that brings New Yorkers back to life is almost upon us, and there’s plenty to look forward to. We rounded up 20 of the best NYC concerts, food festivals, performances and more so you can finally get to the city's best parks (or those outdoor bars) and smell the flowers—literally! Let the prime time of booze and bounty begin!
RECOMMENDED: Spring in New York guide
One of our top 10 comedy shows of 2014 returns, just in time for the upcoming premiere of Jurassic World. Do you remember being a young child and seeing Jurassic Park in the movie theater, then having nightmares about your mom being eaten by a T. Rex for two months? We do. Good thing this live shot-for-shot remake of the dinotastic film, complete with live music, will only leave you with tears if you’re crying of laughter. September’s run sold out fast, so act like a giant dinosaur is running after the Jeep you’re in, and nab a ticket now.
Through Mar 28. Peoples Improv Theater; times vary; $18Read more
Icelandic artist-for-the-ages Bjork offers up seven—yes, seven!—NYC shows at three different theaters in celebration of her new album, Vulnicura. You'll need to move fast to bag tickets to her gigs at Carnegie Hall, Kings Theater and New York Center, because this is the spring concert not to miss. For the full Bjork experience, visit her career-spanning retrospective at the MoMA opening March 8.
Mar 7, 14, Carnegie Hall; Mar 18, 22, Kings Theatre; Mar 25, 28, Apr 1, New York City Center; times and prices varyRead more
No St. Patty’s Day in NYC would be complete without staking out a spot at this parade, which makes its 254th march up Fifth Avenue. (The event is even older than the United States; it was started by a group of homesick Irish conscripts from the British army in 1762.) More than 2 million onlookers are expected to show up for the annual spectacle, whose grand marshal this year is Archbishop Timothy Cardinal Dolan.
Fifth Ave between 44th and 79th Sts; Mar 17 at 11am; freeRead more
Warning: This party ain’t for the weak of heart. Be prepared for an evening of leather, lust and a whole lot of kink at this year’s Black Party. After two decades at Roseland Ballroom, the celebration is headed the way of many things chic and will entertain thousands of revelers in a Brooklyn warehouse for the first time. You know your sex drive is blooming along with those spring flowers.
Mar 21; address TBA in Brooklyn warehouse; 10pm; $60–$180Read more
Escape to a not-so-secret garden at this two-week floral display titled "Art in Bloom." Macy’s turns into something from Alice in Wonderland when it’s covered in head-to-toe greenery on the ground floor—and then you get to the clothes! Go to macys.com/flowershow for information on free workshops, including terrarium-making and floral design.
Macy’s Herald Square; Mar 22–Apr 4; freeRead more
Composer Meredith Monk, an artist Björk has cited as a major influence, celebrates 50 years of artistic work in New York City with a Carnegie Hall residency. Her performances on March 22 and May 2 feature her own Vocal Ensemble, as well as guests from the classical-music, jazz and DJ worlds to perform some of her most recent works along with classics from the '80s and '90s that convey the mysterious vocal style she pioneered.
Mar 22, May 2; Carnegie Hall; times and prices varyRead more
America (especially Bostonians) will never tire of “Sweet Caroline,” so you might as well embrace it. Diamond’s worldwide tour makes a stop in Brooklyn so you can finally experience live all those songs your mom played in the kitchen while you grew up. We’re comin’ to America!
Barclays Center; Mar 26 at 8pm; $65–$175Read more
You don’t have to take a 15-hour flight to Japan to experience the wonder of cherry-blossom trees in bloom. Hop over to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden to stroll through some of the most majestic beauty spring has to offer. Check out the bloom report on the garden’s website to expertly plan your visit, and remember that guided tours focusing on the blooms are held on Wednesdays.
Brooklyn Botanic Garden; Apr 1–26; $10Read more
The Rockettes get a seasonal update at Radio City Music Hall, sans the camels and Christmas trimmings from the holiday show. The performance celebrates Gotham in spring via Broadway numbers, puppetry and, of course, high kicks. Look out for celebrity cameos (both puppets and people) as you go on a virtual tour through NYC’s landmarks.
Radio City Music Hall; Mar 26–May 3; $46–$130Read more
Hipster demigod Sufjan Stevens heads out of his home borough of Brooklyn to the Beacon Theatre for one night only. The singer-songwriter and filmmaker’s newest album, Carrie & Lowell, comes out on March 31, so you’ll have plenty of time to memorize the hushed lyrics before the show.
