Things to Do in NYC This Weekend (April 5-7)
(4/5-4/7) Looking for what to do in New York City this weekend? We've got the latest on all the goings-on, from concerts to museum exhibitions to comedy to the best in city sightseeing. The Shed at Hudson Yards kicks off its opening with a five-day concert, art show, and a play, orchids are in bloom at The New York Botanical Garden, the NYC Craft Beer Festival lays down some brews, and much more!
THE BIG EVENT
(4/5) The Shed at Hudson Yards officially opens! This innovative new venue/art space welcomes its 2019 opening season in three parts. First up is a world premiere of a five-day concert event, The Soundtrack of America, conceived and directed by Steve McQueen, with a creative team led by Quincy Jones and Maureen Mahon. Opening commissions continue Saturday, April 6, with new work by artist Trisha Donnelly and the world premiere of Reich Richter Pärt, an immersive live performance installation from Steve Reich, Gerhard Richter, and Arvo Pärt. The world premiere of Norma Jeane Baker of Troy is a specially commissioned spoken and sung work by poet and scholar Anne Carson, starring Ben Wishaw and Renee Fleming, performed on Tuesday, April 9 (previews April 6-7).
(New!) Hudson Yards is open! Learn more about New York's newest neighborhood, a mix of residential, retail, and office space, with tons of new restaurants in Midtown West near the Hudson. Plus take a walk up NYC's newest iconic sculpture, The Vessel. Learn about 6 Restaurants to Try at Hudson Yards here.
(4/5-4/7) Enjoy a one-of-a-kind experience at Madam Tussauds New York by staying over for the night. Enjoy the ultimate star-studded sleepover for you and your squad, filled with tons of Insta-worthy moments all captured by your own selfie butler, who's there to assure the perfect angles are always available to you. Your stay also includes a goodie bag with swag like a Booking.com robe, slippers, and Madame Tussauds mementos (drink tumbler, shot glass, foldable tote, thumb drive, and Madame Tussauds chocolate); dinner at Dallas BBQ; and a breakfast assortment of pastries with a $15 dollar Starbucks gift card.
(4/6) Take a fascinating gallery tour of Chelsea—the world's center for contemporary art—and see the very latest in painting, sculpture, electronic media, and photography. Your guide, who holds a Ph.D. in arts education, helps explain the artwork and leads the group in lively discussion. The tour takes place twice on Saturday 1pm and 3:45pm.
(4/7-4/7) ArtExpo New York at Pier 90.
(4/5-4/6) NYC Craft Beer Festival at a new venue, Union West.
(4/6) Share in Scottish-American pride as the New York Tartan Day Parade celebrates its 21st anniversary with a march up Sixth Avenue to cap off the festivities of NYC’s Tartan Week. Look for legions of pipers, pipe bands, drummers, Highland dancers, Scottish clans, and the ever-popular Scottish dogs. Renowned comedian, artist, musician, actor, and artist Sir Billy Connolly serves as the Grand Marshal.
(Now-4/7) Don't miss the Macy's Spring 2019 Flower Show.
(4/7) Whether you like your Bloody Marys spicy or sweet, garnished with pickles or olives, you’ll have a lot of fun at the Bloody Mary Festival in Brooklyn. Come to the Grand Prospect Hall for tastings, local food, temporary tattoos, and live music at this all-day event. At the end of the day, a local bar or restaurant will receive the coveted “Best Bloody Mary” award. Tickets are on sale now. 263 Prospect Ave., thebloodymaryfest.com
EXHIBITION OF THE WEEK
(New!) Folk art may seem like something that flourishes best in isolated areas, but it’s been a vibrant tradition in the heart of New York City for centuries. In fact, many objects associated with the heartland were originally manufactured by artisans here. A new show at the American Folk Art Museum, Made in New York City: The Business of Folk Art, uses some 100 works by self-taught artists to tell the story of how New York became the commercial and financial capital of the country, as seen through the lens of the folk art that was made here. From stoneware cast in the West Village to advertising figures made on Canal Street to weathervanes forged in the Bronx to carousel animals carved on Coney Island, see how New York City was the center of it all.
