It’s spring in Brooklyn! And it couldn’t have come sooner. Sure, winter was exceptionally mild this year but there’s so many great memes things that await us this season, many of which are on this list. We sifted through the duds and made this comprehensive list of 25 events in Brooklyn that are either totally free or at least won’t break your budget (nothing’s more than $30). So whether you’re looking for a creative way to be both productive and inebriated or just looking for your daily dose of cultural enlightenment or just want to walk around under a canopy of pretty pink blossoms, we’ve got you covered. Don’t say we never did anything for you.
1) The Cherry Blossom Festival
Nothing says spring more than the blooming of the seasons most beautiful, delicate, pink flower: the cherry blossom. And while the actual festival isn’t till the end of April, and it may seem to early to catch these fleeting flowers, the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens’ Cherrywatch (yes, that actually exists) has documented first blooms for two cherry blossom trees already. All of which is to say, this warm winter means that you shouldn’t wait till the festival to head over to the Garden in order to check out the trees. April 30-May 1 at Brooklyn Botanic Garden: 990 Washington Avenue, Prospect Park
2) Brooklyn Poets YAWP
To truly understand why we chose Jason Koo, the executive director of Brooklyn Poets, for our 100 Most Influential People in Brooklyn Culture, one would need to look no further than the YAWP, one of the “best poetry events in the borough.” We said this before and we will continue to praise the workshop/open mic for being one of the few spaces that encourage growth for those who are marginalized in the literary world. Second Mondays at 61 Local: 61 Bergen Street, Cobble Hill
3) Thursday Nights at the Brooklyn Museum
You probably know about Target First Saturdays at Brooklyn Museum, but have you heard the fuss surrounding Thursday nights? Giving you that much needed push to finish the week strong, Brooklyn Museum has teamed up with Squarespace to present an evening of free classes, lectures, and tours of the museum’s collections and exhibitions. We know what you’re thinking, and, yes, Thursday did just became the new Friday.
Thursdays at Brooklyn Museum on 200 Eastern Parkway, Crown Heights
4) Willkommen Deep House Yoga
Not sure if the house music scene has gone too far, or if this is just the next phase of spiritual enlightenment. (Slowly raises right arm to fist pump.) Namaste, motherfuckers. For more information and times, visit Verboten Culture: 54 N. 11th Street, Williamsburg
5) Political TALE: A Storytelling Show About Politics Does the discussing politics, specifically the possible reality that Donald Trump might become our next president make you anxious? Political Tale might be the therapy session that you can actually afford. This evening of storytelling brings journalists and comedians in to share their personal stories of political madness and sadism. 3/21 at Fawkner on 191 Smith Street, Boerum Hill
7) Biannual International Electroacoustic Music Festival From budding talents to virtuosos that have mastered the ElectroAcoustic genre. Watch as composers and performers create cutting-edge work over the course of the three-day festival. 3/29-31 at Brooklyn College Studio 312 on 2900 Bedford Avenue, Flatbush
8)Family Dinner: A Night of Stories, Stand-up, and Pasta
It takes a lot of guts for a performer to get up in front of a group of potential hecklers knowing that they have a tomato-based meal at their disposal. Yet, Sean Bradley from Adult Swim and Greg DeLucia from The Moth are hosting an evening of storytelling and stand-up with a side of pasta because they know that at the end of the day it’s all about the three Cs: carbs, carbonara, and comedy. 3/22 at The Experiment Comedy Gallery on 20 Broadway, Williamsburg
9) Jukebox Bingo
There’s never a wrong way to play bingo, and Pogo Events proves this by merging your grandma’s favorite pastime with music trivia and karaoke for an evening of musical mania. 3/23 at Union Hall on 702 Union Street, Park Slope
10) Teen PASS We know you love your kid(s), and if you could, we bet you would be with them all the time. But we also know that some r-n-r is needed because adulting can be tiresome. So if you wanted to pawn enroll them into some free art, environmental science and sports programs sponsored by the NYC Parks after school, we totally understand. No judgement. For more information, visit City Parks Foundation.
