Spring has always been one of my favorite times in NYC since the winters can be so brutal. The flowers start blooming all around the city, the weather is generally pleasant, and there are fewer crowds than in Summer.
So, as a local New Yorker, I have tons of ideas for you to enjoy Spring in the city! From beautiful parks and flower blooms to parades and events, you will be spoiled for choice with fun activities to do!
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- The Best Things to Do During the Spring in New York City
- 1. Enjoy a Picnic at Central Park
- 2. See The Tulips in New York City
- 3. Walk or Bike Along The Hudson River Park
- 4. Enjoy the Spring Blooms at The Brooklyn Botanic Garden
- 5. Enjoy the Weather From Dumbo
- 6. Enjoy the Rides in Coney Island
- 7. See the Cherry Blossoms at Roosevelt Island
- 8. Enjoy a Warm Day at Governors Island
- 9. Experience the Orchid Show at the New York Botanical Garden
- 10. Stroll the High Line
- 11. See Spring Blooms From an Observation Deck
- 12. Get a Glimpse of the Manhattanhenge
- 13. Enjoy a Free Event in Bryant Park
- 14. Celebrate the Nice Weather at a Rooftop Bar
- 15. Take a Day Trip to the Long Island Vineyards
- 16. Go Kayaking
- NYC Food Events in Spring
- New York Spring Sports
- NYC Spring Events and Parades
- NYC in The Spring Wrap-up
The Best Things to Do During the Spring in New York City
1. Enjoy a Picnic at Central Park
Picnicking at Central Park is a right of passage in New York City, and there couldn’t be a better time than in the Spring to complete this bucket list activity.
Planning a trip to New York? Make sure to join my NYC Facebook group where you can ask questions and find additional tips to help planning!
While there, you can enjoy the scenery, explore the park, and, my favorite…watch all the locals and tourists go about their evening. You can often hear singers and musicians in the park, which I love. Oh, and don’t miss Bow Bridge, one of my favorite areas. A romantic idea to do during spring by Bow Bridge is renting a boat. I include more about Central Park in my ultimate NYC 4 Day itinerary!
Oh, and if this is your first time in New York City, make sure to check my NY travel tips, my hotel guide by neighborhood, and tips to use the subway! All will open in new tabs so you don’t lose your place.
2. See The Tulips in New York City
New York City is stunning no matter what time of year you visit. However, during the springtime, it is particularly beautiful since everything is blooming with the city landscape!
The tulips in NYC are especially lovely, and you can find them all over Central Park, along with a couple of other areas. It is not like seeing tulips near Amsterdam (which was incredible), but for New York, it’s definitely nice! In general, Central Park is one of my favorite places to hang out during the Spring.
Related: Ultimate New York Travel Guide
3. Walk or Bike Along The Hudson River Park
A great way to enjoy the Spring in NYC is by heading to the Hudson River Park for a stroll or bike ride. This is also a great, non-touristy way to enjoy Manhattan.
During a bike ride, enjoy the different Piers along the way, including Little Island, Chelsea Waterside Park, Pier 57, and Pier 45. The bike path runs next to Hudson River Park from Battery Place. This is located at the southern tip of Manhattan to West 59th Street.
4. Enjoy the Spring Blooms at The Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Brooklyn Botanic Garden is 52 acres of beautiful plants and flowers, especially during Spring in NYC. Plus, this is also one of the best places to see Cherry Blossoms in NYC. They even do a whole Cherry Blossom event with a bloom calendar.
It makes for a great place to connect with nature, and you may also see tulips here too.
5. Enjoy the Weather From Dumbo
If you’re unfamiliar with Dumbo, it is a trendy neighborhood on the other side of the Brooklyn Bridge that is filled with cobblestone streets and charming alleys. It is one of my favorite areas in Brooklyn because Brooklyn Bridge Park is so nice. You will certainly find beautiful spring blooms here and people walking along the waterfront.