(New!) T. rex: The Ultimate Predator is now open at the American Museum of Natural History. Visitors encounter a massive, life-sized model of a T. rex with patches of feathers—as well as reconstructions of a fluffy T. rex hatchling and a four-year-old juvenile T. rex; and a “roar mixer” where visitors can imagine what T. rex might have sounded like by blending sounds from other animals. The museum is also presenting its first interactive, multi-player virtual reality experience.
J. R. R. Tolkien (1892–1973), Dust jacket design for The Hobbit [April 1937], pencil, black ink, watercolor, goache. Bodleian Libraries, MS. Tolkien Drawings 32. © The Tolkien Estate Limited 1937.
(Now-5/12) “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.” With these words Oxford professor J.R.R. Tolkien ignited a spark that's burned for generations of readers. From the children’s classic The Hobbit to the epic The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien’s tales of hobbits and elves, dwarves and wizards have introduced millions to Middle-earth, a world that Tolkien populated with creatures, languages, and histories. Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth at the Morgan Library & Museum is the most extensive public display of original Tolkien material in decades, stocked with family photographs and memorabilia, maps, draft manuscripts, and Tolkien’s original illustrations.
(Now-4/28) The Orchid Show celebrates its 17th year at The New York Botanical Garden with a tribute to Singapore, the “City in a Garden.” Thousands of flowers pay homage to Singapore’s innovative garden designs, floral displays, and advances in cultivation. Two iconic architectural elements take inspiration from the show’s two Singaporean partners: the “Supertrees” of Gardens by the Bay and the famed “Arches” of Singapore Botanic Gardens’ National Orchid Garden. The energy and nightlife of Singapore also come to the Bronx on Orchid Evenings, with music, cocktails like the Singapore Sling. The garden, just a 20-minute Metro-North ride from Grand Central Terminal, also features more than one million plants. nybg.org
Nickolas Muray (American, born Hungary, 1892–1965). Frida in New York, 1946? printed 2006. Carbon pigment print, image: 14 x 11 in. (35.6 x 27.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Emily Winthrop Miles Fund, 2010.80. Photo by Nickolas Muray, © Nickolas Muray Photo Archive. (Photo: Brooklyn Museum)
(New) Mexican painter Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) lived and worked in a manner which challenged the political, social, and sexual norms of her era. Kahlo held her national identity dear and used traditional Mexican dress as a fixture of her public persona. Her large body of self-portraits created a mythos of self (some say she invented the selfie). New at the Brooklyn Museum is Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving, a lush exhibition that shows off Kahlo’s art, in addition to personal artifacts like her cosmetics, letters, jewelry, and clothing. Additional context is provided by items from the museum’s Arts of the Americas collection, including Aztec sculptures, ceramics made in Guadalajara in the early 20th century, and an ancient Colima dog sculpture of a Xoloitzcuintli, a Mexican hairless dog that Kahlo had an affinity for.
(New!) You can experience the world of history’s most famous spy at 007 x SPYSCAPE: Driven, a brand-new exhibition inside New York’s spy museum, SPYSCAPE. This immersive exhibition brings you into the Bond universe with sets, props, and insights about the creation of the ageless secret agent. Among the highlights: an Aston Martin DB5, the lab of Quartermaster (or Q), M16’s gadget master, concept art from Oscar-winning production designer Sir Ken Adams, and an exploration of 2012 Bond film Skyfall’s unforgettable final scene.
Group IV, the Ten Largest, No. 3, Youth, 1907, from Untitled Series. Photo: Albin Dahlström, Moderna Museet, Stockholm
(Now-4/23) Before abstract art was a speck in Kandinsky’s eye, the painter Hilma af Klint (1862-1944) was pioneering non-representational painting in Sweden. A spiritualist who claimed to communicate with the dead, af Klint worked in near-obscurity, forbidding her paintings to receive public exposure until 20 years after her passing. Discover Hilma af Klint, a woman before her time, at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum exhibition Hilma af Klint: Paintings for the Future. Over 170 of af Klint’s non-figurative paintings are on display, richly colored and often staggering in scale. Many pieces play with geometry and floral shapes that seem to swim across the canvas. As af Klint worked on her series The Paintings for the Temple, she envisioned a spiral temple as their eventual home. She got her wish over a century later with this eye-opening exhibition at the Guggenheim. Note: to celebrate the final days of the exhibition the museum will be open until 8pm starting Friday, April 19 through Tuesday, April 23.
