The 30 Best Things To Do In NYC In May 2022

What to do in New York in May? We've got you covered!

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!

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.

If you are looking for a shortcut: These are the 👉 most popular tours and activities in May.

My 30 Favorite Things To Do in NYC in May

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. 01

    Picnicking in Central Park

    Other Events in Upper West Side
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    Picnicking in Central Park is always a must-do activity during the summer. There are countless large and small lawns that invite you to relax, making for quite a few spots that are suitable for picnicking in the park, not just the popular Sheep Meadow.

    The largest lawn in Central Park is the Great Lawn, where the popular Central Park Concerts are held. The Great Lawn is a large, green space and is a wonderful spot to relax and have a picnic in the park after a long walk. For the athletes among you, there are even some baseball fields on the green, oval area. You’ll find the Great Lawn in the middle of the park at the 79th to 86th street level.

    Another picnic option is East Green. Here you can sit on a blanket between the trees and enjoy your meal. The East Green is located on 5th Avenue between 69th and 72nd Street.

    The most romantic picnic spot in Central Park is definitely Cherry Hill by the Bow Bridge. It has been the backdrop for many Hollywood movies, such as You’ve got Mail. You can make yourself comfortable on a small slope and enjoy the beautiful view of the lake and the bridge. The bridge is located in the middle of the park around 72nd Street.

  2. 02

    The Whitney Biennial 2022 (April 6 - September 5, 2022)

    Museum in Meatpacking District
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    In addition to regularly changing exhibitions, there is one Whitney Museum of Art event that tops them all: the Whitney Biennial. It’s been around since 1932, making it the longest-running exhibition of American art and the museum’s signature event.

    To get tickets check the website here.

  3. 03

    Enjoy Manhattanhenge (May 29 + 30)

    Other Events in Midtown Manhattan
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    Twice a year, the sun sets at a specific angle. The streets and avenues of New York are set up as a grid. During this time, the sun will align perfectly in between the skyscrapers. This phenomenon is called Manhattanhenge and can be observed in May and July. Do not miss out on this one. What’s even just as astonishing is how many people show up and take pictures of this special occasion.

    According to Farmers Almanac these are the exact dates:

    • May 29, 2022: 8:13 pm (half sun)
    • May 30, 2022: 8:14 pm (full sun)
  4. 04

    Experience New York in May quite relaxed with a cruise

    Cruise in Chelsea
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    New York in the May is amazing and there are lots of things to do outside. For me, there’s nothing better than experiencing the first signs of green from the river – and you can do that with 👉  these 9 best cruises in spring.

  5. 05

    Check out the Cherry Blossoms

    Other Events in Park Slope
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    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!

  6. 06

    The 26 Best Broadway Shows in May 2022 in New York

    Broadway Show in Theatre District
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    The answer to whether you should or should not see a Broadway show when visiting New York in May is crystal clear: YES, it absolutely belongs on your bucket list! What is not always as clear, however, is which show to pick.

    In order to help you out, we’ve created an overview of the absolute best Broadway shows in NYC in May!

  7. 07

    The MLB is on in May!

    Sport Events in Bronx
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    Baseball is New York. Whether it’s a game of the New York Yankees or the Mets, both baseball teams are definitely worth checking out.

  8. 08

    Every Friday once a month: Free Admission at The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

    Museum in Hell's Kitchen
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    One Friday per month, The Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum will open its doors to the public for free. Free Fridays will take place on:

    • May 27, 2022
    • June 24, 2022
    • July 29, 2022
    • August 26, 2022
    • September 30, 2022

    For more information on these special nights, please click the link here.

  9. 09

    Enjoy breath-taking views from one of the amazing observation decks

    Building in Midtown Manhattan
    Summit One Vanderbilt Observation Deck
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    You know what’s really unique about New York? The view of the (most likely) snow-covered Central Park from one of the observation decks! With the Top of the Rock, The Edge Hudson Yards and the SUMMIT One Vanderbilt you have three to choose from!

    And then there’s the One World Observatory and the Empire State Building. You should go to the latter (even if it gets cold) late at night from Thursday to Saturday. Because then a saxophonist plays on the 86th floor!

    My tip: if you are cold, you can go inside and enjoy the view from the inside. Because each of the observation decks (except for the Empire State Building) has additional floors with floor-to-ceiling windows.

  10. Budget tip

    If you want to visit several observations deck, attraction and tours in New York, check out the New York sightseeing passes. You can save up to 60% on the ticket price!

    To find out which New York Pass is the best for you, check out my New York Pass Comparison.

  11. 10

    Memorial Day (May 30th, 2022)

    Other Events in Midtown Manhattan
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    Memorial Day is a U.S holiday that was created to honor those who lost their lives while serving in the armed forces. It was known as Decoration Day prior to the new name. Memorial Day became a federal holiday in 1971 and is always celebrated on the last Monday in May!

  12. 11

    Watch the NBA Playoffs

    Sports Tickets in Chelsea
    Our Highlight
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    Do not miss a game of the NBA playoffs in one of the many bars in New York. Maybe you can even catch a game in the city if the Brooklyn Nets or the New York Knicks make it into the playoffs.

