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Best things to do in spring in NYC

The sun will come out—eventually! Our guide to spring in NYC has flower shows, outdoor fests and cultural musts.

The Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival
Photograph: Courtesy Brooklyn Botanic Garden/Julie Markes The Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival
By Jennifer Picht, Miles Raymer and Time Out contributors |

Once the weather warms up, these unmissable things to do in the spring in NYC will give you an excuse to spend some time soaking up the vitamin D. As the flowers begin blooming, New York will be booming with delightful events held in NYC parks as well as NYC street fairs and food festivals in NYC. Plus, get revved for spring's biggest event: the opening of Time Out Market New York in Dumbo.   

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the NYC event calendar for 2019

Best things to do in spring in NYC

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

The Orchid Show

Things get super tropical at New York Botanical Garden just in time for spring. The theme for the 17th annual flora festival is The Orchid Show: Singapore. The display features thousands of orchids in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes. As usual, there will be special Orchid Evenings during which visitors can enjoy the attraction after dark and see the Supertrees, including a gorgeous display of lights, among the orchids. There will be alcoholic beverages and snacks for purchase, as well as live entertainment. 

Things to do

Women’s History Month

Women’s History Month in NYC means it’s time to attend some incredible panels, movie screenings, parties and more hosted by badass females that are making New York a better place to be. Many of these lady-led affairs are considered the best NYC events in March, so get your tickets, blast your favorite feminist songs and go to show your support for women everywhere. You can also get involved by volunteering at women's shelters or donating to nonprofits like Planned Parenthood. 

Sakura Matsuri
Photograph: Filip Wolak
Things to do, Festivals

The Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival

Witnessing the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s picturesque cherry blossoms is just the icing on the millennial-pink cake when you attend the always crowded Sakura Matsuri. Taiko drummers, samurai-sword masters, J-rock bands and stand-up comics grace the festival’s two stages. You’ll also find a Japanese tearoom, an art gallery, and a mini flea market that hawks mouthwatering Raaka Chocolate, wall scrolls, silk wraps and a profusion of pretty flowers.

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 subject for 2019's installment at the megachain’s Herald Square location is Journey to Paradisios. Translation? It's a cosmic dream offering revelers an out-of-this-world representation of outer space. Flower arrangements are designed to show off the "mystery of the cosmos," so we imagine there will be nods to comets, stars, planets and more astrological wonders.  

Frieze Art Fair New York
Photograph: Graham Carlow

Frieze New York

Aesthetes will happily hop on a ferry or bus to Randall’s Island Park for Frieze New York, an expansive art festival that features displays from 200 international galleries. You have all day, so get immersed in the imaginative indoor and outdoor projects, check out the panel discussions, gawk at the new, Daniel Birnbaum–curated exhibition of virtual-reality artwork and soak in those breathtaking Manhattan views.

Shakespeare in the Park
Photograph: Courtesy Tammy Shell

Shakespeare in the Park

New York’s favorite (and free-of-charge) outdoor theater returns for another season. This year kicks off with Tony Award–winning director Kenny Leon’s modernized version of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, a comedic tale about romantic retribution and miscommunication (y’know, themes not unfamiliar to our modern dating-app culture). On each performance day, tickets are distributed at noon at the Delacorte Theater. Remember: You snooze, you lose.

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.

Laurie Simmons, First Bathroom/Woman Kneeling, 1978
Photograph: Courtesy Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, © Laurie Simmons
Art, Contemporary art

“Artistic License: Six Takes on the Guggenheim Collection”

icon-location-pin Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Upper East Side

For this deep dive into the Guggenheim’s holdings of 20th-century art, curatorial duties are being handed over to six artists—Paul Chan, Cai Guo-Qiang, Jenny Holzer, Julie Mehretu, Richard Prince and Carrie Mae Weems—who have all had previous solo shows at the institution. Some 100 paintings, sculptures and works on paper will chart the course of modernism through the differing perspective of each artist’s show. 

Photograph: Courtesy Metropolitan Museum of Art/Kate Simon
Things to do, Exhibitions

“Play It Loud: Instruments of Rock and Roll”

icon-location-pin The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Central Park

Technically, it’s “Play it fucking loud!”—at least that’s what Bob Dylan famously instructed his band to do after being heckled for going electric at a gig in ’66—but we understand why the mighty Met would want to scrub out the cursing. To toast the greatest genre of music—that’s rock & roll, of course—New York’s art-institution powerhouse turns it up to 11, displaying posters, costumes and other historical ephemera, not to mention around 130 guitars, drums and other instruments used by everyone from Chuck Berry and the Beatles to Van Halen and St. Vincent.

Leonard Cohen Exhibit
Photograph: Courtesy Richard-Max Tremblay
Things to do, Exhibitions

"Leonard Cohen: A Crack In Everything"

icon-location-pin The Jewish Museum, Central Park

The late poet turned singer-songwriter’s legend lives on in this tribute, which makes its way to the States from Cohen’s homeland of Canada. In it, a dozen artists have been commissioned to create new works that interpret the lyricist’s themes. Spread over two floors, the exhibit, which was green-lighted by Cohen before his death, will also feature original drawings by the man himself, as well as a multimedia area where you can listen to Cohen covers by the likes of the National, Feist, Moby and Sufjan Stevens.

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More things to do in spring

Photo: Claudette Barius

Nine conversation starters for this spring’s movies

You know how it goes: Everybody’s already seen the hot new movies and (show-offs) have their opinions pre-sculpted. You could always talk about Game of Thrones again. Or complain about your salad. But we say be bold. Bring up these nine questions. Embrace your inner film geek. Here are the burning issues that will spur the most discussions this spring. Who knows? You might even love the films, too.

Pelham Bay Park
Photograph: David Rosenzweig
Attractions, Parks and gardens

The best NYC parks

NYC parks offer verdant green spaces to relax, get some sun, have a picnic and more. Here are our favorites.


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

Plan your month with our events calendar highlighting the best NYC events in May 2019 including major holidays