Let spring sweep you up in its lovely embrace by partaking in some of the best NYC events in April. Celebrate Easter in New York by enjoying a meal at one of the best brunch spots followed by picking up some sweets at one of the city’s most mouth-watering chocolate shops. Take advantage of checking out the best NYC parks, while all the flowers and trees are blooming. Speaking of greenery, there’s even something for outdoorsy Earth-lovers—Earth Day, duh!
RECOMMENDED: Full NYC events calendar in 2017
Featured events in April 2017
Taste your way through the best mac and cheese that Brooklyn has to offer! The borough’s best restaurants offer creative takes on this cheesy classic in the ultimate showdown to crown Brooklyn’s top mac. Enjoy tastings from eateries such as Bonnie’s Grill, Lumpia Shack, Pretty Southern and more, then wash the grub down with two Tsingtao beers. DJ Jeronimo provides the tunes to keep you shuffling along.
Easter Sunday: The day of pastels, egg rolling, and rabbity propaganda doesn’t seem very “cool New York” at first blush, but as with all things to do in spring, they’re as entertaining as you make them. You can gawk at the Easter Parade, seek out the best brunch NYC serves or use this as an excuse for some leisurely day-drinking at an outdoor bar.
Robert De Niro and co.’s Tribeca Film Festival has long shown a spotlight on local indie features, documentaries, foreign films, the latest from big-name talent and the greatest from up-and-coming filmmakers. We’ve got your complete one-stop-shopping guide to this year’s festival: our personal must-see picks, showtimes, ticket info, a list of nearby bars and restaurants and oh-so-much more.
When avid Game of Thrones fan Graeme sets off to recreate George R.R. Martin’s fantasy series without an HBO budget, the result is a downright silly journey through the Seven Kingdoms. Fans will want to catch this outrageous parody on the New York stop of its North American tour. With a tagline like “see it before the inevitable lawsuit,” you know it has got to be good for a few laughs.
Not to be confused with the season’s other stupendous garden party, the Macy’s Flower Show, the New York Botanical Garden’s Orchid Show NYC exhibits thousands of species of beautiful blossoming orchids. Learn about the “Orchid Delirium” of the 19th century and view movie screenings and performances while enjoying the lush scents and sights of one of the best gardens in NYC.
This year’s Bloody Mary Festival features Brooklyn vendors like Insa, Catfish and A&E Supply Co, offering their tricked-out versions of the tomato-juice cocktail for attendees to sample and eventually vote on for the People’s Choice Award. There will also be a panel of industry judges picking their favorite Brooklyn-based Bloody. True to form, a bagel bar and cheese station will be included in the price of admission to soak up all that booze.
The Brooklyn Folk Festival, which has inhabited Kings County live-music venues like the Jalopy Theater and the Bell House in past years, returns to St. Ann’s Church for its ninth-annual iteration. With its cavernous ceilings, the capacious church nave of the historic Brooklyn Heights venue is a great place to hear acoustic music of any genre. Don’t be fooled by the fest’s name: The gathering brings together acts that deal in Americana and blues as well as global sounds from places like the Middle East and Guinea.
Get ready to get all hot and bothered this month for the NYC Hot Sauce Expo. Try different varieties of the spicy sauce from 45 vendors throughout the country and around the world, including New Zealand and Belize. Wash the flames down with craft beer and spicy food. During the event, winners of the Hot Sauce Hall of Fame as well as the Bloody Mary mix down competition are crowned.
The multi-city event lets guests nosh creative twists on bacon-infused eats while gulping down some brews. This year, get the swiney strips from purveyors like NYC-based restaurants likes Blue Smoke, Bareburger and Salt & Bone. And while the creations themselves have yet to be announced, last year’s included bacon banh mi in a deep-fried bun, maple bacon bourbon ice cream and Cinn-Bun-Bacon.
Your feed is going to blow up with shots of this weekend-long bash that celebrates Japanese culture—so why miss out on the fun? To celebrate the end of Hanami (read: the season of Japanese flower porn), Brooklyn Botanic Garden unveils cherry blossoms at their picturesque peak for two glorious days. But that’s only part of the draw. There’s also a Japanese tea room, an art gallery and a mini flea market hawking loot such as mouthwatering Raaka chocolates, wall scrolls and silk wraps. Stay for the jam-packed schedule of entertainment, which includes taiko drummers, cosplay actors, samurai sword masters, J-rock bands, stand-up comics and dance parties.
Free NYC events in April 2017
More than 50 years since its inception, the Black Power movement’s influence can still be felt around the world, reverberating in modern activism, as well as hip hop, fashion, visual art and spoken word performance, is difficult to overstate. This insightful exhibition offers New Yorkers the chance to learn more about the movement’s roots, achievements and failures, as well as its enduring legacy.
Jeffrey Emerson, Jill Weiner and Brian Moran host this weekly night of stellar stand-up featuring a diverse range of comedians, including known names like Matteo Lane and Farah Brook and newcomers like Menuhin Hart and Melissa Diaz. The May 15 edition features Sally Ann Hall, Chanel Ali, Ryan Mulholland, Ethan Hall, Cres Hernandez and Sonja Savanovic.
