Some of the world’s most famous events—big festivals and holiday parades, musical performances and art exhibitions—take place right here in New York City. Whether you’re planning a visit next week or next year, our guide makes it easy to find out what’s going on during your stay and gives you the lowdown on each happening.
Larger-than-life flowers dot the Midtown area this spring as the Avenue of the Americas Association and creative endeavor PlayLab join forces to bring some surreal natural beauty to Manhattan. The multi-site installation includes six large inflated flowers on or near Sixth Avenue between 44th and 55th Streets. All the flowers will be positioned in different ways, making for great photo opportunities, and at night they will be lit from within. Each of the flowers also has its own name and personality, adding some fun and whimsy to your viewing.
Grand Bazaar, New York City’s largest weekly market of one-of-a-kind wares featuring local artists and antiques dealers, hosts a month of pop-up themed food events on Sundays this July, from on the Upper West Side. Events include the third-annual Ice Cream Blizzard on July 15 and an International Food Pop-Up on July 22 and a Summer Sunday Brunch on July 29. Profits from the event will benefit four neighborhood public schools with books, school supplies and enrichment programs.
Good news for beach-goers this summer: the New York City Parks Department has reopened a portion of the popular stretch of the Rockaways which was previously closed to beach erosion. Though remaining sections from Beach 91st Street to Beach 102nd Street are still off limits this season, visitors can return to the sands at Beach 96th to Beach 98th Streets. Stop by to visit the new skate park, kids’ play area, misting stations and the 97th Street concession, which will host live music beginning at 1pm.
WCS’s New York Aquarium’s newest exhibition is a crowd-pleaser. The 57,000-square-foot space—holding 800,000 gallons of water—houses 18 varieties of sharks, plus sea turtles, rays and fish along with interactive exhibitions. (Fun fact: the sharks eat about 180 pounds of food per week.)
This 2,000 square-foot pop-up artisanal food market at the newly renovated and updated Falchi Building in Long Island City features vendors selling Thai specialties, Caribbean dishes, Peruvian baked goods and Texas-style pastries. Expect an artisanal cheese market and much more to open here in the near future as the market continues to grow. For more information, visit the Falchi Building’s Facebook page.
The dedicated food arm of the Brooklyn Flea has found multiple footholds in NYC (and as far away as upstate New York and even LA). It’s a conglomeration of more than 100 vendors, selling nearly everything you can imagine: arepas, poke, yakitori, fried chicken, popsicles and so forth. Find it at Prospect Park’s Breeze Hill on Sundays through October 23, East River State Park on Saturdays through October 29 and then weekends at Skylight One Hanson from November through March. There’s also a daily version at the South Street Seaport.
Hit up this local treasure on Park Slope's Fifth Avenue on November 8 (and every Tuesday) for a free beer tasting at 7pm. Yes, free beer—you read that right—as well as complimentary nibbles. This week, you can sample suds from Peak Organic Brewing Company, of Portland, Maine, including the Fall Summit Ale (a hoppy amber ale combining pine, spice and citrus flavors), Winter Session Ale (a dark wheat beer with subtle toasty and pineapple notes) and IPA (a pale ale made from Peak's three favorite hops, with citrus and floral flavors). Stay for dinner and enjoy some more beer while washing down Bierkraft's fresh gourmet sandwiches (not gratis, but delicious) after the event. Try the applewood-smoked Berkshire ham and cheese sandwich or the pastrami-spiced brisket with your cold brew. For more information, please visit bierkraft.com.
The Flash Factory, decorated with religious remnants of NYC churches, is the apt venue for this Sunday party for the LGBTQ community in Chelsea. Featuring a house-music-heavy playlist, this all-night fete is hosted by Ladyfag and serves as an homage to the ’80s and ’90s, when club kids and downtown clubs were all the nightlife rage. Plan to stay late and to dance till you can’t.
Expect adult entertainment at this long-running vaudeville-style shindig, where dance acts are punctuated with comedy performances (or is that the other way around?). Either way, this party is NSFW. Not that this party is anything like W at all. For more info, visit slipperroom.com.
