This article describes the most popular annual events held in New York City by month along with useful links to other articles for additional information.
New York Restaurant Week
Many cities in the U.S. have a restaurant week and New York is no exception. Restaurant week in New York is actually longer than one week and takes each winter and summer. It is a time when participating restaurants offer discounts or special menus to attract new customers. New York City is a fantastic place to go for food, from food trucks to fancy restaurants, there is something for every taste and budget.
Lunar New Year Parade and Festival
Lunar New Year in New York City is fun with celebrations taking place throughout the city. New York’s China Town puts on a great parade and the state of New York has declared Lunar New Year an official public holiday so all New York public schools now have the day off!
New York Fashion Week
New York Fashion Week is one of the major events on the world fashion calendar. New York has both a spring and fall fashion week. The spring fashion week occurs in February and the fall fashion week occurs in September.
The Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival in Manhattan
Easter Sunday, in early spring, is the day that New York residents dress in their finest attire and parade through the Manhattan streets to their church. They dress in everything from civil war period costumes to the latest high fashions from world-renowned designers and many wear the most amazing bonnets. The parade begins at 10AM and lasts until late afternoon. It centers on Fifth Avenue between 49th Street near Rockefeller Center and St. Patricks Cathedral up to 57th Street.
Saint Patrick’s Day
March 17 is a Christian religious holiday dedicated to Saint Patrick, patron saint of Ireland. On this day, hundreds of thousands of descendants of Irish immigrants march through the streets of Manhattan and pay a visit to Saint Patrick’s cathedral. In the evening, all the bars, clubs and pubs or New York fill with folks wearing green articles of clothing signifying their Irish heritage. “Everyone is Irish on Saint Patrick’s Day” so all are welcome to join the merriment especially those wearing a bit of green.
Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show
The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is the largest and most prestigious dog show in the U.S. Thousands of dogs and their trainers compete in various competitions, but only one can be the “best in show”.
Summer Stage Concerts in Central Park (through October)
Every summer, the City Parks Foundation of New York City provides a program of free concerts in Central Park. They usually offer a diverse selection of top quality musical performances including classical symphony, opera, jazz, country, rock and roll and world music. Top named stars are often featured. They also offer some spoken word performances featuring renown poets and authors. The Summer Stage is located near the 72nd Street entrance to the park off of Fifth Avenue. Arrive early to get a good seat and enjoy entertainment under the stars! Here is a schedule of events: www.summerstage.org.
New York City has a vibrant and thriving LGBTQ+ community and it really shows during Pride Month. There are events taking place throughout the month, but most of the bigger events happen during the last week in June culminating with the famous parade down Fifth Avenue on the last Sunday of the month.
Shakespeare in the Park (through August)
Tribeca Film Festival
The Tribeca Film Festival was founded by Robert De Niro in the wake of 9/11 to help revitalize Lower Manhattan and is one of the major film festivals in the world.
Macy’s Forth of July Fireworks
The Forth of July is the day when the U.S. celebrates its independence from England. This holiday is celebrated around the country with fireworks and New York City is no exception. The Macy’s department store sponsors a fantastic fireworks display over Manhattan, which lights up the New York City skyline. During the day Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs sponsors its annual hot dog eating contest where contestants compete to see how many hot dogs they can eat in 10 minutes. The current record is 76.
U.S. Open Tennis Tournament
The U.S. Open takes place throughout September and is the final Grand Slam Tennis Tournament of the year. Thousands of tennis fans come to watch the matches including many celebrities who come to watch the finals.
The Feast of San Gennaro
The Feast of San Gennaro takes place in New York’s Little Italy and lasts for over a week. The Feast celebrates the life of San Gennaro of Naples who was Bishop of Benevento, Italy and was martyred in 305AD.
Halloween Parade in Greenwich Village
October 31 is Halloween, the holiday when children all across the U.S. don costumes and prowl their neighborhood seeking candy “treats”. In the Greenwich Village section of Manhattan, home to many artists, theatrical performers and a large LGBTQ+ community, the residents hold a spectacular parade. They dress in outlandish, flamboyant and bizarre costumes, then march down the streets of their neighborhood.
The New York City Marathon
The New York City Marathon, held the first Sunday in November, has become one of the premier running events in the U.S. It usually attracts more than 30,000 runners from all over the U.S. and from around the world. It also attracts more than two million spectators. The race begins on Staten Island at the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. It proceeds through Brooklyn and Queens, crosses into Manhattan and goes up through the Bronx and ends in Central Park near the Tavern on the Green.
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
Thanksgiving Day is the annual harvest festival in the U.S. and it falls on the fourth Thursday in November. Traditionally, Macy’s department store hosts a gigantic parade in Manhattan on Thanksgiving Day. Huge balloons depicting cartoon figures and other favorite characters float above the streets on tethers controlled by costumed marchers. Clowns, entertainers, marching bands and elaborate displays fill the Avenues of New York City culminated by Santa Claus signifying the beginning of another Christmas shopping season.
The parade traditionally begins 9AM at 77th Street on the upper West Side. It proceeds to Columbus Circle and down Broadway to Herald Square in front of Macy’s. If you are in Manhattan the day before Thanksgiving, you can go to the Upper West Side in the evening to watch the giant balloons being inflated and the floats being prepared for the next day.
Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting
The Christmas Tree lighting at the Rockefeller Center takes place the first Wednesday after Thanksgiving and signals the start of the holiday season in New York City.
New Years Eve Party in Times Square
Every December 31, hundreds of thousands of revelers brave frigid winter weather and gather in Times Square to celebrate the arrival of the New Year. Famous performers and musical groups entertain the crowds from outdoor stages erected for the occasion. Huge crowds of people pack Times Square, Broadway and the adjacent streets. Frivolity, merriment and often a lot of alcoholic “anti-freeze” pervade the crowd. This is the biggest outdoors New Years eve party in the U.S.
For a more detailed list of annual activities happening in New York City check out NYCTourism.com – Annual Events.