Seasonal events in New York City

The Ultimate Guide to Seasonal Events in New York City
Laura Ratliff
June 12, 2023

New York City is known for its diverse and vibrant events that take place throughout the year. From spring flower shows to summer music festivals, fall film festivals, and winter holiday markets, the city has endless options for entertainment. Each season brings its own unique set of events, creating a never-ending stream of cultural experiences for locals and tourists.

St. Patrick's Day Parade (March)

St. Patrick’s Day Parade is an annual event celebrating Irish heritage and culture. Held on March 17 along Fifth Avenue, the parade boasts a colorful display of bagpipes, floats, and dancers dressed in traditional Irish clothing. The event’s long history dates to the 18th century and has become a beloved tradition in New York City. While the parade is free, visitors must arrive early to secure a good viewing spot. Whether you’re Irish or simply looking to celebrate the luck of the Irish, it’s a fun and festive event that will surely put a smile on your face.

Tribeca Festival (June)

Tribeca Festival is an annual event that celebrates independent films and filmmakers worldwide. Established in 2002 by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal, and Craig Hatkoff, the festival has become a platform for emerging talent in the film industry. Once held during spring, the festival now takes place in June at various venues throughout the city, and visitors can enjoy screenings of feature films, documentaries, and short films, as well as panel discussions, Q&A sessions, and other events that explore the world of cinema.

Governor's Ball Music Festival (June)

Governor’s Ball Music Festival is an annual event on Randall’s Island in June. The festival features diverse musicians and bands, ranging from well-established headliners to up-and-coming artists across multiple stages. Governor’s Ball is a highly anticipated event for music lovers and a must-see for anyone looking to discover new artists and enjoy a weekend of outdoor fun. While the event is ticketed, various ticket options suit different budgets and preferences.

Coney Island Mermaid Parade (June)

Coney Island Mermaid Parade kicks off summer in Brooklyn and is usually held in late June. Participants dress in mermaid and sea-themed costumes, and visitors can enjoy live music and floats that celebrate the quirky spirit of Coney Island. The free parade attracts a diverse crowd of locals and tourists, making it one of the most colorful and unique events in New York City. After the parade, attendees can explore the famous boardwalk and amusement park or take a dip in the Atlantic Ocean.

NYC Pride March (June)

The annual Pride March is held on the last Sunday in June to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community and their allies. This colorful and celebration of diversity draws more than 2 million people each year and features floats, costumes, music, and dance that showcase the pride and resilience of the community. The parade route runs through Manhattan, passing by iconic landmarks such as the Stonewall Inn, where the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement began. While the event is free, donations are encouraged to support LGBTQ+ organizations and causes.

New York Film Festival (September-October)

Check the Correct Sources

Websites like Time Out New York, The New York Times, and NYCgo provide comprehensive event listings and information for New York City goings-on.

New York Film Festival is an annual event from late September to early October at Lincoln Center. The festival showcases the best films worldwide, including feature films, documentaries, and shorts. The event features premieres, Q&A sessions, and discussions with filmmakers and actors, making it a unique opportunity to engage with the industry’s top talent. Established in 1963, the festival has a rich history, since becoming a leading platform for emerging filmmakers and innovative storytelling. The festival is ticketed, but there are different packages and options to suit every cinephile’s needs.

Village Halloween Parade (October)

The Village Halloween Parade is held yearly in Greenwich Village on—when else?—Oct. 31. The raucous parade is a festive and spooky celebration of Halloween, featuring creative and elaborate costumes, floats, and live music. As the largest Halloween parade in the world, its route runs through the heart of Greenwich Village, passing by iconic landmarks and historic buildings. This free event is a must-see for anyone looking for a thrilling and festive Halloween experience in New York City.

TCS New York City Marathon (November)

The TCS New York City Marathon is held each year on the first Sunday in November, bringing together thousands of runners from around the world to race through the five boroughs of New York City. The marathon is one of the world’s largest and most prestigious races, attracting elite runners and amateur athletes of all ages and backgrounds. The marathon route passes by iconic landmarks such as the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and Central Park and takes runners through each of the five boroughs. While runners must earn a race bib through lottery or charity fundraising, the event is free for spectators, who can cheer on the runners and enjoy the festive atmosphere along the route.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (November)

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is an annual event that takes place toward the end of November, on Thanksgiving Day. The parade features elaborate floats, balloons, live performances by top musicians and entertainers, and appearances by beloved characters such as Snoopy, Mickey Mouse, and Hello Kitty. First held in 1924, the parade has now become part of the Thanksgiving holiday in the US. The parade’s route runs through Manhattan, passing by famous landmarks such as Central Park and the American Museum of Natural History. It’s free to attend, and many visitors like heading to the park the night before to see the larger-than-life floats inflate.

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting (November-December)

Don’t be afraid to ask new local friends for suggestions on events and things to do. Plenty of cool activities might fly under the radar of a typical tourist’s itinerary.

One of the city’s most cherished events, Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting is an annual event in late November or early December, marking the start of the holiday season in New York City. The event features the lighting of the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, adorned with thousands of twinkling lights and a star on top—an event that’s taken place since 1933. While the event is free to attend, it draws large crowds of locals and tourists, so arrive exceptionally early and dress warm—November weather can be unpredictable. The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting is a must-attend for anyone looking to experience the magic of New York City during the most wonderful time of the year.

Times Square New Year's Eve (December)

Fewer events are better known around the world than the iconic New Year’s Eve ball drop in Times Square. Millions flock to Midtown Manhattan to celebrate the new year’s countdown as part of an event that features live performances by top musicians and entertainers, culminating in the ball drop at midnight. The event has been a tradition since 1904, symbolizing hope and renewal for people worldwide. While the event is free to attend, it draws massive crowds, making it essential to arrive early to secure a spot, although some local hotels sell viewing packages from terraces or roof decks. This once-in-a-lifetime experience captures the excitement and energy of New York City and provides a unique way to ring in the new year with millions of people from around the world.

About the author

Laura RatliffÉcrivaine et rédactrice en chef basée à New York, Laura Ratliff vit dans le centre de Brooklyn avec son mari et leurs chiens adorés. Originaire du Texas, elle se sent aujourd’hui chez elle dans cette ville qui ne dort jamais. Côté voyages, elle dépense généralement plus de 200 000 miles chaque année et séjourne ainsi dans de nombreux hôtels.