Spring is one of the most beautiful seasons in New York City – it begins on March 20th and ends on June 20th. And while the city offers countless things to do and attractions year-round, you can still take advantage of the seasonal activities. On this post, I share 30 tips on things to do during this season in the city.
But, before getting started, let’s remember the basics, in case you are visiting: Spring is half-season: it starts cold and ends warm. That means you still have to wear warmer clothes at the end of March and during the month of April, but in May, the scenario tends to improve a lot – I consider May and June two great months for those who do not like extreme temperatures. You should always check the weather forecast before your trip to decide what to pack. The first half of spring is very unstable, hence the importance of you checking the weather forecast days before boarding.
1. Cherry Blossom – First of all, it’s worth remembering: there’s a specific (and short!) period to see the cherry blossom in New York. They start appearing at the end of March. The peak bloom begins in the second half of April and runs until the first week of May. Obviously that these are predictions. Spring weather is kind of crazy; the higher the temperatures, the faster the blooming. But overall, this is the average. On the Brooklyn Botanical Garden website, you can follow the status of bloom through CherryWatch. Central Park has also launched a Cherry watch map.
2. Smorgasburg – One of the coolest outdoor things to do in New York is undoubtedly Smorgasburg. It is a unique opportunity for foodies, besides being a cool and local thing to do. Smorgasburg is seasonal: it starts at the beginning of April and runs until October, featuring 100 flame-grilling, live-torching, head-spinning, and lip-smacking entrepreneurs pursuing their dreams for crowds of 20,000 people in the most exciting food environment anywhere. Smorgasburg happens at WTC on Fridays, Williamsburg on Saturdays and Prospect Park on Sundays. More information!
3. Frieze New York – it is one of the most famous art fairs in the city and happens every year in early May – the new location is The Shed, at Hudson Yards. This fair lasts two days and brings together the most important art galleries in the world, which represent more than 1000 important artists. Click here to check details, dates, and buy your tickets.
4. Met Rooftop – few people know, but in addition to the amazing collection of artworks, sculptures, and other artifacts, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has a seasonal rooftop – which is only open during the warm months. Every season, the rooftop features an exhibition. Besides that, the rooftop has a great open area with beautiful views of Central Park and also a bar serving drinks. A delight! Remember that the ticket to the Met is $25 – or free if you live in NY State. Check the website for updates.
5. Tribeca Film Festival –is probably the most important film festival in the city and it happens in June featuring not only movies but also panels and talks with special guests.
6. Highline Park – this park is one of the most well-known tourist spots in the city and it is special because it is a park built on an old elevated train line, and now is a public space for residents and tourists to enjoy. From April to October, the park’s management offers free tours. Click here for more details.
7. Rooftops – we know Spring is here when rooftop season starts! It is one of the best things to do in New York: having a drink at the end of the day in a place like this. The energy is so good! My favorite rooftops are Westlight and Skylark.
8. Picnic – Few simple things in life are as great as sitting in a park to relax, read a book, and eat delicious foods. And I always recommend this kind of thing to anyone visiting the city during the warm weather period. It’s a very New Yorker thing.
9. Luna Park / Coney Island – in early April, Luna Park, in Coney Island, Brooklyn, opens for the season until late October. Even if you are not the person that loves amusement parks, it’s worth visiting the place, which has a very different vibe from Manhattan. Eat a hot dog, go for a walk on the beach, and enjoy the late afternoon … it’s a delight!
10. Dance Party Bryant Park – Dance Party includes live bands and expert dance instruction for a memorable night of dancing on select Wednesday evenings. All ages are welcome to explore a different dance genre each week. “Notable instructors plus amazing live music” (TimeOut New York) makes Dance Party a can’t-miss event. More info!
11. North River Lobster Co – this boat is located on Pier 81 and has a lobster and seafood menu as well as drinks and cocktails. There are three decks, and the boat has an open rooftop. Every 45 minutes, the boat leaves the Pier northwards, providing beautiful views of the city. Admission costs only $10 per person, and you can stay as long as you want. The menu features food and beverage options starting at $10. It is worth remembering that the boat begins its season in April and continues until the end of fall. Check the schedule.
12. Tulip Farm – I know the Netherlands is the place to see tulips, but if you are not planning to travel anytime soon, you can visit Holland Ridge Farms, a farm located in Cream Ridge, New Jersey. Since there is no public transportation near the farm, it is only accessible by car and there is a huge parking lot available. Driving from Midtown Manhattan, you will spend about 1h30min to get there without traffic.
13. La Barca Cantina – it is New York City’s first and only floating Mexican restaurant. The boat departs from Pier 81 and you can enjoy beautiful views of the city while you try some nachos, tacos, and cocktails! La Barca Cantina sails 4 days a week and offers a menu full of Mexican-inspired street food, tequila, mezcal, signature cocktails, and breathtaking views of the New York skyline. You need to buy a pass (U$10) to have access to the boat and it sails for 1 hour every 2 hours, starting at 2pm or 4pm, depending on the day. I strongly recommend you buy your pass in advance – you can do it online. The menu is also available online.
14. Grand Banks – it is a bar and restaurant that sits on a… boat! Hand-built and christened in 1942, the F/V Sherman Zwicker is the last original salt bank fishing vessel in existence. It is always moored – more precisely at the Hudson River Park, Pier 25. As it is an open boat, the place only opens for a period of the year – from mid-April to mid-October. You can either get a drink and hang out near the bar or see the host and get a table.