Beacon Theatre; Apr 11 at 8pm; $45Read more
The star-studded festival that helped make Tribeca cool is back! The movie lineup hasn't been announced, but we know that the opener is Live from New York!, the much-anticipated documentary about Saturday Night Live—with unprecedented access granted by Lorne Michaels. Tickets are on sale now.
Apr 15–26; times, prices and locations varyRead more
Shakespeare’s dark classic returns with a star that’s done turns both on the Great White Way and the silver screen, Peter Sarsgaard. See his answer to the question for the ages—“To be or not to be?”—when he plays the Dane in this, his third production with Classic Stage Company.
Mar 27. Classic Stage Company; times and prices varyRead more
The third annual edition for spice lovers will have you screaming, “That’s a spicy meat-a-ball!” Feel the burn from 45 hot-sauce vendors, then cool off with a ton of craft beer. Maybe you’ll dominate the Grimaldi’s Pizza Eating Contest on Saturday or help crown the best bartender at the Bloody Mary Mix Down on Sunday. Either way, the best sauces will be crowned at the Screaming Mi Mi Awards on Saturday at 4pm. Tongues at the ready!
Apr 25–26. Brooklyn Expo; 10am–6pm; $10–$100Read more
It’s that time of year when all of your greasy, boozy dreams come true. Get to Citi Field to wash down unlimited bacony concoctions (like last year’s chocolate-and-bacon-covered pretzels) with more than 120 types of beer by breweries and restaurants from all five boroughs. After you’ve loaded up on brews from Smuttynose and Bronx, and wolfed down some beer pancakes, waddle over to work off some calories with Wiffle ball and life-size Jenga.
April 25. Citi Field; 11am, 6pm; $59–$125Read more
For just one day a year, the city is a biker’s paradise. On the first Sunday in May, 32,000 riders trek over through all the boroughs and five bridges on 40 automobile-free miles, thanks to a partnership with the New York City Department of Transportation. General registration for is now closed (though VIP is still open), but the massive stream of cyclists is still a sight to behold for the less biking-inclined. To volunteer, visit fbbt.bikenewyork.volunteerhub.com.
Location TBA; May 3 at 8am; VIP $325Read more
This annual event pays tribute to the venues that helped make Harlem the Holy Grail of jazz. Impressive artists (2014's lineup included drummer T.S. Monk and trombonist Chris Washburne) play at seven revered spots, including the Apollo Theater.
May 4–9; times, prices and locations varyRead more
Almost 200 global galleries come together on Randalls Island for this fourth annual art extravaganza. The art and artists themselves aren't public knowledge yet, but each year’s event brings powerhouse creators that launch site-specific works, on top of custom-designed temporary interiors. All that, plus an incredible view of the East River.
May 14–17. Randalls Island; times and prices TBARead more
Can you withstand four days of stiff, delectable cocktails? We hope your tolerance is up to snuff for the Cocktail Classic’s sixth-year celebration, with events spread out over multiple boroughs. This year’s schedule isn’t up yet, but you can expect a boozy blowout for the opening night Gala on May 15, more than 100 event, plus thousands of drinks from a starry lineup of bartenders. (Last year’s big hitters included Julie Reiner of Clover Club and Pamela Wiznitzer of Dead Rabbit.) Drink up.
May 15–19; prices, times and locations varyRead more
The party of the year for the newest generation of club kids returns to Met Life Stadium for a weekend of head-pounding EDM and dazzling light shows. Hundreds of thousands of ravers gather to bounce to world-class DJs, like last year’s Afrojack, Tiesto and Calvin Harris. Expect the best acts to let loose long after midnight.
May 23–24. Met Life Stadium; $247.50–$400.40Read more
The summer season of New York’s favorite free outdoor theater is back, featuring The Tempest (May 27–July 5) and Cymbeline (July 27–August 23). Famous faces return: Tony winner Daniel Sullivan is directing Cymbeline and Tony nominee Michael Greif is helming The Tempest, with The Newsroom’s Sam Waterston stepping into Prospero’s shoes.
May 27–Aug 23. Delacorte Theater, Central Park; times and prices varyRead more