  13. 12

    Pizza Wine Movie Nights at Rooftop Reds

    Other Attraction in Dumbo
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    On a roof of the Brooklyn Navy Yards you can sit in a real winery: Rooftop Reds grows wine here, which you can taste and enjoy at their Rooftop Red Tours & Tastings!

    Starting in May, you can watch movies with a view of the skyline and a glass of wine in your hand. Tickets are available here.

  14. 13

    Rooftop Cinema Club Midtown

    Other Art & Culture in Midtown Manhattan
    Our Highlight
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    We love the Free Summer Movies, which are available at different places in New York. They are an absolute MUST DO in the summer, so you should definitely plan the Free Summer Movies for yourself. But you can also go one floor higher: with the cinema events on the roofs of hotels or bars. The Rooftop Film Club on top of the Skylawn Embassy Suites show films in lofty heights on several days during may.

    • The Great Gatsby (May 4, 2022).
    • When Harry Met Salley (May 5, 2022)
    • Coming to America (May 5, 2022)
    • You’ve Got Mail (May 6, 2022)
    • Goodfellas (May 6, 2022)
    • Spider-Man: No Way Home (May 7, 2022)
    • Moonstruck (May 7, 2022)
    • Do the right thing (May 7, 2022)
    • Big (May 8, 2022)
    • Breakfast at Tiffany’s (May 8, 2022)
  15. 14

    Five Boro Bike Tour (May 1, 2022)

    Other Events in Upper West Side
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    Participants 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. 

    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.

  16. 15

    Fritz New York (18 – 22 May, 2022)

    Other Art & Culture in Hudson Yards
    Frieze Art Fair New York
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    For art enthusiasts, one of the best things to do in spring in NYC is attending Frieze New York. It’s hosted on The Shed at Hudson Yards and features works from over 1,000 artists and 200 international galleries.

    There are many other fun things to do at the festival as well, such as sitting in on one of the famous panel discussions, soaking in the breathtaking views of The Vessel, and most importantly – immersing yourself in many imaginative outdoor and indoor projects.

    My tip: Here you find the Best Art Exhibitions in New York City.

    Photo by Casey Kelbaugh. Courtesy of Casey Kelbaugh/Frieze

  17. 16

    Celebrate Maifest at Zum Schneider NYC (May 6 & 7, 2022)

    Bar in Alphabet City
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    Zum Schneider is very famous for its Bavarian traditions, beer and Oktoberfest. Now you can celebrate the Bavarian way of life at Maifest in Bushwick. Even though Maifest will be slightly smaller than their Oktoberfest, you’re sure to have a good time!

    • Where: 260 Meserole St., Brooklyn (The location is in a big backyard of an old Brewery in Bushwick which you enter through the 3DollarBill Club.).
    • Tickets are available here.
  18. 17

    Visit Little Island at Pier 54

    Other Attraction in Meatpacking District
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    Photo credit Michael Grimm
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    Not far from the Meatpacking District and the High Line, Little Island is one of the newest attractions in New York and is something very special: a park on 132 beautiful tulip-shaped concrete stilts in the Hudson River!

  19. 18

    Celebrate Harry Potter Day (May 2, 2022)

    Other Shopping in Flatiron District
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    Harry Potter fans listen up! The opening of the Harry Potter store in New York’s Flatiron District was celebrated with a huge media hype. Taste the famous butter beer, fly through London with Hagrid, or solve the mystery of how to reach Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry after all (these are virtual reality tours).

    The Harry Potter Store has been designed with a lot of attention to detail and should therefore definitely be on your itinerary if you are as fascinated by the stories of Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley as I am! 

  20. 19

    Walk the High Line

    Park in Meatpacking District
    Our Highlight
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    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).There are many lovely cafés, galleries and great bars – and with Gallow Green one of my favorite rooftop bars in the city.

    My tip: these are the best spots along the High Line for me.

  21. 20

    Spend some time in Little Italy, SoHo and Chinatown

    Walking Tour in Hudson Square
    Our Highlight
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    Now known for their many excellent restaurants, shops and tourism, Manhattan‘s SoHo, Little Italy and Chinatown neighborhoods offer the most varied stories of New York City. Take a 2-hour tour with a local guide and discover hidden gems and 19th century buildings.

  22. 21

    Enjoy the first warm weeks of the year at one of the rooftops of New York

    Rooftop Bar in Lower East Side
    Our Highlight
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    For me, the cloudM Rooftop Bar is one of the most beautiful rooftop bars not only in the Lower East Side, but in all of New York. It is located on the roof of the citizenM New York Bowery Hotel and offers everything that makes a good rooftop bar: a great view, beautiful design and relaxed atmosphere.

  23. 22

    Visits Governors Island (for the first time possible in May)

    Other Attraction in Outside of New York City
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    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.

  24. 23

    Spend the day in one of the best museums of NYC

    Museum in Upper West Side
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    The season is perfect for a museum visit to New York, and the Big Apple really doesn’t lack choices. After the theatrical release of “The Night of Museum” series, (The first movie took place in the New York Museum of Natural History) you really feel like going to the place of the event? In the footsteps of dinosaurs, aborigines and many other historical creatures, the Natural History Museum on Central Park West is always a good idea for a museum outing.

