Tribeca Film Festival, April
Cherry Blossom Festival, April or May
SummerStage, June through August
Independence Day, July
Village Halloween Parade, October
The winter doldrums arrive following the build-up of Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Despite the long nights, New Yorkers take advantage of the frosty weather, with outdoor ice skating and weekend ski trips to the Catskills.
New Year’s Day Swim
What better way to greet the new year than with an icy dip in the Atlantic? Join the Coney Island Polar Bear Club for this annual brrrr fest.
No Pants Subway Ride
On the second Sunday in January, some 4000 New Yorkers spice things up with a bit of leg nudity on public transit. Anyone can join in, and there’s usually an after-party for the cheeky participants. Check the website for meeting times and details.
In mid-January, this four-day music fest brings over 100 acts playing at nearly a dozen venues around the city. Most of the action happens around the West Village.
The odd blizzard and below-freezing temperatures make February a good time to stay indoors nursing a drink or a warm meal at a cozy bar or bistro.
Lunar (Chinese) New Year Festival
One of the biggest Chinese New Year celebrations in the country, this display of fireworks and dancing dragons draws mobs of thrillseekers into the streets of Chinatown. The date of Chinese New Year typically falls in early February.
New York Fashion Week
The infamous New York Fashion Week is sadly not open to the public. But whether you’re invited or not, being in the city could provide a vicarious thrill, especially if you can find the after-parties.
Winter Restaurant Week
From late January to early February, celebrate the dreary weather with slash-cut meal deals at some of the city’s finest eating establishments during New York’s Winter Restaurant Week, which actually runs for about three weeks. A three-course lunch costs around $26 ($40 for dinner).
After months of freezing temperatures and thick winter coats, the odd warm spring day appears and everyone rejoices – though it’s usually followed by a week of subzero drear as winter lingers on.
St Patrick’s Day Parade
A massive audience, rowdy and wobbly from cups of green beer, lines Fifth Ave on March 17 for this popular parade of bagpipe blowers, floats and clusters of Irish-lovin’ politicians. The parade, which was first held here in 1762, is the city’s oldest and largest.
New York’s biggest contemporary art fair sweeps into the city in March, showcasing the works of thousands of artists from around the world on two piers that jut into the Hudson River.
Spring finally appears: optimistic alfresco joints have a sprinkling of street-side chairs as the city squares overflow with bright tulips and blossom-covered trees.
Tribeca Film Festival
Created in response to the tragic events of September 11, Robert De Niro’s downtown film festival has quickly become a star in the indie movie circuit. You’ll have to make some tough choices: over 150 films are screened during the 10-day fest.
April showers bring May flowers in the form of brilliant bursts of blossoms adorning the flowering trees all around the city. The weather is warm and mild without the unpleasant humidity of summer.
Cherry Blossom Festival
Known in Japanese as Sakura Matsuri, this annual tradition, held on one weekend in late April or early May, celebrates the magnificent flowering of cherry trees in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. It’s complete with entertainment and activities, plus refreshments and awe-inspiring beauty.
TD Bank Five Boro Bike Tour
Bike Month features two-wheelin’ tours, parties and other events for pedal-pushing New Yorkers. TD Bank Five Boro Bike Tour, the main event, sees thousands of cyclists hit the pavement for a 42-mile ride, much of it on roads closed to traffic or on waterfront paths.
For one week at the end of May, Manhattan resembles a 1940s movie set as clusters of fresh-faced, uniformed sailors go ‘on the town’ to look for adventures. Non-swabby visitors can take free tours of ships that have arrived from various corners of the globe.
Summer’s definitely here and locals crawl out of their office cubicles to relax in the city’s green spaces. Parades roll down the busiest streets and portable movie screens are strung up in several parks.
Central Park’s SummerStage, which runs from June through August, features an incredible lineup of music and dance throughout summer. Django Django, Femi Kuti, Shuggie Otis and the Martha Graham Dance Company are among recent standouts. Most events are free. There’s also a SummerStage Kids program.
Bryant Park Summer Film Festival
June through August, Bryant Park hosts free Monday-night outdoor screenings of classic Hollywood films, which kick off after sundown. Arrive early (the lawn area opens at 5pm and folks line up by 4pm).
Puerto Rican Day Parade
The second weekend in June attracts thousands of flag-waving revelers for the annual Puerto Rican Day Parade. Now in its fifth decade, it runs up Fifth Ave from 44th to 86th Sts.
Gay Pride Month culminates in a major march down Fifth Ave on the last Sunday of the month. NYC Pride is a five-hour spectacle of dancers, drag queens, gay police officers, leathermen, lesbian soccer-moms and representatives of every other queer scene under the rainbow.
