10 Festivals You Must Experience In New York

People living in New York are definitely spoilt for choice when it comes to annual festivals and events. This city knows how to have a good time — all year long.

And the variety is just ridiculous:

  • Want food festivals? Check.
  • Interested in music events? Double check.
  • Love art and culture? Triple check.

Below is my list of some of the top events you should consider experiencing in the Big Apple.


Museum Mile Festival

This is my favorite event in the city. Fifth Avenue shuts down to traffic to become a walking lane. The streets are lined with live musical entertainment and the museum's doors are flung open to the public for free. This is just a great way to experience New York's many incredible museums and makes for the perfect day out.

Macy's Thanksgiving Parade

The king of all parades is Macy's annual Thanksgiving Parade. It's an American tradition that's been celebrated since 1924. Today the parade features more than 10 marching bands, 30 parade floats, 1,500 dancers and cheerleaders and nearly 1,000 clowns. It's estimated that more than 2 million spectators catch the show that covers a 2.5 mile route, starting from Macy's flagship store all the way to Herald Square.


New York's LGBT Pride Parade is a wonderful event, it's a celebration of the gay community and an opportunity showcase its diversity. The March begins at 36th Street and Fifth Avenue and ends at  Greenwich street in the West Village. It feels like the entire city celebrates this event, even the Empire State Building shines with the Gay Pride colors. 

Electric Zoo 

Electric Zoo is an end of summer event that's held in Randall's Island and is a massive wild EDM (Electronic Dance Music) concert. It attracts the top DJ's in the world and is a vivid representation of New York's wild side. Just like the burning man, this is an event to attend at least once in your life. 

Fringe Festival 

The fringe festival is an interesting event that brings together people from multiple disciplines. More than 200 theatrical companies from around the world perform in 20 downtown venues. A lot of these shows are experimental in nature and not your run of the mill Broadway shows. The cool thing is, there are over 1200 performances over 16 days, so you're almost guaranteed to find something that's to your taste.

Central Park SummerStage

One of the most popular summer events is the SummerStage held in Central Park (the main site) and 16 other parks spread across New Yorks buroughs. These free shows offer its guests everything from music, dance and theatre performances. Space is limited and lines often form more than an hour before the gates open, so it's important to get to the venue early.

Brooklyn Kite Festival 

The Brooklyn Kite Festival is an annual event that attracts thousands of people for a great day of outdoor family fun. There are booths selling custom-made kites and wonderful workshops for children teaching them how to make their own kites. This is easily one of the most family friendly events New York hosts.   

Feast Of San Gennaro

The Feast of San Gennaro is a food festival that's held each year in Little Italy and draws nearly 1 million visitors. This festival is a celebration of Italian American heritage, with parades, live music and most importantly food vendors serving the best of Italian cuisine.

Rooftop Film Festival

New York has a new attraction,  watching movies under the evening stars. Hosted in different venues, you can watch independent movies on a hotel rooftop like the Yotel Hotel or in graffitied rooftop of a chartered school. This has become one of the most popular attractions in the city, so you need to book your tickets in advance. 

Times Square New Years Countdown

Everyone should experience ringing in the new year in Times Square at least once in their life. It's estimated that close to a million people jam into the area to watch the famous New Years Ball drop. It's frenetic crazy energy is the best way I can think of to usher in a New Year.