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. 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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Our Recommendations for May in NYC
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. 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!
Our favorite things to do in NYC in May
Check out all the things NYC has to offer!
Beginning of May: 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.
5th of May: Five Boro Bike Tour
Have you always wanted to take a bike ride through Manhattan? On May 6th, 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” bike marathon takes almost 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.
May 5, Cinco De Mayo
The day of the Taco, Tequila and lots of Mexican vibes. New York City loves Cinco the Mayo since it’s a big party all over the city. Cinco the 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.
12th of May: Mother’s Day Champagne Brunch Cruise
Treat your mom to an elegant brunch this Mother’s Day while cruising the New York harbor for 2 hours. You will be accompanied by beautiful views of Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Statue of Liberty and more! Boarding is at 12:00 pm and your brunch will start briefly after. Along with live Jazz music and Champagne, this is definitely a perfect treat for Mother’s Day. For tickets and more information check the link below.
Every year, in New York, Japan Day is celebrated. Japan Day is a cultural festival that is one of the highlights in spring. The event takes place in the 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? Click here for more info.
Art in the parks
In Washington Square Park, there is a special art exhibition every year – outdoors! From May onwards (exact dates will be updated soon) until September, the works of art from various exhibitors can be viewed. NYU students, as well as famous artists, exhibit their sculptures, paintings, and carvings in the park. Definitely worth a visit!
End of May until August: 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 starry night sky of New York in Central Park. Yes, that is Shakespeare in the Park. One of a kind and only takes place in New York. Shakespeare in the Park runs from the last days of May through mid-to-late August. There are performances from Tuesday to Sunday at 8 pm. Check their schedule to find a performance.
Manhattanhengeis 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 2019, 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.
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. For a total of six years, Manhattan is enjoying this highlight and attracts countless visitors every day. The High Line is in May the ideal place for a relaxing rest, or as a wonderful walking distance (1.5 kilometers). All the details of the High Line Park you can read here.
22nd of May: Fleet Week
For 29 years, Fleet Week has been celebrated annually in New York. This 7-day celebration in honor of members of the US Navy, Coast Guard and Marine Corps is a great day out 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 23rd and May 30th, 2019.
27th of May: Memorial Day in New York
On the last Monday in May, Memorial Day is celebrated in honor of the Fallen in the War for the Fatherland. Officially, summer is in sight. It will be lively in Manhattan on this day as most do not have to go into the office. Many are looking for a cozy place in the sun in the park or relaxing at one of the many rooftops bars. All sights and shops are open this day, meaning that should you wish to go exploring or shopping, you can still do so!
28th of May: Free Summer Movies Begin
On May 28th, various parks in New York will start showing outdoor movies during the evening. These movies will be shown in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx! Enjoy the outdoors on a beautiful night. For a complete schedule, click here.
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The most popular things to do in May!
These are the most popular tickets!
Check out the most popular tickets in May for inspiration on things to do
If you are looking for the best ways to explore the city and discover what NYC has to offer, you have come to the right place. Below we have detailed the most popular things to do around this time of year as we want to show you the variety of amazing things to do the Big Apple has to offer. Check out the top 5 best selling tickets in May.
Sightseeing FLEX Pass
Freestyle Pass NYC
Bateaux Dinner Cruise
Manhattan Sky Tour
Empire State Building
One World Observatory
Save 50% on all attraction tickets with this discount pass for NYC!
Explore the city's top attractions (including the One World Observatory) while saving money!
Enjoy the amazing skyline views from the water during the most popular dinner cruise!
Explore the city from above! This is definitely an experience you wont forget!
NYC's highest open air observation deck - definitely a must if you haven't been!
NYC's newest attraction and tallest building. The views are phenomenal!
Private Horse & Carriage Ride Through Central Park
When the trees become green again and the weather becomes warmer by the day, it is undeniable that Central Park is one of the nicest places to spend the afternoon. With this Horse and Carriage ride, you can explore the park in style! The open-air carriage is a great way to enjoy the afternoon with a loved one, friends, or family.
New York by Night Photo Tour
NYC is one of the most photogenic cities on the planet. It is however common for people to come back from a trip to NYC with the same pictures as everyone else. If you want to take some amazing photos at night under the guidance of a professional who will take you to some of the most interesting spots in NYC to take pictures this is the tour for you! Check out the details below:
What is better than sailing around Manhattan and getting an amazing view of the skyline from the water? That’s right: Sailing around Manhattan while drinking craft beer and having a few snacks on board! This sailing tour is available again in May after not being available during the winter months, so make sure to book your tickets quickly!
Central Park Dates with Rowboat & Bike Rental Included
This couples experience is best enjoyed when the weather is amazing out. With a full days bike rental and rowboat rental included, this is the perfect way to spend an afternoon with your loved one! This is a great way to spend a day away from the busy city and relax, especially during the spring & summer months!
Don’t miss the opportunity to see one of NYC’s famous teams play live!
One of the things you definitely shouldn’t miss out on when in NYC is visiting a sports game! From the Knicks to the Giants, NYC has some great teams to go watch and play. You can check out all the upcoming sports games in NYC below – or alternatively, go check out our article with a breakdown of all the teams and where they play!
Concerts in NYC in May
Listen to some great music in one of NYC’s famous venues!