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Biking in Hudson River Park
Photograph: Whitney Lawson

Your ultimate spring in NYC bucket list

You won’t want to miss these dynamite events and things to do in the spring, from outdoor festivals to Smorgasburg

By Annalise Mantz
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Is there anything more joyful than the first sunny spring day after a gray and gloomy winter? Make the most of the season with our ultimate NYC spring bucket list. With so many top spring art shows to attend and things to do outside in gorgeous NYC parks, your calendar will be full from March through June. Leave plenty of time for drinking at rooftop bars in NYC—you’ve got to enjoy the lovely spring weather while you can.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to things to do in spring in NYC

Your ultimate spring in NYC bucket list

Orchid Show
Photograph: Courtesy New York Botanical Garden

Peep the Orchid Show at the New York Botanical Garden

Things to do

Escape to the tropics at the 16th annual orchid show at the New York Botanical Garden. This year’s display showcases installations by floral artist Daniel Ost, who specializes in large-scale geometric, illuminated sculptures. Come for the stunning Instagram photo, stay for the cocktails and live music on select evenings. $20 per person

Central Park rowers
Photograph: Shutterstock

Go boating in Central Park

Row, row, row your boat gently around the lake in Central Park for a tranquil afternoon in the city’s most iconic green space. When your arms get tired, stop by the Loeb Boathouse for some refreshments, or pick up the bike rental included in your ticket to explore more of the park. $53 per person

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Mozz Shop
Photograph: Noah Devereaux

Chow down at Smorgasburg

Things to do

First, Smorgasburg gave us the ramen burger, then the crystal clear raindrop cake. No word yet on what this year’s viral food sensation will be, but we’re willing to bet you’ll be able to get it at the massive food fair in Brooklyn. You can find the 100-plus vendors in Williamsburg on Saturdays and Prospect Park on Sundays. Better wear your stretchiest pants. Free

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Ride the Cyclone at Luna Park

Attractions Theme parks Coney Island

When Luna Park at Coney Island opens for the season, it’s a sure sign that summer is on its way. Starting March 24, you can ride the iconic Cyclone and high-flying Air Race to your heart’s content once again. When you get tired of the rides, refuel with classic fair food like Nathan’s Famous hot dogs and giant pretzels or try your hand at the deceptively tricky carnival games. $69 for an all-day pass

Check out the Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival

Things to do Festivals

Though the pale pink cherry blossoms might be the big draw, this weekend bash celebrates nearly every aspect of Japanese culture, from the tea ceremony to samurai masters. Snack on goodies from local food vendors while jamming to J-rock bands and taiko drummers. Your feed will be blowing up with photos from this scenic celebration—why not join the fun? $25 per person

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Photograph: Courtesy CC/Wikimedia Commons/Anthony Conti

Feast on global grub at the World's Fare

Things to do Markets and fairs

Talk about a blast from the past. Inspired by the iconic 1964 New York World’s Fair, the organizers of LIC Flea and Astoria Flea and Food are staging a massive festival on the Citi Field parking lot this spring. Like the original, the modern-day World’s Fare will celebrate diversity through food and culture. Visitors can sample eats from over 100 vendors, take in live performances from local bands and check out art installations like a 6-foot Unisphere made of LEGOs.

Tribeca Film Festival 2005
Photograph: Brian Palmer

Catch a premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival

Movies

Founded by Robert DeNiro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff in 2001, the Tribeca Film Festival has become the destination for cutting-edge cinema over the last 17 years. Movie buffs won’t want to miss their chance to see the groundbreaking films at this year’s festival, including the documentary The American Meme with Paris Hilton and bone-chilling horror flick Cargo. $12 for a matinee, $23 for evenings and weekends, $40 for special events

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Explore Governors Island

Attractions Parks and gardens Governors Island

This 172-acre island off Manhattan officially opens for the year on May 1, offering a convenient day trip for New Yorkers hankering for a summer escape. Check out the latest public art installations, take a walking tour of Fort Jay or just laze away the afternoon in a hammock. $30 per person

Biking in Hudson River Park
Photograph: Whitney Lawson

Bike along the Hudson River

As if you needed another reason to enjoy the gorgeous May weather, it’s National Bike Month. Rent a cruiser and bike down the Hudson River Park Bikeway, the busiest path in the United States. Start at West 59th St and wind your way all the way down to Battery Park for a scenic and athletic afternoon. $8.17 per hour

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Need somewhere romantic to take a date?

Photograph: Shutterstock

The best spring date ideas in NYC

Things to do

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

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