15. Ride a bike – with the warm temperatures, it’s such a delight to ride a bike in the city. There are several spots for you to enjoy a ride, but I’ll leave a tip less obvious than Central Park: the Hudson River Park, which is on the West side of Manhattan, on the edge of the Hudson River, and is spectacular at the end of the day. Use my code LAURA30 to get 30% off when renting your bike on Unlimited Biking.
16. Boat ride at Central Park – Another cool idea is to rent a boat in Central Park – it costs $ 15 an hour and each boat holds up to four people. But if you want to feel spoiled, how about experiencing the gondola? Yes, you can take a gondola ride in Central Park. Learn more.
17. Governors Island – I feel that this is a secret spot in the city – I know, I know, technically, it is not a secret, but I feel that not all New Yorkers take advantage of this beautiful place. This is probably the only place in NYC where you can have a picnic looking at Lady Liberty. Yep, that’s right. Spring is such a great time to visit the place!
18. Free Summer Movies -Noir, romance, action, sci-fi, and comedy – there are a lot of outdoor movie screenings during spring – and summer. Bring your blanket, some snacks and enjoy your New York time! Check the schedule!
19. Trapeze classes- Anyone who has watched Sex and the City will remember that in one of the episodes, Carrie appears practicing trapeze. The place is the New York Trapeze School, located at Pier 40 (Manhattan) and Brooklyn. The season at Pier 40 runs from April to October. More info.
20. Spa Day at QC Spa – located on Governors Island. There are gorgeous grounds featuring unprecedented views of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and New Jersey, relaxation rooms (each with its own meticulously curated personality, scent, and music), themed saunas, and other incredible wellness experiences such as Vichy showers, infrared beds, foot baths, hydro jets, steam baths and more. Luxurious bathrobes, sandals, towels, shower products and a storage locker will all be provided – all that is needed is a swimsuit.
21. City Island – City Island is a small island neighborhood approximately 1.5 miles long and 0.5 miles wide, with a population of more than 4300 people. This island is part of The Bronx and visiting this place is to be transported to a small town with super beautiful landscapes and a great atmosphere – it’s known as the Cape Cod of New York City. The island is super famous for its seafood restaurants and antique shops.
22. Classic Harbor Line – I really love their cruises because they use luxury and beautiful motor yachts – and with a lot of stability. Being a relatively small yacht, it is more intimate and less crowded cruise than tourist cruises, featuring tables by the windows, so no matter where you sit, you’ll have a privileged view. In addition to the closed area, with glass windows, there is also an open deck. I recommend the sunset cruises and the jazz cruises. You can book here.
23. Five Boro Bike tour – Every year, thousands of cyclists join this event for a one-day tour of every New York City borough. It’s the world’s biggest charitable bike ride, with a goal of raising money for free bike education programs in New York and more of an emphasis on community rather than competition or speed. Starting in Manhattan’s Tribeca, the 40-mile traffic-free course continues to the Bronx, goes back to Manhattan and ventures into Queens and Brooklyn before finishing in Staten Island. More information.
24. Breweries – There are so many breweries in New York City and a lot of them are located in Long Island City! I highly recommend – @rockawaybrewco and @fifthhammerbeer . They offer a variety of beers on tap and you can also order tasters. These two breweries have food vendors over the weekend as well – and sometimes live music! Such a great thing to do during spring/summer.
25. Fleet Week – is the city’s time-honored celebration of the sea services. It is an unparalleled opportunity for the citizens of New York and the surrounding tri-state area to meet Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen, as well as witness firsthand the latest capabilities of today’s maritime services. The weeklong celebration has been held nearly every year since 1984. Check the schedule.
26. Shakespeare in the Park – a New York classic. Produced by The Public Theater, it happens every year at Delacorte Theater, Central Park, and admission is free. As the name suggests, these are theatrical productions based on Shakespeare. Two plays a year: the first one happens from the end of May to the middle of June. Check the schedule by clicking here. Free tickets are distributed on each day of the performance at noon (but the lines start well before!). You can also try your luck with the lottery through the TodayTix app.
27. Queens Night Market – The Queens Night Market is a large, family-friendly open-air night market in Queens, featuring up to 100 independent vendors selling merchandise, art, and food and featuring small-scale cultural performances, all celebrating the rich cultural diversity and heritage of NYC and Queens. Check more info.
28. Roses – June is the month of the roses. The New York Botanical Garden and the Brooklyn Botanical Garden feature gardens with several rose varieties. The bloom usually happens between the 8th and 10th of June. Check details by clicking here.
29. Roosevelt Island – this residential island located between Manhattan and Queens provides a great tour – and is a good place to get away from the craziness of Manhattan. The good thing about visiting the place in the spring is that it is not so cold – and it’s a cherry blossom spot.
30. Little Island –it’s a “floating” park – an artificial island, right next to the beloved Hudson River Park – and provides the visitors with a unique greenspace unlike any other in New York City with serene spaces to explore, new venues for live performances and cultural events, and unique vantage points to view the surrounding area. Check more info!
Content creator and journalist in New York City. Here, I share lifestyle, beauty, NYC tips, thoughts, and the struggles about living in the most amazing city in the world! I’m not gonna pretend to be another person: I’m a Brazilian immigrant and I think this is my soul, it is part of who I am. I hope you enjoy my content! Follow me on Instagram!
henaMarch 20, 2023 at 2:42 pm
The Highline is one of my favorite place.
The Little Island is architecturally interesting.
The Holland Ridge farm also has sunflowers in April.
Great guide.. so many things we still haven’t done.