Things to do in New York for Pride Day

Several fabulous ways to spend your day at NYC Pride
By Stuart Bak

New Yorkers know how to throw a party, and the NYC Pride parade and associated PrideFest street fair are no exception.

NYC Pride is the largest festival of its kind in North America, pulling in somewhere in the region of two million people for the main event every year. Visitors can expect month-long roster of performances and events that include queer theater, comedy shows, drag extravaganzas and LGBTQ+ movie screenings. Read on for our guide to the parade, Pridefest and all the other fun things to do on and around NYC Pride Day…

Person waving a Pride rainbow flag
Flying the rainbow flag at Pride

NYC Pride Events

There’s a whole host of satellite events taking place in the run-up to Pride Day proper, many of which are worthy of your attention if you happen to be in town for the duration. These include:

  • A program of talks. workshops and activities (suitable for all ages) at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan.
  • The annual Pride concert from Stonewall Chorale, the country’s fist gay and lesbian choir.
  • NewFest’s LGBTQ+ film premieres, plus filmmaker Q&As and fun social gatherings.
  • The Criminal Queerness Festival, which showcases theatrical works from queer and trans artists in countries that criminalize or otherwise suppress LGBTQ+ communities.
  • New York City Dyke March requires little explanation, other than to say it's a protest (i.e.not an officially recognized parade) raising awareness around women’s and trans rights, and that it takes place peacefully (with puppetry, homemade banners and love) the day before the official Pride March.
Revelers at a Pride march
NYC Pride March revelers in spectacular headgear

NYC Pride March and PrideFest

The main date for your diary is the last Sunday of June. This is when the NYC Pride March snakes its way through Lower Manhattan and Greenwich Village, bringing flamboyant floats, eye-popping costumes and plenty of singing and dancing in its wake. Love is in the air as this celebration of inclusivity and LGBTQ+ culture gets the Pride party started in earnest from 11AM. Spectators line the sidewalks, eager to shout support and of course snag those all-important Insta shots, as float after increasingly outlandish float passes through en route to the Stonewall National Monument, in a nod to the 1969 NYC riots that kickstarted the whole global LGBTQ+ rights movement. Watch out for appearances by the festival's grand marshals – luminaries to have filled this ceremonial role in years past include Billie Jean King, Laverne Cox, Billy Porter and Sir Ian McKellen.

The party continues over at PrideFest, which runs in tandem with the parade, also kicking off at 11AM for a day of fun socializing and great live music. Expect dozens of local vendors, with goodies that run the gamut from international street food to craft cocktails, unique fashions and artisan jewelry. The performers are no slouches either: previous years have seen the likes of Ariana Grande, Grace Jones and even Madonna set the stage on fire (no, not literally).

If this all sounds a little hectic that’s because, well, it is. But fear not: there’s something for families too. Hit up YouthFest at the scenic South Street Seaport, where kids can make new friends, express themselves and enjoy games, food and live music in a safe, inclusive environment that celebrates their individuality.

Pride flag in New York
A Pride flag in NYC

Visit New York’s Top LGBTQ+ Attractions

As we said, New York doesn’t do things by halves, and Pride month is no exception. The famous Pride rainbow flag is flown at state parks and buildings across New York and a whole host of major NYC attractions are illuminated in the spectrum of colors. That’s right, everything from the One World Trade Center to the Empire State Plaza and even the Niagara Falls will experience a splash of the red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple magic at one point or another in the month.

It’s a great time to visit New York’s many attractions. Explore three centuries of queer culture at the excellent Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, see iconic works by 20th-century photographer and LGBTQ+ trailblazer Alice Austen at the Alice Austen House Museum, and pay your respects the tens of thousands of New Yorkers who have lost their lives to AIDS at the moving West 12th Street memorial. The LGBT Center in Greenwich Village is a hub for community activities and events throughout the year, so it’s only natural that Pride Day is among its most popular, with table games, live music, photo booths and, yes, karaoke. Don’t miss the chance to duck into the second-floor bathroom for a peep at artist Keith Haring’s famous ‘Once Upon a Time’ mural.

Drag queen
A very floral drag queen in full flow

Then, of course, there are the legendary gay bars and drag nights along the Parade route and beyond, among them Cubbyhole, Albatross, the Barracuda Lounge. And can you really say you’ve been to NYC Pride if you haven’t called in for a cocktail at The Stonewall Inn? Now a National Historic Landmark, this is one of Pride’s busiest nightspots, so be prepared to queue. Look out for the sign declaring ‘this is a raided premises’ at the entrance, in recognition of the events that led to the 1969 riots.

Edge observation platform in New York
View from Edge observation deck in NYC

Best of the Rest: NYC’s Other Top Attractions

You’re in the Big Apple, baby, so there’s plenty more you can see and do should the Pride crowds get a little too much for you. The New York Pass can save you $$$ when visiting multiple attractions over consecutive days. There are over 100 attractions, tours and activities included with the pass, including some of the city’s absolute essentials.

