Cultural Festivals & Events in the NYC Area

Cultural Festivals & Events in the NYC Area

Celebrate your heritage, or learn about another, with these fun festivals!

   
UPDATED SEPTEMBER 2018:
Part of what makes New York City great is that it is a melting pot of cultures and ethnicities. You can teach your kids about different cultures through museum visits and books, or you can take to the streets to experience these cultures for yourself. Check out this list of 2018's cultural events and festivals in NYC and the surrounding area, and get to celebrating with your family!
      

Cultural Events in February

 

Taiwan Cultural Festival

Sunday, Feb. 11, 10am-5pm
Children's Museum of the Arts, 103 Charlton St., Greenwich Village

Workshops and performances inspired by Taiwanese artistic traditions, including cityscapes based on Taiwanese artist Chen Chun-Hao, sound booth workshops based on Taiwan's opera culture, and more.

 

Lunar New Year Family Festival

Saturday, Feb. 17, 11am-4pm
Museum of Chinese in America, 215 Centre St., Chinatown

Enjoy zodiac arts & crafts, lively dance performances, festive snacks, and timeless tales inspired by Chinese and Chinese American New Year’s traditions. 


Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade and Festival

Sunday, Feb. 25, 1pm
Chinatown, Parade begins on the corner of Mott and Canal streets, Chinatown

Ring in the year of the Dog at this popular New York parade and street festival. Join thousands of New Yorkers and visitors alike in the streets of Chinatown and Little Italy for traditional Chinese New Year performances, beautiful decorations and costumes, floats, music, and delicious food. 

 

Cultural Events in March

 

Pakistani Cultural Festival

Sunday, March 18, 10am-5pm
Children's Museum of the Arts, 103 Charlton St., Greenwich Village

Celebrate the culture of Pakistan with CMA. There will be workshops inspired by Pakistani artistic traditions and performances by the Asian American Artist Alliance.

 

St. Patrick's Day Parade

Saturday, March 17, 11am-5pm
Fifth Avenue, between East 44th and East 79th streets, Midtown/Upper East Side

Watch thousands of marchers parade up Fifth Avenue in celebration of Irish culture and history. The parade marches past St. Patrick's Cathedral and ends at the Irish Historical Society at 79th Street.

 

Cultural Events in April


New York Tartan Day Parade

Saturday, April 7, 2pm
Sixth Avenue, West 45th to West 55th streets, Midtown

Celebrate Scottish heritage and pride at this annual parade featuring all the kilts, pipes, and marchers you can imagine. Last year, the event drew more than 3,500 participants and 30,000 spectators. This year's Grand Marshal is award-winning Scottish singer-songwriter KT Tunstall.

 

Moroccan Cultural Festival

Sunday, April 15, 10am-5pm
Children's Museum of the Arts, 103 Charlton St., Greenwich Village

Celebrate Moroccan culture with workshops and performances inspired by artistic traditions. Look at artwork from Moroccan artists Bouchra Khalili and Omar Bouragba, and create your own art based on their practices.

 

Cherry Blossom Festival

Saturday, April 21, 12-4pm
Randall's Island Park, Fields 62/63 next to the Urban Farm, Randall's Island

Celebrate the spring season and Japanese culture with paper flower making, face painting, kite flying, Yoyo balloon fishing, origami with Taro’s Origami Studio, kimono try-ons with New York de Volunteer, crafts, games, and more.

 

Cultural Events in May


Irish Dance Festival

Sunday, May 6, 1-7pm
Pier I, Riverside Park South, Riverside Drive and West 68th Street, Upper West Side

Learn the difference between sean-nós, céilí, and step dance with opportunities for all to join in. Performers include festival favorites Donny Golden Dancers, Niall O’Leary Dance Troupe, Darrah Carr Dance, and Niall O’Leary School of Irish Dance, plus special guests.

 

Haitian Cultural Festival

Sunday, May 6, 10am-5pm
Children's Museum of the Arts, 103 Charlton St., Greenwich Village

A celebration of Haitian culture with workshops and performances inspired by traditional and contemporary Haitian art. Enjoy storytelling and songs by Riva Nyri Precil, presented by the Haiti Cultural Exchange.

 

Japan Day and Run 2018

Sunday, May 13, 8am
Central Park, 69th Street and Fifth Avenue, Central Park

Bring the kids out to Central Park for running, fun activities, and an opportunity to learn about Japanese culture.

 

Annual Children's Festival: Celebrating imagiNATIONS!

May 19-20, Saturday-Sunday, 11am-5pm
Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian, 1 Bowling Green, Lower Manhattan

Celebrate the ingenuity of the indigenous cultures of the Americas. Practice balancing techniques needed to master control of a traditional Yup’ik kayak from the Arctic; learn how to weave rope strong enough to create a bridge like one found in the Andes of Peru; and discover the counting and numeric skills of the Mayans.

 

Cultural Events in June


NYC Multicultural Festival

Saturday, June 2, 11am-7pm
Jackie Robinson Park Bandshell, 85 Bradhurst Ave., Harlem

Enjoy live performances, arts and crafts, food and retail vendors, fashion, activities for children, health, safety, and wellness activities, slides, photo booths, giant video games, including information resources, free giveaways, and more.