Celebrating sand, sea and summer is this wonderfully quirky afternoon parade. It’s a flash of glitter and glamour, as elaborately costumed folks display their fishy finery along the Coney Island boardwalk. Held on the last Saturday of the month; all in costume are welcome.
River to River Festival
Performers bring theater, music, dance and film to downtown parks for 12 days in June. Over 100 free events take place at outdoor spaces in Lower Manhattan and Governors Island.
As the city swelters, locals flee to beachside escapes on Long Island. It’s a busy month for tourism, however, as holidaying North Americans and Europeans fill the city.
Shakespeare in the Park
The much-loved Shakespeare in the Park pays tribute to the Bard, with free performances in Central Park. The catch? You’ll have to wait hours to score tickets, or win them in the lottery. Tickets are given out at noon; arrive no later than 10am.
July Fourth Fireworks
America’s Independence Day is celebrated on the 4th of July with dramatic fireworks over the East River, starting at 9pm. Good viewing spots include the waterfronts of the Lower East Side and Williamsburg, Brooklyn, or any high rooftop or east-facing Manhattan apartment.
Thick waves of summer heat slide between skyscrapers as everyone heads to the seashore or gulps cool blasts of air-conditioning. Myriad outdoor events and attractions add life to the languid urban heat.
Labor Day officially marks the end of the Hamptons' share-house season as the blistering heat of summer fades to more tolerable levels. As locals return to work, the cultural calendar ramps up.
Celebrated over the Labor Day weekend, Electric Zoo is New York’s electronic music festival held in sprawling Randall’s Island Park. Past headliners have included Moby, Afrojack, David Guetta, Martin Solveig and The Chemical Brothers.
BAM’s Next Wave Festival
Celebrated for over 30 years, the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival, which runs through December, showcases world-class avant-garde theater, music and dance.
Feast of San Gennaro
Rowdy, loyal crowds descend on the narrow streets of Little Italy for carnival games and more Italian treats than you can stomach in one evening. Held over 11 days in mid-September, it remains an old-world tradition; 2017 marked San Gennaro Festival's 90th year.
Brilliant bursts of color fill the trees as temperatures cool and alfresco cafes finally shutter their windows. Along with May, October is one of the most pleasant and scenic months to visit NYC.
Enthusiasts from near and far gather at this annual beacon of nerd-dom to dress up as their favorite characters and cavort with like-minded anime aficionados.
Blessing of the Animals
In honor of the Feast Day of St Francis, which falls early in the month, pet owners flock to the grand Cathedral Church of St John the Divine for the annual Blessing of the Animals with their sidekicks – poodles, lizards, parrots, llamas, you name it.
Open House New York
The country’s largest architecture and design event, Open House New York features special architect-led tours, plus lectures, design workshops, studio visits and site-specific performances all over the city.
Village Halloween Parade
On Halloween, New Yorkers don their wildest costumes for a night of revelry. See the most outrageous displays at the Village Halloween Parade that runs up Sixth Ave in the West Village. It’s fun to watch, but even better to join in.
As the leaves tumble, light jackets are replaced by wool and down. A headliner marathon is tucked into the final days of prehibernation weather, then families gather to give thanks.
New York Comedy Festival
Funny-makers take the city by storm during the New York Comedy Festival with stand-up sessions, improv nights and big-ticket shows hosted by the likes of Rosie O’Donnell and Ricky Gervais.
New York City Marathon
Held in the first week of November, this annual 26-mile run draws thousands of athletes from around the world, and many more excited viewers line the streets to cheer the runners on.
Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony
The flick of a switch ignites the massive Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center, officially ushering in the holiday season. Bedecked with over 25,000 lights, it is NYC’s unofficial Yuletide headquarters and a must-see for anyone visiting the city during December.
Thanksgiving Day Parade
Massive helium-filled balloons soar overhead, high-school marching bands rattle their snares and millions of onlookers bundle up with scarves and coats to celebrate Thanksgiving (the fourth Thursday in November) with Macy’s world-famous 2.5-mile-long parade.
Winter’s definitely here, but there’s plenty of holiday cheer to warm the spirit. Fairy lights adorn most buildings and Fifth Ave department stores (as well as Macy’s) create elaborate worlds within their storefront windows.
New Year’s Eve
The ultimate place to ring in the New Year, Times Square swarms with millions who come to stand squashed together like sardines, swig booze, freeze in subarctic temperatures, witness the annual dropping of the ball and chant the ‘10…9…8…’ countdown in perfect unison.