Guide to Easter in New York City: Events, Food, and Things to Do

Where to Celebrate Easter in the Big Apple

People at the Easter Parade on Fifth Avenue

Mitchell Funk / Getty Images

Good Friday marks the start of a weekend packed with festive events and springy vibes surrounding Easter 2020 in New York City. On the calendar for April 12, the holy day will coax brunchers and egg hunters out to the city's many events, spanning from buffets to parades.

This is a busy time for the Big Apple, with the long holiday weekend beckoning school kids out to indulge in chocolate and Peeps. Expect parks to be a bit crowded as the first of the April sunshine (fingers crossed) prompts picnics and barbecuing.

Whether you're in the market for a mimosa or you're celebrating with kids in tow, New York City runs the gamut when it comes to Easter events. You should have no problem finding food and things to do from Good Friday to Easter Monday.

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Easter Parade and Easter Bonnet Festival

Easter Bonnet Festival

TripSavvy / Heather Cross

Every Easter Sunday, thousands of people parade down Fifth Avenue for a procession and the subsequent Bonnet Festival. Many participants arrive dressed in elaborate costumes; some even dressing up their dogs for the occasion. It's been a New York City tradition since the 1870s.

Anyone can join in on this so-called parade (more of a gathering, really), as long as they follow one rule: They must make their own costume (and it should be as over-the-top as possible—don't forget the headpiece!). If you're merely interested in viewing, the best vantage point is at St. Patrick's Cathedral. Show up anytime from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to watch the bonnet-wearing participants make their way from 49th Street to 57th Street.

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Indulge in Easter Brunch or Dinner

Easter Brunch
100 Layer Cake-let

New York City is a culinary melting pot where dollar-a-slice pizza parlors share blocks with Michelin-rated restaurants. No matter your preference, you're bound to find something that suits your fancy on Easter. Upscale eggs Benedict, wholesome ham dinners, and chicken and waffles await hungry revelers, but take the opportunity to also try international twists on the traditional brunch favorites: Masala jackfruit tacos, perhaps? Midtown East's Felidia—a white-tablecloth Italian eatery—will be offering a $100 tasting menu and a $128 family menu featuring prime beef strip loin tagliata and paccheri with bolognese and peas. On the Upper East Side, the Art Nouveau Parisian restaurant Orsay will be serving its three-course menu ($50 per person) with viennoiseries, a basket of freshly-baked French pastries. For a quintessential Cuban experience, head to the palm-dotted dining room of Havana Central Times Square where you'll be treated to brunch empanadas with a side of live Latin music.

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Attend Easter Church Services

Trinity Church

TripSavvy / Jackie Craven

St. Patrick's Cathedral is one of the most famous churches in the city. On Easter Sunday, it hosts eight masses, including one in Spanish. Only one requires reservations in advance. Alternatively, there's St. Pauls' Chapel at the Trinity Church in Lower Manhattan, which hosts the Great Vigil of Easter on Saturday evening and services all Sunday in both the church and chapel. Saint Thomas Church in Midtown also offers four services on Easter Sunday: a solemn Eucharist in the morning and midday, an organ recital, and a solemn evensong.

04 of 05

Participate in an Easter Egg Hunt

Easter egg hunt NYC
Melissa Ross / Creative RF / Getty Images

New York City knows how to host an urban Easter egg hunt (nay, hundreds of them). You'll find group-led and private scavenger hunts happening in every park across town. The Children's Museum of Manhattan stages a creative Easter egg hunt in which special treats are hidden all over the museum. Kids learn as they hunt for them. The New York City Fire Museum, alternatively, holds a hunt around the firehouse. Kids can even crawl on fire trucks to find them.

For outdoor festivities, head to one of the many parks in Manhattan from Riverside Park to Carl Schultz Park. Park organizations hold fun events for families here, all free and open to the public. 

Continue to 5 of 5 below.
05 of 05

Cruise With the Easter Bunny on the East River

The East River Ferry

Fletcher6 / Wikipedia Commons

Something a little more unique lies on the East River, where the annual Easter Bunny Kids Party Cruise will be making its way around the waterways with clowns, magic shows, and face painting on board. This offshore celebration is a rare opportunity to sail the high seas with the Easter Bunny, cruising around major sites like Lady Liberty. There will, of course, be an egg hunt involved.

The Easter Bunny Kids Party Cruise will make three trips per day on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $35 if booked in advance and $40 at the door. Reserve your spot ahead of time if you can because the event has sold out in the past.

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