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

If you're traveling to New York in the spring, you're in luck: this is one of the best times to visit the city. Here's a list of the best things to do this time of year to enjoy the warm days.

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

View of Central Park Lake in springtime | ©Hellotickets

Spring is an ideal time to plan a trip to New York. Temperatures are more moderate than in the winter and summer months and the days are longer. Also, the outdoor calendar begins, offering a variety of concerts, shows, movies and street markets in parks and gardens.

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

In this article you will find the best sights and activities in New York, but do not miss the best that spring has to offer in the city:

1. Walk through the New York Botanical Garden

Botanical Garden Entrance| ©Salim Virji

What better way to ring in spring than with a visit to the New York Botanical Garden, located in the Bronx and home to an ancient forest, the Bronx River and several gardens.

To visit the Botanical Garden comfortably, there is a free little train that goes through the park, and you can get off at any interesting point where you want to make a stop.

What you will see at the Botanical Garden

  • Enid A. Main Conservatory: a wrought-iron greenhouse that houses tropical plants and cacti, as well as temporary exhibits.
  • Mertz Library: In the 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 with water lilies, water lilies and lotus flowers floating on them.

2. Cinema pleasure at the Tribeca Film Festival

The Tribeca Film Festival has been held in Tribeca since 2002.| ©Jorge Valle

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

The festival was created by actor Robert de Niro and producer Jane Rosenthal after the attacks of 11. Launched in September 2001 to promote the activities in this part of the city.

3. Spend a dreamy day in Central Park

Central Park Zoo Penguins| ©Augie De Blieck

Spring is undoubtedly one of the best times of the year to enjoy Central Park: walking, biking or having a picnic are among the most popular activities for New Yorkers at this time of year. The trees and plants are in full bloom and the fragrance of the park delights all visitors.

If you are at home 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 merry-go-round that has been in operation since the late 19th century. The Puerto Princesa Carousel is one of the most impressive carousels in the U.S. due to its size; or look out for the largest carousel in the world. Or look for the most famous statues in Central Park, like Alice in Wonderland, William Shakespeare, Christopher Columbus, Simon Bolivar or the naturalist Alexander von Humboldt.

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

4. Take advantage of the sunny days to take a helicopter tour of New York City

View of New York from the helicopter| ©Hellotickets

Surely you've never tried anything like this before, and there's no better place than New York to try it for the first time. A very different way to enjoy the skyscrapers and the view 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 famous skyscrapers like the Empire State Building.

For more information about this experience, check out this article about helicopter rides in New York.

5. When the temperatures rise, enjoy a cruise on the Hudson River

Circle Line Cruise on the Hudson River| ©Ralph Torello

An ideal spring activity is a cruise on the Hudson River. These boats usually have an open-air deck, which is rather eerie at other times of the year, but in spring, when the sun is shining and the light is bright, you can take gorgeous photos.

The best Hudson cruises have different itineraries and departure times. If evening temperatures are mild, dinner cruises on the Hudson are also a good option.

But from the water, you'll get a very different and unique view of certain landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, One World Trade Center, Chrysler Building and Brooklyn Bridge. And if you do it after dark, you'll have a spectacular view of the New York skyline.

6. Be sure to visit the Museum Mile Festival

From inside the Guggenheim Museum| ©Nicholas Ceglia

Since 1978, New York has hosted one of the most eagerly anticipated cultural events of the year in June: the Museum Mile Festival. It usually falls on a Tuesday and admission to Fifth Avenue museums is free starting at 6:00 p.m.

Which New York museums are participating 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 New Gallery, the Museum of African Art, the National Academy of Design of the United States.

In addition, the Museum Mile Festival also offers other parallel activities such as live music, children's face painting.

7. Pillow Fight Day

Fun at the pillow fight in Washington Square Park| ©David Kotai

The Pillow Fight is one of the strangest events in New York City. Every year on the first Saturday in April, thousands of citizens and tourists gather in Washington Square Park and even dress up for the occasion.

This giant pillow fight starts around 3 p.m. and lasts about a couple of hours until participants are exhausted from banging their pillows and cushions against bystanders. One rule: no one may attack a person who is not equipped with a pillow.

