Spring break doesn't have to mean brewskis on the beach, neon bikinis and rounds of tequila shots. For those that have that one glorious week off in March, an NYC version of the vacation can be a time to attend film festivals, ride roller coasters, catch $10 comedy shows or even end up back on a college campus. Read on for details. Woooooooo!
For: Nature lovers
What: Orchid Show
Even in the big city, there are natural wonders to be found in practically every corner. Head up to the Bronx's New York Botanical Garden for colorful orchid show Orchidelirium, and take advantage of Wave Hill's spring programming with woodlands walks, gardening workshops and morning birding sessions held on its expansive grounds in Riverdale.
For: Film majors
What: Dinner (optional) and many movies
Downtown art houses like the Angelika, Film Forum and the IFC Center are quiet options for spring break cinema buffs. Brooklyn's Nitehawk and Syndicated offer creative cocktail and food menus along with movies. And MoMA and the Film Society of Lincoln Center cohost the New Directors/New Films festival (March 16–27), which will feature cutting-edge flicks from American and international directors.
What: Bars with games
Williamsburg's Brooklyn Bowl has 16 lanes, craft beers on tap and a music stage with great sound. You can preview retirement at the Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club, play table tennis at Spin (part owned by Susan Sarandon!) or feed quarters into vintage video games in Williamsburg at Barcade.
For: Basketball fans
What: NCAA Tournament at Barclays Center
Some of the nation's best college teams square off in Brooklyn. Also this month: the Atlantic 10 and Big East Tournaments, along with the NIT semifinals and finals.
For: Comedy nerds
What: ASSSSCAT 30000
Famous comedians like like Amy Poehler, Horatio Sanz and Rachel Dratch often stop by this Sunday night show at UCB Theatre. The 7:30pm set costs $10; the 9:30pm show is free, but be ready to wait in line.
For: Thrill seekers
What: Ride the Cyclone
Why wait for summer? The Cyclone at Coney Island's Luna Park fires up this year on March 20—after, of course, the traditional egg cream christening—giving you a surefire reason to head out to the beach. Just remember to eat your requisite Nathan's hot dog after the ride rather than before.
For: Those about to rock
What: Concerts, concerts, concerts
March rock shows in NYC include performances by the likes of Billy Joel, Fall Out Boy, Bruce Springsteen, Savages, Weezer and Iron Maiden.
For: Social climbers
What: Empire State Building, Top of the Rock and One World Observatory
Bring a friend to the highest perches in Manhattan, and look out onto the rest of the City skyline. While your school chums are busy Instagramming beach scenes, you'll be showing 'em what a real view looks like.
For: Those who miss school
What: Tour Columbia University
Now matter how nice your campus is, chances are Columbia's prim green can equal or better it. Take a self-guided or guided walk around the grounds, admiring the neoclassical architecture of Low Memorial Library—and thinking about all the work you could be getting done inside of it, you nerd.
For: Those who say, "Aw, heck, I wish I had gone to the beach"
What: Happy hours and waterfront walks
Señor Frog's feels more like a traditional spring break site, with cheeky entertainment on offer and heavy boozing encouraged. If you're looking for tropical fun with a slightly more mature crowd, hit up The Happiest Hour tiki bar in the West Village. And did we mention the City's waterways are lined with esplanades? It's not the beach, but it'll do.