Spring in NYC: 27 Fun Things to Do + Hidden Gems

A woman in at Wave Hill Garden

After a long, cold winter, spring in New York is nothing short of pure bliss. The streets come back to life with people and performances while the parks and gardens bloom with flowers. There are tons of events in NYC during the spring to enjoy. You may have to prepare for the occasional rain shower, but generally, you’ll be free of our extreme temperatures to explore freely!

I. Why Spring is a Great Time to Visit NYC

Spring is considered a ‘shoulder season’ in New York City, meaning there’s a drop in tourist activity and an uptick in special deals. This is the start of outdoor activities returning to life after the winter thaw. It’s also a great time of the year to get a good deal on hotels in NYC and flights. But best of all? There are way smaller outdoor crowds during this time of the year (compared to the summer).

II. Spring in New York Weather

Springtime in New York City is a beautiful and exciting time of year, with mild temperatures and plenty of sunshine. The average temperature during spring ranges from 40s to 70s (Fahrenheit). However, in NYC, temperatures can randomly fluctuate, so it’s important to dress in layers and bring sweaters/jackets. Springtime in New York is also known for occasional rain showers, so don’t forget your umbrella. Morning and night can be chillier, but during the day, you may be able to get away with just a t-shirt (what to wear in New York in spring totally depends).

Allergies will start to become intense during the spring, one of the only downfalls of this time of the year. Tree pollen begins in late March, and grass pollen usually peaks in May or June.

III. Spring in New York: Places to Visit & Things to Do 

Here’s my list of the best springtime things to do in NYC. Please note that some of the special events occur during specific dates, so I’ve also included that.

1. Fort Tryon Park (Local Hidden Gem)

Fort Tryon Park is a beautiful, historic public park home to The Cloisters museum and gardens. The park offers stunning views of the Hudson River and the George Washington Bridge. Don’t mis the walking trails, scenic overlooks, and beautifully landscaped gardens — perfect for a leisurely stroll or a picnic with friends and family. The garden was designed and is maintained by Ronda M. Brands (who we actually met while we were there). So Springtime is the BEST time to visit this park, as it’s gorgeous gardens are in full bloom.

2. Brooklyn Museum’s First Saturday Parties

Marc Flores

First Saturday Parties are among the best opportunities to explore the Brooklyn Museum and take advantage of Free Museum Days In NYC. Visitors gain access to various museum exhibits and special programs, such as the celebration of World Poetry Day and the 50th anniversary of hip-hop on April 1. First Saturdays have been running for 25 years and are held throughout the entire spring season (starting in February and ending in August). There is a cap on admission so make sure you register as early as possible. These events are held only in the evenings from 5 pm to 11 pm, and admission will be charged if capacity is reached. 

  • Location: Brooklyn Museum, NY
  • Entrance: Free!
  • Date:  First Saturday of the month from February to August, and October

3. Governors Island 

Located in the heart of New York Harbor, Governors Island is a 172-acre island that is only a ferry ride away from Manhattan. While the island is open all year round, it really starts to come to life in the spring as Liggett Terrance begins to bloom. March starts off with fun events such as the Governor Island Walking Tour and the NYC Runs Spring Fling 5k & 10K. There’s a fun Easter egg hunt in April to celebrate the holiday. You can also explore the public art displayed around the island in various mediums to encourage exploration. 

4. Frieze New York (Art Fair) 

Frieze New York is a fantastic spring art show that takes place in The Shed starting in mid-May. This event brings together world-renowned galleries from 27 countries for visitors to explore and enjoy. You can also participate in several programs celebrating the art institutions and non-profits scattered around New York. Tickets are available online with assigned entry times, and you can use the fair map to plan your day. 

  • Location: The Bloomberg Building, Manhattan NY
  • Entrance: $160+
  • Date: May 17 to May 21

5. Wave Hills Public Garden & Cultural Center 

Wave Hills is a gorgeous 28-acre estate in the Bronx that has public horticultural gardens and a cultural center. The grounds are set on the slopes of Riverdale, with an amazing view of the Hudson River and New Jersey. You can explore one of two mansions here, and there’s a new cafe offering salads, sandwiches, and other foods and drinks. There is a trail around the property to stroll, a terrace to take in the views, and the Glyndor Gallery picnic area if you wish to bring your own food. If you’re an artist, check out the Winter Workspaces with drop-in spots! This is one of our favorite Bronx hidden gems!

  • Location: Bronx, NY
  • Entrance: Parking $13, and $10 Entry Fee 
  • Date: open all year round

6. The Cloisters

The Cloisters Museum is a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art located in Fort Tryon Park (listed above so win-win, two in one!). This museum is dedicated to the art and architecture of medieval Europe (including lot of Catholicism) and features over 5,000 objects from the 9th through the 16th centuries. The museum’s collection includes illuminated manuscripts, metalwork, sculpture, and textiles, as well as stunning examples of medieval architecture and gardens. Best of all? The space offers visitors a peaceful escape from the city’s hustle and bustle.