There are also some great pizzerias in this location, and you may even arrive when the Mr. Softee truck pulls up for ice cream. I love walking through the different piers or even just relaxing on one of the many park benches.
While still busy, this area is far less busy than Manhattan, making it the perfect way to escape the noise of the City. Plus, it’s a free thing to do in NYC!
6. Enjoy the Rides in Coney Island
If you’re looking for a fun day trip or have kids, Coney Island is the place to be. You can take the train right over, which usually takes around 1 hour, but can depend on where you’re leaving from.
If you have kids, or you’re a big kid yourself, the Lunar Park rides are the place to be. It’s a right of passage when you ride the Cyclone, the wooden roller coaster. It will probably be too cold to sit at the beach, but really nice walking down the boardwalk. The New York Aquarium is also here.
Some of my favorite places to grab food while here are John’s Deli, Rollin Roaster, L&B Spamoni Gardens, and Williams Candy Shop. You can also try Nathan’s famous Hot Dogs.
Cooney Island is actually one of the most popular amusement parks in the United States, and you can easily spend an entire day here.
7. See the Cherry Blossoms at Roosevelt Island
Cherry blossoms are one of my favorite things about Spring in NYC, and they make a gorgeous backdrop for photos from Roosevelt Island.
This is one of those more unique attractions many tourists miss out on, and the views of the city are great from the tram any time of the year. Aside from the cherry blossoms, you can also find several cafes and restaurants, the Roosevelt Island Lighthouse, and the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park.
8. Enjoy a Warm Day at Governors Island
Governors Island is a 172-acre island just south of Manhattan and a great place to spend a spring day. Just a short ferry ride away, you can enjoy beautiful views of NYC, gardens, green spaces, and more.
You can also join walking and bike tours, which are also nice on a spring day, or even have a picnic. Heading to Governors Island is also less touristy.
9. Experience the Orchid Show at the New York Botanical Garden
The Orchid Show, located at the New York Botanical Garden, is one of the most beloved spring activities in New York City. The show has been running for over 20 years now and brings together a beautifully designed orchid display.
Did you know that Orchids take around 5 to 7 years to grow? This means the flowers that you see in the show are often decades old. I am an orchid collector myself.
The Garden also hosts ‘Orchid nights’ where you can explore the various displays while indulging in a signature cocktail and food. This is a great activity to unwind and escape the hustle and bustle of the city.
10. Stroll the High Line
I first learned about the High Line during my freshman year at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). Since it is relatively close to FIT, it became one of our favorite places to visit. Even though I have seen the High Line pop up on so many guides lately (you’re welcome), I still believe it is a really underrated attraction and beautiful in the spring.
This elevated greenway used to be an old railroad track. Now, it’s a beautiful garden pathway in the middle of the city buildings. Plus, it is free and near the Hudson Yards.
11. See Spring Blooms From an Observation Deck
New York is filled with some of the best observation decks. From The Summit to The Edge, these decks provide incredible views of the New York City skyline.
During the springtime, NYC is a little less crowded, so you will have a better experience with fewer people when visiting. Plus, you may be able to see some nice spring blooms from the top! Your best bloom views will come from The Summit or Top of the Rock since these are closest to Central Park.
You can also check out my review of the best NYC observation decks since I visited all of them. You should book tickets for the observation decks ahead of time!
12. Get a Glimpse of the Manhattanhenge
If you’re lucky enough to be in New York for the Manhattanhenge, this is one of those once-in-a-lifetime events that you can’t miss.
Also known as the “Manhattan Solstice,” this event is where the sun becomes aligned with the east-west streets of the main street grid of Manhattan.
You’ll have to look this one up to see how beautiful it really is, as the sun creates a golden glow over the city.
Even locals are not bored of this event and will flock to the streets to try and capture a photo of this rare phenomenon. The dates for this vary each year, so make sure to check this online if you want to be a part of this, which I highly recommend!