 

Celebrate Israel Parade

Sunday, June 3, 11am-4pm
Fifth Avenue, from 57th to 74th streets, Midtown to Upper East Side

Fifth Avenue will once again turn blue and white as more than 30 floats with musical performers, 15 marching bands, and 40,000 marchers entertain spectators for the largest celebration of Israel in the world. 

 

West African Cultural Festival

Sunday, June 3, 10am-5pm
Children's Museum of the Arts, 103 Charlton St., Greenwich Village

Celebrate West African culture with performances and workshops inspired by West African artistic traditions and contemporary artists.

 

National Puerto Rican Day Parade 

Sunday, June 11, 11am-5pm
Fifth Avenue between 44th and 79th Streets, Manhattan 

The annual parade celebrates Puerto Rican culture, heritage, and its contribution to the United States. This year’s honorees—leaders, educators, artists, and celebrities that have made their mark on the nation—are actress Jeimy Osorio, singer Bobby Cruz, singer Iris Chacon, and Olympic gold medal gymnast Laurie Hernandez, plus Grand Marshal Gilberto Santa Rosa, a salsa singer known as “The Gentleman of Salsa”.

 

18th Annual Egg Rolls, Egg Creams & Empanadas Festival

Sunday, June 17, 12-4pm
The Museum at Eldridge Street, 12 Eldridge St., Lower East Side

Through folk art demonstrations, music, dance, and conversations with the featured practitioners, festival-goers will enjoy the rich interaction between the Jewish, Chinese, and Puerto Rican artists and performers. Kids will love tasting kosher egg rolls, egg creams, empanadas, and other traditional foods.

 

Swedish Midsummer Festival

Friday, June 23, 5-8pm
Robert F. Wagner Park and Pier A Plaza, Battery Park City, Manhattan

Celebrate some Swedish heritage and tradition in Battery Park. Families are welcome to picnic in the grass, help decorate the midsummer pole, make flower wreaths, dance, play games, and listen to authentic fiddle music. The festival occurs rain or shine, so be sure to make plans to enjoy the day no matter what!

 

Cultural Events in July


International African Arts Festival

July 1-4, Saturday-Tuesday, 10am-9pm
Commodore Barry Park, Navy Street between Park and Flushing avenues, Brooklyn
Suggested donation: $5; $2 children

Formerly called the African Street Festival, this event began in 1971 as a small block party. It’s now a huge celebration for African culture. There will be vendor booths for crafts, clothing, art, books, and more, as well as food and entertainment for the whole family, including a poetry show, fashion show, Akorm Ceremony, chess tournament, dance workshops, kids play area, and African world music. 

 

Bastille Day

Sunday, July 9, 12-5pm
East 60th Street between Fifth and Lexington avenues, Manhattan

Celebrate French culture in NYC with the family. There will be cancan dancers, mimes, and music along with French delicacies and patisserie to indulge in, as well as cheese and wine, beer, and cocktails (for the adults of course). There’s even a special kids’ corner with activities including face painting and arts and crafts.

  

Annual Grand Mid-Summer Pow Wow

July 28-30, Friday, 6-10pm, Saturday 10am-10pm, and Sunday, 10am-5pm
Queens County Farm Museum, 73-50 Little Neck Parkway, Queens
Admission: $10; $5 children 12 and younger; weekend pass: $16; $7 children 12 and younger

Come to the 54th celebration of The Thunderbird American Indian Dancers at NYC’s oldest and largest powwow! More than 40 Indian nations will be represented, along with traditional clothing, dancing, bon fires, music, and more. There will also be arts and crafts, jewelry, and delicious food to eat.

   

Harlem Week

July 30-Aug. 26
Visit harlemweek.com for schedule of events and locations

Although the event is called Harlem Week, the festivities span almost a month to celebrate local culture and history. There are a variety of events scheduled including live music, The Hip Hop Film Festival, children’s festival, education fair, outdoor film festival, an auto show, tennis clinics, a 5K run/walk, and an economic development day.

RELATED: The Realities of Growing Up with a Mixed-Race Background

 

Cultural Events in August


Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival

Aug. 12-13, Saturday-Sunday; schedule TBA
Flushing Meadows Park, Queens 

This is a great opportunity to experience Chinese culture! Watch as teams from around the world compete in this traditional Chinese summer event. Along with the racing boats, families can enjoy multicultural artists and traditional music and dance from around the globe, plus a food court that offers a variety of tasty treats. 

 

Fiesta in America

Aug. 12-13, Saturday-Sunday,
Meadowlands Expo Center, Secaucus, NJ

Fiesta in America is a blend of trade and cultural expo that helps Filipino businesses get a foothold in the mainstream consumer market. For the past 19 years, the expo has celebrated Filipinos and their culture. The trade pavilion features businesses, the food court offers a variety of Filipino foods, and the children’s pavilion give kids the opportunity to learn about Philippine folklores, crafts, and dances. Plus, there will be music and comedy.

