NYBG Orchid Show: Fun Best Friend Outing in NYC

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Floral fashion runway at the NYBG annual Orchid Show in NYC
Models strut their stuff on the catwalk during the NYBG Orchid Show. Photo credit: Cathy Bennett Kopf

Make a date with your bestie to see the 2024 edition of the annual Orchid Show at the New York Botanical Garden. “Florals in Fashion” is a vibrant spectacle, transforming the historic Enid A. Haupt Conservatory into a stunning horticultural display featuring runway models in full bloom. This guide will help you plan an unforgettable day out with your houseplant-obsessed friend.

A NYC Seasonal Standout

“I want to go to New York in March.”

Said no one. Ever.

Late winter/early spring is not the seasonal choice for the best time to visit New York City. Wind gusts through the skyscraper-flanked avenues. Slushy sidewalks and puddle pools present footwear challenges. And the gray skies are an undeniable bummer.

There is one brilliant bright spot however. The New York Botanical Garden, a 250-acre wonderland in the Bronx, hosts its annual Orchid Show. A wander through the warm light-filled Conservatory stuffed with rainbow-hued blossoms with your best friend is a surefire way to push your way through to spring.

SheBuysTravel Tip: If you’re planning a NYC girlfriend getaway in February/March, it’s a great time to explore NYC’s fab museums, check out the best restaurants, and see one (or more) Broadway shows.

A rose and yellow orchid spray at the NYBG Orchid show in the Bronx.
I fall in love with new color combos every year at the Orchid Show. Photo credit: Cathy Bennett Kopf

2024 NYBG Orchid Show Details

  • Dates and Times: Mark your calendars! The show runs from February 17th to April 21st, 2024, during the Garden’s regular hours (10 am to 6 pm).
  • Tickets: Purchase tickets online in advance (nybg.org) to avoid potential lines. Members receive free admission, while adult tickets cost $35, seniors (65+) $31, and children (2-12) $15. Discounts for groups and students are available.
  • Accessibility: The Garden and Conservatory are wheelchair accessible. Accessibility maps are available online and upon request. Strollers are not permitted inside the Conservatory but they can be parked right outside the entrance.
  • Transportation and Parking: The Garden is accessible by Metro-North Railroad and public buses. Paid parking is available on-site, but expect high demand during peak hours.

SheBuysTravel Tip: Driving in NYC is not for the timid. And driving in the Bronx is a blood sport. If you’re not a confident city driver, consider public transportation or ride-sharing options.

Model at NYBG orchid show with headphones and a backpack made out of orchids.
The headphones are cute but the backpack!!! It’s a voluptuous Lady’s Slipper orchid. Photo credit: Cathy Bennett Kopf

The Orchid Show: Florals in Fashion

The orchid show features a different theme so the annual orchid exhibition always feels fresh and new. In 2023’s The Orchid Show: Natural Heritage, landscape artist Lily Kwong crafted immersive horticulture installations with an organic feel you would expect to find in the natural world.

The 2024 orchid exhibition, “Florals in Fashion” is a fantastic surreal celebration of New York City’s fashion legacy, showcasing three young female guest designers:

  • Collina Strada by Hillary Taymour: A NY Fashion Week regular, Hillary Taymour’s designs are bold, yet romantic. The brand uses sustainable new and recycled materials. Her NYBG displays feature fantastic creatures decked out in succulent-inspired outfits, posing in orchid-draped frames.
  • Dauphinette by Olivia Cheng: Launched by the designer at age 19, Dauphinette bills itself as the “Happiest Brand on Earth.” Cheng delivers the unexpected from the ordinary. This is the first display in the Conservatory and it’s a knockout. As someone with crazy curls, I adored the way Cheng used plants to create outlandish hairstyles.
  • FLWR PSTL by Kristen Alpaugh: Alpaugh’s cutting-edge floristry work was featured on the HBO Max documentary “Full Bloom.” She founded Haus of Stems, a botanical art studio that features hand-painted blooms with holographic finishes. A ballgown skirt created out of hundreds of violet orchids? It’s a showstopper.
Display of mannequin with a fountain skirt at the NYBG orchid show in NYC.
The birds would love this in my garden. Photo credit: Cathy Bennett Kopf

Capturing the Memories

The annual NYBG orchid show delivers a treat for the senses. You’ll take photos. Lots of them. Here are some photo tips for getting the best shots.

