10 Things to Do in New York in May

The splendour of spring makes New York in May even more attractive and full of life. You'll enjoy a dazzling solstice, entertaining tours and amazing parades.

Luisa María Lugo

Luisa María Lugo

9 min read

10 Things to Do in New York in May

New York in spring | ©Ben o Bro

The days get longer and more pleasant in New York in the spring, due to the nice weather that makes everyone feel at ease. So your list of things to do in New York in May can be longer and include many outdoor activities.

The peak season will not have reached its peak by this time, which will make you feel more comfortable in the tourist spots. In addition, you will be able to participate in the celebration of the various festivities or activities that take place during this month. Find out here which events you won't want to miss.

  • New York Buffet Dinner Cruise
  • From £104
  • 2h 30 min
  • The best cruise in NYC
  • With buffet dinner
  • Without guide
  • Book now
  • New York Botanical Garden Pass Ticket
  • From £29
  • At your own pace
  • An ideal plan for spring
  • Includes tram ride
  • Without guide
  • Book now
  • Manhattan Night Bus Tour
  • From £49
  • 4 hours
  • Night plan not to miss the Big Apple's illuminations
  • With guide
  • Book now
  • Manhattan Food Tour
  • From £63
  • 3 hours
  • Taste the best of American cuisine while strolling through the city.
  • With guide
  • Book now

1. Take a cruise along the Hudson River

The Manhattan skyline from the ferry| ©Hellotickets
The Manhattan skyline from the ferry| ©Hellotickets

The Hudson River starts 507 kilometres from New York City, in the Adirondack Mountains, and is very special because you can see some of the Big Apple's most famous landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty.

That's why Hudson River cruises are so popular and in demand, especially in May when the temperatures are so warm. And you can find a variety of options to book:

Book a Hudson River Cruise

2. Catch an exciting baseball game

Aerial view of New York's Yankee Stadium| ©Nick Fewings
Aerial view of New York's Yankee Stadium| ©Nick Fewings

The world's biggest baseball season, MLB, is on in May and it's an excellent opportunity to catch one of the big games in New York. The participation of famous baseball players adds a lot of excitement and action.

Whether you're a baseball fan or not, the eye-catching stadium structures, along with the shops and attractions inside, are sure to please. You will experience thrilling moments with the extraordinary plays of these great professional ballplayers.

Likewise, you can enjoy a cold beer at the popular and famous Yankee Stadium. If your favourite team is the New York Yankees or the Mets, attend an exciting baseball game. You will share with thousands of fans this unique and vivid experience.

Book tickets for a baseball game

3. Visit the Botanical Garden at its best

Botanical Garden entrance| ©Salim Virji
Botanical Garden entrance| ©Salim Virji

Spending a day in the great outdoors and breathing in an air of tranquillity is possible even in the big city. The beautiful botanical garden, which is among the top botanical gardens in the United States, is the place to do just that. You'll see vivid colours and smell the pleasant scents of magnolias, tulips, peonies and other pretty flowers.

If you want to get away from the tall buildings and noise, a visit is the thing to do in New York in May. It's also the right month to visit because the cherry blossoms bloom and fill the paths with white and pink colours.

When you're in these meadows you choose what you're going to do, whether it's rest, paint, take pictures or take a leisurely stroll through the meadows. You won't even have to pay if you go on a Friday before 12:00pm. For all other days and times of the month you will have to buy a ticket to the New York Botanical Garden, but for an affordable price.

Book your ticket to the New York Botanical Garden

4. Enjoy Shakespeare's plays for free

Shakespeare in Central Park| ©New York Habitat
Shakespeare in Central Park| ©New York Habitat

Every year, with the arrival of May, Shakespeare's plays are performed in New York. During this festival, which is held in the huge Central Park for free, 2 different plays by the famous writer are presented: Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet or Cymbeline.

If you appreciate the value of these theatre classics, this event held in this unique setting will be your favourite. You will be able to have an optimal view of the show because of the way the theatre has been set up.

The aim is to ensure that each and every spectator does not miss any detail of the play performed. And one thing I recommend is that, before the performance starts, you take a tour of Central Park while you are there to get to know it in depth and enjoy the special environment during the performance.

Useful information

  • Date: starts at the end of the month, from Tuesdays to Sundays.
  • Hours: 8:00pm.

Book a tour of Central Park

5. Be dazzled by the Manhattanhenge

Photo of Manhattanhenge| ©Nishant Khurana
Photo of Manhattanhenge| ©Nishant Khurana

To explain in words how wonderful Manhattanhenge is is quite difficult, but I'm going to try. It is a natural event that only happens twice a year, once in May. Of course, being a natural occurrence, the date of the month and the exact time of the solstice changes annually.

During the solstice, as the sun sets, it aligns itself with the main streets of Manhattan. Specifically in the direction of both the east and west streets of this borough of New York.

