Once the weather starts getting warmer, NYC street fairs invade various blocks in Gotham. Get ready for vehicle-free roads chock-full with some of your favorite eats from the best restaurants in NYC as well as some great vintage wares and antiques like you would find at the most popular flea markets. You can also expect artisanal crafts, live music and even more fun things to do outside at any one of these alfresco bazaars. Take advantage of the beautiful weather, including awesome free things to do, while these streets are full of fun.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to things to do in the summer in NYC
Best NYC street fairs
PopUp New York Street Fairs
If you’ve ever stumbled upon a random street fair while wandering the city, chances are you’ve walked into one of Pop Up New York’s street fairs. The brand hosts numerous outdoor bonanzas while giving back to local non-profits. From the end of April to late October, the company hosts a new wave of bazaars featuring up-and-coming restaurants, designers and musicians in trendy neighborhoods. Check out the full lineup of upcomoing events online.
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Andrea Moed
Twice a year, this outdoor bonanza brings buzzworthy munchies from the city’s best restaurants to Worth Square in the Flatiron District. When the foodie fete officially opens May 13, stuff your face with Roberta’s famous pizza, cheesesteaks by the Truffleist and Hawaiian cuisine by Gotham Poké. This one-stop shop for the tastiest grub in town is open every day until June 9, so consider your lunch and dinner plans set for the next month. (When you go, don’t forget to wear your stretchy pants.)
A chunk of Brooklyn’s top-notch outdoor artists stage a Bushwick street takeover, fully armed with food trucks, live jammin’ and Instagram-worthy graffiti to celebrate the nabe’s trendy art scene. Watch spray-can masters create new masterpieces in real time, while local hip-hop and rock-and-roll artists provide the backdrop tunes. Groove to performances by Foxy Brown, rapper Busta Rhymes, CL Smoother and many more.
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).
There’s a major block party happening in Long Island City on Saturday 6, and you don’t want to miss a single minute of it. The jam-packed six-hour affair along Vernon Boulevard is loaded with activities for adults and little ones, including art- and sculpture-making lessons, fitness classes and eating contests. You can fill your tummy, work up a good sweat and get crafty, in one place! Less interactive entertainment, such as live music and dance performances, are also on the lineup. Vernon Boulevard between 50th Ave & 46th Ave.
Out of all the street fairs in New York, this Lower East Side hot spot has the trifecta: Great food, shopping vendors and live entertainment. Although Hester Street Fair is most notorious for its wide selection of finger-lickin’ bites (awesome dishes joining the fray this year include slammin’ bento boxes from NYture Natto x Chiso and sips from Pilot Kombucha), it’s really upping its entertainment factor with themed events such as a vintage day with Housing Works on May 13 and a lobster-and-beer blowout on May 27, at which the best seafood joints might compete for the best lobster tail.
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 festival is back for its 39th year, which turns Fifth Avenue into the city’s largest block party. Live music and entertainment flood the streets while museums open their doors to the public at no charge. This year’s participants include Museum of the City of New York, the Jewish Museum, Cooper Hewitt, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Neue Galerie New York and more. Fifth Ave between 82nd and 105th Sts.
After spending nearly a year getting sequins and glitter out of their bedsheets, NYC’s mermaids and seamen are ready to undo all their hard work. Join a packed crowd on Coney Island’s streets for an epic procession of wild floats, barely clad revelers and beachside celebrating. Now in its 35th year, the world’s largest arts parade welcomes partyers of all ages to rejoice in kitsch, camp and craft, but those who are serious about their scales can register to win iconic titles, including best sea creature, best motorized float, King Neptune and Queen Mermaid.
Grab a drink al fresco!
On an unassuming side street in the Fulton Mall district of Downtown Brooklyn, the traditional street food of Shanghai comes alive at Yaso Tangbao. The venerable Chef Zongxing Tu—former executive chef of Joe’s Shanghai—serves as the ‘yaso’ (uncle) to three twenty-something partners from Nanxiang, who sought to bring the chef’s famous xiao laong bao steamed soup dumplings to an area poised for rapid growth. It’s a clear fit, as the casual, counter-order eatery is ideal for the constant stream of workers from the nearby municipal buildings to grab a filling, low-cost lunch. But the word is out among locals, as well; all of the restaurants’ seven long, wooden communal-seating tables were occupied at 7 p.m. on a recent Sunday evening. Chef Zongxing is sort of a big deal among fans of Chinese dumplings, so be sure to start your meal with the blue crab and pork soup dumplings ($6.95), which shimmy on the special spoon provided for their enjoyment. Gently bite off the orange-hued tip, and a fresh burst of briny Maryland blue crab broth rushes onto your palette. Sip it up to get to the ground pork filling. A few seats down, a little blonde girl cries out as some of her succulent broth escapes; she desperately lifts the bamboo steamer over her spoon in an attempt to catch it. Don’t skip the pan fried pork baos ($5.65), tangerine-sized rolls of soft white dough with a juicy pork filling in a tiny reservoir of broth, topped with black sesame seeds and a pleasant sheen of grease. Anothe
Venue says: “Try Yaso Tangbao's signature Soup Dumplings and tasty Noodle Soups!”