Fun fact: this is one of the free museums in NYC, if you’re a local resident.

7. Rail Explorers (Catskills Day Trip) 

Take a day trip out of New York and explore the Catskill railroads with Rail Explorers. Spring is a perfect time to take a rail tour of the blooming forests of the Catskill Mountains. Rail Explorers offer two ride designs: Tandem Explorer (2 people) and Quad Explorer (4 people). The best tour to book in spring is the Catskills River Run, where you travel alongside the Esopus Creek and through the thick mountain woods. Tours last about 2.5 hours–bring layers to accommodate the weather!

  • Location: Catskills, NY
  • Entrance: $95 Tandem; $175 Quad
  • Date: April to October

8. Dance Africa Festival (BAM) 

Enjoy the country’s largest dance festival dedicated to African American music and culture! Dance Africa is hosted by the Brooklyn Academy of Music at the end of May. It’s the perfect indoor activity for a spring day, sporting bright colors and performances to celebrate the birth of a new season. The dances are riveting and packed with energy and heat. One of the highlights every year is the Spirit Walkers–ancestral figures that glide across the stage throughout the performances. 

  • Location: Brooklyn, NY
  • Entrance: Starting at $25
  • Date: May 26 to May 29

9. Central Park 

You know spring has officially hit NYC when Central Park begins to bloom. Walking among the cherry blossoms is by far one of the best things to do in NYC for spring 2023. Cherry blossom festivals and tours take place throughout the spring, the most popular being the festival at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Spring in Central Park is also when the gondolas and water boats start to take over the water. Some boat rides require reservations, while others are first come, first serve. 

  • Location: Central Park, NY
  • Entrance: Prices for events vary
  • Date: Blossoms bloom mid-April to early May

10. Baseball Season Begins 

Shinya Suzuki

Celebrate spring in NYC by going to a baseball game! The spring baseball season runs from late March to early April and goes until late September to early October. Between New York’s two teams– the New York Yankees and the New York Mets–there’s practically a game to attend every day! The best part of baseball is that you don’t need to know much about it to enjoy the game. If you like spring weather, a fun atmosphere, and feeling like a part of a big crowd, you’ll have a great time!

  • Location: Mets (Citi Field, Queens), Yankees (Yankee Stadium, Bronx)
  • Entrance: Mets ($25 average ticket), Yankees ($40 average ticket)
  • Date: April to October

11. Brooklyn Botanical Garden

Shinya Suzuki

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden are stunning in the spring. Aside from the infamous cherry blossoms, bluebells, crabapples, and droves of spring flowers come alive in the warmer weather. Spring hours at the Botanic Gardens are longer, with more programs available. You can book a tour of the gardens, such as the Spring Equinox Tour, Magnolia Mini Tours, and Weekends in Bloom, which include pop-up music, performances, dances, cultural programs, and plenty of activities. The Sakura Matsuri Festival is one of our favorites, taking place at the end of April. This event celebrates Japanese culture and the birth of the cherry blossoms with a ton of rich programming and performances. 

  • Location: Brooklyn, NY
  • Entrance: $18 Adults; $12 Seniors/Students
  • Date: Spring events start end of March

12. New York Botanical Gardens (Bronx)

Check out the New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx for more spring celebrations. This living museum and cultural institute is dedicated to conservation and is another opportunity to step away from the busy city to explore nature. From February to April, visit the Orchid Show, a meditative and relaxing space designed by acclaimed artist Lily Kwong. You can see thousands of orchids at this show taking place at the Enid A Haupt Conservatory and even celebrate into the night with music, food, and a cash bar on select days. The Daffodil Walks is another must-see bloom in the rock garden from March to May, with the highlight being Daffodil Hill in April–a sea of yellow as you’ve never experienced!

  • Location: Bronx, NY
  • Entrance: Garden Pass ($35 Adults; $31 Students and Seniors; $15 Children 2-12)
  • Date: Spring events start end of March

13. Holi Hai Festival 

Holi Hai Festivals are Hindu celebrations of color that take place all around New York City in the Spring. These are those super fun events where colored powder goes flying through the air–yes, and all over you! Participants should wear white clothes for the best effect, and definitely nothing you don’t want to get color on. Holi in the City is NYC’s biggest color fest, including color runs, dances, and tons of other celebrations with food and activities for visitors of all ages. It’s not a requirement to get colored powder on you, so don’t let that stop you from attending. WOMEN BEWARE — A lot of men will use this as an opportunity to physically harass. So be careful!

