New Year’s Day Swim: On New Year’s Day consider going to wake yourself up in a new and exciting way by taking the Polar Plunge at Coney Island. You’ll run into the ocean with a sea of people to wash away the past year and start the new year refreshed.
Winter Jazzfest: Jazz aficionados will want to plan their winter trip to NYC to coincide with the annual JazzFest in early to mid-January. The festival takes place in venues throughout Lower Manhattan and Greenwich Village, showcasing jazz through performances, lectures, tributes and more.
Chinese New Year Parade: Celebrate the Lunar New Year in Chinatown. Dragons, Chinese culture, music, art and tradition.
New York Fashion Week: For a fashion event that’s “out of this world”, check out the futuristic looks and earth-shattering innovations at this year’s New York Fashion Week.
Winter Restaurant Week: During Restaurant Week, participating businesses will promote a special lunch or dinner menu at a prix fixe price. “Prix fixe” means “at a fixed price”. And you’ll find that all participating restaurants keep the same price points. So there are no surprises when the bill comes.
St Patrick’s Day Parade: The NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade can be viewed along 5th Avenue between 44th Street and 79th Street from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. More info nycstpatricksparade.org
Tribeca Film Festival: Robert De Niro and company host the Tribeca Film Festival every year, and it has long been an event where some of the best local indie movies, documentaries, foreign films and big-name talents get to showcase their new flicks.
Cherry Blossom Festival: Not to be outdone by Japan, Brooklyn hosts its own Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. The festival unveils the vibrant pink cherry blossoms at their peak, and it is a sight to behold! It’s a full weekend of fun on April.
Puerto Rican Festival: If you’re a fan of Puerto Rican food and fun, head up to 152nd Street for the 24th annual Puerto Rican Festival on May 26. The day is a celebration of Puerto Rican culture, featuring art, dancing, storytelling, comedy and, of course, plenty of mofongo and arroz con everything. The festival is the kick-off to the Puerto Rican parade, which takes place on Fifth Avenue on June 10.
Fleet Week: The Marines, Coast Guard and Navy descend on the city annually during Fleet Week. Events happen in and around the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum at Pier 86 in Manhattan, as well as many other locations throughout the boroughs.
SummerStage: Produced by the City Parks Foundation, SummerStage performances take place throughout the summer at 19 different park locations in New York City’s five boroughs. Performances include rock, jazz and classical music, as well as dance, poetry and children’s plays.
Governors Island: A 172-acre piece of land that sits south of Manhattan, west of Brooklyn and east of the Statue of Liberty, opens to the public at the start of May and remains open through the end of October. Visitors can reach it by taking a ferry from either Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park or the Battery Maritime Building on 10th Street (Manhattan). Bring a bicycle for some biking with a view, or stroll along the many pathways.
Free Summer Movies: The New York City Department of Parks & Recreation shows free movies every summer “under the stars,” and most of them are kid-friendly. Check the schedule to see what’s playing and where. The movies begin playing on May.
NYC Pride: At the end of June, the city and private organizations put on a host of events across all five boroughs and you can expect to find plenty of queer parties, protests and marches to mark the occasion.
Mermaid Parade: Each year, this event attracts marchers and spectators to the beach at Surf Avenue, the main drag of Coney Island, in order to take part in the festivities. The parade features King Neptune and Queen Mermaid leading a procession of marchers in outlandish glittery and skimpy costumes through the neighborhood. It’s an all-day affair so plan ahead in order to maximize the fun!
Bryant Park Summer Film Festival: You can head to Bryant Park in Manhattan with a blanket to relax on the grass and enjoy the show. While the film doesn’t start until sundown, getting to the park when the gates open at 5:00 pm is a good idea so that you can set up where you are comfortable. There are food and beverage options on site. Chairs and plastic ground coverings aren’t permitted at this event and any bags you bring are subject to being inspected.
Shakespeare in the Park: Every summer The Public Theater puts on free Shakespeare at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. Tickets are free, but they are given out at the box office the day of the show at noon, and the line is generally quite long, so it’s recommended to get there early in the morning to ensure you get tickets.
July Fourth Fireworks: New York puts on quite a few different firework events. While the most popular one takes place over the East River in Downtown Manhattan, it can be a challenge to get close enough to see the fireworks. But fear not, Central Park, Prospect Park and Coney Island all do their own fireworks shows. This is also a great time to head to a rooftop bar or take a river cruise, as that’s where you’ll get the best views of the pyrotechnics.
New York Renaissance Faire: Starting August 4th and running through the end of September, the New York Renaissance Faire is a visit back to medieval times. The family-friendly event has events like jousting, characters from The Legend of Robin Hood, Acrobatrix, the Jamila Lotus Dance Carnivale, and more. There is also an artisan marketplace, a pub crawl, food and drinks, and games and rides for the kids.
New York Fashion Week: located at various NYC locations, New York Fashion Week takes place in September. It’s a time to see all the sights, models, celebrities, and designers as the spring collections are unveiled.
Halloween Parade: On the night of October 31st, join the lighthearted partying at the annual Halloween Parade in Greenwich Village. After the parade, join with other paraders to enjoy food, drink and more good fun at one of the many nearby cafés, clubs, restaurants or pubs and party till the first rays of sunlight shine brightly on the cusp of November.
New York City Marathon: It covers 26 miles of the city – the world’s most diverse marathon course! The biggest crowds line up on First Avenue in Manhattan where the runners start and head up toward the Bronx. But Bedford Street in Williamsburg is also a great spot to catch runners a little further down the line when they have spread out a bit more. And of course many people love to camp out at the finish line in Central Park to watch the runners finish the long race!
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade: People flock to New York from all over the world to view the famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It draws thousands of onlookers to watch the giant floats march down the city streets. Another great way to partake is to watch the Parade Balloon Inflation. This takes place the day before Thanksgiving from 3 to 10pm near West 79th Street and Columbus Avenue.
Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree: The lighting of the Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center is one of the most iconic events in New York City. The tree arrives, freshly cut from a forest somewhere in America, and then the week after Thanksgiving it is officially lit up during a big ceremony usually featuring top musical acts, ice skating on the Rockefeller rink and other activities.
New Year’s Eve: Celebrate the start of yet another year in style at Times Square. There will be a massive crowd, live music, and plenty of excitement throughout the night. The ball drops promptly at midnight so don’t be late.