Easter Parade on Fifth Avenue

New York Easter Parade: A Colorful and Joyful Celebration of Spring

The Easter Parade in New York is an amazing celebration of spring on Easter Sunday every year. Full of Easter bonnets and costumes, it takes over Fifth Avenue outside St Patrick’s Cathedral, which is made even more beautiful with flowers on the outside and even inside.

The parade runs along Fifth Avenue, starting from 49th Street and ending at 57th Street, with the area being closed off to traffic. The parade typically starts at around 10 am and lasts until 4 pm, with people – and their pets – in their Easter best taking over Manhattan.

History of the NYC Easter Parade

The Easter Parade in New York City began in the 1870s as a post-church procession of churchgoers walking down Fifth Avenue in their finest Easter outfits.   Over time, the parade became more of a fashion statement, with wealthy socialites and fashionistas dressing for the occasion to showcase their latest outfits and elaborate hats.

According to the Museum of the City of New York, the Easter Parade tradition began after the Civil War as a “fashion promenade,” for people to show off their new spring clothes after a long winter.  This evolved to become a prominent social event, attracting people from all walks of life, which is a tradition that continues till today.

The Easter Parade is characterized by elaborate hats, ranging from fashion statements to social statements. These have evolved from bonnets adorned with flowers and ribbons to becoming more elaborate and creative, with the most eye catching headpieces being deluged with requests for pictures in this social media generation.

The parade also features dogs in elaborate costumes that are completely unfazed by all the people around them.

Easter Parade Route

The Easter Parade in NYC has a short route, measuring less than half a mile, on Fifth Avenue, starting from 49th Street and ending at 57th Street. The parade route is closed for traffic for about 6 hours, and the route has a backdrop of St Patrick’s Cathedral which is just spectacular.

Start Point

The Easter Parade in NYC starts at 49th Street and Fifth Avenue, where participants gather with their festive bonnets and costumes before the start time of 10am. The route gets busier as the day goes on, and visitors can get up close to the marvelous hats, costumes and pets that are all dressed in their Easter finest.

Fifth Avenue

The Easter Bonnet Parade in NYC runs along Fifth Avenue, which is closed to traffic, and taken over by a riot of color worn by participants and visitors.

St. Patrick’s Cathedral

St. Patrick’s Cathedral, located on Fifth Avenue between 50th and 51st Streets, is the star of the parade with its imposing presence and floral accents for Easter. The cathedral’s towering spires and Gothic architecture make it a picture perfect setting for the Easter Parade New York.

End Point

The end point of the Easter Parade in NYC is at 57th Street and Fifth Avenue, where bonnet and costume wearing participants head off to nearby restaurants and bars to continue the festivities.


The New York City Easter Parade is a beloved tradition that attracts thousands of participants every year, and the effort that goes into making a statement with their bonnets and outfits is just phenomenal.  The parade has people of all ages in their floral best, with some choosing to make social statements, and others featuring their favorite movies such as Star Wars. The highlight of the parade is undoubtedly the dogs that are all dressed up in cute and creative outfits, and completely at ease with all the attention they receive.

It is easy to see the effort and thought that has gone into the unique, creative and whimsical bonnets and outfits that are sported by the participants. 

The Easter Parade is truly a celebration of creativity, diversity, and unity, with personal expression that is appreciated by participants and spectators alike. The Easter Parade is a wonderful way to experience the joy and spirit of the holiday, and to usher in spring in New York.


The Easter Parade in New York is a highly anticipated event that attracts thousands of visitors and locals alike, and you must plan ahead if you plan to attend.

The use of public transportation is highly recommended as traffic tends to build up with a stretch of Fifth Avenue being closed off for most of the day. The subway is a great option with multiple lines and stations close by.

Attire is totally up to you, and you can choose to be as dressed up – or not – as you would like, though most people can be seen in festive and colorful outfits.   Street vendors sell bunny ears and other Easter accessories if you would like to join in. 

The weather is unpredictable at this time of year, so it is best to check the weather forecast for the day to be suitably prepared.

For those who want to participate in the parade, which does not require any registration and you can just join in, it is recommended to create a unique and eye-catching bonnet or outfit as you will be competing for attention with people that spend months creating elaborate and creative designs for the parade.

Keep in mind that the parade is basically on Fifth Avenue with limited options for sitting, and participants come and go so you should try and stay for as long as you can to experience the spectacular Easter bonnets and costumes.

Tips and Tricks for the 5th Avenue Easter Parade

Attending the Easter Parade in NYC is a really fun and exciting experience, and you can make the most of it by keeping these tips and tricks in mind:

  • Arrive early: The parade starts at 10 am, but it is already crowded by the time 10am rolls around, so it’s recommended to arrive early.
  • Dress up: The Easter Parade is all about colorful outfits, which are unusual for New Yorkers that lean towards anything that is black, and dressing up in your most festive and creative outfits.
    Star Wars themed hats at the Easter Parade
  • Bring snacks and water: The parade route is relatively short, but it can get crowded, so plan ahead with some snacks and water to stay hydrated and energized, especially if you are with young kids.
  • Be respectful: The Easter Parade is a family-friendly event, and you will be surrounded with families and kids of all ages, so it is best to be mindful of your behavior and language.
  • Stay for the Bonnet Festival: After the parade, stick around for the Bonnet Festival, where you can get up close to – and take lots of photographs of – these marvelous Easter creations.

FAQ: Everything You Need to Know About the Easter Parade in New York

Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival, including the date and time of the parade, the parade route, and what to expect during the event.

How can I participate in the Easter Parade NYC?

Participation in the Easter Parade is easy – you just need to show up! There is no registration required to be a participant, and to fit in you should be dressed in your most colorful and eye catching best.

The parade is more of a leisurely stroll and gathering to showcase and admire the colorful outfits and bonnets.

Do I need a ticket to participate?

No, you do not need a ticket to participate in the Easter Parade NYC. It is a free event that is open to the public.

What should I wear?

The NYC Easter Parade is famous for its extravagant and creative bonnets and hats, and participants should plan to wear their most outlandish headpieces and costumes. That being said, the event is outdoors and the weather can be unpredictable, so check the weather and dress accordingly.

Can I bring my pet?

Yes, you can bring your pet to the Easter Parade, they are the stars of the show. However, they must be on a leash and under your control at all times as it is a very crowded environment. A lot of the pets are actually in their very highly decorated prams so they are comfortable in their own little space.

Is there an age limit to participate?

No, there is no age limit to participate in the Easter Parade, people of all ages are welcome to join in.

Where is it held?

The NYC Easter Parade takes place on Fifth Avenue, from 49th Street to 57th Street in Manhattan.

What time is it?

The Easter Parade typically takes place on Easter Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm. However, it’s always a good idea to check the official event website or local news sources for any updates or changes to the schedule.

Are floats or vehicles allowed?

This is a walking parade, and there are no floats ot vehicles.


The New York Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival is a beloved tradition that has been celebrated for over a century in Manhattan.   It is a unique, fun and colorful event that showcases the creativity and individuality of New Yorkers as they parade down Fifth Avenue in their festive attire.

There is no registration required as a participant or a visitor, so you can plan to just show up between 10am and 4pm outside St Patrick’s Cathedral to join the festivities.

The bonnets and costumes change up every year, so whether it’s your first time attending the parade or you’re a seasoned veteran, the Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival is a must do event in you are in New York on Easter Sunday.

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Hi, I'm Hanit Gyani, a full time professional by day and a blogger by night and weekend. Welcome to my blog, aka my passion project, Gotta Love New York.

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