The 12 things you absolutely must do in NYC this Spring

Published On 02/04/2014 Published On 02/04/2014
What to do NYC
Dave Presley

As Ned Stark's (spoiler alert!) ghost will no doubt tell you in season 15 of Game of Thrones, "Spring is coming." To help you adequately prepare for a season that's frankly much, much better than Winter, we went to the future, did the 12 funnest things you could possibly do during Springtime, and came back to tell you exactly what they are.

New York City Hot Sauce Expo

What: Go to the NYC Hot Sauce Expo
When: March 29th & 30th
Where: Penn Plaza Pavilion
Melt your face off like that one nazi in Raiders of the Lost Ark, by tasting a ton of the hottest sauces around, then cool off with some beer and a Bloody Mary competition.

What: Watch March Madness (and the NIT!)
When: April 1st-3rd
Where: Pennsylvania 6
Camp out at Pennsylvania 6 and watch the tournament on their massive screens, then switch modes and just head on over to MSG, and watch the NIT live.


What: Do a rooftop bar crawl or do a ferry bar crawl -- your choice!
When: The second it gets nice enough
Where: Crow's Nest / East River ferry
Go from the East River to the Hudson without ever leaving the skyline, or just hop on the East River ferry and ride it to glory... and a crazy, day-drinking, Brazilian dance party.

What: Tribeca Film Festival
When: April 16th-27th
Where: Bow Tie Cinemas in Chelsea (and other location around the city)
You can bone up on your film knowledge and then check out, like, a billion movies in between trying to find Bobby De Niro to ask if you can milk him.

Studio Square

What: Five Boro Craft Beer Fest
When: April 25th
Where: Studio Square
Unleash your inner-beer geek and have him run wild all over the place, at this beer garden event with unlimited tastings, eats to soak it all up, and live music.

What: Sneak a flask into the NY Botanical Garden and enjoy some nature at the Orchid Show
When: Through April 21st
Where: NY Botanical Garden
You can also do this without a flask, because nature's majesty is intoxicating and beautiful... but then again, so is a nice whiskey.

Andrew Zimmer

What: Warm up the grills on the Brooklyn waterfront
When: When the sun is out and the grilling-mood strikes
Where: Brooklyn Bridge Park
You should definitely know that these grills right on the waterfront exist and are open to the public, because they're amazing and make not being able to get away for the weekend much better.

What:  Manhattan Cocktail Classic
When: May 9-13th
Where: New York Public LIbrary (and bars all over the city)
Dress to the nines and head out to the opening party at the New York Public Library, then spend the rest of the weekend drinking in bars and claiming that you're celebrating "cocktail culture".

Governor's Ball

What: Go to Governors Ball
When: June 6th-8th
Where: Randall's Island Park
Pray there isn't knee-deep mud this year, and enjoy Outkast, Vampire Weekend, and Jack White.

What: Get everything on the menu at Stephen Starr's new Mexican spot
When: Opens in April, so anytime after that
Where: El Vez
The top-notch Philly Mexican joint from the guy who brought us Morimoto and Buddakan is finally making its way here. Now if only he could also give us LeSean McCoy...

What: Big Apple BBQ Block Party
When: June 7th-8th
Where: Madison Square Park
The pinnacle of the recent boom in smoked meats, impress all the aficionados there with your vast smoked meat knowledge (or just stuff your damn face with everything and not talk to anyone... either way it's a win).

Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden

What: Kick-off the World Cup
When: June 16th
Where: Bohemian Beer Hall in Astoria
If you watch soccer in a European-style beer garden, you immediately understand soccer 96% better. It's a scientific fact.

Andrew Zimmer is Thrillist's New York Editor and loves Spring break even more than James Franco and Vanessa Hudgens combined. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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1. The Crow's Nest 500 E 30th St, New York, NY 10016 (Murray Hill)

Situated on the rooftop of The Water Club, The Crow's Nest is more or less an East Side version of Frying Pan with casual eats that include burgers and a raw bar, as well as killer 'tails to enjoy while taking in the NYC views. Instead of Spring time on the subway, you could be staying cool with the Club's river breezes.