Get an aerial view of the party from some of the highest observation platforms in the West. We’re talking no less than Top of the Rock, the One World Observatory, and the Empire State Building itself! It’s also a great time to check out world-class museums like MoMA and the Guggenheim, which generally run tours or exhibitions highlighting work by LGBTQ+ artists around Pride – both museums are included on the New York Pass. You could also visit Lady Liberty, take a bike ride around Central Park, or come face to face with Marilyn, Angelina and Tay Tay at Madame Tussauds New York. And there are guided walking tours galore: Chinatown, Little Italy, Wall Street and more. Heck, there’s even a Pride-themed tour, although (for reasons we hope would be obvious) this one isn't available on Pride Day itself!

Find out more and get your New York Pass here.

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Things to Do in NYC in the Winter for Tourists

It may be cold outside, but you'll have a great time in New York City. In fact, winter is a great time to visit the Big Apple. Imagine seeing Central Park lightly dusted with freshly fallen snow. Or catching an event that only occurs a few times a year. Indeed, winter in New York City is a magical time to visit, and there are lots of things to see and do. Here are some of our favorites: The Museum Mile Restaurant Week Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum Fashion Week Madison Square Garden 9/11 Memorial and Museum New York Botanical Garden and more! Free Entry with The New York Pass® Free entry to many of these popular New York attractions and activities are included on The New York Pass®. Used by over 3.5 million travelers, the New York Pass is the ultimate sightseeing pass, which includes admission to 90+ attractions, Fast Track Entry at select attractions, a free guidebook, & much more. Learn more about the New York Pass benefits & how to save up to 70% off attractions. Experience world-class art along the Museum Mile The Upper East Side's bevy of art museums offers shelter from cold temperatures and a chance to see some of the finest artwork collections in the world. Along the Museum Mile you'll find world-renowned cultural institutions including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Jewish Museum, the Museum of the City of New York, the Museum of African Art, the National Academy Museum, Neue Galerie, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum and El Museo del Barrio. Admission: Museum of the City of New York tickets, Guggenheim tickets, and the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum tickets are included with The New York Pass; admission to the MET, the Jewish Museum, the Museum of African Art, the National Academy Museum and Neue Galerie is separately ticketed and not included with The New York Pass. Treat yourself during Restaurant Week Each winter, some 400 of New York City's finest restaurants offer three-course, prix-fixe menus that allow you to experience fine dining at a fraction of the cost. The Restaurant Week promotion is usually held in late January and early February. If you can't get to the city for Restaurant Week, you can get a taste of New York flavor with a Food on Foot tour. Visit iconic neighborhoods that specialize in specific cuisines and experience all the different flavors that make New York such a culinary delight! Admission: Guided Food on Foot Tour tickets are included with the New York Pass. See Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum A tourist favorite, Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum features likenesses of the biggest names in pop culture. Located in Times Square, the museum features more than 200 life-like wax figures. You'll find everyone from Marvel superheroes to Marilyn Monroe to Abraham Lincoln to Serena Williams. You should also plan to see Madame Tussaud's immersive exhibits like Kong: Skull Island, the Ghostbuster's: Dimension hyper-reality experience or the Fashion Experience where you can design clothing alongside Heidi Klum. Admission: Madame Tussauds tickets are included with the New York Pass. Explore a legendary venue in the Winter Some of the most notable sporting events and concerts take place right in New York City. As a result, the venues themselves are legendary in their own right. Take a behind-the-scenes tour of Madison Square Garden that's hosted everything from boxing matches to presidential birthday parties. Get the scoop on what really happens backstage at Radio