You'll want to take the best pictures, so be sure to bring your camera along for the ride. There's nothing better than being in the right place at the right time. That way, you'll have the chance to witness a magnificent phenomenon like this and capture it in pictures.

Book a night bus tour of Manhattan

6. Cycle around the city

Bicycle Tour| ©cottonbro
Bicycle Tour| ©cottonbro

One of the many activities you can do in New York in May to make the most of the good weather is cycling through the streets. In addition to exercising, you'll be able to ride around many iconic and well-known sites such as Central Park and the Brooklyn Bridge.

There are many options for cycling activities in the city, with something for everyone:

  • Central Park bike rental: ideal if you want to explore the famous park in the most comfortable way and at your own pace. The price also includes a map of the park.
  • Bike tour of Manhattan: if you want a group activity, this option is ideal to get to know the most famous neighbourhood in New York in the most comfortable way.
  • Bike rental in the Financial District: with this option you can rent a bike for a whole day and explore the area at your own pace. It is perfect if you already know the area on foot.

Book a bike tour of New York

7. Don't miss the International Food Festival

New York Food Festival| ©Carl Mikoy
New York Food Festival| ©Carl Mikoy

Do you love food as much as I do? If that's the case, you'll agree that being at a food fair is ideal. In fact, this is one of the best things to do in New York in May. That's because it's a festival packed with culinary innovations from around the world.

The food stalls are set up on 9th Avenue in a Manhattan neighbourhood called Hells Kitchen. Your entrance to this kind of event will cost you nothing and you have the option to try different special flavours.

You will also find live musicians playing and/or singing to add to the lively atmosphere. Can you think of a better plan than food and music in the open air on a beautiful day? I can. If you're still hungry for more, you can take a food tour of Manhattan the next day or whenever you want to continue discovering the flavours of the city.

Book a food tour of Manhattan

8. Attend the parade at Fleet Weeks

Start of Fleet Week| ©Class Andre N
Start of Fleet Week| ©Class Andre N

A holiday of great importance to New Yorkers is called Fleet Week. During this week, the families of those who make up the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps are celebrated with honour. It also includes the families of the Coast Guard and a variety of activities to see.

It begins with military-style manoeuvres on the Hudson River. This week includes Memorial Day, a holiday commemorating veterans and a parade. If you go to Central Park, you'll probably see a lot of people picnicking on Memorial Day.

The same will be true of New York's best rooftops, where you can go to relax and enjoy the fresh air. Memorial Day is specifically celebrated on the last Monday of the month and indirectly marks the beginning of summer. In addition to the attractions being open, there will be various offers and sales.

9. Run a half marathon in Brooklyn

A marathon in New York| ©Steven Pisano
A marathon in New York| ©Steven Pisano

If you like to exercise and run, a very popular event that will appeal to you is the half marathon in Brooklyn. But even if you don't have a passion for running these distances, being a spectator is also a special event. It's up to you to choose what to do in New York in May during this event.

This event is well known and watched locally and is something many people look forward to. In fact, it is so popular that registrations are taken in January and sell out within the hour.

Remember that the weather during this time of year is very favourable for joining the event. Go for it and be one of those who can say that you were, in some way, at the marathon.

10. Feel the adrenaline of Luna Park's attractions

Luna Park entrance| ©Larry Syverson
Luna Park entrance| ©Larry Syverson

There are plenty of things to do in New York in May if you're out and about in Manhattan, but nothing beats the adrenaline rush of Luna Park. This amusement park, located in Coney Island, offers endless fun. Its different and well-structured attractions will make you feel indescribable emotions.

There are from roller coasters for adults, with impressive heights and speeds, to children's rides for the little ones. In addition, rides that relate to traditional fairground rides add to the excitement.


What is the weather like in New York in May?

Bethesda Fountain in spring in Central Park| ©John Gillespie
Bethesda Fountain in spring in Central Park| ©John Gillespie

The month of May in New York is springtime, so the weather is warm. However, during the course of the night, the temperature tends to drop and you may experience some chill. Because of this, you should make sure to wear the right clothes for the moment.

Generally speaking, rainfall is no longer a problem, although the occasional drizzle is possible. Temperatures can more or less average between 12°C minimum and 22°C maximum. One of the advantages you will have is the many hours of daylight for fun.

You will generally see the sunrise from 6:00am and it will get darker at about 8:00pm. Therefore, May is one of the best months for various recreational activities because of the good weather.

How many tourists are there in New York in May?

Sunset in New York from a Roftop| ©Quintin Gellar
Sunset in New York from a Roftop| ©Quintin Gellar

Because it is low season rather than high season, the number of tourists is lower compared to the summer months. Therefore, the chances of finding crowds in restaurants, shops and other places are much less.

That, together with the ideal weather, will help you to have a smooth and trouble-free holiday and an excellent tour. You already know that there are plenty of things to do in New York in May.