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2. New York Botanical Garden 2900 Southern Blvd, Bronx, NY 10458 (Bronx)

Boasting some serious national landmark status, the New York Botanical Garden is an enormous 250 acres of Bronx Park. Its fifty gardens and plant collections feature over one million plants. That's so many plants. This Spring, mellow out at and open up some chakras at the orchid show.

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3. Bow Tie Chelsea Cinemas 260 W 23rd St, New York, NY 10011 (Chelsea)

This year, Bow Tie Cinemas Chelsea is hosting flicks from the Tribeca Film Festival. From April 16th-17th, try to find Robert De Niro and a zillion other stars watching each other watch themselves (weird).

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4. New York City Hot Sauce Expo 401 7th Ave, New York, NY 10001

Over 40,000 square feet of convention space right across the street from Penn Station, Penn Plaza Pavilion hosts trade show exhibits, job fairs, and seminars. Got what it takes to be America's Next Top Model? Cool, 'cause they also play host to casting calls. But what's even hotter than that? This Spring, the Pavillion features the NYC Hot Sauce Expo March 29th + 30th.

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5. New York Public Library 5th Ave, New York, NY 10018 (Midtown)

Reading is fundamental, and this place is packed -- 53 million items! -- with the stuff to giveth you knowledge. Besides that, it's been featured in a ton of movies like Spider-Man and Escape From New York, plus TV shows like Seinfeld.

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6. Brooklyn Bridge Park 334 Furman St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Central Park's great and all, but Brooklyn Bridge Park is where it's at when it comes to sunset pilates classes, kayaking, and a free outdoor film series. This Spring, warm up the grills on the BK waterfront then stick around for a flick at Pier 1′s Harbor View lawn.

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7. Randall's Island Park 1 Randalls Island Park, New York, NY 10035

The vastness of Randall's Island Park includes a golf center, nine acres of restored wetlands, a 20-court tennis center, 60+ playing fields and miles of waterfront bike and pedestrian pathways, oh and a little festival they call Governor's Ball. This June, head to Randall's for the 2014 Ball featuring Outkast, Jack White, Vampire Weekend, The Strokes, and a band called Diarrhea Planet. Seriously.

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8. El Vez 259 Vesey St, New York, NY 10282 (Tribeca)

Any place named after the Mexican Elvis is worth a visit. Little tip: Order the salsa sampler, which lets you choose a variety ranging from a spicy tuna with pineapple to habaneros, tomatillo and melted manchego with sweet onions. A Philly original, celebrate Vez's descent on Manhattan this Spring by ordering everything on the menu.

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9. Big Apple BBQ Block Party 11 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10010 (Flatiron)

Madison square park is great for a whole lot of reasons: it's where Shake Shack was born, it's the home of the Flatiron building, and it was called "Madison Square" before MSG went and blew that scene up. One more reason: it's where you'll find the Big Apple BBQ Block Party on June 8th-9th, with all the seminars from master pitsmen, live music, and barbecue that entails.

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10. Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden 29-19 24th Ave, Astoria, NY 11102 (Queens)

One can never really go wrong at a beer garden, especially not at Bohemian, where $16 draft beer pitchers are reason enough to show. And, should you be in the mood to learn Czech or Slovak, why not register for their language classes? here. Not into languages? Kick off the World Cup in European Beer garden-style and pretend you know what people mean when they say "footie".

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11. Studio Square 35-33 36th St, Queens, NY 11106 (Queens)

Studio's a colossal suds-complex divided into a two-barred, exposed brick interior (decked out in industrial steel doors and vintage whiskey barrels), and a 900-capacity, birch, ivy, and stone outdoor patio, all dreamed up by two Queens locals.

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12. Pennsylvania 6 132 W 31st St, New York, NY 10001 (Midtown West)

Pennsylvania 6's a two-floored, deco-tinged beer bar/bistro right near MSG that has distinguished itself from the menagerie of Irish pubs in the area by serving bivalves, lobster, and bistro standards like beer-braised short ribs. There are also craft drafts you won't be finding in tallboy form at Penn Station, and you can catch the game on several projection screens while you slurp down some oysters.