(Now-7/10) Photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, who died 30 years ago of complications from AIDS, is the subject of Implicit Tensions: Mapplethorpe Now, now displaying the first installment of a two-part retrospective at The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Mapplethorpe is known not just for his images, but for the controversies they incited. In 1989, after his death, his work became the centerpiece of a national debate about artistic censorship and what kinds of works public funds should cover (ironically, it was the debate that led to his widespread fame). Many of the images are graphic and retain the ability to cause discomfort, but time has lessened the shock; it has also brought to the forefront Mapplethorpe’s technical proficiency and his ability to capture deeply insightful looks at his subjects.
Photo: Jin Lee
(Ongoing) Sports in America provided a unique form of solace after the seismic losses of the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001. Comeback Season: Sports After 9/11, a special exhibition at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, delves into uplifting moments at games in the aftermath of the attacks. Explore the stories of Mike Piazza’s home run during a New York Mets home game, President George W. Bush’s first pitch at a World Series game at Yankee Stadium, and the New York City Marathon on November 4th, 2001. Video, artifacts, and moving images help provide context for a nation coming back together. Open Monday.
(Now-5/15) Jean-Michel Basquiat at The Brant Foundation Art Study Center in the East Village. Eighties it-painter Jean-Michel Basquiat, a Brooklyn product, created passionate, bold street art and canvases. He died at only 28. Organized in collaboration with the Fondation Louis Vuitton and curated by Brant Foundation founder Peter M. Brant and Dr. Dieter Buchhart, the inaugural exhibition will bring together Basquiat’s most important masterworks from the Brant Collections joined by contributions from international museums and private collections. No walk ins. Get tickets here (FREE). Note: there is a waitlist.
(4/4-4/5) Jerry Seinfeld at the Beacon Theater.
(4/4-4/7) In Living Color's Damon Wayans at Carolines.
(Ongoing) Color Factory, a massive interactive art space, began in August 2017 in San Francisco. Wildly popular, the project has set up shop in SoHo and is sure to inspire lines as long as the cronut did at nearby Dominique Ansel Bakery. Designed by a wide spectrum of artists, Color Factory walks visitors through 16 rooms devoted to the wonder of color. You’re invited to compliment someone using color words, discover your signature color, and read wishes for the world written by NYC school children on varicolored balloons. Each room is equipped with a camera that can take a picture of you and send it to your phone: the better to post with! On view now through August, 2019. 251 Spring St., email@example.com, colorfactory.co, @colorfactoryco
(4/7) Mirai at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. A young boy embarks on an exhilarating journey through his family’s past and future in this heart-soaring animated fantasy. When his parents bring home a new baby girl, four-year-old Kun struggles to find his place within his changing family—until he meets the future version of his own little sister. So begins a dazzling time-traveling odyssey that blends gentle comedy with a poignant message about what it means to be a family.
(Now-5/5) Bionic Me at the NY Hall of Science. With hands-on displays and full-body experiences, this exhibition explores the inventive and ingenious medical and industrial breakthroughs that have helped enhance the human experience. Visitors can move a ball with their mind, manipulate a robot arm, race against a Paralympian, use night vision to see in the dark, and explore how technology can provide camouflage and make you invisible.
(4/6-4/7) Family Bowl at Brooklyn Bowl, 11am-5pm. Every Saturday and Sunday. No cover.
(Ongoing) A 7D experience at Madame Tussauds New York, Mission: Undead, tasks you with killing more zombies than your friends! Prevent the zombie apocalypse and survive your first night of work on the force at this state-of-the-art Times Square attraction (13+).
For even more kids activities, check out our sister site nymetroparents.com!
