The best things to do in spring in NYC

Spring in NYC has spring! Get excited for flower shows, festivals, street fairs and awesome outdoor flea markets
Sakura Matsuri 2013 at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Photograph: Filip Wolak
By Jennifer Picht |

The best things to do in spring in NYC require you to spend some much-needed time outdoors. (No complaints here.) There’s no shortage of delightful events and happenings in the city when the flowers are in bloom. From strolling through some of the best NYC parks, to scoring vintage duds at outdoor flea markets and street fairs, to pigging out at the best food festivals, we have everything you need to enjoy this supremely lovely season.

Best things to do in spring in NYC

Photograph: Courtesy New York Botanical Garden
Things to do, Exhibitions

The Orchid Show

The Orchid Show—NYC’s ode to springtime—should not to be confused with the season’s other stupendous garden party, the Macy’s Flower Show. However, both bloom fests are worth a visit. If you’re not familiar, The New York Botanical Garden’s Orchid Show exhibits thousands of species of beautiful blossoming orchids, and it’s one of the best NYC events in March, which lasts through April.

Photograph: Brian Duffy. Photo Duffy © Duffy Archive & The David Bowie Archive
Things to do

"David Bowie Is"

Over the course of five decades, David Bowie drafted the new rules of rock & roll—and the rest of us are still trying to keep up. After breaking ticket records at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the touring exhibition “David Bowie Is” hits NYC in March, with more than 400 objects from the celestial pop icon’s life, including costumes, lyric sheets and performance clips. Here’s what you should look (and listen) for in this celebration of all things Thin White Duke.

Sakura Matsuri
Photograph: Filip Wolak
Things to do, Festivals

The Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival

Sakura Matsuri, one of Brooklyn's best spring festivals, is an annual celebration of Japanese culture. At the Cherry Blossom Festival, NYC-folk and out-of-towners can partake in a bunch of activities while being surrounded by blooming, pink-petal trees at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, which beckons the beloved tradition as one of the best things to do outside in the city.

Macy's Flower Show 2013: The Painted Garden
Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson
Things to do, Exhibitions

The Macy’s Flower Show

New Yorkers and out-of-towners alike flock to this floral-filled exhibition, where jaw-dropping arrangements decorated to fit a specific theme are on display for two weeks. The theme for this 44th annual installment at the megachain’s Herald Square location is "Once Upon A Springtime," so expect to see a lot of plays on fantasy-inspired settings and storybook scenes.

Women's March 2017 in NYC
Photograph: Teddy Wolff
Things to do

Women’s History Month

NYC offers a bevy of ways you can show solidarity for your sisters during Women’s History Month. New York ladies are getting in formation by hosting a series of cool events that range from nabbing beauty services at one of the best blow dry bars to an all-female jazz festival, comedy show and more. You can even attend a global protest to fight for women’s rights!

Frieze Art Fair New York
Photograph: Graham Carlow

Frieze New York

Every May, Randalls Island becomes the epicenter of the art world for four days thanks to Frieze New York, the art fair housed under a massive tent. Every year since 2012, dealers and deep-pocketed collectors have descended on the fair from all over the planet, and Frieze New York will be no different, as more than 200 art galleries bring bushels of artworks of every conceivable size and medium and then some.

Tribeca Film Festival 2005
Photograph: Brian Palmer

The Tribeca Film Festival

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 Tribeca Film Festival: our personal must-see picks, movie screenings, ticket info, a list of nearby bars and restaurants and oh-so-much more.

Photograph: Century Fox/REX/Shutterstock

Night of 1,000 Carries

Some of the city's sharpest comedians and drag queens gather to toast the legacy of the eternal, indelible Carrie Fisher at this fund-raiser for the International Bipolar Foundation. Show up in your finest look from Fisher's numerous film roles—or dress as Debbie Reynolds to one-up your competition—and gag to performances by Brita Filter, Sherry Vine, Jan Sport, Elizabeth James, Bobby Hankinson, George Civeris and other acts.

Bars, Cocktail bars

The Bloody Mary Festival

Trick out your brunch-time cocktailing at this afternoon fest hosted by the tomato-and-vodka obsessed Bloody Mary Liberation Party. Sample various inventive pours from New York watering holes over the course of 2.5 hours while getting down to beats by a live DJ.

Springtime in the Gardens
Photograph: Courtesy George Bremer
Things to do

Daffodil Celebrate and Wine Weekend

We all know spring is the season for garden parties, and it’s hard to think of a lush green space more perfect for a booze-filled afternoon than the New York Botanical Garden. Take in the fairy-tale–like scenery of 300,000 freshly planted daffodil bulbs while sipping glasses of New York and out-of-state wine from your souvenir chalice and listening to live music. And don’t stop there: Your ticket grants entry to all of the NYBG’s 250 acres, including the Perennial Garden, with its colorful tulips and pansies, as well as the Native Plant Garden, which is filled with wildflowers and ferns.

Show more

More things to do in spring

Show more

Major spring events guide


Events by month

St. Patrick's Day Parade 2013
Photograph: Amy Beckerman
Things to do

NYC events in March

Make the most of the last month in winter by partaking in the best NYC events in March including St. Patrick’s Day

Photograph: Shutterstock
Things to do

NYC events in April

Check out our picks for the best NYC events in April including awesome outdoor events at NYC parks and great festivals

Photograph: Shutterstock
Things to do

NYC events in May 2018

Plan your month with our events calendar highlighting the best NYC events in May 2018 including major holidays

Archive spring in New York content

Show more