It's nothing but an old-fashioned good time at this free shindig, where DJs spin 45s of the funk, soul, punk, new wave, pop, salsa, rock, calypso, reggae, R&B and disco varieties (plus, we're sure, a few genres they forgot to mention). For more info, visit mobilemondaysnyc.com.
DJ François K. continues to display his love for Jamaican-inspired dub. The weekly celebration of spacey sounds and laid-back dance vibes features frequent guest DJs and a well-heeled crowd of appreciative party people. For more info, visit deepspacenyc.com.
JD Samson (Le Tigre, MEN) hosts this weekly Sunday afternoon tea dance at the Rusty Knot, a charming space that reminds us of our Uncle Ted's basement—the way it was back in 1982. Enjoy drinks, a convivial LGBTQ crowd and some of the best sunset views around. For more info, visit their donyc.com.
In the late 1990s, an electronic dance music genre emerged in South London. By 2002, it was dubbed "dubstep," and Baltimore DJ Joe Nice was promoting the style in North America, where it continues to rocket through the music scene. For the past year, to honor this electronic explosion, DJ Uncle Tone and Feed the Starving Artists have been organizing Dubday Mondays, a weekly party at Bar 13, just off Union Square. Feed the Starving Artists serves as a promotional organization for events throughout the five boroughs and uses a portion of its profits to support up-and-coming artists. The beats start at 10pm. For more information, visit bar13.com.
It takes two to tango—or, in the case of this Webster Hall standard, a crowd of 3,000 ladies and gents in the venue’s Grand Ballroom, as it floods with neon luminance and flashing lights. With a techno throwdown featuring some of the biggest names in dance music, this is not your grandfather’s polka party. Get your groove on to a raw and pumping bass, and hear some of the hippest electronic beats drop at the weekly rave. Past DJs have included MSTRKRFT, Justice, Simian Mobile Disco, Vitalic, A-Trak, Bloody Beetroots, Rusko, Neon Indian and more. For more info, visit websterhall.com.
Dance lovers get their fix every Wednesday night at this Meatpacking club from DJs Louie Vega and Kevin Hedge. The duo offers a selection of Latin- and jazz-influenced beats, and they help anchor the City's house-music scene. For more info, visit cieloclub.com.
You might think 10 bucks won’t get you much in NYC, but at the Living Gallery, one Alexander Hamilton buys you a two-hour drawing class complete with sketching supplies and even wine (though you’re welcome to BYOB, too). There is a nude model at each session, and seating is first-come, first-served. The gallery itself, specializing in the work of up-and-coming artists, is also open to peruse during class hours.
Tiny Harlem jazz club Bill's Place opened in 2006, but its vibe recalls an earlier time in the neighborhood's famed musical history. (Our inside source describes the venue as "friendly, preservationist, reverent, spirited, welcoming" and, of course, "intimate"—no surprise there, since seats are within touching distance of the musicians.) On Friday and Saturday nights, owner Bill Saxton, who plays sax, leads his Harlem All Stars. For more info and to make reservations, visit billsplaceharlem.com. Also, note: the club is a speakeasy, so it's strictly BYOB.
Enjoy live jazz, handcrafted cocktails and a bevy of beauties who (literally) shake their tail feathers. Jo Boobs, Harvest Moon, Gal Friday and others keep the entertainment classy, though not safe for work. For more info, visit duaneparknyc.com.
When the Roots' Questlove isn't helping out Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show, he's hanging out at Williamsburg's signature bowling alley cum rock venue, spinning hip-hop, house, rare grooves—and showing classic Soul Train videos. In a word: awesome. For more info, visit brooklynbowl.com.
Just Blaze and DJ Soul helm this weekly shindig, bringing all things hip-hop to the East Village. Expect special guests and other well-known promoters to help bring the noise, including Va$htie, DJ Huggy Bear and DJ Sliink. For more info, visit websterhall.com.
