As a new season approaches, NYC’s energy is already shifting into summer mode. But before we get there, let’s not forget that May is totally jam-packed with fun things to look forward to. From the opening of NYC’s Bridgerton Ball to exciting new exhibitions and of course, appreciating all of the city’s gorgeous spring blooms, you’ll never be bored!
That said, we’ve put together a giant list below of all the must-do activities happening this month in the city. Get to it!
1. Get dressed up to attend the Queen’s Ball: A Bridgerton Experience
Step into your screens with the Queen’s Ball: A Bridgerton Experience here in NYC. Whether you binged the Netflix hit series like us, or have never seen it, the experience is sure to be loved by all. Get dressed in your Regency-era best and be sure to bow in front of the queen—who knows, you might just be the season’s diamond! Grab your tickets here.
2. Dine in complete darkness for a fun date night
Are you ready to take part in an unforgettable culinary journey? This deluxe Resident x Dining in the Dark experience inside a luxury speakeasy is coming to Resident, Chelsea this June! Michelin-trained Chef David Goldman (formerly of Marea and Aska) has curated a 3-course menu with 4 wine pairings that will surprise your senses as you enjoy one of NYC’s most unique dining experiences!
4. Get a laugh at this cathartically comedic play, Sorry For Your Loss
Running for a six-week limited engagement at the Minetta Lane Theater, Sorry For Your Loss will entertain theater goers with a cathartic performance touching on topics of grief in a unique new perspective. Created by and starring comedian Michael Cruz Kayne, you surely don’t want to miss these hot tickets. Get yours here. Sponsored
5. Experience breathtaking music by candlelight in beautiful NYC spaces
If you’d like to hear beautiful melodies surrounded by the flickering glow of candlelight in a stunning NYC church, this one at The Opera House from Bach to the Beatles or this one at the Williamsburg Hotel that’s The Best of Hans Zimmer will surely impress. If you’d rather listen to more modern music, try this Lana del Rey tribute at the Church of the Heavenly Rest.
Get your gang together and enter into the classic NYC sitcom like never before at The FRIENDS Experience. Take a load off on the iconic orange couch, order a coffee from Central Perk, and even take a seat at Monica & Rachel’s kitchen table. There’s tons of memorable set recreations, costumes, and props to explore. Buy your tickets today!
7. Get whisked away at the ballet
Watch a dynamic dark tale of Dracula through dance with Akjun Ballet’s incredible rendition in NYC. Be enchanted by the dazzling talent and captivating plot and grab your tickets now.
8. Get transported to the Star Wars universe at this burlesque parody, The Empire Strips Back
Travel to a galaxy far, far away at NYC’s out-of-this-world burlesque parody show: The Empire Strips Back. See your favorite characters scantily clad like sultry Stormtroopers and a dangerously enticing Boba Fett in a hilarious performance you can’t miss. Get your tickets here.
9. Admire all things miniature at Small Is Beautiful
The biggest international exhibition entirely devoted to mini art is here in NYC! More than 30 artists are displaying over 150 works of art that are sure to blow your mind and perspective. Grab your tickets today.
10. Celebrate Cinco de Mayo
From a Cinco De Mayo Celebration at the NYPL to a Cinco de Mayo Fiesta Cruise, there’s plenty of ways to celebrate the holiday in NYC.
11. Appreciate the best in art around NYC
One of NYC’s best assets is its accessibility to beautiful art. Everywhere you look there’s new installations popping up like the Met’s 2023 rooftop exhibit or this whimsical floral display coming to NYC’s Fifth Ave. See more of the ones you should check out this May here.
12. Roam AMNH’s new 230,000-square-foot science center
Prefer science over art? Then be sure to check out AMNH’s massive new Gilder Center. It’s complete with a giant year-round butterfly garden, 360° theater & so much more. Read all about it here.
13. Beat the Sunday scaries with brunch!
Everyone knows the only way to do a weekend right in NYC is to brunch. Whether you’re looking for insta-worthy spots or bottomless options, East Village locations to West Village favorites, we know just the spots.
14. Honor AAPI Heritage Month at the first-ever Asian Creative Festival
The Asian Creative Foundation is bringing the first Asian Creative Festival to Industry City for a two-day festival from May 20-21. NYC’s largest AAPI creative organizations will come together for the event to support and uplift the AAPI community. Find out more information about Asian Creative Festival here.
15. Have your mind blown at this magic show behind a locksmith shop
Well actually…it’s not a locksmith shop at all. What lies behind the neon sign and stocked window is an intimate speakeasy. This secret spot has become a Secret NYC favorite since its opening, serving up creative cocktails and some of the best hospitality in the city. But our most favorite time to come by is for Magic, Unlocked, an exclusive magic show that transforms the space into an experience we’ll never cease to shut up about. Trust us, you will leave absolutely mind blown. You simply have to see it for yourself. Read more about Key & Heels here.
