After a monastic January (giving up all your vices and spending nothing since the holidays cleared you out), it’s time to cut loose and take advantage of all the NYC events in February. Use our events calendar to guide you to the best things to do in the winter this month. Get a delicious meal during NYC Restaurant Week, re-tox yourself at during New York City Beer Week with some of the best beer crawls and check out romantic things to do during Valentine’s Day.
RECOMMENDED: Full NYC events calendar
Featured events in February 2018
Every year, New York’s usual anxiety and chaotic charm turns laissez-faire via The Crescent City for Fat Tuesday. Mardi Gras in NYC is a typically rambunctious affair, featuring jazz music performances, funky shows, rich cajun cuisine, king cake and some of the best parties in New York. So, for your celebratory pleasure, here's our roundup of the city’s best Big Easy events.
This month, Chinatown gets stormed by dragons, dancers and some of the best Chinese food the city has to offer in celebration of the Lunar New Year. But before you get lost in the bang of firecrackers, check out some of the best things to do in Chinatown, NYC. Brace yourself for what’s sure to be a wild celebration with the Chinese New Year Parade!
The twice-annual discount dining event NYC Restaurant Week offers cheap dining deals at more than 300 restaurants in New York. From trendy newcomers to fine-dining standbys, the event draws bargain-hunting New Yorkers to try out new restaurants and revisit old favorites serving cheap eats.
Throw on your shoulder pads, perform your weird football ritual and get into the game with our guide to the best bars in NYC to watch the Super Bowl, plus how to chow down like a champion. And if you couldn’t give a hoot about the game, fear not! We’ve put together a list of the best football movies (and overall sports movies) to watch instead. Plus we’ll take you on a trip down memory lane with the greatest Super Bowl commercials of all-time.
No ticket to the shows? Don’t worry—feel like a fashion insider with our ultimate guide to NYFW. Tickets to the runway shows aren’t available to the general public, but newsflash: you don’t have to be part of the elite fashion world to feel like an insider. Maybe you don’t have a front-row seat to the shows or a spot reserved next to Anna Wintour, but don’t fret—we’ve got you covered. From free New York Fashion Week events you can actually attend to tips on how to get noticed by street style photographers, we’ll make sure to keep you in the loop.
Free NYC events in February 2018
Folks flock to this floral-filled exhibition at Macy’s Herald Square, where jaw-dropping arrangements are on display for two weeks. The theme for this 44th annual installment is "Once Upon A Springtime," so expect to see a lot of plays on fantasy-inspired settings and storybook scenes.
Whether you're visiting town and looking for laughs or a jaded New Yorker who needs a break, you can count on Jeffrey Emerson and Jill Weiner to deliver excellent comedy at this weekly East Village stand-up night. On Monday, March 19, they present an excellent lineup including Alysia Hush, Calvin Cato, Diego Lopez, Ian Hunt, Jeff Scheen, Kase Raso, Kim Dinaro and Shalewa Sharpe. March 26 boasts Daniel Simonsen, Erin Maguire, Haley Sacks, Kevin Ryan, Ryan Donahue, V Lince and magician Jerry Burgos.
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.
This free weekly getdown from Carolyn Busa, Julia Shiplett, Chelsea Taylor, Ben Wasserman and Emily Winter is a reliable night for solid laughs and surprise stars in Crown Heights. On March 26, the crew welcomes four years of kickass laughs with Kenny DeForest, Reena Calm, Will Abeles, Allison O'Conor and Clare Austen-Smith.
It’s a free comedy show...with crêpes. Need we say more? Fumi Abe and Michael Nguyen bring together some of the city’s most diverse and reliably solid lineups every month at this sweet show. The March edition boasts Joyelle Nicole, Pedro Salinas, Leclerc Andre, Katie Boyle and Bret Raybould.
Dance Theatre Etcetera’s 25th annual cultural bash includes dance, food, music, face-painting, kayak rides and other neighborhood-pride-building activities. It begins with a cookout and DJ dance party at P.S. 15, then continues the next day at IKEA's Erie Basin Park with free performances by Bombazo Dance Company, Peliroja and more.
Madison Square Park heats up with this annual carnivore convention. Top pit masters from across the country–Baker's Ribs in Dalls, TX; Rodney Scott's Whole Hog BBQ in Charleston, SC–and local joints like Dinosaur Bar-B-Que and Hometown Barb-B-Que will dish out wood-fired creations. Seminars, cooking demos and live music round out the festivities.