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

8. Easter in the city: join the Easter parade and hood festival

2014 Easter Parade in New York City| ©Eli Christman

Another special spring event is the Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival, New York's Easter hat parade, which takes place on Easter Sunday. From ca. 10:00 a.m. to approx. 4:00 PM Participants parade down Fifth Avenue from 49th Street to 57th Street in their finest headdresses and hats.

This parade is a New York tradition that dates back to 1870 – don't delay! Put on your hat and join the parade. If you don't, stand next to the St. Patrick's Cathedral and you'll have a prime spot to watch.

9. When the sun is shining, head to the SUMMIT Observation Deck

On the glass observation decks of the SUMMIT| ©SUMMIT

And what better time of year than spring to head out to the SUMMIT? While this observation deck is suitable for all seasons, as it has two glassed-in indoor floors, there's nothing like stepping outside on a clear, warm day to take in the spectacular views of New York City in style.

What to see at the SUMMIT

  • You can see some of New York's most famous landmarks like Central Park, Bryant Park, the Empire State Building and even the Statue of Liberty from this observation deck, which offers a nearly 360-degree panoramic view.
  • The glass elevator Ascent, which takes visitors to a height of 368 meters on the outside of the building.
  • Levitation glass cubes soar 324 feet in the air, allowing visitors to move above New York streets.

10. Browse the flea markets for curiosities

Brooklyn Flea Market Williamsburg| ©Carl Mikoy

April and May are the start of flea market season in New York. If you have the opportunity, don't miss it:

  • LIC Flea& Food: This flea market in Queens takes place every Saturday and Sunday starting in April. Craft beers, food and antiques are just a few of the things you'll find at the LIC Flea& Food will find.
  • Brooklyn Flea Williamsburg: Starting in April, this craft and antique market opens every Saturday on the first floor of the Williamsburg Hotel.
  • Brooklyn Flea Dumbo: Every Sunday starting in April, you can stroll through the various booths at the Brooklyn Flea Dumbo.
  • Smorgasburg in Prospect Park: every Sunday starting in April, you can enjoy a variety of dishes at Smorgasburg as well.
  • Queens Night Market: every Saturday starting in late April, you can enjoy live music while browsing food and craft booths.
  • Smorgasburg in Williamsburg: Every Saturday starting in April, you'll find a wide variety of food at this market.

11. Visit Macy's Flower Show

Horse from the Macy's flowers

The Macy's Flower Show is a free exhibition held in mid-April and early May that showcases the season's floral trends.

In addition, the event features parallel activities such as live music, lectures, and things to do with kids in New York.

What is the temperature in spring in New York??

Spring in Battery Park| © JJBers

New York City's spring temperatures are ideal. It's still cold in April, but if you're warm enough to walk around, and May and June are great months for outdoor activities. And the days are getting longer.

  • April: The thermometer shows temperatures between 5 and 15º C.
  • May: Temperatures range from 13 to 22ºC.
  • June: the thermometer climbs high, showing minimum temperatures of 18-20º C and highs of 25º C.

When does the sun rise and set in New York in the springtime?

Brooklyn Bridge at night| ©Jorg Schubert

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

    : Sunrise at 6 a.m. and dusk begins at 7 p.m.30. : Sunrise before 6 a.m. and the start of dusk around 8 p.m. : Sunrise in June is around 5:30 a.m. and dusk around 8:30 p.m.

How to Pack for a Spring Trip to New York?

View of the Statue of Liberty| ©HelloTickets

When dressing for spring in New York, wear multiple layers, as some days may be warm enough to wear short sleeves, while others may require a sweater and windbreaker.

And you should keep in mind that the rain will most likely surprise you.

What items belong in your suitcase?

  • Comfortable, waterproof footwear
  • Mackintosh or Poncho
  • Umbrella
  • Foulard for colder days
  • Short-sleeved T-shirts or tank tops
  • Sweater
  • Jackets

In this article you have read some interesting plans for your trip in spring, but if you are traveling in summer, fall or winter, here are the best tips for New York in summer, what to see and do in New York in fall and what to do in New York in winter.