Think you’re a resident of Broad City? Grab a ferry from North Brother Island, study up on those Kirk Steele videos, and prove it at this intense trivia night dedicated to NYC’s baddest kweens. Reserve a spot for a team of up to four frands, and get there early: This showdown will be more packed than a rat party at Ilana and Jaime’s apartment.
At this massive grub hub, there’s only one rule: Come hungry. The Brooklyn Flea spin-off draws more than 10,000 visitors per day with a slew of 75 to 100 incredible food vendors. Our pro tip? Make sure you peruse the lineup before you go—those mouthwatering scents and the bevy of choices can make you dizzy (and the dense crowds can make you hangry).
The Night Shift, which describes itself as a “working class theater” group, hosts this inebriated monthly reading of Shakespearean monologues. Want to see if you can recite Hamlet’s “To be, or not to be” after a few brews? Step up to the mike, or just sit back and soak in the iambs.
Snap photos, post them to Instagram or Twitter and tag your team to earn points in this week-long citywide scavenger hunt hosted by comedian Tyler Richardson. Photo tasks will be released the morning of May 27, with the hunt concluding at 11:59pm on June 2. R.S.V.P. on Facebook to get assigned to a team, then keep your eyes peeled and your phone at the ready.
Immerse yourself in the cultural delights of the Jewish, Chinese and Puerto Rican communities of Chinatown and the Lower East Side at this block party. While Peking Opera performers and klezmer bands take the outdoor stage, you can catch free language lessons, master your mah-jongg game and, best of all, learn how to prepare empanadas, Chinese dumplings and kreplachandchallah bread. Endless grub will be available for sale.
Nothing strengthens a relationship like wading into water and having to count on your partner to keep a skinny boat afloat, so bring your dad along to kayak on the Hudson. You'll get to go out on the water for 20-minute sessions, after a brief lesson, of course, which is just enough time to bond before your arms get tired.
Music events in April 2017
Stevie Nicks, Fleetwood Mac's gold-dust woman herself, plays a massive arena gig in support of her 2014 solo album, 24 Karat Gold. (Not to fear, Mac fans; recent gigs haven't been stingy with the hits.) Formative punk–new-wave crossovers, The Pretenders, warm things up in the opening slot.
You don’t have to listen to much more than a minute of a Xiu Xiu song to understand that Jamie Stewart is upset. Indeed, nearly everything in the Durham, NC, singer’s catalog represents a shot across the bow of calmness: his vocal histrionics, the ping-ponging of intense imagery and emo straightforwardness and the wailing electronics that cut through otherwise pleasant melodies. Luwayne Glass peddles simiarly erratic mayhem in the opening set as Dreamcrusher, doling out glitchy synth anarchy, blown-out speaker textures and sinister screeches behind pupil-debilitating strobes.
What hasn't Clarke played over the course of his four-decade career? He's proficient in mainstream jazz, of course, but has also taken on chamber-scaled projects of genuine delicacy and electric fusion of arena-rock proportions. This two week residency at the Blue Note features the veteran bassist in two settings: first, he turns up with the iconic Ron Carter for a jazz bass duet of legendary proportions (March 28 through April 2); the week after, the maestro brings his Stanley Clarke Band to the stage to celebrate the release of a new CD (April 4 to April 9). He hasn't released much info on the record, but we expect an extension of his funky 2014 effort, Up, which skewed toward fusion while plumbing a range of genre impulses.
Queens rapper Himanshu “Heems” Suri—ex-member of defunct hip-hop trio Das Racist—teams with British actor-MC Riz Ahmed to explore post-9/11 Islamophobia and South Asian diaspora through irreverent rhymes and beats inspired by Islamic Qawwali music. Look up their recent debut, Cashmere, before you head out for a taste.
London's Floating Points—Sam Shepherd to his pals—produces cool, sometimes jazzy, always groovy music akin to a looser Four Tet, and releases much of it on his own wondrous label, Eglo. His most recent album, Elaenia, moved into more expansive, lush territories, which he recreates live with an 11-piece band: drums, horns, strings, multiple guitars, a light show and more.
Here's a treat: New Order, the seminal English postpunk outfit spawned from Joy Division, plays Radio City in support of its latest album, Music Complete. Ranging from wistful airs to thumping disco, the record's polished songcraft proves that despite the unceremonious departure of bassist Peter Hook—he called frontman Bernard Sumner a "twatto" and sued the band for millions—the guys have still got it. Fingers crossed that they'll offer up some classics like "Ceremony" alongside the new material.
Buzzy Brit rapper, poet and playwright Tempest's unassuming demeanor belies her audacious nature and capabilities, captured on last year's album, Let Them Eat Chaos. During her shows, Tempest tells stories and tackles big issues with a rap–spoken-word hybrid, backed by a live band. Brooklyn rapper Latasha Alcindor opens.
This chameleonic producer has released a variety of tracks on Night Slugs, LuckyMe, and his own Vase label, ranging from R&B-inflected tunes to dusky techno bangers and garage-tinged house. Years into his career, he's finally released a debut album, Feel Infinite, which amalgamates those many tendencies into one cohesive effort. Here he takes over the Good Room dancefloor with up-n-coming bass music producer Suicideyear.