What's on in New York this spring

Eloise Barker, for British Airways

Title photography by Brian Overcast / Alamy Stock Photo

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Updated February 2019

Spring in New York is a wonderful time. The promise of warmer months ahead really brings out the best in the city – and in everyone who visits. You won't fail to feel cheerful, whether you wear green for St Patrick’s Day or don your cap and mitt for the start of the baseball season.

The Orchid Show

Orchids: confined to the hotel lobby no more! The Enid A. Haupt Conservatory shows off its amazing collection of gorgeous orchids every spring. From late February, walls of blooms quiver above the crowds in the Bronx-based New York Botanic Garden. Admire these fragile-looking flowers and dazzle your kids with orchids facts – did you know they only have one line of symmetry and that there are over 25,000 species? The conservatory has space to show off 6,000 types of orchid (and also, intriguingly, acts as a plant rescue centre for confiscated plants). If you miss the show, don’t worry, The New York Botanic Garden is wonderful all year round: the conservatory even hosts a huge train set during winter.

When: Until 28 April

Where: Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, New York Botanic Garden

Nearest subway: Botanical Garden Station

Where to stay: The InterContinental Barclay is near Grand Central, just a 23-minute train ride from the Botanical Gardens, and they always have their own beautiful flower arrangements in the lobby.

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Weezer and Pixies

Pining for the nineties? Then prepare for two grunge rock greats: Weezer are best known for catchy hits like Pork and Beans, and Buddy Holly whilst alt rock pioneers Pixies gave the world the weird and wonderful Where Is My Mind and This Monkey’s Gone to Heaven – and their alternative sound paved the way for Weezer’s. In a double-bill almost as intriguing as when rap duo Run the Jewels toured with singer-songwriter Lorde last year, you can catch both Weezer and Pixies at the same time at Madison Square Gardens in March – a full ten months since their exhaustive tour of the States began in Tampa last year.

When: 12 March 2019

Where: Madison Square Gardens

Nearest subway: 34th Street/Penn Station

Where to stay: Admire the art deco decor in the lobby at the Wyndham New Yorker, just two blocks from Madison Square Gardens.

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The Enid A. Haupt Conservatory shows off its amazing collection of gorgeous orchids.

  • Pixies co-headline with Weezer at Madison Square Gardens. © Travis Shinn.

    Rock out

    Weezer and Pixies play live at the Madison Square Gardens in March. Book flights to New York to see them.£279 return

    Flights to NYC
  • The Orchid Show at the The New York Botanical Garden. © Ivo M Vermeulen.

    Awesome orchids

    Prepare to be stunned by the sheer number of plants on display at The Orchid Show. Even the most skeptical botany-dodger will be converted.

  • The NYC Saint Patrick's Day Parade. © Erik McGregor/Pacific Press.

    St Patrick’s Day

    New Yorkers look back at their Irish roots in a citywide celebration on 17 March, with marching bands leading the charge.£424 pp

    NYC Holidays

St Patrick’s Day

The biggest and best St Patrick’s Day parade in the US, the NYC Saint Patrick’s Day Parade, sees hundreds of thousands of people don green to celebrate their Irish heritage. It’s a time-honoured tradition, dating back from 1762 , which celebrates the 5th century saint. On the 17 March, make sure to head down to Fifth Avenue to join in and watch the procession of bands, performers, and societies. Then be sure to follow them to the party afterwards.

When: 17 March

Where: 5th Avenue between 44th Street and 79th Street

Nearest Subway: 5 Avenue

Where to stay: Roosevelt has a bar on the 19th floor that's a good place to start the party.

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Baseball Season

In the States, April means baseball, and in New York, the Yankees are the team to watch – they're one of the most historically successful baseball teams of all time, and their iconic players – Babe Ruth and Joe DiMaggio - are known worldwide. Catch the team playing one of the first games of the season in their home stadium. Enjoy the atmosphere and paraphernalia of a classic American baseball game: the hot dogs, the bleachers, the dugout – it's all part of the experience, as is watching playbacks on the truly massive screen: the jumbotron.

When: From mid-April

Where: Yankee Stadium, 1 E 161st St, Bronx, NY 10451

Nearest Subway: 161st Street – Yankee Stadium

Where to stay: The Hudson has a beer hall and burger bar, making it the perfect spot for some post-match analysis.

  • Yankee Stadium, home to the New York Yankees. © robertharding / Alamy Stock Photo.

    Baseball season

    See a legendary team play a quintessentially American sport. Yankees games start in early April.

  • World premieres at the New York International Auto Show © Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association.

    Caught in the headlights

    Enjoy a car catwalk for all the latest automobiles in April at the New York International Auto Show.

