There are so many things to do in NYC in May! It’s a great time of year to visit – everything is blooming, the sun is shining, and the first outdoor events & concerts make their appearance. Spring in NYC is in full effect, while summer in New York is just around the corner. Below is a list of our favorite things to do in NYC in May to inspire you for your trip and make sure that you won’t be running out of unique and fun things to do!
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🌸 The absolute best things do to in May in New York
May is one of the nicest months to visit NYC as temperatures are mild and spring is in full swing. It doesn’t get too hot throughout the day or too cold in the evenings making it the perfect weather for exploring the city and possibly even having brunch outside. If you are looking for the perfect month to discover NYC’s famous neighborhoods, or experience some outdoor events in the Big Apple, May in NYC is definitely a good choice. Some of our favorite things to do in NYC in may are listed below, as always, NYC has something on offer for everyone and we are sure that you will find something that excites you!
1. May 1: Governors Island Opens for the season
After a long winter break, Governors Island re-opens on May 1st. This insider tip is still undiscovered terrain for many, even though the former military island has so much to offer. For just $2 you can take the ferry to the island that sits just a short distance from Lower Manhattan. Governors Island is the perfect retreat from the bustling city.
An excursion, even with small children, is definitely recommendable. The car-free island offers so much for young and old that you must have seen it for yourself. With everything from historical military buildings to awesome bike paths and even public hammocks, the island offers a variety of activities that are especially interesting when the weather becomes a little nicer! This is definitely one of the nicest things to do in May in NYC.
2. May 3rd: Five Boro Bike Tour
Have you always wanted to take a bike ride through Manhattan? On May 3rd, 32,000 participants will meet for the “Five Boro Bike Tour” to cycle through all 5 boroughs in New York. The riders will be riding 40 miles in total. Driving through the city without traffic is only possible once a year when America’s largest cycling event takes place. Driving on a bike that is!
The “Five Boro Bike Tour” can almost take an entire day and takes place throughout the Big Apple, including all five city districts. The 32,000 attendees are routed through the streets of Manhattan, through the green and blossoming Central Park, Ride across five big bridges, roll through the Brooklyn and Queens scene districts, and the Bronx to end up in the pedals and head for Staten Island. The atmosphere is similar to running events: Breathtaking.
3. May 5 – Cinco De Mayo
New York City loves Cinco De Mayo since it’s a big party all over the city. Cinco De Mayo is a Mexican holiday that commemorates the Mexican defeat of the French army at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Make sure to check out the Cinco Da Mayo Parade that is hosted Uptown on Central Park West at 106th St to 97th St.
4. May 10: Celebrate Mother’s Day in NYC
It’s Mother’s Day and you’re arguably in the greatest city on earth. There are many things to do in NYC on this day. Just make sure to plan accordingly. Most likely, restaurants will be decorated and full. However, if you do manage to get a reservation, restaurants typically have great discounts on this special day. You can also consider going to a Broadway show or a dinner cruise. The options are limitless.
5. Japan Day on May 12
Every year, in New York, Japan Day is celebrated. Japan Day is a cultural festival that is one of the many highlights in spring. The event takes place in Central Park on the Rumsey Playfield and offers everything from Hello Kitty Mascots to workshops on Origami folding techniques and performances by Japanese musicians and dancers. Sounds like the perfect Sunday, right?
6. Shakespeare in the Park
Among the hundreds of great free summer events, Shakespeare in the Park is our absolute favorite. Imagine watching Hamlet, Cymbeline, or Romeo and Juliette performed under the night sky of New York in Central Park. It’s one of a kind and only takes place in New York. Shakespeare in the Park runs from the very last days of May through mid-to-late August. There are performances from Tuesday to Sunday at 8 pm.
7. Manhattanhenge 2020
Manhattanhenge is a totally fascinating and beautiful event that only occurs twice a year (May and July) when the sun sets and shines in a straight line through the streets of Manhattan. This event is largely dependent on the weather as it can only really be experienced in its full beauty on sunny days with no clouds in the sky. In 2020, Manhattanhenge will occur around the 29th (8:13 pm) and 30th of May (8:14 pm), however, this can change again closer to the date.
8. Walk the High Line
The green terrace in the middle of Manhattan is a great experience in fine weather. The decommissioned freight rail track was once overgrown completely as it fell out of use. Based on the plants that grew there, a park was built in homage to the interesting plants that flourish in the city.
Walk from the Meatpacking District (Gansevoort Street) on the High Line towards Uptown and enjoy the beautiful spring weather. Since 2014, Manhattan has been enjoying this highlight and attracts countless visitors every day. The High Line in May is the ideal place to relax or a wonderful place to take a walk (1.5 kilometers). All the details of the High Line Park can be found here.