11) City Tech’s Annual Literary Arts Festival Mary Gaitskill, whose book Veronica was nominated for the 2005 National Book Award, National Critic’s Circle Award, and the LA Times Book Award, is one of the writers who will be giving readings and performances of their work for City Tech’s 35th Annual Literary Arts Festival, and hearing her read is totally worth it. 3/24 at Voorhees Theatre on 186 Jay Street, Downtown Brooklyn
12) Staches and Lashes Join the drag collective Switch N’ Play for a night of drag and burlesque with special guest Melody Jane. 3/26-27 at Branded Saloon on 603 Vanderbilt Avenue, Prospect Heights
13) Brooklyn MRKT Ohr Naava, the Women’s Torah Center, presents the season’s latest trends and novelties to the waterfront with this a two-day retail celebration for the style-savvy shopper. 3/27-28 at Brooklyn Expo Center on 72 Noble Street, Greenpoint
14) New Orleans Crawfish Boil Series
If you’re like us, you probably watched Beyoncé‘s Formation too many times to count and now have a cankering for all things New Orleans cuisine and funk. That’s where the Hall at MP Taverna comes in to satisfy those cravings with their recurring Crawfish Boil Series. Now, if only we can get them to bring Beyoncé then we’d be set. 4/2 at The Hall at MP Taverna on 470 Driggs Avenue, Williamsburg
15) Opening Weekend in Prospect Park
There’s no better way to bring in spring than a weekend of outdoor activities the whole family can enjoy that bring you all close to nature. And, sure, the park’s open year-round but it’s so much better in the spring! 4/2-3at Audubon Center at the Boathouse in Prospect Park
16) Ghostship Ball While this won’t take place on an actual ship and no ghosts, at least not that we foresee, will be in attendance, the North Brooklyn Boat Club and Long Island City Community Boathouse will put together a memorable night filled with stories of incredible expeditions gone astray and mesmerizing aerial acrobatics by Urban Circus NYC. 4/2 at House of Yes on 2 Wyckoff Avenue, Bushwick
17) BAM Historic Tour
If we could we would fill this list with only BAM events, since the multi-arts center could do no wrong in our book. Case in point, this month-long behind the scenes of the campus lead BAM Hamm Archives’ Louie Fleck, who will lead you on a rare and intimate tour of the institutions 150-year history. 4/2-24 at BAM Peter Jay Sharp Building on 30 Lafayette Avenue, Fort Greene
18) Night Train with Wyatt Cenac Comedian, actor, and writer Wyatt Cenac is more than just that guy Jon Stewart cursed out. Little known fact, he worked on that failed Kanye West HBO pilot we’re all yearning to see. But beyond that, Cenac hosts the Night Train, a comedy show that brings the best local and international stand-up comedians to Gowanus. 4/4 at Littlefield on 622 Degraw Street, Gowanus
19) Pop-Up Magazine
Print media is dead, and it looks like digital is heading out with her. Pop-Up Magazineis changing journalism as we know it with its traveling live magazine that presents original stories about the world around us presented and performed onstage by a crew of talented individuals. 4/5 at BAM Howard Gilman Opera House on 30 Lafayette Avenue, Fort Greene
20) Poetry 2016: Past is Present
The apex where history and contemporary issues meets is at BAM with the Poetry 2016. The annual performance will have nationally recognized poets, hip-hop artists, dancers, musicians, and DJs explore the theme “Past is Present,” and feature poets like Liza Jessie Peterson and Climbing PoeTree, as well as music performances by Yako440. 4/8-9 at BAM Fisher on 321 Ashland Place, Fort Greene
21) Drunk TED Talks
Everything is better inebriated, even TED Talks, those sacred videos that circulate the Internet inspiring you to be a better human, until you realize that nothing matters because we’re all going to die. We didn’t think it was possible, but when you see drunk comedians and journalists redefining the platform, it becomes less of a demanding call of action and more of lighthearted night filled with laughter and the surprising epiphany.The theme for this Drunk TED Talks: Guilty Pleasure.
4/9 at Littlefield on 622 Degraw Street, Gowanus
22) 80s Throwback for Kids
The Rock and Roll Playhouse are bringing an afternoon of fun aimed to introduce your kids to the genre of rock n’ roll, along with a 80s dance party. OK, so they weren’t born in the 80s and won’t appreciate this as much as you will after seeing them dressed in neon clothes and leg warmers. 4/10 at Brooklyn Bowl on 61 Wythe Avenue, Williamsburg
23) Fourth Annual NYC Hot Sauce Expo Some like it hot, and others like it tear inducing, burn a hole through your esophagus hot. Wherever you fall in the spectrum, make sure you carry a glass of milk if you plan on attending this year’s NYC Hot Sauce expo because besides housing some of the hottest hot sauces from around the world, they will be hosting the Guinness World Records’ Carolina Reaper Eating Contest. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. 4/23-24 at Brooklyn Expo Center 79 Franklin Street, Greenpoint
25) NYC PopFest Music festivals in New York are like cracks in the sidewalk: they’re everywhere and will have you trippin’. But most have just become breathing grounds for those who want an excuse to wear Indian headdresses and bindis while smoking a joint in a crowded field. And while we get the allure, save for the appropriating other people’s cultures aspect, we just miss a grassroots music festival that is strictly about the music. Thankfully we have NYC PopFest to save us from the wannabe punks and mud fights. 5/19-22 at various locations.For more information, visit NYC PopFest
Bonus: Northside Festival
Shameless plug here but Northside Festival is back at it again with the best in music, innovation, and film. And while the whole festival isn’t free nor necessarily cheap (though it is a good value!)-the best things in life aren’t always free–there are some free events to check out, like the reunion of Wolf Parade and the Northside Innovation Expo, with many more events rolling out and soon to be announced. So stay tuned. 6/6-12 at various venues. Visit Northside Festival for more information.