This post is about things to do in NYC in April, including a top 10 list as well as sections on free, family-friendly and nighttime things to do. Our tour schedule goes into full swing in April with morethan 8 tours offered every day. See our full listings of pay-what-you-wish walking tours by clicking here, and check our definitive Things to Do in NYC guide.
Below is our top 10 list. If you are considering visiting many of NYC’s top attractions, then you might want to consider a tourist discount pass, which could save you considerable money. Read our post comparing the different tourist discount passes. Several bus tour companies, including hop-on, hop-off buses, also offer discounts and deals.
(1) Visit Central Park
This month, the trees and flowers of this iconic park are started to bloom. Central Park is a perfect place to enjoy the beauty of the spring. We recommend that you take a guided walking tour to help you find your way through this huge park. We offer several pay-what-you-like tours of Central Park including a tour of the lower section and one of the middle section. We also offer bike tours which are super fun for the kids!
This event is one of the seminal film festivals in the cinematic world, along with Sundance and the Montreal Film. Stars are discovered here is as well as an incredible range of talent and diversity of movies. The director, cast, and crew are often on hand for a Q & A session after the screenings. Besides film, there are also the ESPN Sports Film Festival, a Family Festival Street Fair, various Tribeca Talks, and free panels for working and aspiring filmmakers. A full schedule of film and events is available on their website. Tickets range from $10 to $40 depending on time and if a director Q&A follows.
(3) Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival
April 28 & 29, 2018 (kid-friendly)
This annual festival at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens near Prospect Park (map) offers over 60 events and performances that celebrate traditional and contemporary Japanese culture. The highlight is the 200 blossoming cherry trees that are a rite of Spring for New Yorkers and visitors alike.
Tickets: Adults $25, Seniors (65 and over), $20 Students 12+ with valid ID$20; Children under 12 or BBG Members-free. Learn more on their website.
(4) The Photography Show
April 4-8, 2018
Celebrating its 36th year The Photography Show, presented by AIPAD (The Association of International Photography Art Dealers) showcases works from more than 80 of the world’s leading photography art galleries. Tickets: prices vary by event, night and age. Location: Park Avenue Armory, 643 Park Avenue at 67th Street (map). See their website.
(5) Attend a Concert
This month is turning out to be the month of performers with one name! With so many of the best pop stars in the world playing in the city this month, you may have difficulty choosing! Here are our picks for the best concerts.
The singer’s North American “Melodrama” tour brings her to 30 cities in just under a year. She’ll arrive in Brooklyn on April 4 at 7 p.m. at the Barclays Center. Tickets.
Showcasing her latest album “Beautiful Trauma.” April 4 & 5 at 7 p.m. at Madison Square Garden. Tickets.
Bypassing a major arena for a New York show, Sting will be making a very special performance at the Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium at The Metropolitan Museum Of Art on April 25 and 26 at 7:30 pm. Tickets.
(6) Brooklyn Folk Festival
April 6-8, 2018 (kid-friendly)
Head to Brooklyn Heights, just a walk over the Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan, to hear folk, blues, jug-band, string-band, bluegrass, Irish and Balkan music! Offering vocal and instrumental workshops, film screenings, family-friendly square dance, and a banjo tossing contest. Click here for the schedule of bands and events. The festival is at St. Ann’s Church at 157 Montague St, (between Henry and Clinton Streets. Tickets range from $20-$35 per person. TIP: The festival location alone is worth visiting, St. Ann’s Church’s building dates to 1847. In fact, the whole neighborhood of Brooklyn Heights is one to walk around, either with one of our guided tours or self-guided tour that you can print out.
(7) Earth Day
Sunday, April 15, 2018 (kid-friendly)
New York’s annual Earth Day is celebrated with a gathering in Union Square where there will be dozens of exhibitors, interactive displays, a green-vehicle show, family activities, music, and entertainment at Union Square Park at E. 17th St. and Park Ave. Here is their website.
(8) Easter Parade and Easter Bonnet Festival
April 1, 2018, 10 am – 4 pm
This parade is a New York City tradition going back to the 1870’s. Not your typical parade of floats and marching bands, this is a more casual stroll of paraders adorning their best Easter bonnets. You’ll see some wildly creative bonnets, from flower-covered foot-tall toppers to hats shaped in various designs. The route runs along Fifth Avenue heading north from 49th Street to 57th Street. The best place to watch is from the area around St. Patrick’s Cathedral which in and of itself is a beautiful place to visit.
(9) Walk the High Line – Day or Night! (kid-friendly)
The High Line is one of the most unusual city parks, built on an abandoned elevated railroad. This month, the hundreds of different plant life that the High Line Park carefully curates will be starting to bloom. Because it is not yet peak tourist season, you can enjoy the High Line without feeling too cramped.
Celebrate all things Scottish by watching bagpipers, men in kilts, and women in plaid. The parade is part of Tartan Week which schedules cultural events around the city from contemporary Scottish bands playing in bars to pub crawls, readings and the Scotland Run in Central Park on April 2. Click here for the schedule of events that week. Location: Parade route is north along Sixth Avenue from 44th to 55th.