9. May 20th-May 25th: Fleet Week
For 30 years, Fleet Week has been celebrated annually in New York. This 7-day celebration in honor of the members of the US Navy, Coast Guard, and Marine Corps is a great time for families. The festivities begin with a hull on the Hudson River and include, among others, the Memorial Day – below. Many other activities are spread all over New York, for example at Pier 92 in Manhattan, Staten Island, and Eisenhower Park. Events will take place between May 20th and May 35th, 2020.
10. May 25: Memorial Day in New York
On the last Monday in May, Memorial Day is celebrated in honor of the fallen who have fought during wars for the US. Memorial Day unofficially marks the start of summer. It will be lively in Manhattan on this day since most do not or will not go into the office. Many are looking for a cozy place in the sun in the park or relaxing at one of the many rooftop bars. All sights and shops are open this day, meaning that should you wish to go exploring or shopping, you can still do so!
11. The Popular Brooklyn Half Marathon on May 16
For the runners in New York, the famous Brooklyn Half is one of the highlights in the month of May. In addition to the NYC Half in March, this is the biggest half-marathon you can experience in New York. Registration usually takes place in January and usually sells out within an hour or less.
But, if you still want to get a bit of the New York running feeling, you should go to Prospect Park or Coney Island and cheer on the runners.
12. May 16: Seltzer Land in NYC
This spring, revive your taste buds with the bubbly brew everyone can’t get enough of. Prepare to bask in the bubbly on Saturday, May 16th (Brooklyn Expo Center) as you spend the afternoon tasting 100+ hard seltzers. Indulge in mouthwatering munchies, bust out the ‘gram in a bubble ball pit, and squad up at the sparkle bar. Tickets start at $29. Hurry! While supplies last we offer a 10% discount on the tickets.
13. Summer on the Hudson
The popular event series, Summer on the Hudson right next to the Hudson River, kicks off again in May 2020. The adjoining piers offer a wide variety of events with concerts, karaoke, food festivals and attractions for the little ones. These events last into October, so there’s plenty of time to check this out.
14. Visit one of the many rooftop bars in New York
Finally, the days are getting longer and the evenings are warmer again. It’s a perfect time to visit one of New York City’s most sought out rooftop bars.
15. Watch a baseball game in New York
Baseball is part of summer in New York. Whether it’s a game of the New York Yankees or the Mets, both baseball teams are definitely worth checking out. Just imagine, a nice cold beer in Yankee Stadium while the sun rays hit you. It makes you feel like a real New Yorker, right?
16. Explore New York on a Bike
New York City is great for exploring by bike. You can ride along the West Side Highway right by the Hudson River, or even on Governors Island. Of course, a bike ride across the Brooklyn Bridge is also very popular. For this, we recommend you either rent from Unlimited Biking in NYC, where bike rentals are pocket-friendly, or you use the typical New York option, the blue Citi Bikes.
17. Watch the NBA Playoffs
18. Check out the Cherry Blossoms
Especially in the month of May, the cherry blossoms in New York are so beautiful. There are many options to admire the cherry blossoms in New York. You can check them out at Central Park, Washington Square Park, or maybe even The New York Botanical Garden. You have many choices to choose from!
19. Take a Dinner cruise
We have already tested many Dinner Cruises in New York for you. One of the best ones and which we really like is the Bateaux Dinner Cruise. With a glass roof, the ship heads for the Brooklyn Bridge. Especially in warm weather in May, the wine or Prosecco tastes particularly amazing when you’re outside on the deck of the boat. Enjoy the sunset and experience an unforgettable time.
20. National Burger Day on May 28th
At the end of May, everything revolves around one of America’s favorite food. On National Burger Day, be sure to eat a burger in New York. Many restaurants celebrate this day with special discounts and promotions. You can view our most popular burger restaurants here in advance.
Weather in New York for May
Monthly Avg DAY
Monthly Avg NIGHT
64°F / 18°C
52°F / 11°C
8 hours daily
Best tours in New York in May
One of the most popular tours in New York during which you discover many locations from the TV series.
Great times onboard the luxurious 1920s inspired motor yacht.
Save 50% on all attraction tickets with this discount pass for NYC!
Enjoy one of the best tours to the Statue of Liberty in New York City
Explore New York's highest observation deck, regardless of the weather!
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Sports Events in May in New York
The MBL is On
Soccer in New York City
It’s not as popular, but there are soccer games from the New York Red Bulls in May as well. Most likely you will have to make your way over to New Jersey, but soccer in NYC is absolutely fun and worth going.
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Calling New York City home is still pretty surreal. After moving here 5 years ago, I still see it as my dream life. Ever since I’ve been exploring this amazing city for Loving New York I’ve grown to love it even more. I love hooking all of you up with the inside scoop, top attractions, events and everything in between. I'm your go-to person for the hidden gems, best restaurants and the absolute best things to do in the city that never sleeps.