If your travel dates overlap with Easter in New York, you should know how to spend it right! There are plenty of activities for this special holiday. Know that New York will be a little more packed than usual, but that shouldn’t keep you from spending a joy-filled Easter in New York.
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When is Easter?
This year Easter falls on the 17th of April.
The 9 Best Things to Do on Easter in New York
Easter in New York is one of the most popular times to travel to New York. That’s mostly due to a lot of people enjoying long weekends because even though Easter Sunday is the big day, Easter celebrations last for the whole weekend, from Good Friday through Easter Monday. The holiday means it’s finally getting warmer out, giving you plenty of fun things to do on Easter in New York. Here are our top picks:
1. Be Part of the Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival
You cannot spend Easter in New York without watching the famous Easter Parade that takes place on Easter Sunday along 5th Avenue. Thousands of people gather on the streets to celebrate dressed in colorful costumes and bonnets! The Parade starts at 49th Street at 10 am and ends at 57th Street around 4 pm. You can either just watch it, or, bring your bonnet and participate. Everybody is encouraged to join!
2. Enjoy a Delightful Easter Brunch
Many restaurants and cafés offer Easter specials during the Holy Week. Brunch belongs to Easter like the Empire State Building belongs to New York. In order to help you maximize your experience, here are some of our favorite brunch spots in New York:
- Jacob’s Pickles on the Upper West Side (see menu)
- Maharlika Filipino Moderno in the East Village (see menu)
- The Wild Son in the Meatpacking District (see menu)
- Almond Restaurant in the Flatiron District (see menu)
- Balthazar in SoHo (see menu)
We promise that you won’t regret brunching at any of these!
3. Participate in an Easter Egg Hunt
This is the ultimate way to spend a fun-filled Easter in New York with children. For that reason, there are a handful of Easter Egg Hunts in New York. Who doesn’t like a friendly competition and photo-ops with the Easter Bunny? Our two favorite Easter Egg Hunts in NYC are NYSoM Easter Eggstravaganza in East Harlem and the Annual Easter Scavenger Hunt in Manhattan on the Upper West Side:
The NYSoM Easter Eggstravaganza
NYSoM is known as New York State of Mind – a community organization. This Easter will mark NYSoM’s 7th annual Easter Eggstravaganza, including Easter Egg Painting, Easter Egg Hunting, an Easter Street Fair and the Easter Bunny himself. Every 10 minutes, groups of children get to hunt Easter eggs. Participation is based on a first-come-first-served basis, so we recommend getting there earlier than your preferred time.
- from 2 – 8 pm
- Rodale Pleasant Park Community Garden in East Harlem | 46 to 116 Street Station
Annual Easter Scavenger Hunt
On Holy Saturday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan is hosting their Annual Easter Scavenger Hunt. Kids need to search for colorful eggs throughout the museum in order to decode a wheel and solve the Easter puzzle. The museum is located in the Upper West Side.
- from 10 am to 7 pm on Saturday, otherwise, 10 am to 5 pm
- 212 W 83rd St on the Upper West Side | 12 to 86 Street Station
You’ll find plenty of other events spread across all boroughs, for example in the Melrose New Generation Garden in the Bronx, the Morningside Park in Manhattan, or Canarsie Park in Brooklyn. You can check all events in the Easter Hunt calendar.
4. Take a Scenic Easter Cruise
A quite relaxing way to spend Easter in New York is by taking a brunch cruise! It perfectly combines a tasty brunch with the most fantastic views of New York; you’ll be cruising around the harbor, past sights like the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge. It’s an all-inclusive cruise with a broad buffet and an open bar with any drink of your choice. Your brunch will be accompanied by Jazz music. The Easter Brunch Cruise departs at Pier 40 in Lower Manhattan and takes about 2,5 hours in total.
Of course, the Easter Jazz Cruise is not the only cruise you can take in New York on Easter. Other cruises depart as usual. Our all-time favorite is the Bateaux Dinner Cruise, followed by the Harbor Lights Cruise.
