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What’s Happening in April in NYC

April may still be around the corner, but it’s already starting to feel like spring in New York City. The daylight slowly stretches later into the evenings, greenery is beginning to emerge in the city’s parks, and it’s finally safe to walk outside without oversized parkas fit for alpine expeditions. Travelers visiting New York City in April will find that, despite the frequent drizzle, early spring is a delightful time to be in the Big Apple. The thick crowds of summer are still a distant thought (as are the sweltering humid days) and great deals can be had all across the city.

In addition to the DIY-diversions of New York City— shows on Broadway, late nights at celebrated restaurants, obligatory stops at the city’s landmarks—there are a number of exciting events and festivals on the calendar in April.

Mingle with like-minded individuals at Earth Day events all over the city, check out some of the finest new cinema at a world-renowned film festival, or head to Brooklyn for an unforgettable banjo toss. We’re not kidding. These are five of the most exciting events happening in New York City this April.

Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival — April 12

Even if you don’t celebrate Easter, it’s still worth dropping by Fifth Avenue on April 12 to witness this fun, flamboyant  New York City tradition. With its origins dating back to the late 1800s, New Yorkers basically don the most ostentatious, over-the-top hats and whimsical head creations. To participate, pack your most fashionable fascinators and join the procession. The so-called parade stretches eight blocks, from 49th to 57th Street along Fifth Avenue.

The Brooklyn Folk Festival — April 17 to 19

Venture across the East River to Brooklyn to hear the finest blues, folk, and early jazz music during the Brooklyn Folk Festival on April 17, 18 and 19. Held at the imposing Gothic Revival landmark St. Ann’s Church, performances include a lively mix of jug band tunes, New Orleans blues, and a Balkan duet alongside dance performances and workshops. Tickets start at $25, though you’ll want to splurge for an all-day pass ($40) so you don’t have to miss the banjo toss. We told you!

Earth Day 50 — April 22

Get in the spirit of spring by participating in one of New York City’s many Earth Day initiatives. Though Earth Day (a global celebration of the planet focused on environmental conservation) falls on April 22, multiple events are held throughout the month. And this is a particularly big year for climate action celebrations, as it’s the 50th anniversary of the initiative. Kick off the festivities with an Earth Day 50 launch expo on April 19, complete with exhibitors, vendors, and live performances. Then, on April 21, join the Earth Day 5K Green Tour, and don’t worry—you don’t have to run. The 2.5-hour tour highlights some of the city’s most groundbreaking eco-friendly sites in the city.

Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival — April 25 and 26


Travelers come from all over—yes, even Manhattan—to attend the two-day Sakura Matsuri festival in the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. The two day affair, which begins on Saturday, April 25, features an eclectic mix of traditional Japanese cultural performances. Past festivals have included Samurai sword dramas, taiko drumming, Kabuki Buyo dancing, traditional Japanese tea ceremonies, and even rock bands from Japan. Vendors sell kimonos, matcha, and Japanese snacks and beer. For a perfect day at the 2020 Sakura Matsuri festival, book your tickets well in advance, arrive early, and stake out a perfect picnic spot under the vibrant blooms of a cherry tree.

Tribeca Film Festival — April 15 to 26

Running from Wednesday, April 15 until Sunday, April 26, the Tribeca Film Festival is one of the most vaunted film festivals in the world. Mingle with celebrated and up-and-coming filmmakers and actors during the prestigious event, which includes film screenings, competitions, and conversations with some of the industry’s biggest names. The 19th-annual event kicks off with a documentary screening about Jimmy Carter and will include live performances by Willie Nelson and other music icons like Paul Shaffer. Individual tickets start at $12 for singlematinee screenings.

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