City Music Hall, or go behind the scenes at your favorite baseball team's home field during a tour of Yankee Stadium. Admission: Madison Square Garden Behind-the-Scenes Tour tickets, Radio City Music Hall Tour tickets, and Yankee Stadium Tour tickets are all included with The New York Pass. Visit the 9/11 Memorial and Museum September 11, 2001 was a turning point in the United States. Located on the grounds of World Trade Center, the memorial and museum pays tribute to to the 2,983 people who were killed in the terrorist attacks. No visit to New York would be complete without a visit to the 15,000 square foot museum. You'll get to view the exhibits and artifacts that tell the story of this defining moment in American history. Admission: 9/11 Memorial and Museum tickets are included with the New York Pass. Take a Hop-On, Hop-Off bus tour Jump on the Big Bus and let a knowledgeable tour guide show you around the city. If something sounds interesting, get off for further exploration. When you're done, you can catch the next bus and continue along the route. On colder days, you can grab a cup of hot cocoa and sit in the open air for a birds' eye view! Alternatively, you can also sit inside the heated cab on the lower level. Admission: Big Bus Hop-on Hop-off Tour tickets are included with the New York Pass. See where your favorite show was filmed Many television shows and movies are filmed in the Big Apple, so check out some of the more iconic settings. A walking tour of Central Park will reveal many spots you'll recognize from films like Home Alone or Gossip Girl. Head right to the doorsteps of favorites like Seinfeld and How I Met Your Mother on a bus tour that travels north of Times Square. Admission: Guided When Harry Met Seinfeld Bus Tour tickets and Central Park TV & Movie Sites Walking Tour tickets are included with the New York Pass. Get glamorous during Fashion Week Each February, New York City buzzes as high-end fashion designers show off their latest creations during Fashion Week. The clothes are great; the people watching is better! If you can't make it to a runway show, consider a walking tour that explains why New York has become the fashion capital of the world and get the inside scoop on your favorite designers' places to shop! Admission: Fashion Windows Walking Tour tickets are included with The New York Pass. Please note: admission to Fashion Week shows are separately ticketed and not included with the New York Pass. Explore a botanical garden Yes, even in the winter, there's plenty to see and do at the city's botanical gardens. With interactive activities, learning experiences and one-of-a-kind treasures, the New York Botanical Garden and Brooklyn Botanic Garden are hot spots, even when it's cold outside. Admission: New York Botanical Garden tickets and Brooklyn Botanic Garden tickets are included with The New York Pass. Come aboard the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum One of the most interesting museums in the city floats in Hudson River. Visitors can view the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, a WWII-era aircraft carrier that doubles as home to exhibits, educational programming and really cool aircraft and historic artifacts. The boat has also been home to several notable concerts since 1982 when it was moored at its current location. Admission: Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum tickets are included with the New York Pass. Get lost in the American Museum of Natural History Where else can you see a Titanosaur other than the American Museum of Natural History on the Upper West Side? With 2 million square feet of space, the museum is one of the largest in the world. The space is made up of 28 interconnected building featuring 28 exhibit halls, a library, and a planetarium. You can easily spend the day here! Admission: American Museum of Natural History tickets are included with the New York Pass. Remember to Save on Attraction Admission If you're traveling to New York during the winter, then you may want to take some time to visit the wonderful indoor attractions in the city. You'll get a chance to view historic museums and tour iconic theaters throughout the boroughs. However, there's a lot of attractions to visit in New York so you'll want to stretch your dollar as much as possible. Purchase a New York Pass to save money on your trip and gain free entry to over 90 attractions in NYC. Click here for more information.
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wollman rink

