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AAPI Heritage Month in NYC 2024: Free Events in New York City

Here are 8 things you can do in NYC to celebrate Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

AAPI Heritage Month, observed annually in May, pays tribute to the diverse cultures, histories, and traditions of Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, while also raising awareness about the challenges they face and the ongoing fight for equity and justice. The 2024 AAPI Heritage Month theme is “Advancing Leaders Through Innovation”.

As we honor the rich heritage and resilience of AAPI individuals and communities, New York City’s vibrant cultural landscape provides meaningful activities for celebrating the voices and experiences of AAPI New Yorkers. Here, we list 8 things to do in NYC to celebrate AAPI Heritage Month.

Enjoy free history tours and fun activities at the parks in NYC

NYC Parks provides the public with a full month of activities to celebrate with the Urban Park Rangers, featuring free history tours and fun activities around the city. The programs include cherry blossom celebration, nature calligraphy, historic Flushing, Ginkgo tree celebration, Chinatown parks, and Evergreen Cemetery.

Run a 5K

The AAPI 5K is a community run celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. The run will highlight the vibrant Asian American community and organizations that work year-round to create a safe and welcoming space. The event will fundraise for incredible AAPI non-profits. You can support the event virtually by running the 5K remotely as well.

  • Time: Sunday, May 12, 2024, 9:00 AM
  • Location: Pier 62 on the Hudson River Greenway
  • Ticket: $32

Read Corky Lee’s Asian America

Left: Corky Lee at Mott and Bayard Streets in Chinatown during the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic. New York, July 2020. by Edward Cheng. Right: Cover of Corky Lee’s Asian America

As an observer and photojournalist, Corky Lee appeared at numerous pivotal moments within the Asian American community in New York and beyond over the past half-century. Through his photographs, he documented the unnoticed facets of the rapidly growing community in the U.S., portraying everything from everyday life to social justice movements. In doing so, he shattered stereotypes of Asian Americans as docile, passive, and foreign to the country. 

Lee died at the age of 73 from complications due to COVID-19 on January 27, 2021. On April 9, the first book of its kind, “Corky Lee’s Asian America,” was published nationwide online and in bookstores. Visual artist Chee Wang Ng and Columbia University history professor Mae Ngai have curated a retrospective of Lee’s work.

To learn more, read Documented’s article from January that highlights the book and Corky Lee’s history.

Join the New York Public Library’s family friendly programming

The activities for AAPI Heritage Month cater to people of all ages and are ideal for families to enjoy together. They encompass film screenings, arts and crafts workshops, and book groups.

Explore AAPI-themed activities at museums or AAPI organizations

Various museums in NYC host exhibitions to celebrate AAPI Heritage Month. Visit the museums and learn more about the AAPI communities. We list a few here:

Join the third annual AAPI Cultural Heritage parade

The AAPI Cultural Heritage parade will travel through Midtown. Photo: Better Chinatown USA

On Sunday, May 19, the Better Chinatown USA Society will hold New York City’s annual AAPI Cultural Heritage parade. The festivities will take place along Sixth Avenue, from 44th to 55th streets in Manhattan. This marks the third year for the parade celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage.

  • Time: Sunday, May 19, 2024, 1:00 PM. Opening Ceremony at 44th Street at 12:30 PM
  • Location: Six Avenue between 44th Street and 55th Street in Manhattan

Celebrate AAPI Heritage Month with local politicians

Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine and Assembly Member Grace Lee host a joint celebration in honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. At the event, they will acknowledge the exceptional work of remarkable individuals and groups within the community who have made significant strides in breaking barriers and promoting equity.

Enjoy the taste of China

In 2023, Dragon Fest attracted an impressive 200,000 attendees. Photo: Dragon Fest

Dragon Fest is an annual outdoor Chinese food and culture festival with activities, tastings, and market fairs that showcase the vibrant food, art and cultural traditions of China. It is a cultural platform that connects people in New York to Chinese restaurants, food vendors, artists and local communities. The event lasts from April to October with an expanded lineup of 16 events across Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, offering attendees a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in authentic Chinese cuisine and cultural traditions. 

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