    By the way, on May 13, the museum’s oldest gallery – Northwest Coast Hall – will reopen with new exhibitions!

    My tip: These are the 36 Best Museums in NYC

  25. 24

    Yummy: It's National Burger Day (March 28, 2022)

    Burger Spot in Midtown Manhattan
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    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 check out our most popular burger restaurants here.

  26. 25

    Honorable William Wall

    Cruise in Lower Manhattan
    Our Highlight
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    The Honorable William Wall, affectionately called “Willy Wall”, is the floating clubhouse of the Manhattan Yacht Club. The clubhouse is anchored in New York Harbor north of Ellis Island from May to October. What is so special about it? It’s definitely an insider’s spot, which not only gives you a great view of Ellis Island and of course the Statue of Liberty – you can also enjoy the sunset from here.

  27. 26

    Finally open: Grand Banks

    Sea Food Restaurant in Tribeca
    Our Highlight
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    Water, a great view of Manhattan and a great atmosphere – the location is simply the best. You are sitting on a historic ship called F/V Sherman Zwicker on the Hudson River and can enjoy New York from the water when the weather is fine. The place also serves great drinks and seafood.

  28. 27

    Visit the Ninth Avenue International Food Festival (May 14 & 15, 2022)

    Other Events in Garment District
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    Every year in May, the Ninth Avenue International Food Festival takes place over one weekend. Local restaurants but also street food vendors are represented here. You can try a lot of delicious things from BBQ to Ice Cream. So foodies, let’s go!

  29. 28

    It's Japan Day (May 14, 2022)

    Other Events in Upper West Side
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    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?

  30. 29

    Fleet Week (May 26, 2022 – May 31, 2022)

    Other Events in Hell's Kitchen
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    Though it’s only officially been a celebration since 1982, Fleet Week has been a beloved spring activity in New York for many years before that. The week is hosted by the United States Marine Corps, Navy, and Coast Guard each year and features active military ships that are deployed in overseas missions to dock in a variety of big cities for one week. 

    After the ship is docked, the crew enters the city and visits tourist attractions. At scheduled times, the public can enjoy a guided tour of the ship, and demonstrations by the Blue Angels usually accompany this event. 

  31. 30

    Shakespeare in the Park

    Other Art & Culture in Upper West Side
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    A really great summer tradition is Shakespeare in the Park. The free event features classic plays by William Shakespeare every summer at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. Outdoors, the play is really a great experience. The Delacorte Theater is located pretty much in the middle of Central Park next to Turtle Pond.

  32. 31

    Summer on the Hudson

    Other Events in Upper West Side
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    Summer on the Hudson is Riverside Park & West Harlem Piers Park’s annual outdoor arts and culture festival. Between 59th and 153rd Streets on the Hudson River, you can experience live DJs, exhibits, special shows for kids, and of course, the outdoor movies. And the best part? All the events are free! 

  33. 32

    Celebrate Cinco De Mayo in NYC (May 5, 2022)

    Other Events in Bronx
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    What St. Patrick’s Day is to the Irish, Cinco De Mayo is to the Mexicans. El Cinco de Mayo (Spanish for “May 5”) is a commemoration of the victory of the Mexican army led by General Ignacio Zaragoza during the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862 against the clearly superior French Expeditionary Force. 

    In New York, that means one thing above all: tequila, margaritas and a lot of partying with the locals. Both in the countless Mexican restaurants and bars in New York is celebrated big, but also during the Cinco De Mayo Parade in Manhattan, which stretches from Central Park West 106th Street to 96th Street.

  34. 33

    Mother's Day (May 8, 2022)

    Other Events in Theatre District
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    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.

  35. 34

    Manhattanhenge

    Other Events in Midtown Manhattan
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    Twice a year, the sun sets at a specific angle. The streets and avenues of New York are set up as a grid. During this time, the sun will align perfectly in between the skyscrapers. This phenomenon is called Manhattanhenge and can be observed in May and July. Do not miss out on this one. What’s even just as astonishing is how many people show up and take pictures of this special occasion.

  36. 35

    Celebrate Queens Museum 50th Anniversary

    Museum in Queens
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    One of the most well-known museums in Queens is the Queens Museum of Art, which was built in 1939 to host the New York World’s Fair. Many of the exhibits are documents relating to the fair. And the great thing is that admission is always free of charge!

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52°F / 11°C

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About the author
Steffen

I'm a true New York fan! Not only have I visited the city over 20 times but also have I spent several months here at a time. On my blog I show you the best and most beautiful spots of the city, so that you have a really good time! You can also find lots of insider tips in our New York travel guide. Also check out my hotel finder for New York!

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3 Comments

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Nancy Horak

Please tell me when ‘Manhattanhenge’ is predicted to occur this Spring 2018.

Moritz

Hi Nancy! Manhattanhenge will happen around May 28th and July 13th — precise dates can be verified with the New York Museum of Natural History closer to those dates 🙂

Louise Jones

May sounds like the perfect month to visit And its my birthday month!!!

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