13. Enjoy a Free Event in Bryant Park
Bryant Park is probably my second favorite park in NYC after Central Park. It is located in Midtown Manhattan, close to tons of other NYC Landmarks, and they host a bunch of different free events during the spring.
From workout classes to their beloved movie night, this is a great way to experience the city in Spring. To find out which events are taking place in Bryant Park, you will have to check their website. Some of the events do require tickets, so make sure to book your spot!
14. Celebrate the Nice Weather at a Rooftop Bar
Imagine this; warm spring temperatures, cocktail in hand, and sunset views of NYC. Does it get any better than that?
It’s no secret that NYC knows how to do a rooftop bar well, and they make for the perfect spring activity. Some of the city’s best rooftop bars to check out include:
- The Cantor Roof Garden Bar (The Met) – The Met has an incredible rooftop bar that is often missed by New York first-timers.
- 230 Fifth Rooftop Bar – This is a cozy rooftop bar with incredible views of the Empire State Building. The food here is also great, and it’s not too pricey!
- Spyglass Rooftop Bar – This bar is renowned for its immaculate service and friendly vibes.
- Haven Rooftop Bar – This bar is a great daytime visit with some fantastic lunchtime options.
15. Take a Day Trip to the Long Island Vineyards
Long Island always gets left out of round-ups, and I am not sure why. Especially since it is such an easy ride on the LIRR. I love Long Island, but I also lived there for over ten years. However, I feel there is no basis in saying you should consider a trip to the vineyards if you love wine.
Long Island is home to over 50 vineyards, most located on the North Fork. Most tours from Manhattan run on the weekends, or you can take a train out to Riverhead, and just call an Uber to your desired vineyard. You can learn more about my favorite Long Island Vineyards here.
16. Go Kayaking
Did you know there are various locations around NYC where you can go kayaking?
Hudson River Park is one of the most popular areas to go kayaking. Kayaking season usually starts around May, and they offer free and expert lessons depending on your skill level. With this activity, you will likely get wet, so make sure to dress accordingly!
Other locations to go kayaking include The Downtown Boathouse on Governors Island, the Manhattan Community Boathouse, and the Brooklyn Bridge Boathouse.
NYC Food Events in Spring
17. Indulge at Smorgasborg
Smorgasborg is a weekend open-air food market that is hosted throughout NYC and my favorite one to attend.
Dozens of food vendors from a range of cuisines come together to share their delights with the community. My favorite one is in Williamsburg, but you can also catch them in Prospect Park and the WTC (World Trade Center).
From delicious donuts to mozzarella sticks and lobster rolls, there is something for everyone here. In my opinion, the sweet treats are where this event really excels, however, there are plenty of savory dishes to try too.
18. Visit the Night Markets
New York City is loved for its night markets that take over the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens.
They take place every Saturday evening during the end of spring, and they go through to the summer, and it is the place to be for any foodies. Plus, you will find tons of different cuisines, which is something I love about NYC.
These night markets bring together local businesses from all over New York to bring cheap food and delicious drinks to try. You’ll find anything from tacos to burgers to chocolate and more!
These markets are very popular among city locals, so it is a great place to feel the real vibes and a great thing to do in NYC at night.
These markets are the perfect evening activity to treat yourself to something totally indulgent and feel the energy in New York City come to life at night!
19. Partake in the Ninth Avenue International Food Festival
The Ninth Avenue International Food Festival is one of New York’s oldest and largest food festivals. If you’re looking for a fun, less touristy food event, this is it.
Located on Ninth Avenue in Hell’s Kitchen, restaurants come together to share dishes and beverages with the people of New York. Even popular eateries such as Poseidon Bakery and Marseille usually take part in the event. It will most likely happen May 18th-19th.
New York Spring Sports
20. Catch a Baseball Game
I am not a baseball fan, but it’s still fun attending a New York Yankees or The Mets game during the baseball season. Being in the stands and having some hot dogs, burgers, and fries is an entire experience within itself.
You can get tickets directly on the MLB website, which sometimes brings you to Ticketmaster. I would suggest getting tickets in advance if possible.