16. Explore the dazzling depths of NYC nightlife at this critically-acclaimed cirque variety show
Enter into the magical blend of old-world supper club meets New York’s underground queer circus scene at The Rose Room. This cirque variety show will keep you on your toes all night long with an array of mind-blowing performers from America’s Got Talent, Broadway, Cirque Du Soleil, The Box, House of Yes, Company XIV and beyond. Take in the world-class entertainment while enjoying delicious cocktails at this one-stop shop night of adventure in the city! Tickets can be found here.
17. Visit Banksy in New York: An Unauthorized Exhibition
Delve deeper into the mysterious career of Banksy as visitors will get a rare opportunity to explore a private collection of the artist’s original and verified art! The exhibit will take you on an incredible journey through years of work. Buy tickets now!
18. Do downward dog atop the highest observation deck in the Western Hemisphere
Take your yoga training 1,100 feet above the city at the return of the Edge’s popular Sky High Yoga series. Move your body while you admire the unbeatable view from the sky deck. Tickets are $60 for a 45-minute class and mats are included. Find out more details here. The sessions fill up quick so if you miss your chance, don’t worry, they will release tickets on a monthly basis.
19. Be mesmerized at NYC’s Museum of Digital Experiences
A a new world of art awaits at The Museum of Digital Experiences. Known as NYC’s first all-digital museum, visitors will take in 14 exceptional digital art installations from artists around the world. Secure your tickets here.
20. Get your boogie on at Rockefeller Center’s “Flipper’s Roller Boogie Palace”
Travel back in time to L.A.’s iconic Flipper’s Roller Boogie Palace that’s been reinvented right here in NYC’s Rockefeller Center. Skate all summer long at this exciting pop-up activation. Find out all the details to get your groove on here. Not much of a skater? Then check out another NYC rink transformation at Wollman Rink, which is temporarily a massive pickleball paradise.
21. Take in amazing views at NYC’s best waterfront parks
With the warmer weather arriving, there’s no better place to enjoy a spring breeze than at one of NYC’s gorgeous waterfront parks. Whether you’re looking out onto the Hudson or perched near the East River, there are picturesque parks to soak in the sun everywhere you look. Check out these best waterfront parks in NYC with the most amazing views here.
22. Pick everything from peaches to pears at NYC’s giant new fruit orchard
Say goodbye to the days of having to leave the city to pick your favorite fruits! Governors Island welcomed a new fruit orchard last year, commissioned by artist Sam Van Aken, and it’s returned for the 2023 season. It’s comprised of 102 NYC-native trees that have gone extinct due to climate change. Open Orchard features different types of apples, peaches, plums, and pears. Visitors can stroll through the orchard and have the opportunity to taste these fruits that have not been available for generations. Find out more here.
23. Treat the mother figure in your life to a special Mother’s Day
Another big May holiday is Mother’s Day of course! From Mother’s Day Cupcake Decorating to a Mother’s Day Brunch Cruise, there are so many fun ways to celebrate mama in the city.
24. Tour the historic catacombs beneath Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral
Explore what’s beneath the 200-year old Basilica of Saint Patrick’s Old Cathedral with this one-of-a-kind historic tour. The space was once sealed off to the public, but now invites those brave enough to venture through it by candlelight. Plus, they’re the only Catholic catacombs in New York City! Score your tour tickets now.
25. Take in this captivating Titanic exhibition in NYC
After a sold-out run in London, it’s New Yorkers chance to learn about the touching stories of the ship’s passengers and crew through personal artifacts and belongings. The exhibition is aided with an audio guide that will narrate the stories of the passengers with testimonies from survivors, music and sound effects. Buy your tickets to Titanic. The Exhibition here.
26. Catch a breeze at a waterfront bar or restaurant
On a nice day, there’s nothing better than a refreshing drink or bite to eat on the waterfront. From a historic air craft carrier ship to sweeping rooftops, try one of our favorites be it Grand Banks, Baylander Steel Beach or La Barca Cantina. See our entire list here.
27. Roam through fields of lavender just a quick ways away from the city
Make a day trip to the East End of Long Island at family-owned farm, Lavender By The Bay. Explore 17-acres that are home to over 80,000 lavender plants. Though full bloom typically occurs in mid-June, visitors are still welcome to roam the farm as the flowers begin to grow! Read more about Lavender By The Bay here.
28. Have a laugh at the Museum of Failure
This unorthadox museum showcases failed products and services from around the world. But just remember, these strange and useless inventions ultimately paved the way for true genius. Grab your tickets here.
29. Rock out at one of Pier 17’s rooftop concerts
Pier 17’s exhilarating rooftop concert series is back for the season and tickets to the shows are now available. Watch some of your favorite artists take the stage while you marvel at the endless views of Brooklyn and the East River around you. Find more summer programming in Seaport here.
30. Roar across the Hudson on The Beast
Calling all adrenaline junkies! Take a spin on this splash-tastic thrill ride that revs down the Hudson River at 40 knots. The Beast is NYC’s only jet-powered speed boat ride and it’s the perfect way to see the city for daredevils. Learn more here.
