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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.