Many of the activities included in our top 10 section above can be enjoyed at night as well such as attending a concert, walking the High Line or the Tribeca Film Festival. Here are a few more ideas on how to spend a great night in New York City.
April means that the evenings are now pleasant enough to explore the city outside. Our selection of evening tours kicks in in late March and is in full swing by April. You can go directly to our schedule of tours to see what we have on offer each day or you can visit our night tours page for more information. Our selection of pay-what-you-wish night walking tours are:
Brooklyn Bridge and the 9/11 Memorial
If walking isn’t your thing, then consider a bus tour. Several bus operators offer exclusive night tour options. Many of these night tours are included for free in tour packages.
View the New York Skyline
For incredible vistas and panoramic views, you will want to visit one of the three observation decks: the Empire State Building, One World Observatory (Freedom Tower) or Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center. Each has its own vantage point, as well as different prices of admission, varying wait time, and opening/closing hours. Our post Which is Best: Empire State Building, Top of the Rock or One World Observatory? breaks down the pros and cons of each to help you choose which view is right for you.
If you want to stay closer to the ground or prefer to not pay the entry prices of the 3 observatories, you can still get incredible views of the city, in some cases for free. Check out our post on the Best Skyline Views of New York City.
Take an Evening Boat Cruise
From the Statue of Liberty to the Brooklyn Bridge, New York’s iconic landmarks are spectacular when viewed at night. A night cruise offers a relaxing way to spend your evening and taking in the city from a new perspective. There are a variety of night cruises and boat tour, including dinner cruises. Take a look at our post Which New York Boat Tour or Cruise is best to find one that is right for you.
Below are just a few of the hundreds of free things you can do in New York City in April. Some of the events in the top ten section above, like visiting Central Park, watching the Easter Bonnet Parade and walking the High Line are free. For year-round free things to do see our comprehensive post about Free Things to Do in NYC.
Greek Independence Day Parade
April 22, 2018 (kid-friendly)
The New York Greek Independence Day Parade has been held annually along Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue since 1951. The parade itself first took place in NYC in 1938. Marchers and participants in the parade where traditional Greek attire and costumes as they celebrate the anniversary of Greek independence declared March 25, 1821. The parade attracts some 150,000 spectators, with about 25,000 participants. There’ll be music, food and lots of blue and white flags! Location: Marches up 5th Avenue from 64th to 79th St. See their website for more information.
Check out street art in Bushwick
New York has some of the finest street art and graffiti art in the world and Bushwick in Brooklyn is the place to see a lot of it. Visiting Bushwick and the Bushwick Collective Street Art Gallery is easy to do and makes for an off-the-beat activity during your stay. You can use our free self-guided tour that tells you how to get to Bushwick and where to find the best art or you can join us on any of our pay-what-you-likeStreet Art Tours including our Bushwick Street Art Tour offered on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays @2 pm with additional days in the summer season. Click here to view our full tour calendar to see days and times.
Visit New York’s world-class museums
It makes us happy to be able to tell visitors to New York that you can go to virtually ALL of the city’s fine museums for free. Not everyone knows this, but we are here to spread the word. Some museums are free all the time, even if they advertise a ticket cost. If the website says “by donation”, that’s code word for FREE. Other museums have free days or free hours. There are too many to list here, so see our post, Free Things to Do in NYC which has a very long list of museums, attractions, zoos, and gardens to find out which are always free or offer free times. See our post about Free Entry to the Museum of Modern Art.
This year, Easter is on a Sunday and there’s no shortage of kid-friendly Easter events across the city. One such Egg Hunt is held yearly at Old Richmond Town located on Staten Island, which means you can also enjoy the amazing free ride to get there. For more information on the event click here. For details on the ferry ride, see our post Taking the Staten Island Ferry. Click here to find out the many egg hunts and other related activities around the city.
Sundays, Fridays, and Saturdays through April 15, 2018
The New Victory Theater, known for their kid-oriented performances is hosting AirPlay. This show is larger than life as the world famous Acrobuffos comedic duo entertain your kids with flying umbrellas, larger-than-life balloons, kites that float over the audience and the biggest snow globe you’ve ever seen. Note: The show is good for ages 5+. The duration is 60 minutes with no intermission. Tickets start at $16. Individual prices display during seat selection. See the New Victory Theater website for more information. If you do end up at the New Victory Theater, take advantage of our free self-guided tour of the Self Guided Broadway Theatre District Tour.
Pillow Fight 2108
April 7, 3 pm-6 pm
In past years this fun, feather-filled event has attracted over 5,000 participants. This year it will be held at Washington Square Park. Just bring a soft pillow and be ready to engage in a jovial public pillow fight. Pajamas and teddy bears are welcome.
While you are there, take advantage of exploring the fabulous neighborhood of Greenwich Village. We offer a history tour and a food tour, as well as self-guided tours, audio tours. Check out all our offerings here.