5. Explore New York’s Botanical Gardens
Winter is over and we are welcoming spring! Spring is undoubtedly the best time to explore New York’s botanical gardens, whether it is the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx or the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Flowers will be blooming everywhere you look and you still have the chance to experience Singapore in the Bronx! The New York Brooklyn Garden will be hosting its 19th annual Orchid Show.
6. Attend Easter Mass or a Gospel Concert
Attending Easter Sunday Mass in New York is a great experience, but you can be sure that it’s also very popular. In St. Patrick’s Cathedral there are several masses throughout Holy Week. Tickets are required for the Easter Sunday Mass as the church works towards avoiding overcrowding. If you’d like to attend service on this special occasion, be sure to check the calendar and reserve your tickets as soon as you can. A couple of services are held in Spanish.
Great alternatives to St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Midtown Manhattan are:
- St. Paul’s Chapel in the Financial District
- Grace Church in Greenwich Village
- St. John’s in the Morningside Heights.
On Saturday before Easter, you can experience an authentic, 1-hour long gospel concert in Harlem. It takes place in Mt. Olivet Baptist Church on Malcolm X Blvd and tickets are required.
7. Root for the New York Yankees
This one is rather unrelated to Easter, but still something you can do during Easter in New York. The New York Yankees are playing against the Kansas City Royals over the entire weekend. All you need to do is purchase your tickets and head to Yankee Stadium for a different Easter experience in New York. Sports games, just like Broadway Shows, belong to every New York trip, if you ask us!
8. Soak in the Views from High Line Park
Easter in New York means spring weather! It’s the ideal weather to walk one of the city’s most spectacular parks, such as High Line Park. At the North end of the park, you’ll find the new Hudson Yards neighborhood with impressive new buildings, including the honeycomb-like staircase currently called “The Vessel“. Definitely make sure you explore the area. Climbing the spiral structure is completely free, so you don’t have anything to lose! But back to the High Line: along its path, you’ll pass many points of interest in Chelsea and the Meatpacking District which may make it worth it to stop and go off the path.
9. Give up Lent for Candy
If you gave up candy for Lent, then now it’s time to give up Lent for candy! Regardless of whether this applies to you or not, it’s time to enjoy some Easter candy! Every year, we get excited about the iconic Marshmallow Peeps and other Easter-related candy. Every candy store in New York will offer some unique for all those with a sweet tooth. If you’re looking for Peeps, you can find them in most drug stores like Walgreens. Naturally, Hershey’s Chocolate World at Times Square also participates in the Easter hype, providing us with various treats, such as peanut butter filled chocolate eggs.
If you are a serious chocoholic, you may even be interested in taking a guided Chocolate tour (yes, it exists!). What you get? The ultimate chocolate experience! Your guide will teach you the right way of truly enjoying chocolate. There’s more to it than just chewing and swallowing it. I’m normally too greedy to take my time, but I must say it actually made a difference! The tour includes a great variety of samples from little chocolate shops throughout West Village.
Another place to get your daily calorie intake is Smorgasburg Food Market. It finally reopens for the season in April, just in time for the Easter weekend. The popular food market takes place on Saturdays in Williamsburg and Sundays in Prospect Park.
Be sure to go there hungry!
We guarantee you you’ll want to try everything! My favorite food stand there is Wowfulls; egg waffles filled with ice cream and various toppings. You can be sure to find New York’s most intentive foods at Smorgasburg.
What’s open in New York on Easter?
Easter is not an official public holiday in New York, meaning that everything will be open as usual. You won’t be inconvenienced and can visit any attraction without problems. The only thing affecting you will be larger than usual crowds.
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I'm a true New York fan! Not only have I visited the city over 20 times but also have I spent several months here at a time. On my blog I show you the best and most beautiful spots of the city, so that you have a really good time! You can also find lots of insider tips in our New York travel guide. Also check out my hotel finder for New York!