  • Location: Central Park, NY
  • Entrance: $45+ or based on events
  • Date: April 2 to April 8 and other events available

14. Queens Night Market (Local Hidden Gem)

The Queens Night Market is a popular open-air night market that showcases the diverse food, culture, and creativity of Queens, one of the most ethnically diverse boroughs of New York City. Visitors can enjoy a wide range of affordable and authentic international cuisine, unique crafts, and live performances by local artists. The market is held seasonally on Saturday nights and attracts a diverse crowd of locals and tourists alike. It is a perfect place to experience the rich cultural tapestry of Queens and to support small, local businesses.

  • Date: Starts April 15, 2023
  • Location: Queens, NY

15. Rooftop Bars & Restaurants 

After eating indoors for months, taking your meals to the rooftops of NYC in the spring is such a treat. There are tons of rooftop bars and restaurants that open their outdoor spaces when the warmer weather arrives. Just beware that most rooftop restaurants have a long waiting list, so make sure to get there early or call ahead: 

  • Monarch Rooftop (Manhattan): A great lounge and cocktail bar that has a backdrop of the Empire State Building.
  • Met Cantor Rooftop & Garden (Manhattan): Opening in May, this restaurant has a fantastic view of Central Park and the Manhattan skyline from the top of the museum with delicious drinks for warmer weather. (Museum admission is required)
  • Laser Wolf (Brooklyn): Really popular for its Middle Eastern dishes and boasting amazing views of the NYC skyline. 

16. Governor’s Ball Music Festival

Come kick off the warmer seasons with some of the world’s most popular musical performances at the Governors (Gov) Ball Music Festival. This is one of the biggest parties in NYC, now with a new home in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. The new venue provides plenty of shade and grassy fields to enjoy the music, with three stages, 60+ artists, and endless opportunities to dance. Gov Ball can get VERY crowded, so be prepared.

  • Location: Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens, NY
  • Entrance: 1-day ($139+) 3-day ($319+)
  • Date: June 9 to June 11

17. NYC Pride March 

We are proud to celebrate this annual event to support the LGBTQIA+ community. NYC Pride is one of the biggest pride events in the world. Tens of thousands of people gather to march while millions of others show their support as spectators. Each year has a theme, and there are tons of other pride events that kick off alongside the march. 

  • Location: Manhattan, NY
  • Entrance: Free!
  • Date: June 

18. Shakespeare in the Park 

You can catch a free Shakespeare in the Park performance at the open-air Delacorte Theater in Central Park starting in May and running till August. This amazing collection of shows put on by the Public Theatre has been running for 60 years! Free tickets are distributed on the day of the show, or you can enter a digital lottery. This is a very popular event, and getting tickets can be challenging. 

  • Location: Central Park, NY
  • Entrance: Free!
  • Date: May to August 

19. Brooklyn Bridge Walk

Walking over the Brooklyn Bridge is a perfect way to exercise and sightsee in the spring. The temperatures are mild, and the brutal summer sun is months away, which is good as there is little shade to hide in (bring a hat if you’re sensitive to the sun!) You can walk from Manhattan to Brooklyn, Brooklyn to Manhattan or both ways if you have the time. The bridge is just over a mile long, taking about 30 minutes to one side if you’re just walking, but most people stop a few times to take pictures and admire the view. Bring a drink or a snack, or support local vendors parked at the entrances. 

  • Location: Brooklyn/Manhattan, NY
  • Entrance: Free!
  • Date: all year round

20. Biking Tour

Touring the city by bike is a perfect way to see all the best NYC sites in the spring. You can choose to rent a traditional bicycle or e-bike depending on where (and how fast) you want to ride. Bicycle tours through Central Park are popular in the spring because of the blossoming trees and plants. You can also book a bike tour over the Brooklyn Bridge or spend the day cycling to multiple sites around Manhattan. 

  • Location: NYC, NY
  • Entrance: Prices Vary 

21. Foodie Tour 

Foodie Tours are super popular in the NYC when the warmer weather hits. Spring is the perfect weather to go from place to place without breaking a sweat or freezing your face off. Foods of NY Tours has been touring the city for over 20 years and offers food and culture tours of the Greenwich Village, Chelsea Market, Chinatown and more. Ahoy New Foods Tour is another popular agency, or you can go out on a limb, pick a borough, and go for your own food tour.

  • Location: NYC, NY
  • Entrance: Prices Vary 

22. Green-Wood Cemetery (Local Hidden Gem)

Green-Wood Cemetery is right in the heart of Brooklyn and a spectacular outdoor attraction for springtime weather. There are over 478 acres of nature, cultural heritage, and history to explore. It’s still considered a Brooklyn hidden gem that not many tourists know about, so you’ll find some peace and quiet here, away from the city. In the spring, visitors can join the Spring Egg Hunt, take a trolly tour, or see an outdoor short film on the greens. You can find out more about visiting Green-Wood Cemetery here

  • Location: Brooklyn, NY
  • Entrance: Free! (some programs and tours may require tickets)
  • Dates: New spring tours and hours begin in April

23. Five Boro Bike Tour 

If you’re really up for a bicycle trip, try the Five Boro Bike Tour! Cyclists of all skill levels and abilities are welcome to join. This incredible event requires clearing several city streets and bridges for one day to allow cyclists a safe route to ride. All proceeds are donated to bike education programs in New York. Water, snacks and entertainment are provided along the route. Bike rentals are available if you don’t have your own!  