(Ongoing) For more than 70 years, Circle Line has been showing visitors the city, including the only cruise that goes all the way around Manhattan: Circle Line’s Best of NYC Cruise. One trip will show off five boroughs, three rivers, and more than 20 bridges on the way to 101 New York City sights. State-of-the-art Empire Class ships have recently launched, providing quieter rides, better sound for the personable onboard guides, bigger windows, improved climate control, and more outdoor deck space. (For dining and entertainment, take a ride on Hudson’s, a three-story “floating rooftop” that’s a Circle Line sibling.)
(Ongoing) The New York Yankees are back! Game tickets may be scarce, but it’s easy to get the full stadium experience with Yankee Stadium Tours, which offers exclusive access to historic spots like Monument Park, The Great Hall, and even down to the dugout. The daily tours also bring you close to baseball artifacts like Babe Ruth’s bat, Lou Gehrig’s jersey, and rings and trophies representing the Yankees’ 27 world championships.
(Ongoing) Part show. Part tour. All entertainment. THE RIDE is a one-of-a-kind experience that turns the streets of New York into a stage. Journey through Times Square and midtown Manhattan as the city’s landmarks unfold before your very eyes. THE RIDE’s theatres-on-wheels also tour lower Manhattan, with THE DOWNTOWN EXPERIENCE Powered by THE RIDE, which lets visitors re-live iconic moments in New York history through the magic of TimeLooper Virtual Reality Headsets.
Immerse yourself in the deep, dark depths of the ocean, where Humboldt squid fight to the death, 50 foot whales ride overhead, play with sea lions, navigate a sea kelp maze and more at National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey! Here's a $10 off coupon!
Bring a loved one to take in the breathtaking view at Top of the Rock.
(Ongoing) The Rink at Rockefeller Center, the most famous patch of ice in the world, welcomes skaters for a very glamorous experience.
(Ongoing) Get all of the best of NYC with the SightSeeing Pass NYC, from CitySightseeing. You can mix and match your way to a complete New York experience, with more than 100 attractions and special discounts to choose from. This is the only pass that includes options for five double-decker loops, Woodbury Common shopping, a horse and carriage ride, or entry to One World Observatory. You can even save on lunch: the pass includes prix fixe meals and other discounts. For amazing water vantages, CitySightseeing offers a Hop-On, Hop-Off ferry tour. Passes are available in digital or physical format and available for one to seven days; check the website for complete details. sightseeingpass.com
MUSIC & NIGHTLIFE
(4/5-4/6) Orchid Evenings at The New York Botanical Garden. Step into one of the world’s greenest cultures as "Supertrees" come alive around you, exhilarating with a display of lights and orchids after dark in the conservatory. Sip a Singapore Sling and purchase a bite to eat from the Bronx Night Market Pop-Up (while freestyle dancers and DJs perform throughout the night) and explore the kaleidoscope of orchid varieties from the “City in a Garden” and beyond.
(4/5, 4/7, 4/9, 4/12, 4/14) The Shed at Hudson Yards officially opens! The innovative new venue/art welcomes the 2019 opening season with a world premiere of a five-day concert event, The Soundtrack of America, conceived and directed by Steve McQueen, with a creative team lead by Quincy Jones and Maureen Mahon.
(4/5) Yunior Terry Afro-Cuban Quartet at The Sound Bite. One of New York City’s most sought-after bassists, Yunior Terry is recognized for his big sound, versatility, and rhythmic vitality. 7pm & 9pm.
(4/6) The Emily Braden Quartet at The Sound Bite. Winner of New York City’s prestigious "Best of the Best" Jazzmobile Vocal Competition, Braden’s signature sound is an effortless blend of jazz and soul. Her debut album Soul Walk is composed of high-energy originals and "flipped-out" jazz standards. 7pm & 9pm.
Like what you see? Click here for more ideas on The Best Things to Do in April. We've got May covered, too! Want free advice on what to do and see in New York? Join our Facebook group Everything to Do NYC, a place for people to ask questions and get tips on how to make the most of the city.