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Annual Events & Festivals in New York City
Lunar New Year Parade & Festival/Chinese New Year (January/February) - Want to see a dragon dance? Then don’t miss Chinatown’s Lunar New Year Parade & Festival, one of the City’s most beloved cultural celebrations. To ring in the Lunar New Year, dazzling dragon troupes wend their way through the streets of Chinatown. The family-friendly parade draws crowds of hundreds of thousands.
Westminster Dog Show (February) - each year, dog fans flock to Madison Square Garden to find out which pooch will be designated Best in Show. Founded in 1877, the Westminster Kennel Club is America's oldest organization dedicated to the sport of purebred dogs.
St. Patrick's Day Parade (March) - You don’t have to be Irish to get a kiss at New York City’s famous St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The parade, which was first held on March 17, 1762, is the City’s oldest and largest.
Tribeca Film Festival (April) - In a relatively short amount of time, Robert De Niro’s Tribeca Film Festival has come to rival Cannes and Sundance. Founded in the wake of September 11 to help revitalize Lower Manhattan, the annual festival celebrates film, music and culture.
Easter Parade and Easter Bonnet Festival (March/April) - Each year on Easter the best of the bonnets are showcased along Fifth Avenue as New Yorkers celebrate the holiday by roaming the streets in their most festive spring gear.
Five Boro Bike Tour (May) - The best way to explore all of New York City in a day is on your own two wheels! The Five Boro Bike Tour is an annual tradition that attracts more than 30,000 cyclists of all ages. The ride is 42 miles long, but the terrain is mostly flat, so you don’t have to be an expert cyclist to join.
Fleet Week (May) - Thousands of servicemen and women from the US Marine Corps, Navy and Coast Guard will touch down on dry land during Fleet Week, a New York City tradition since 1984.
Museum Mile Festival (June) - Nine of the country’s finest museums offer free admission amid a festive car-free block party with live music, street performers and activities for kids.
Pride Week (June) - New York City is home to one of the world's most vibrant, thriving gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities.
Puerto Rican Day Parade (June) - In celebration of their community, country and culture, more than 80,000 Puerto Ricans march from 44th to 86th Streets in Manhattan as part of the annual National Puerto Rican Day Parade.
Nathan's Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest (July) - With a combination of steely grit, limber swallowing abilities and highly expandable stomachs, competitors in the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest take on the NYC dogs to the delight of throngs of screaming fans every year.
Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival (August) - in celebration of the fifth month of the lunar calendar, more than 120 dragon boat teams converge on Meadow Lake to compete in one of America’s largest dragon boat festivals.
US Open Tennis (August) - it’s the final Grand Slam tournament of the year—the one that makes or breaks seasons, and sometimes careers.
Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week (September) - promises yet another week of star-studded soirees showcasing the following spring's newest styles.
Village Halloween Parade (October) - Over the years it’s become a massive party with wildly costumed characters, puppets, bands, dancers and about two million spectators. Don’t let the crowd scare you off—this is a lively NYC tradition you won’t want to miss.
Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting (November) - The Christmas tree lighting at Rockefeller Center heralds the holiday season in New York City. Brave the crowds and the cold to see the giant tree adorned with more than 25,000 multicolored lights.
Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (November) - School marching bands, celebrity guests and performers bring excitement to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, but they take a backseat to the real stars of the show—the balloons. Every year, more than 2.5 million cheering spectators watch.
ING NYC Marathon (November) - This is the big one—a sporting event that often proves to be as much a life-changing experience as a physical challenge. Like all marathons, the New York City race covers 26.2 miles from start to finish—but no other city offers competitors the sights, sounds and sheer excitement of the NYC Marathon’s five-borough course.
Times Square New Year's Eve (December) - it wouldn’t be New Year’s Eve without watching the crystal ball drop in Times Square. Despite the typically frigid temperature, a million people gather for the world’s most famous New Year’s Eve party.
AOL Travel: Top 10 Things to Do in New York
10.) Take in the Customary Historical Landmarks
While every proud American should visit the historical significance of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, the Empire State Building, The World Trade Center Memorial and the other national landmarks in New York, there are simply too many to detail on a list of ten.
9.) Join the Argument for Best Pizza.
One of the longest running debates is not only New York vs. Chicago pizza, but who actually has the best pizza in New York. Tons of New York restaurants serving homemade pizza offer up a voice in the debate. You simply can't take a trip to NYC without adding your input on the matter, and fortunately, there's no tastier debate!
8.) Take it to the Top of the Rock
The newly opened Top of the Rock Observation Deck on the 67th, 69th and 70th floors of 30 Rockefeller Plaza offers one of the most impressive views of one of the most impressive cities in the world. It's open until midnight for a romantic visage of the twinkling stars above mirroring the glittering lights from the city below.
7.) The Metropolitan Museum of Art
From the early 20th century portraits and sculptures to the steel mastery of Frank Stella, the Met is one of the foremost collections of fine art in the world. The museum is so expansive and visual; you should plan on spending an entire day here.
6.) Radio City Music Hall
Is there a more American theater than Radio City Music Hall? This timeless testament to entertainment has captivated visitors since the 1930s and no other dance troupe will ever hold the esteem in the hearts of Americans like the Rockettes.
5.) Madame Tussauds Wax Museum
Where else in the world can you have a picture taken with Britney Spears, President Bush and Jack Sparrow? This world-famous wax museum is one of the most visited spots in New York.
If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. And without a doubt, you should try to make it to a Broadway show! This is the most famous theater district in the world. Either way, no trip to New York is complete without some singing and dancing.
3.) Times Square
It doesn't have to be New Year’s Eve to enjoy Times Square in New York City. As the heartbeat of NYC, Times Square signifies everything that the city represents. The excitement, the glamour, the independent free-spiritedness and artistic qualities of New York are all on display in this timeless spot.
2.) Carnegie Hall
An entire trip can be dedicated to Carnegie Hall and its collection of delicious restaurants, its enticing gift shop and educational museum. As one of the premiere concert halls in the nation, Carnegie Hall is a national institution.
1.) Stroll through Central Park
Leave your New York hotel and enjoy a stroll or ride a bike through one of America's most famous parks. There are plenty of recreational activities and there's always something special going on in the park, the best part about Central Park is that it’s free!