 

Black Love Fest NY 2018

Sunday, Aug. 19, 12-5pm
Sugar Hill Children's Museum, 898 Saint Nicholas Ave., Sugar Hill

Enjoy music performances, DJs sets, art installations, and art making workshops led by The Black School in promoting a cultural movement for Black love. There will be merchandise and food vendors too.

 

India Day Parade

Sunday, Aug. 20, 11am-6pm, cultural programs: 2:30-6pm
Madison Avenue, from 38th to 26th streets, Manhattan

Celebrate India’s vast culture and heritage right here in New York at what is touted as the world’s largest India Day Parade. The parade will feature floats, music, and dancing in traditional garb. At the end of the parade, visitors can enjoy Indian food or purchase goods at one of the many booths set up as well as cultural programs for all ages.

 

41st Annual Brighton Jubilee

Sunday, Aug. 27, 10am-6pm
Brighton Beach, Brooklyn  

A Brooklyn tradition that celebrates the borough's diversity, this multi-block festival features entertainment, live music, kid rides, delicious food booths, and local merchandise. 

 

New York Renaissance Faire

Aug. 4-Sept. 30, Saturday-Sunday and Labor Day, 10am-7pm
600 Route. 17A, Tuxedo Park, NY
845-351-5171

Take a step back in time to Elizabethan England for 16th century-style games, rides, crafts, music, dance, and tasty food. See knights in shining armor and old time costumes. Shop in the artisan market to take some of the fun home with you. Each weekend is themed, including Kids Admitted Free, Celtic, Time Travelers, Pirates, and Masquerade weekends.

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Cultural Events in September


Brazilian Day

Sunday, Sept. 3
West 46th Street, Little Brazil, Manhattan

The festival and outdoor concert celebrating Brazil’s Independence Day started as a small group of Brazilians who wanted to celebrate the holiday. It now spans 25 blocks. There will be traditional food to eat along with lively dancing, music, and celebration for all ages. The costumes will delight and the festivities will go on all day long.

 

1776 Peace Conference House Celebration

Saturday, Sept. 8, 11am-4pm
Conference House Museum, 7455 Hylan Blvd., Staten Island

Celebrate American history and culture with the family in Staten Island. See re-enactments of historical moments, take a house tour, and dabble in crafting of years ago. There will be colonial-style dancing and food as well as special activities for the kids.

 

The 92nd Annual Feast of San Gennaro

Sept. 13-23, see website for schedule
Little Italy, Grand and Mott streets, Little Italy

This celebration includes colorful parades, live musical performances, and ethnic food. 

 

61st German-American Steuben Parade

Saturday, Sept. 15, 12-3pm
Fifth Avenue, between 65th and 86th streets, Upper East Side

Cheer for the marchers while enjoying music, dance groups, and people in Karneval costumes and historic Tracht.
WANT TO GO? 347-454-2269. germanparadenyc.org.

 

The Great Irish Fair

Saturday, Sept. 22, 10am-9pm
Ford Amphitheater at Coney Island Boardwalk, 3052 W. 21st St., Brooklyn

Celebrate Irish-American culture and heritage with traditional and contemporary Irish music, food and pubs, Irish dancing, Irish goods, and activities for children.  

 

16th Annual Autumn Moon Cultural Festival

Saturday, Sept. 22, 12-4:30pm
Better Chinatown USA, Mott Street between Canal and Bayard streets, Chinatown

Take in various stage performances, cultural arts and crafts, calligraphy, moon cake tastings, and gift vendors.

 

Latinx Arts Festival

Sept. 22-23, Saturday-Sunday, 11am
Children's Museum of Manhattan, 212 W. 83rd St., Upper West Side

Use stamps to create rubbings and prints of life-sized figures inspired by the work of Belkis Ayón.

 

Medieval Festival

Sunday, Sept. 30, 11:30am-6pm
Fort Tryon Park, Broadway to the Hudson River, Manhattan

Go back to the Middle Ages at this annual festival sure to delight kids and adults of all ages. Wander through the medieval market town and see performers in period dress, along with magic acts, dancing, juggling, and even jousting on horseback. There will be medieval food, drinks, and crafts to enjoy. Don’t forget to dress in your medieval best!
    

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Cultural Events in October

 

Columbus Day Parade

Monday, Oct. 8
Fifth Avenue, from 47th to 72nd streets, Manhattan

Celebrate Columbus’ journey to finding America along with thousands of visitors and parade participants. There will be more than 100 bands and floats, including high-school bands, professional groups, and traditional dances. This parade is the world’s largest celebration of Italian-American and Italian culture.

 

Cultural Events in December

Viva! Latino Film Festival NYC Int’l.

Dec. 19-22
Film schedule and locations TBA

With the mission of educating and advancing the public’s understanding and appreciation of Latin culture and film, the festival features films from emerging and established Latino filmmakers from the U.S., Spain, Mexico, and Latin America. Films range from shorts, documentaries, and music videos to animation, features, and web series.

 

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