Festivals in New York City: 11 Amazing Festivals That Should Not Be Missed

The festivals in New York City celebrate all seasons and all communities, be it the Cherry Blossom Festival (Sakura Matsuri) marking spring season or the National Puerto Rican Day as an ode to the ethnicity of Ireland of Enchantment. While sports enthusiasts can catch a nail-biting tennis match at the US Open in August, comics and pop-culture enthusiasts can enjoy putting on superhero and cartoon costumes at New York Comic Con during early October. Starting from January, there are Winter Antiques Show and NYC Broadway Week while from February through April, there are ADAA Art Show, International Children’s Film Festival, International Auto Show and Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival.

Also noteworthy are Frieze New York and Bronx Week in May, Museum Mile Festival and River to River Festival in June, Harlem Week in August, Labor Day and Armory Show in September, New Yorker Festival in October, New York Comedy Festival and Holiday Train Show in November, Kwanza Celebrations and lighting of world’s largest Menorahs in Hanukkah in December.  

11 Amazing Festivals in New York City

1. Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

The Christmas Tree lighting in Rockefeller Center starts on the first Wednesday after Thanksgiving and remains lit till some days in January next year. The enormous tree lighting ceremony is a treat to watch and the entire center and the live performances, public art installations and the decoration as seen from the Rock Observation Deck are equally enjoyable.

2. St. Patrick’s Day Parade


New York City’s oldest and largest parade on St. Patrick’s Day 17th March starts at 11 AM from 44th Street, passes through 5th Avenue and ends at around 2.30 PM on 86th Street. Over two million people participate in having drinks at Irish pubs, walk wearing green and enjoy Irish-American music from over 150,000 traditional bands.

3. Times Square Countdown On New Year’s Eve


Join over one million spectators at Times Square to watch the 11,875-pound crystal ball drop when the clock strikes 12 on New Year’s Eve. 1/8th of the total population in New York gather here to enjoy the confetti, live performance and celebrity guest appearances.

4. Tribeca, New York And Bryant Park Film Festival


Cinephiles can make the best out of the 2-week long Tribeca Film Festival organized every spring by Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal’s Tribeca Enterprise. From classic De Niro movies to music, arts, episodes, games and diverse programs can be enjoyed with passes at around USD 10-20.

The dive-in outdoor movie experience starting at sunset (8-9 PM) at Bryant Park Film Festival lets you enjoy picnicking with deli food and beverages that open at 5 PM. The New York Film Festival during October shows the new and old avant-garde movies along with Revivals, Talk, Spotlight and Currents.

5. Village Halloween Parade


Show off your Halloween costume on 31st October Village Halloween Parade and be enthralled to see marching bands, costumed marchers of all age-group and creepy puppets. Parade starts from 6th Avenue and heads to 23rd Street.

6. Shakespeare In The Park


Renowned and experienced actors perform on various plays of Shakespeare during August in the outdoor venue of the Central Park. Shakespeare in the Park is free and you have to get tickets from online lottery or collect tickets from the counter, recommended at noon.

7. SummerStage


Over 15 parks from the five boroughs organize nearly a hundred musical performances at SummerStage from May to October. The outdoor stage booms with dance and music from new and renowned bands playing jazz, salsa, hip-hop, reggae, soul, afrobeat and more genres.

8. LGBTQ Pride Fest & March


Throughout July, Pride celebration takes place to remember history, art and activism of LGBTQ community through one of the most striking parade from 5th Avenue to Greenwich Village. Souvenir stalls, rainbow flags, colorful wigs and glitter, drinks at The Stonewall Inn and celebration at LGBT center make the festival memorable.

9. Celebrate Brooklyn


As the longest-running New York outdoor art festivals during August, Celebrate Brooklyn takes place at the Prospect Park Bandshell. A free of cost, you can enjoy movies, music, dance, theatre and commissioned art projects.

10. Macy’s Fourth Of July Fireworks And Thanksgiving Day Parade


Marvel at New York’s most extraordinary pyrotechnic display with Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks from any waterfront while swaying with the live music. Celebrate Thanksgiving while watching the gigantic floats, balloons, bands and costumed people marching down 77th Street, Upper West Side and Central Park to Herald Square covering 2.5 miles.

11. Food Festivals


Celebrate Independence Day with fireworks and hotdog eating contest from Nathan’s Special at Coney Island. Taste of Times Square during late October through November where you can enjoy food from the participating restaurants at just USD 35 while enjoying live art and musical performance.

Ferragosto Food Festival in September in Belmont Little Italy of Bronx offers Italian delicacies from local restaurants with Italian music. Enjoy endless bourbon and beer with tempting barbecue at Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival in January.

The Lunar New Year in February at Chinatown not only bustles with vibrant parades but also with Chinese food. Visit Queens in April o Have pork dishes along with music, games and contests at Bacon And Beer Classic. Wine connoisseurs can explore the award-winning wineries to sample food and wine at Brooklyn Uncorked in May.   

NYC River To River Festival, Columbus Day and many more are also there. Which festivals in New York City are you planning to attend?

This post was published by Rachana Jain

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