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Spring in New York City: practical guide, things to do and the best traveler tips

If you travel to New York in spring you are in luck: it is one of the best times to visit the city. Here is a list of the best plans for this time of the year to enjoy its warm days.

María Cano

María Cano

9 min read

Spring in New York City: practical guide, things to do and the best traveler tips

View of Central Park Lake in Spring | ©Hellotickets

Spring is an ideal time to plan a trip to New York. The temperature is more moderate than in the winter and summer months and the days are getting longer. In addition, the outdoor activities calendar kicks off, so you can enjoy a full range of concerts, shows, movies and street markets in parks and gardens.

On the other hand, practically all of spring is still considered low season and the city is not crowded with tourists as at other times of the year, so you can move around comfortably without having to waste time waiting in long lines to get into museums and attractions.

This article includes the best things to see and do in New York, but don't miss the best that spring has in store for the city:

1. Stroll through the New York Botanical Garden

Entrance to the Botanical Garden| ©Salim Virji
Entrance to the Botanical Garden| ©Salim Virji

What better way to kick off spring than to enjoy the New York Botanical Garden, located in the Bronx, which houses an ancient forest, the Bronx River and several gardens.

To comfortably visit this botanical garden, you have a free little train that makes a tour of the park and you can get off at all points of interest where you want to make a stop.

What you will see at the Botanical Garden

  • Enid A. Haupt Conservatory: A wrought iron greenhouse that houses tropical plants and cacti, as well as temporary exhibits.
  • Mertz Library: Located north of the garden is one of the largest botanical libraries in the world.
  • Leon Levy Visitor Center: A center where you can find seeds and plants, as well as botanical books and decorative accessories for your home.
  • Ponds: This botanical garden has several ponds on which water lilies, water lilies and lotuses float.

2. Easter in the city: participate in Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival

2014 Easter Parade in New York City| ©Eli Christman
2014 Easter Parade in New York City| ©Eli Christman

Another special spring event is the Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival, the New York Easter Hat Parade, which takes place on Easter Sunday. At this gathering, which starts around 10:00 a.m. and ends around 4:00 p.m., participants parade with their best headdresses and hats along Fifth Avenue, from 49th Street to 57th Street.

This parade is a New York tradition that dates back to no less than 1870. Don't hesitate! Put on your hat and join the parade, and if not, stand next to St. Patrick's Cathedral and you'll have a prime viewing position.

3. Fight at Pillow Fight Day

Have fun at the Pillow Fight at Washington Square Park| ©David Kotai
Have fun at the Pillow Fight at Washington Square Park| ©David Kotai

This is one of the most peculiar events in New York City, the Pillow Fight. This meeting gathers annually on the first Saturday of April in Washington Square Park thousands of citizens and tourists who even dress up for the occasion.

This massive pillow fight starts around 3:00 p.m. and lasts about a couple of hours until the attendees are exhausted from beating their pillows and cushions against those around them. One rule: no one may attack a person who is not equipped with a pillow or cushion.

This event is also considered a charity event because the pillows can later be donated to homeless shelters.

4. Enjoy the movies at the Tribeca Film Festival

Home of the Tribeca Film Festival since 2002| ©Jorge Valle
Home of the Tribeca Film Festival since 2002| ©Jorge Valle

If you travel in April you can enjoy the Tribeca Film Festival, which organizes a host of activities and special events for lovers of the seventh art.

The festival was promoted by actor Robert de Niro and producer Jane Rosenthal after the 9/11 attacks in order to boost activity in this neighborhood of the city.

5. Take advantage of sunny days to take a helicopter ride over New York City

View of New york from the Helicopter| ©Hellotickets
View of New york from the Helicopter| ©Hellotickets

Surely it's something you've never tried before and what better place than New York to try it for the first time. A totally different way to enjoy the skyscrapers and views of New York City along the Hudson River.

These flights offer spectacular views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Ground Zero, and Manhattan's most popular skyscrapers, such as the Empire State Building.

And in case you need more information about this experience, check out this article about helicopter rides in New York.

Book your helicopter ride over New York

6. Don't miss the Museum Mile Festival

From inside the Guggenheim Museum| ©Nicholas Ceglia
From inside the Guggenheim Museum| ©Nicholas Ceglia

In the month of June is celebrated since 1978 in New York one of the most anticipated cultural events of the year, the Museum Mile Festival. It usually coincides with Tuesday and from 18:00 h. the entrance is free in the museums of Fifth Avenue.

Which New York Museums participate in the Museum Film Festival? El Museo del Barrio, the Guggenheim Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET), The Jewish Museum, the Museum of the City of New York, the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, the Neue Galerie, the Museum of African Art, the National Academy of Design.

In addition, Museum Mile Festival also includes other parallel activities such as live music, face painting...

7. When the temperature rises, enjoy a cruise along the Hudson River

Circle-Line Cruise along the Hudson River| ©Ralph Torelló
Circle-Line Cruise along the Hudson River| ©Ralph Torelló

An ideal activity for spring is to enjoy a cruise on the Hudson River. These boats usually have an outdoor deck that at other times of the year is scary to approach but in spring with the sunshine and light of these days will allow you to make some dreamy pictures.

The best Hudson River cruises cover different itineraries and depart at different times. There are some dinner cruises on the Hudson that are also a great plan if the temperatures are mild at nightfall.