Broadway comes to the Upper East Side, courtesy of upscale hotel The Pierre. The hotel's Two E Bar & Lounge is hosting a Broadway-themed series that features costume displays and show-themed cocktails along with a special live performance each month featuring select cast members from current Broadway shows. Visit the bar's website for dates and details on these special monthly performances as they are announced.
The good times never stop at The Standard hotel, André Balazs’ west-side party palace, the High Line–straddling edifice whose rooftop lounges have long been inseparable from the City’s nightlife scene. Sundays at Le Bain (one of the aforementioned drinking dens), Nouveau York holds sway from 9pm to 2am. Guest DJs have included Derrick Carter, Dimitri from Paris and Tim Sweeney. For more info, visit their Facebook page.
Having your head in the gutter isn't always a bad thing. Every Monday, from 7 to 9pm, The Gutter, one of Williamsburg's popular bowling alley nightspots, hosts Trivia Night. The game includes five rounds, each with a different theme—such as movies, history or science—and the winners get a tab for bowling and beer. The Gutter's large selection of beers on tap includes Guinness stout and the spicy Allagash White. Celebrate a trivia victory or cope with a loss by hitting the lanes for the rest of the night—the bowling alley is open until 4am, and guests can enjoy a two-for-one bowling special after 1am. But leave the kids at home: The Gutter is a 21-and-older establishment. For more information, visit thegutterbrooklyn.com.
Explore New York City's Garment District during this one-and-a-half-to-two-hour tour, led by Mike Kaback. You might visit a private showroom, a sample sale, Mood Designer Fabrics and more, all while learning about the neighborhood's historic background and importance. The tour—which starts at 10am on weekdays and 2pm on Sundays at the northeast corner of Seventh Avenue and West 39th Street—is free, but reservations are required; you can make them by emailing email@example.com.
Gone are the days of searching hours and hours for the perfect dress. After a two-year renovation, Lord & Taylor has launched its new comprehensive ladies dress floor, occupying the fifth floor of its Fifth Avenue flagship into what’s known as The Dress Address. The 30,000-square-foot floor features 75 designer brands (divided by occasion), a concierge and a Sarabeth’s dining outpost.
Explore the best of the City's fashion industry and and see the amazing window displays at stores including Barneys, Bergdorf Goodman, Louis Vuitton and Saks Fifth Avenue. This two-hour daily walking tour begins at Macy's in Herald Square and journeys up Fifth Avenue, passing by the Empire State Building, Bryant Park, Rockefeller Center, Central Park and more.
Visitors get access to some of the hottest designer looks at prices up to 75 percent off on this special shopping tour through NYC's famed Garment District. On this three-hour walking tour, guests will make visits to six private designers' showrooms and actually get to meet some of the names behind the labels as they learn about the fashion industry and take home some bargains. The tour features only women's apparel and guests must be age 18 or older. For details on prices and times, visit the VIP Access website.
One of the most famous and successful franchises in sports, the Yankees have won a staggering 27 World Series championships; no other team comes close. Former players like Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle are as much a part of American folklore as they are athletes. The team's stars include Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. If you're bringing the kids, you might want to avoid the bleachers—the language can get pretty salty out there.
New York City's National League franchise is younger than the Yankees and has a reputation as a plucky underdog, but fans have big expectations after the Mets reached the postseason in back-to-back years. The team's ballpark was designed to resemble Ebbets Field, home to spiritual forefathers the Brooklyn Dodgers (the Mets were formed shortly after the Dodgers and the New York Giants left town for the West Coast). The team's star players include Yoenis Cespedes and Noah Syndergaard.
The "Baby Bombers" are a short-season Single-A minor league affiliate of the big-league Yankees. They play at Richmond County Bank Ballpark, a waterfront stadium whose views are considered by many to be among the best in all of sports. Staten Island Yankees who have reached the majors include Robinson Cano and Chien-Ming Wang.
The Mets’ short-season Single-A minor league affiliate plays by the beach at MCU Park in Coney Island. The organization is known for wacky promotional days, which this season include a villain appreciation event, a Harry Potter night and a full-scale homage to Seinfeld. Future stars like Daniel Murphy and Michael Conforto were Cyclones before reaching the big leagues.