31. Shop at Bryant Park’s spring market
We sure love Bryant Park in the winter with all of its vendors, and lucky for us, this spring we won’t have to wait another winter for their return. Explore over 100 vendors at an exciting spring version of the beloved shopping destination by Urbanspace titled “Makers Market.” Discover artisanal items from local businesses on select weekends this month. Get more details here.
32. Escape to the Caribbean at this music festival, only 4 hours from NYC
You could be having the time of your life in the Caribbean in just four hours. Yes, that’s right! This Memorial Day weekend from May 26th-28th, you can ditch the annual upstate trip and make it to Sol Seeker Festival, an epic music fest in the Caribbean in around the same time. Learn more here.
33. Try making (and/or just order) Magnolia Bakery’s famous banana pudding
Head over to Magnolia bakery or get their famous banana pudding shipped or delivered to see their brand new logo! Otherwise, you can test your skills in the kitchen and try making your own batch at home! And it’s really quite simple. Okay, it does require a whopping eight hours of chill time, but we swear it’s worth it. Check out the recipe here.
34. Take a day trip to Governors Island
NYC’s favorite local island getaway awaits! Catch a ferry and pretend you traveled a lot farther. Our suggestions? Relax at the spa or go glamping on Governors Island.
35. See the last of the cherry blossoms
NYC’s magical cherry blossom bloom is almost ending, but you can still catch the beautiful flowers and their confetti on the ground for a little while longer! Check out our top spots in NYC here.
36. Roam Pier 57’s rooftop park
Explore the 80,000-square-foot stretch of Pier 57’s rooftop park, completely free to the public! The 12 year project is mixed-use and shares a home with Google offices plus a a City Winery on the pier. Learn more here.
37. Eat like an Italian on Arthur Avenue
You might be familiar with Manhattan’s Little Italy, but did you know NYC is actually home to another Little Italy? That’s right, head to the Bronx for another opportunity to feast on traditional Italian cuisine.
38-39. Or discover mouthwatering bites at one of NYC’s many outdoor food markets
Another perk of warmer weather in NYC is being able to check out all of the outdoor food markets. These are some of our favorites:
40. Win a free trip to Japan
Always wanted to visit Japan? Well, you’re in luck! New Yorkers have the unique opportunity to win free round-trip tickets to Japan with JAL miles thanks to the city’s first-ever JAPAN MONTH happening all of May. Those interested will need to share a pic to social media with the hashtag #mayisjapanmonth at a participating NYC Japanese restaurant. See here for more details about how to enter. Plus, don’t forget about NYC’s annual Japan Parade & Festival happening on May 13th.
41. Ride to LaGuardia Airport for free
The Q70 bus, also known as the “LaGuardia Link,” is now offering free, year-round trips to the LGA Airport. Ridership was once only free on certain days and holidays, however, Governor Hochul announced last year that the bus service will no longer charge riders from now on! Read all the details here.
42. Dine at secret outdoor spots
Yes we all agree that people watching while dining can be very entertaining, however, some nights we understand you just want some privacy. At times like that, you definitely should check out all of the city’s hidden outdoor dining spots. These secluded spaces will help you avoid the crowds as you have to enter through secret staircases and unseen patios. Uncover our full list here.
43. Try every rooftop in NYC
It’s rooftop season, NYC! From Midtown mainstays to backyard escapes, there are tons of amazing options on our top rooftops of NYC list here.
44. Pick beautiful tulips in NJ!
This tulip farm only an hour and fifteen minutes from NYC mimics Holland’s gorgeous fields a lot closer to home! Find out more here.
45. Pack a picnic
Grab the gingham and take advantage of NYC’s many gorgeous parks and gardens with a lovely picnic. Here are some of our favorite, under-the-radar spots.
46. Stock up on local produce at the farmer’s market
Get all of the fresh produce you need at one of your local farmer’s markets. You’ll find some of the freshest ingredients that will pair perfectly for whatever you decide to cook up at home. Find one near you here.
47. Cool off with some delicious ice cream
We already have heard the ice cream trucks blaring their tune on the street so it’s definitely ice cream season. Explore all of the sweetest offerings around town with our 12 must-try ice cream shops in New York City.
48. Watch an outdoor film atop an aircraft carrier
Free movie nights at the Intrepid Museum are returning this May, kicking off with Top Gun on May 26th. Since this year marks the ship’s 80th anniversary of commissioning, the movie series will feature ship-themed films all summer long. Find out more details about these free movie nights here.
49. Go for a dip at this new rooftop pool in NoMad
Virgin Hotels heated rooftop pool is the perfect way to pass a beautiful day in May. The pool club will offer refreshing, boozy ice pops to really help you cool off and delicious bites to keep you satiated after a nice swim. Read more here.
50. Stop by one of our SNYC-approved businesses
We’re leaving our mark across the five boroughs! Keep your eyes peeled when you’re out and about for our signature yellow stickers on windows and doors and be sure to give those businesses a little love. Find our full map of Secret NYC-approved businesses here.