  • The Orchid Show is very popular so the Conservatory can be crowded. Go mid-week (the Garden’s closed on Mondays, except federal holidays) and be there at 10 am for the opening.
  • Pack your patience. Everyone will be angling for the “best shot.”
  • Use portrait mode when you’re zooming in on a particularly gorgeous flower.
  • I like to use the wide-angle setting (.5x) in the Conservatory. It warps – in a good way – the curved glass ceilings.
  • Leave your tripods and selfie sticks at home – they’re prohibited.
  • Share your experience using the official hashtag #NYBGOrchidShow and tag the Garden. Follow their social media channels for event updates and behind-the-scenes glimpses.

SheBuysTravel Tip: Because the Conservatory is made of glass, the bright sunlight can produce unwanted glare. Use your patience and wait for a passing cloud.

After the Show

The NYBG Orchid Show makes a great NYC outing for you and your bestie because you can add on activities at the Garden to make a full day.

Interior of Hudson Garden Grill at the NYBG in the Bronx NY.
Ladies (and a few gents) lunching at Hudson Garden Grill. Photo credit: Cathy Bennett Kopf

Have Lunch

Plan on lunch before or after the show. There are two options on the property. The Pine Tree Cafe, located near the main entrance is an elevated cafeteria-style option. Prefer table service? Make a reservation for the Hudson Garden Grill. The fare is pricey, but it’s locally sourced and yummy.

My friend and I split the Hudson Burger and Crispy Chicken Sandwich so we could try both. The short rib blend used in the burger was particularly flavorful and the hand-cut fries had just the right amount of salt. And the charming setting is ideal for a ladies’ lunch. If Joanna Gaines had a NYC restaurant, it would look like the Hudson Garden Grill.

Store display in the NYBG garden shop during the annual Orchid Show.
We took advantage of the 20% member discount in the NYBG Garden Shop. Photo credit: Cathy Bennett Kopf

Go Shopping

Unless your credit cards are maxed out, don’t skip the Garden gift shop. You can buy an orchid to take home. There’s always a nice selection of phalaenopsis, the best orchid for beginners. Ask the friendly staff to give you important orchid care tips.

If you’re not into plants, there’s a well-curated selection of home goods, books and heavenly bath and body products in the NYBG shop.

SheBuysTravel Tip: I do not like overpowering home fragrances so I don’t normally light candles. But I sampled some testers in the Garden gift shop during my visit to the Holiday Train Show (one of NYC’s best holiday events) and committed to Lucia No. 6, a fresh blend of fresh fig and wild ginger. I set the diffuser in my bedroom closet and it delivers an olfactory treat every time I walk in. I nudged several ladies in the gift shop and encouraged them to give it a sniff.

Take a Walk

The New York Botanical Garden is huge and the weather can be iffy during the Orchid Show run without much in bloom. But the Garden’s conifers are always worth viewing. These evergreens are massive, and dusted with a late winter/early spring snow, they’re gorgeous. Volunteer-led tours of the conifers and other parts of the Garden are offered throughout the year. Check the “What’s On” calendar for additional info.

SheBuysTravel Tip: Managing your outerwear for the Orchid Show can be challenging. There are no coat checks available. Leave your bulky down coat at home and wear thin layers that you can peel off as needed.

Special Orchid Events

NYBG hosts “Orchid Nights,” exclusive evening events for adults (21+) on select dates. Purchase a cocktail and stroll through the Conservatory orchid displays bathed in the glow of twinkle lights. It’s a dreamy date night and very popular. Orchid Nights sell out so, if you’re interested, make your plans early.

Got deep pockets? The Garden hosts an annual fundraiser featuring music, food, and cocktails under the glow of the orchid displays. Don’t miss “The Orchid Dinner” at The Plaza Hotel, a glamorous dinner fundraiser with exquisite orchid centerpieces. Patron pricing begins at $2500 (gulp!).


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