New York in December

Few cities know how to celebrate the holidays quite like New York. If you’re lucky enough to be in the city during December, you’ll notice New York’s most iconic landmarks transformed with lights, decorations and events in time for the holidays. Whatever you’re into, whether it’s festive Broadway shows, holiday markets, sightseeing or all three, it's easy to get into the spirit of the season with so many things to do in New York in December. Tree Lighting Ceremony at Rockefeller Center The sight of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is as impressive as it is famous. A New York City icon, the tree reaches up to 100 feet tall and lighting it has been a NYC tradition since 1933. The ceremony usually takes place in either late November or early December, so if you’re travelling to New York around this time, you’ll enjoy a festive treat. As well as this annual event, you can take advantage of the many shopping and dining options available nearby. Why not lace up a pair of rental skates and glide around the ice rink at Rockefeller Center? Admission: viewing the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center is free and open to the public. Address: 45 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10111Opening times: open 24 hoursWebsite: Holiday window displays Every holiday season, world-famous New York City department stores compete to create the best holiday window display. This window display competition creates a great tourist activity that's apt for the holiday season, and it's free! There are five major department stores to check out: Bloomingdale's, Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, and Macy's Herald Square. These department stores are all located fairly close to one another in the Midtown area, along Lexington Ave, Madison Ave, Fifth Ave and Broadway. Radio City Music Hall Radio City Music Hall is perhaps most famous for the Christmas Spectacular and the Rockettes. Ask any local and they’ll agree that no holiday season is complete without this high-energy and highly entertaining performance, with the Rockettes performing eye-high kicks to the beat of festive holiday music. After viewing the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall, continue the holiday festivities at the Bryant Park Holiday Market. Just head eight blocks downtown to check out the Market at 6th Ave and 42nd Street. Address: 1260 6th Ave, New York, NY 10020Opening times: the Apollo Theatre Box Office is open Monday to Saturday 10AM - 8PM Empire State Building Lights The celebration, which takes place throughout November and December, will include a seasonal Fifth Ave window display, holiday concerts and surprise appearances by celebrity guests. Decorations in the building's signature Art Deco style adorn the 34th Street Observatory entrance and iconic Fifth Ave lobby, making the interior of the Empire State Building shine like its world-famous tower lights. From the ground floor to the sparkling antenna, ESB spreads holiday cheer throughout every corner of New York City and the world. Visitors can enjoy the attraction’s radiant heaters, which provide extra comfort on ESB's 86th floor exterior 360-degree viewing deck. Address: 20 W 34th St, New York, NY 10001Opening times: Open every day 3AM - 6PM Dyker Heights Christmas lights During the rest of the year, Dyker Heights is a small area of Brooklyn you might just wander through on your travels. But during the holidays, the area, especially the Kings County neighborhood, is transformed into an illumination-filled festive nightscape widely hailed as the best in NYC. Expect lifesize santas, sleighs, carols and a crowd of all ages. Take down a flask of eggnog and enjoy the festive atmosphere. Address: displays from 11th to 13th Ave (also known as Dyker Heights Blvd) from 83rd to 86th St in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn. Time Warner Center If you find the Dyker Heights lights in Brooklyn mesmerizing, try the Time Warner Center lights display. The hanging stars change color every few seconds, and while it’s not as grand and elaborate as the ones in Dyker Heights - nothing is - it’s less crowded, it’s inside (although you can also see them from outside) and you can pop into Williams Sonoma to buy some Peppermint Bark. And, if you’re still in need of more holiday shopping, check out the holiday market right across the street, as well as many others. Address: 10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019Opening times: display times vary Central Park and Wollman Rink The City of New York gets Central Park all decked out for the holidays. Decorations and lights are put up all over and you may hear Christmas carolers during a holiday visit - a walk through Central Park is especially festive when it’s snowing. The park also offers horse-drawn carriage rides that contribute some rustic charm to a wintertime ride through the park. One wintertime activity that you should definitely take advantage of when you’re in the city for the holidays is ice skating at the Wollman Rink. The rink offers ice skate rentals and it’s located only minutes from the Central Park Zoo. Address: Wollman Rink: 830 5th Ave, New York, NY 10065Opening times: Woolman Rink: 10AM - 11PM / Rockefeller Center: 8.30AM - midnight Strasbourg-Alsace Holiday Market After viewing the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall, continue the holiday festivities at the Bryant Park Holiday Market. Just head eight blocks downtown to check out the market at 6th Ave and 42nd Street. Or if you love shopping at the holiday markets but want to check out something new, try the Strasbourg-Alsace Holiday Market in Bowling Green Park. This is truly an under-the-radar holiday event. The market features table linens from Colmar, pottery from Soufflenheim, ornaments from Strasbourg and more. You’ll also find such delicacies as Alsatian craft beer, hot chestnuts and sausages. For more holiday markets, check out our deep dive. Opening times: these vary, but New York’s holiday markets are exclusively open from November - December. Address: 26 Broadway, New York, New York 10004
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Best Restaurants and Discounts in NYC

Best Restaurants and Discounts in NYC Millions of people from far and wide visit New York City each year. Many are tourists making their way to New York because of the beautiful sightseeing opportunities or the world-renowned attractions like the Empire State Building. Some visit for New York's rich history or for the unmatched nightlife in the city that never sleeps. There's tons of reasons to visit NYC but one thing is for sure, when you're in New York, you have to take advantage of the amazing department stores and shopping opportunities. Discounts / Special Offers During your trip to New York City, you'll probably be visiting the most famous attractions that the city has to offer, but you'll certainly have some down time. The discounts or "Special Offers" that you receive with the New York Pass are excellent for those moments. You can take your family out to eat or take them on a shopping spree and be confident in the fact that you're saving money on your trip. All you have to do is present your New York pass at these Special Offer locations and you'll receive your discount on the spot. Restaurants You won't be able to wander too far in Manhattan without passing by a mouth-watering, authentic New York style restaurant. Places like Buca di Beppo and John's Pizzeria will help you experience that great New York flavor instantly. You can also use your New York Pass for discounts on your meal at Planet Hollywood, Mangia, Ristoranti Settepani and more. Broadway Tickets A trip to New York City just wouldn't be complete without viewing a good Broadway performance. Luckily Applause Tickets provides a wide variety of the top Broadway shows and you can save 10% off the price of tickets by purchasing with the New York Pass. Shopping Discounts There's always time to shop in New York. Especially when you can visit iconic department stores like Macy's or Bloomingdales where you'll find the best deals on designer brands. Between spurts of touring the city, make a stop at one of these legendary shopping centers to take advantage of discounts with your New York Pass. You can also use your pass for a voyage to Woodbury Commons and enjoy savings up to 65% with a VIP coupon booklet. For a full list of Special Offers that grant you discounts with the New York Pass, visit the Attractions page and scroll all the way to the bottom. Try fitting some of these locations into your itineraries and make the most of your time in the city while saving more money.
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