21. Enjoy the End of Hockey Season
Another fun sports activity in New York City to attend is a hockey game.
The hockey season starts to come to an end during the spring, but it is still a great way to spend your time in the Big Apple.
Whether you’re a fan or not, the experience is always very exciting. You can choose to watch the New York Rangers, who play at Madison Square Garden, or the New York Islanders, who are a 35-minute train ride to Elmont, Long Island. If you come to Long Island, make sure to get King Umberto Pizza and Capalinis – trust me!
Make sure to book tickets ahead of time for this one!
NYC Spring Events and Parades
22. Enjoy the Macy’s Flower Show
The Macy’s Flower Show is an annual event that takes place every spring in New York. The flower show often lasts around a month and is a must-visit if flowers are your jam!
Macy’s is one of the city’s best department stores. I used to work in men’s shoes back in my college years, lol. During the Spring, they often work with a designer brand to create an exhibition filled with jaw-dropping flower arrangements.
For example, in 2023, Dior partnered with Macy’s to create a dreamscape of fluffy clouds and whimsical floral landscapes. Who knows what they have planned this year?
This activity is completely free to do and is a great way to experience one of New York’s most iconic shopping departments, and welcome in the new season!
23. Take Part in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade
If you’re in New York on the 17th of March, then you have to attend the Saint Patrick’s Day parade! This is a parade in New York that takes place every single year and is one of my favorite parades to take part in. BTW – I am not Irish, but this one is so fun!
The parade usually begins at around 11 AM and starts on East 44th Street and ends at East 82nd Street. However, make sure to check because this can change.
The parade consists of live bands, Irish dancers, and live performers. The crowds are massive, and everyone is dressed in green. It is overall a really good time!
On top of that, this is considered to be one of the world’s largest Saint Patrick’s Day parades!
24. Check out the Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival
Although way less frequently talked about, there is also the Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival.
If you decide to attend, you will see people wearing easter clothing and displaying their Easter bonnets on Fifth Avenue. This huge New York tradition dates back well into the 1870s.
Buy a bonnet of your own and join the parade, or simply head to St. Patrick’s Cathedral and enjoy watching the festivities take place.
25. Celebrate Earth Day in NYC
Earth Day is celebrated on April 22nd in honor of creating awareness around environmental protection. During this time, multiple projects take place in NYC that you can be a part of and meet some locals.
There are eco-friendly concerts and city clean-up efforts that you can join. Rockefeller Center often hosts live musical performances and family-friendly activities.
If you head to Brooklyn, you may find events such as the “Make a Recycled Notebook event,” which is great for children, or even their famous “Recycle Runway,” where locals compete to win a cash prize.
26. NYC Tartan Day Parade
The New York City Tartan Day Parade is another fun parade to enjoy during the spring. While not as large as the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, this parade is a day where Scottish heritage is celebrated.
The parade begins on 45th Street and continues through to 55th Street. Enjoy the sounds of bagpipers and bands that play live music in the streets. Everyone dresses up in traditional Scottish clothing, and you may even see me Scottish terriers, too!
27. Participate in The Five Boro Bike Tour
The Five Boro Bike Tour is the country‘s biggest bike tour that takes place every spring. The 40-mile tour goes through Lower Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, and Brooklyn and ends near the Staten Island ferry. This is not a good day to be driving as many streets and the Verazano close.
This bike tour often has over 32,000 riders who come together to raise money for charity. All the money raised goes towards bike education programs, which help out 25,000 adults and children each year.
The date of the tour may vary, so double-check online if you want to take part.
There is no denying that this bike tour is definitely difficult, but if you’re up for the challenge, why not participate this year?
NYC in The Spring Wrap-up
This wraps up some of the best Spring activities to enjoy in New York City. I hope the weather is fantastic during your visit and this list helps give you tons of ideas. If you have any questions about these Spring activities or think one should be added, let me know in the comments below!
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