This Lower East Side flea hosts one of Manhattan’s best collections of vendors, with more upstarts joining the fray every week. Standouts from recent years that have gotten their start at the fair include Macaron Parlour, Petee’s Pie Company, Melt Bakery, La New Yorkina, Arancini Bros and Cheeky Sandwich.
This city tradition feels fresh every spring when artists following in the footsteps of Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning set up shop in the park. Hundreds of exhibitors, from NYU students to artists who remember the Village as a creative enclave, display their paintings, sculptures, photography, jewelry and woodcraft. The show takes place on University Place starting at E 13th St.
Music events in February 2018
Ghanaian artist Jojo Abot proffers a blend of African rhythms, R&B and rap on her two EPs, 2015's Fyfya Woto and 2017's NGIWUNKULUNKULU. Considering Abot's fiercely individual sound, not to mention her inescapable charisma live, we hope there are many more to come. She presents her multi-media show, "Power to the God Within," as part of her residency at National Sawdust.
Enthralling local punk-cabaret chanteuse Shilpa Ray celebrates her recent album, Door Girl, inspired by her stint working the door at Manhattan venue Pianos. Dig into new tunes like "You're Fucking No One" and "Manhattanoid Creepazoids," which hopefully don't hit too close to home.
This Swedish indie-pop band unfortunately spent the majority of its years following 2010's celebrated Clinging to a Scheme embroiled in unsuccessful legal battles with its record label rather than making music. The turmoil, however, inspired a host of darker, matured songs on the crew's long-awaited followup, Running Out Of Love, a self-described "dystopian album" released last year that addresses the many conservative, reactionary threads circulating in the world's current political climate. Catch the lo-fi pop obscurists return to the city or risk waiting another half-decade for their next appearance.
As folk-punk duo Girlpool, high school friends Harmony Tividad and Cleo Tucker weave complex vocal interplay—unison shouts along with lilting harmonies—above spare guitar melodies. Performing now as a larger ensemble, the band adds a fuller sound and the jolt of live percussion to the stark songs of its sophomore album, Powerplant.
Like many producers, avant-dance producer Sophie initial days were shrouded in mystique: hyper-saccharine singles like "Bipp" and live shows veering on veritable performance art—faux soda advertisements included—bespoke not only a keen ear for radio pop sensibilities, but a complex anti-capitalist critique of the form as well. Fast-forward to 2017 and the producer's new music video "It's Okay to Cry" demolishes those barriers—between her visage and her name, synthetic and organic, virtual and real—in a captivating performance of vulnerability, her face front and center, singing behind fantastical, digitally-rendered landscapes. Just like she did in 2013, Sophie is poised to transform contemporary electronic music scene yet again, and she knows it: the upcoming debut is called Whole New World.
George Clinton—the one and only Uncle Jam and author of (deep breath) Brothas Be, Yo Like George, Ain't That Funkin' Kinda Hard on You?—lands the mothership for a night of ass-liberating funk. Here the funk innovator hosts what's become an annual Mardi Gras celebration for a sixth straight year.
Mixing bubblegum-snapping, cheerleader aesthetics and AC/DC hard-rawk brashness, this bombastic noise punk duo sounds like no one else. Expect to hear songs from their most recent release, Jessica Rabbit, which includes standout track, the spacey, subdued synth ballad "Hyper Dark."
Show up for an evening of expansive sounds spanning classical, electronic and rock music at this genre-melding show. Baltimore indie duo Wye Oak teams up with Metropolis Ensemble and Brooklyn-based composer William Brittelle to present orchestral versions of songs from its 2014 effort, Shriek. Also on the program is the world premiere of Brittelle's song cycle, Spiritual America, performed by Wye Oak, Metropolis Ensemble and Brooklyn Youth Chorus.
Cold Cave's dark prince of neo-new-wave, Wesley Eisold, resurrected his storied hardcore outfit in 2015, and this year sees American Nightmare releasing its first album in 15 years. The self-titled effort, which features bassist Josh Holden, guitarist Brian Masek and drummer Alex Garcia-Rivera, sees daylight February 16. You'll hear from it here, when the band shares a bill with rowdy Pennsylvania noise punks Pissed Jeans.