But let me tell you that from the water you will have a totally different and unique image of certain sites such as the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, the One World Trade Center, the Chrysler Building, or the Brooklyn Bridge. In addition, if you do it after dark you will have a spectacular view of the New York skyline.

Book a Hudson River Cruise

8. Spend a dreamy day in Central Park

Central Park Zoo Penguins| ©Augie De Blieck
Central Park Zoo Penguins| ©Augie De Blieck

Spring is undoubtedly one of the best times of the year to enjoy all there is to see and do in Central Park: strolling, renting a bike or having a picnic are some of the favorite activities for New Yorkers at this time of year. The trees and plants are in bloom and the scent of the park delights all who visit.

If you go with the little ones, you can also visit the Central Park Zoo, where you can see penguins, grizzly bears, white leopards, lemurs, red pandas and sea lions; ride the carousel, which has been in operation since the late nineteenth century and is one of the most impressive merry-go-rounds in the U.S. because of its size; or look for the largest carousel in the world. Or look for the most famous statues in Central Park such as Alice in Wonderland, William Shakespeare, Christopher Columbus, Simon Bolivar or the naturalist Alexander von Humboldt.

And in Central Park you can also enjoy the large number of Central Park lakes such as The Pond, Harlem Meer or Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir. That it is one of the best parks in New York is clear, but if you have the chance, do not hesitate to visit Bryant Park or Battery Park.

Rent your bike in New York

9. When the sun shines, go up to the SUMMIT observation deck

At SUMMIT's glass observation decks| ©SUMMIT
At SUMMIT's glass observation decks| ©SUMMIT

And what better time of the year to go up to SUMMIT than in spring. It is true that this observation deck is prepared for all seasons, as it has two glassed-in interior floors, but there is nothing like being able to go outside on a clear day and with a good temperature to enjoy spectacular views of New York City.

What to see at SUMMIT

  • From this observation deck, which offers an almost 360º panoramic view, you can see some of New York's most famous landmarks such as Central Park, Bryant Park, the Empire State Building and even the Statue of Liberty.
  • The Ascent glass elevator, which takes visitors up to a height of 368 meters on the outside of the building.
  • The Levitation glass cubes, which protrude some 324 meters high and allow visitors to walk above the streets of New York.

10. Browse the flea markets for curiosities

Brooklyn Flea Williamsburg Market| ©Carl Mikoy
Brooklyn Flea Williamsburg Market| ©Carl Mikoy

In the months of April and May starts the season of flea markets in New York. I recommend that if you have the opportunity, don't miss it:

  • LIC Flea & Food: Located in Queens, you can enjoy this flea market every Saturday and Sunday since April. Craft beers, food and antiques are some of the things you will find at LIC Flea & Food.
  • Brooklyn Flea Williamsburg: On Saturdays starting in April, this craft and antique flea market opens on the first floor of the Williamsburg Hotel.
  • Brooklyn Flea Dumbo: Every Sunday starting in April, you can stroll through the various stalls at Brooklyn Flea Dumbo.
  • Smorgasburg in Prospect Park: Also, every Sunday from April onwards, you will be able to taste different dishes at Smorgasburg.
  • Queens Night Market: Since the end of April, this market is held every Saturday where you can enjoy live music while you browse through craft and food stalls.
  • Smorgasburg in Williamsburg: In this market, every Saturday starting in April you will find a wide range of food.

11. Visit Macy's Flower Show

Horse made of flowers at Macy's Flower Show| ©Salon NYC
Horse made of flowers at Macy's Flower Show| ©Salon NYC

Macy's Flower Show is a free exhibition that takes place in mid-April and early May to showcase the season's floral trends.

In addition, this event includes parallel activities such as live music, lectures and activities to do in New York with children.


What's the temperature in spring in New York City?

Spring in Battery Park| © JJBers
Spring in Battery Park| © JJBers

The temperature in New York City in spring is ideal. In April it's still cold, but if you dress warmly it's quite bearable to walk around, and May and June are very pleasant months for outdoor plans. In addition, the days are getting longer.

  • April: The thermometer registers temperatures between 5 and 15º C.
  • May: Temperatures are between 13 and 22º C.
  • June: The thermometer rises registering minimum temperatures around 18-20º C and maximums of 25º C.

When does it dawn and dusk in spring in New York?

Brooklyn Bridge at night| ©Jörg Schubert
Brooklyn Bridge at night| ©Jörg Schubert

Spring is characterized by longer days, more hours of sunshine and a more complete program than at other times of the year:

How to pack your suitcase for spring travel in New York?

View of the Statue of Liberty| ©HelloTickets
View of the Statue of Liberty| ©HelloTickets

To dress in spring in New York you should wear several layers as there are days that can wake up very warm and it is enough to go in short sleeves, but, on the contrary, another may be necessary to wear a sweater, in addition to a jacket.

And you should keep in mind that rain is very common to be surprised.

What items should not be missing in your suitcase?

  • Comfortable and waterproof footwear
  • Raincoat or poncho
  • Umbrella
  • Foulard for colder days
  • Short sleeve or tank tops
  • Sweaters
  • Jackets

In this article you have read some interesting plans for your trip in spring, but if you will make the trip in summer, autumn or winter, I leave you the guides of the best things to do in summer in New York; what to see and what to do in autumn in New York and what to do in winter in New York.