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The best things to do in spring in NYC

There’s nothing better than spring in NYC. Be prepared: All those blooms, street fairs and flea markets will give you spring fever.

Photograph: Filip Wolak

Hallelujah! It’s time to shed those winter layers and gear up for the best things to do in spring in NYC. There’s certainly no shortage of delightful things to do when all the flowers are in bloom. From strolling through some of the best NYC parks, to scoring vintage duds at outdoor flea markets and raging at some of the best spring festivals, we have everything you need for a supremely lovely springtime.

Best things to do in spring in NYC


The Orchid Show

Things get super tropical at New York Botanical Garden—just when we need it most. At the 15th annual Orchid Show, you’ll feel as if you’ve been transported to Thailand, this year’s theme, after viewing a kaleidoscopic range of vanda orchids. Come prepared to snap an envy-inducing Instagram shot of a traditional Thai pavilion adorned with hundreds of gorgeous plants. And if you think you have a green thumb, you’re in luck, you can nab one of your very own. Stay for the cocktails, Thai dance performances and live music on select nights.

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Whisky Live

Three-and-a-half hours of tasting 300 kinds of the strong stuff? Take a deep breath; you can do this. Get into really good spirits by sampling Scotch, bourbon and whiskey from around the world at this international festival. Make a night of it by chowing down at a full dinner buffet and shaking it to live bands. However, we can’t guarantee that after a night of slugs, you’ll remember what tunes you were tapping your foot to.

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Chelsea Piers , Chelsea Wednesday March 1 2017

NY Drinks NY Grand Tasting

Increase the ABV fun with a sampling of 200 wines from 40 New York wineries at this six-years-and-running vino tasting. Along with bottles hailing from the far reaches of New York (the Finger Lakes, the Niagara Escarpment), the two-hour event also features local artisans dishing out hors d’oeuvres like cheese and charcuterie that’ll pad your stomach so you don’t get too wine-sloshed.

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Altman Building , Chelsea Tuesday March 7 2017

NYC Cocktail Expo

Now we’re getting warmer. Slurp your way through this craft-cocktail fest with drink tastings stirred by mixologists from, primarily, Queens bars like Sweet Afton and the Bonnie. Witness a cocktail throwdown to determine the best drinks of the night while you nibble SoCal-inspired bites from Pinks. Tip: VIP guests can try two samples from each vendor.

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Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden , Astoria Sunday March 12 2017

Coffee & Tea Festival

The buzz you’ll get at this 12th annual sip fest is strictly of the caffeinated variety, but oh, what a buzz it’ll be. Savor perky pours from more than 60 nationwide vendors including Wandering Bear Coffee, Birds & Beans and Brooklyn’s Tea Dealers. Beyond downing copious samples, take part in seminars on topics ranging from coffee decaffeination, Chemex brewing and oolong comparative tasting, and head home with the childlike thrill of being utterly sober.

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Brooklyn Expo Center , Greenpoint Saturday March 18 2017 - Sunday March 19 2017

Macy’s Flower Show

Go to this event for the jaw-dropping arrangements decorated to fit a specific theme that are on display for two weeks. New Yorkers and out-of-towners alike flock to this floral-filled exhibition. The theme for this 43rd annual installment at the megachain’s Herald Square location was still up in the air at press time, but last year’s iteration, “America the Beautiful,” included about a million flowers, plants and trees, all lovingly rendered into scenes like purple mountain majesties and, yup, fruited plains.

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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 six inventive pours from Kings County watering holes such as Iron Station, Catfish and Skylark Bar while getting down to beats by the hip shaking jazz band Sabor and The Afro Latineers.

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Grand Prospect Hall , Park Slope Sunday April 9 2017

Tribeca Film Festival

Looking to go from average moviegoer to hard-core cinephile? A ticket to Robert De Niro’s spectacular, showing buzzworthy premieres, under-the-radar docs and breakout indies, will do the trick. Some passes—priced as high as $1,250—give you unfettered access to all the events and talks but ticket prices for essential screenings ($10 matinee, $21 evening/weekend) are thankfully a lot more budget-friendly.

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Bacon and Beer Classic

Winter’s over and it’s time to break those resolutions—what better way than a no-holds-barred blowout featuring 30 bacon-stuffed dishes and more than 100 craft brews? For three hours, stuff your face with porcine plates from restaurants like Bareburger and Delaney Barbecue while guzzling beers and ciders from breweries both local and national.

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Citi Field , Queens Saturday April 29 2017 - Sunday April 30 2017

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 folk-rock band Milton’s tunes. 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.

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New York Botanical Garden , The Bronx Saturday April 29 2017 - Sunday April 30 2017
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More things to do in spring

The best spring date ideas in NYC

When the sun peeks through the clouds and the temperatures finally climb above freezing, it’s time to call up your sweetie and bust out our list of spring date ideas in NYC

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By: Annalise Mantz

The best spring comedy in NYC

Don’t miss these stellar stand-up, improv and talk shows from your favorite big-name and rising comedians

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By: David Goldberg

Major spring events guide

Events by month

New York events in March

Make the most of the last month in winter and check out the best NYC events in March including St. Patrick’s Day

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By: Jennifer Picht

New York events in May

Spring is in full swing and there’s no shortage of outstanding things to do on our events calendar this May.

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By: Evelyn Derico

Archive spring in New York content

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Robert L
Robert L

May I suggest taking a 20 minute PATH train ride to Newark to see the largest and most beautiful display of Japanese Cherry Blossoms in the country. Why not see the best, especially since it is closer than Brooklyn Botanical Gardens for many New Yorkers.

John W
John W

I've never seen that tour company Bruce, thanks for the heads up. It's always nice to have a couple recommendations when family and friends come into town. I'm always referring them to Get Up and Ride in Brooklyn since I'm a Brooklynite myself and have gotten amazing feedback. Check them out at http://getupandride.com. I'm really looking forward to trying their new sunset bike tour and rustic dinner bbq in May. 

Bruce S
Bruce S

One of the joys of living or visiting New York is to rent a bicycle in Central Park, and bring a picnic lunch with a bottle of vino. Let the sun shine in. And later in the afternoon keep your aerobic muscles working by taking a walking food tour; http://walkingtoursmanhattan.com