New York City's WNBA team is led by Queens-born star Tina Charles. Notable alumnae include Becky Hammon, who has gone on to become the first female assistant coach in the NBA. It’s more affordable to buy Liberty tickets than to go see the Knicks, which is one reason the squad has a family-friendly reputation. In 2018, the Liberty will play most of their home games in White Plains at the Westchester County Center. They'll play two morning games at Madison Square Garden: on June 5 against the Phoenix Mercury and August 6 against the Seattle Storm.
The New York Red Bulls are the NYC area's first local entry in Major League Soccer—the top soccer league in the United States. Red Bull Arena, widely considered among the best soccer-specific stadiums in the nation, features stands with metal flooring that fans can stomp on, and the place gets loud for big games.
Some of the world's top soccer teams come to the New York City for the International Champions Cup. The schedule includes Liverpool FC vs. Manchester City on July 25 at MetLife Stadium, Benfica vs. Juventus on July 28 at Red Bull Arena and Real Madrid vs. AS Roma back at MetLife on August 7.
Fans of Downton Abbey will relish this immersive exhibition, which features set re-creations, costumes from the show and thousands of artifacts. Guests will find themselves transported to the post-Edwardian England era, with the show’s characters and the house coming to life. There are also opportunities to book private dinners or partake in special dinner events. (The exhibition takes place at 218 W. 57th St.)
After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Americans’ routines were disrupted and many were overwhelmed with grief and anxiety. While professional sports seemed trivial in the wake of the events, athletes’ returns to the field served a role in helping fans achieve a degree of normalcy. This exhibition tells the stories of landmark sports moments after 9/11, including Mike Piazza’s home run in the first New York City major league baseball game following the attacks, George W. Bush throwing out the first pitch at a World Series game at Yankee Stadium and the world coming together to compete in the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics.
Who you gonna call? Yourself. Madame Tussauds branches out from wax replicas with this Ghostbusters exhibition, in which virtual reality allows visitors to not only see the Ghostbusters firehouse, but also hunt ghosts themselves along with characters from the movie in a New York City apartment building. Don’t be afraid of ghosts—just of missing this high-tech attraction.
The UN has debuted a permanent memorial to honor the victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade. The sculpture is by Haitian-American architect Rodney Leon (also the designer of the African Burial Ground National Monument in Lower Manhattan). The marble artwork has three distinct features: a map that illustrates the scale of the slave trade; a full-size human figure lying supine in a cramped space, giving viewers a visceral idea of the conditions on slave ships; and a triangular reflecting pool that affords an opportunity for quiet contemplation. For more information, visit un.org.
In its earliest days, the South Street Seaport was home to wealthy, city-building families like the Schermerhorns; since then, it has been an entertainment center for sailors (peddling everything from prostitutes to rat fights!); a forgotten, neglected part of the City; and, finally, the center of commerce that we know today. Examine every era of the life (and rebirth) of a busy international port on this guided historical walking tour. For more information, visit unclesamsnewyork.com.
The Bronx Zoo houses nearly 100 lemurs from the African island in a lush habitat. Watch the lemurs—including the Coquerel's sifaka—jump and swing from tree branches in an expansive space that was created to mimic their natural habitat. In spring 2016, the zoo aquired three new baby lemurs, garnering tons of "oohs" and "ahhs" from visitors. For more information, visit bronxzoo.com.
This Monday night stand-up showcase has featured sets from the likes of David Cross and Janeane Garofalo. It ran for a long time in Manhattan at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. It has now moved to Union Hall in Brooklyn, a space that's become the center of that borough's comedy scene.
This long-running weekly comedy showcase originally ran in Brooklyn, but bucked the trends by moving to Manhattan in 2011. Past performers have included Seth Herzog, Hari Kondabolu and Joe Mande. If you're looking for a good, cheap Friday comedy show... this is one of 'em.