Year-round Botanical Gardens & Shows

Nature has its pockets in New York City. Some of them, like the 250-acre national historic landmark and most famous NY botanical garden, are pretty big pockets.

…Big enough to host thousands of events each year in addition to supporting millions of plants altogether.

Other signs of nature, like Macy’s Flower show in May, appear and disappear, short and sweet. Still others, like the cherry blossom festivals peppering the city in spring, are culturally infused shindigs that linger for weeks.

In this installment of our Ultimate Guide to NYC Flowers, we’ll guide you through the year-round botanical gardens and time-sensitive shows and festivals to add to your NYC events calendar. Check out Free NYC Flower Gardens and Community Gardens in Manhattan to find out even more about flowers in New York!




The city’s botanical gardens, spread throughout all the boroughs but Manhattan, are havens of peace, ecology, and culture. Each runs a rich events calendar hosting activities as diverse as concerts, woodworking workshops, and meditation sessions. While most of their flowers bloom in spring and summer, of course, these botanical gardens offer things to see, hear, and do year-round.


The New York Botanical Garden

  • REGULAR ADMISSION: $13-25 (children 2 and under free)
  • OPEN HOURS: Year-round, Tuesday – Sunday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • LOCATION: Bronx – Bronx River Parkway and Fordham Road

New York’s most famous, this Bronx botanical garden encourages cultural flourishing (with a full roster of poetry, art, music, and educational events) as much as the horticultural. The Garden describes itself as “an iconic living museum” and houses plant science labs among its million plants.


Wave Hill

  • REGULAR ADMISSION: $8 (children under 6 free)
  • OPEN HOURS: Year-round, Tuesday–Sunday, 9 am to 4:30 or 5:30
  • LOCATION: Bronx – West 249th Street & Independence Avenue

The peaceful 28-acre public garden & cultural center overlooking the Hudson hosts yoga, tai chi, meditation, tours, lectures, concerts, family art projects, bird walks, music, and art events. Periodic gardening & woodworking workshops available.


Brooklyn Botanic Garden

  • REGULAR ADMISSION: $10-23 (free Tuesdays, Saturday 10-noon, and children under 12)
  • OPEN HOURS: Year-round, Tuesday–Sunday from 8 am weekdays/10 am weekends to 6 p.m (4:30 pm Nove – Feb)
  • LOCATION: Brooklyn – 900 Washington Avenue

This Brooklyn botanical garden offers on-site and on-line horticultural library and a full roster of classes for adults, schools, and families. They also have a blog and online resources for gardening.


Queens Botanical Garden

  • REGULAR ADMISSION: $4 (free Wed and Sun afternoons, Nov 1 – March 31, and children 3 & under)
  • OPEN HOURS: Year-round, Tuesday to Sunday, 8 am to 6 pm (4:30 pm Nov – March)
  • LOCATION: Queens – 43-50 Main Street

QBG hosts a weekly farmer’s market, seasonal events, workshops and family fun. Urban farm project, NYC Compost Project, professional development on sustainability for teachers. Containing 28 individual gardens, the garden should be named Queens botanical gardens.


Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden

  • REGULAR ADMISSION: $5-8 (children 12 and under free)
  • OPEN HOURS: Monday through Sunday from dawn to dusk.
  • LOCATION: Staten Island – 1000 Richmond Terrace

Snug Harbor’s 28 buildings have a unique, periodic-specific architectural styles and historical background. Hosts the NYC Compost Project (with certification), an emerging artists residency and other art programs, theater, jazz festivals, and period-specific gardens like the New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden.




Whether you enjoyed or missed Macy’s Flower Show 2014, it’s still one of the best  free things to do in New York City. (We like it so much we’re already planning to go in 2015!) But the famous flower show can overshadow dozens of other fascinating events happening from April through June. Festivals throughout the city are held in honor of orchids, roses, and Arbor Day. Half a dozen organizations tour and celebrate the stunning cherry blossom trees hailing from Japan each spring.

Every year, nature invites New Yorkers to check out her prettiest spring apparel. Take a break from spring shopping to see what she’s got.


Macy’s Flower Show

  • DATES: Two days in May
  • FLOWER SHOW HOURS: 9:00 am – 9:30 pm
  • WEBSITE: (TimeOut’s slideshow from Macys Flower Show 2014)
  • FEATURES: Themed gardens, tablescapes, bouquets, scheduled events
  • LOCATION: Manhattan – 151 West 34th street


Key West Contemporary Orchid Show (New York Botanical Garden)

  • DATES: March thru April
  • WEBSITE: (2014 show)
  • FEATURES: Classic and exotic orchids displayed as a Key West estate garden
  • LOCATION: Bronx – 2900 Southern Blvd


Rose Garden Celebration (New York Botanical Garden)

  • DATES: Two days in June
  • WEBSITE: (2014 festival)
  • FEATURES: Tours, music, dance, rose and art education, Q&A with rose gardeners
  • LOCATION: Bronx – 2900 Southern Blvd


Arbor Day Celebration (Queens Botanical Garden)


The Snug Harbor Bloom Festival

  • DATES: Two days in May
  • WEBSITE: (2014 show)
  • FEATURES: Plant sales, dance performances, concerts, guided garden tours
  • LOCATION: Staten Island – 1000 Richmond Terrace

Cherry Blossom Festivals

Sakura Matsuri, otherwise known as the Cherry Blossom Festival, underlines the end of Hanami each year. Celebrations take place between the end of April and the beginning of May.


Brooklyn Botanic Garden Cherry Blossom Festival


Flushing Meadows Corona Park Sakura Festival


Annual Cherry Blossom Walk on Roosevelt Island

  • WEBSITE: Roosevelt Islander
  • FEATURES: Private walks, reservations required, through Roosevelt Island’s cherry trees
  • LOCATION: Manhattan – Roosevelt Island (Tram Plaza visitor’s center)


Annual Cherry Blossom Walk on Randall’s Island

  • FEATURES: Japanese tea tastings, arts and crafts, tree planting, maps of the island’s blossoms
  • LOCATION: Randall’s Island – Urban Park


Who knew New York City had so much… green? Outside Manhattan (which has its share of smaller public gardens), botanical spaces the size of small towns rival the Met, Carnegie Hall, and the city’s many universities with the array of cultural activities that supplement the main event: life. Like the New York Botanical Garden, each of these gardens and events are “advocates,” in a very human city, “of the plant kingdom.”

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