  • Location: Lower Manhattan, NY
  • Entrance: Starting at $125 with $27 processing fee
  • Date: May 7

24. Brooklyn Flea Market 

The outdoor Brooklyn Flea Market officially opens for the spring season in April! Located at the DUMBO Archway, this market has a ton of fun vendors and unique finds every weekend till December. With hundreds of vendors available, you can find anything from vintage clothing, jewelry, furniture, and collectibles, to beautiful handmade gifts sold by local artisans. This is a perfect attraction for spring days with the possibility of pop-up showers, as most vendors are located under the Manhattan bridge. 

  • Location: Brooklyn, NY
  • Entrance: Free!
  • Date: April to December, Saturdays and Sundays

25. Bronx Night Market (Local Hidden Gem)

This is a special market occurring only on the last Saturday of every month from April to November in New York City. Vendors at the Bronx Night Market sell a variety of food from over 40 countries. There’s also live music to enjoy while you explore various gift vendors for fun merchandise. The price for food can be a little high, but most of these trucks are local vendors who offer unique dishes. Popular food vendors here include Sam’s Fried Ice Cream and Harlem Soul Food. 

  • Location: Bronx, NY
  • Entrance: Free!
  • Date: April to November, last Saturday of the month, 4 pm to 10 pm  

IV. Other Popular Events 

These events are extremely popular with visitors and locals in NYC. However, they can get super crowded and very touristy. 

  • St. Patrick’s Day Parade: The parade is held on March 17th and begins at 11:00am. The parade route marches up Fifth Avenue, starting at East 44th and ending at East 79th. Commuting by mass transit would be the best way to get there as there are plenty of stops along the route.  
  • Macy’s Flower Show: Set in Herald Square, this is a famous flower event featuring fragrances by Dior to celebrate all the new scents of spring. It runs from Sunday, March 26, to Monday, April 10. 
  • Fleet Week: For 32 years, the U.S. Navy, Coast Guard, and Marine Corps have gathered in New York City to experience all the city has to offer in the spring. There’s a ton of events that go along with the arrival of our nation’s finest, but it can get VERY crowded.  
  • Mermaid Parade on Coney Island: Mermaids have become quite popular in recent years, and this event celebrates the end of spring/beginning of summer with the largest art parade in the country! It’s one of the most exciting annual events in NYC in June. This year, the parade is held on June 17th. 
  • High Line: Join the High Line Freight to Flowers tour to explore the unique history behind the park in the sky! This event runs from November to April so it’s the perfect attraction to kick off spring. 

V. Spring Tours from NYC (with Transportation!)

Don’t want to drive nor plan a getaway? Then book a guided tour leaving from the city and taking you and your friends (or just you) on a group tour to the outdoors near NYC.

  • Whitewater Rafting: Why not go Whitewater rafting on the Lehigh River? Only 2 hours from NYC, the river runs through a beautiful, pristine gorge. You’ll get to spend 3-4 hours rafting down Class II and Class III rapids. The tour includes transport to/from NYC, life vest, raft + paddle hire, and lunch.
  • River Tubing: Just a short drive from NYC, you’ll find the Delaware River where you can enjoy river tubing. This tour, will pick you up from NYC and take you to the river where you’ll get to enjoy 2-hours of tubing. Afterwards, you’ll get to enjoy lunch and visit The Drowned Lands Brewery where you’ll get to enjoy a 12oz beer.
  • Go Karting: You could also consider this go-karting day trip where you’ll get to enjoy 2 go-karting sessions plus 1 hour of other fun activities such as axe throwing and 10 arcade tickets for 1 hour of arcade games. The tour includes lunch and transport to/from Manhattan.
  • Kayaking & Wine Tasting: Another great option is this kayaking and wine tasting day trip. You’ll go kayaking on the Delaware River, where you’ll spend 2-2.5 hours kayaking through beautiful scenery. After, you’ll enjoy a picnic lunch then head off to a winery where you’ll get to enjoy tasting 5 different wines. Kayak hire, and round-trip transportation is included.
  • Long Island Wine Tour: If you’re looking for a wine tasting tour you could consider this wine tasting tour to Long Island. You’ll get to taste 10-12 different wines, at 3 different award-winning wineries in Long Island. The wine tasting includes transportation, a guide and lunch.

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