  • Cherry Esplanade at Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Photo by Liz Ligon. Courtesy of Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

    Perfectly pink

    The cherries that the Brooklyn Botanic Garden cherry trees produce aren't edible – but their candy-coloured blossom certainly looks good enough to eat.

New York International Auto Show

It's like a catwalk for new cars. The New York International Auto Show is held under the sparkling glass roof of the Javits Convention Center and is a massive display of the best new vehicles. Glitzy new sports cars are hidden under covers and then dramatically unveiled to the press – look out for the latest electic cars. Whilst there are sparse opportunities to take the display models for a spin, there are VR headsets in the driver’s seats. As well as new cars, visitors can get sentimental about famous cars from the silver screen – from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang to a time-travelling DeLorean.

When: From mid-April

Where: Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, 655 W 34th St, New York, NY 10001

Nearest Subway: 34th Street – Hudson Yards

Where to stay: Staybridge Suites Times Square is very convenient for all of New York's major sights.

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Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival

Another beautiful spring day, another beautiful botanic garden: head to Brooklyn Botanic Garden for the lovely Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival, which happens every year over a weekend in late April, just as the New York Botanic Garden Orchid Show closes. This Japanese tradition celebrates the coming of the cherry blossom, which falls like great clouds onto the trees in the park, coaxing admiring visitors out into the brisk spring air. This festival is a local favourite – but its activities have an international flavour: origami, cosplay and music and dance performances are all part of the celebrations.

When: 27 to 28 April

Where: Brooklyn Botanic Garden, 455 Flatbush Avenue

Nearest subway: Eastern Parkway

Where to stay: Holiday Inn Manhattan Financial District and high-end The Wagner Place Hotel are both Downtown. Both the 4 and 5 trains will take you directly to the Botanical Gardens in around 25 minutes.

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  • Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit © WSOAE.

    May days

    Pop in to the Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit on the last weekend in May to check out local artists.

  • View of The High Line. Photo by Iwan Baan, courtesy of The High Line.

    You take the high road

    In the springtime the High Line is a great spot for a stroll in the sun. Free 75-minute public tours take place twice a week on Tuesdays at 5:30pm and Saturdays at 10am from May to October.

  • Nickolas Muray (1892-1965). Frida on Bench, 1939. Carbon print, 18 x 14 in. (45.5 x 36 cm). Courtesy of Nickolas Muray Photo Archives. © Nickolas Muray Photo Archives.

    Portrait of the artist

    After her death, many of Frida's possessions were locked up in her house – not to be seen until half a century later, when they were re-discovered. Now her personal effects have been put on display for the world to see.

Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving

Booking is essential if you want to see this hotly-anticipated Frida Kahlo exhibition, which opened in February 2019 at the Brooklyn Museum. Based on a similar exhibition that visited London’s V&A last year, Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving will display the Mexican artist’s arresting paintings side-by-side with her personal effects, her clothes and her prosthetics – which she often decorated and customised herself. Prepare for an intensely intimate examination of an artist whose personal life has attracted as much attention as her artwork.

When: Until May 12

Where: Brooklyn Museum, Robert E. Blum Gallery, 1st Floor

Nearest subway: Eastern Parkway

Where to stay: Hotel Indigo on the Lower East Side is very fashionable, perfect for fans of Frida.

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The High Line walking tours

Beating Central Park for views, the High Line is one of New York's most unusual public spaces. Set near the trendy Meatpacking District, it consists of a walkway along an elevated freight line that stretches for 22 blocks. In the fine May weather, eat at the food vans and stroll around public art and banks of grasses and flowers. From May onwards, the High Line runs guided tours. Go along and hear the story of how a whole garden sprang up in the air.

When? Tours from the start of May

Where? 34th Street and 12th Avenue

Nearest Subway: 34th Street - Hudson Yards Subway Station

Where to stay: The Standard Highline is an elegant, minimalist hotel with stunning views over The Hudson.

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Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit

May is a month of public holidays. In the US, everyone celebrates Memorial Day on the last Monday in May with a public parade to commemorate those who have died serving in the armed forces. It coincides with ‘Fleet Week’, which brings a flotilla of military ships to the Hudson. To celebrate the long weekend in a more unconventional way, why not visit the twice-yearly outdoor art exhibition in Washington Square? Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit is an art fair that was founded by a cash-strapped Jackson Pollock in 1931 and it's still going to this day. Buy art, sculpture, jewellery, and meet some local artists.

When? Last weekend in May

Where? University Place, East 13th Street

Nearest Subway: 14th Street - Union Square Station

Where to stay: Art-lovers, listen up: The Roger is a beautifully-furnished hotel with its own photo gallery in the lobby.

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