50 Marvelous Things To Do This May In NYC

Claire Leaden Claire Leaden

50 Marvelous Things To Do This May In NYC

It may not feel like it by the weather, but we are in the heart of springtime in NYC!

With summer just around the corner, it’s time to take advantage of the cooler days before the city turns into a massive oven. There’s so much to look forward to in May, from “cinco de Mayo” to exciting new exhibitions and of course, all the city’s gorgeous spring blooms.

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!

1-3. Experience breathtaking music by candlelight in beautiful NYC spaces

Liong Photography

4. Dine until…any time you want


That’s right, the outdoor dining curfew is officially ending in NYC on May 17! And the indoor dining curfew ends on May 31. Plus there are a bunch of other restrictions that are lifting this month.

You can also:

  • Sit at the bar again (starting May 3)
  • Ride the subway after 2 a.m. (starting May 17)
  • Dine indoors or outdoors with no capacity limit (starting May 19)

5. Get tickets to Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience

You’ve never experienced Van Gogh like this before. Instead of standing and staring at one of the iconic artist’s beautiful framed paintings from afar, imagine being able to walk inside one — the vibrant colors swirling around you while you take in the stunning, post-impressionist works in an otherworldly way. Well, that’s exactly what you’ll be able to do at the brand new Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience coming to NYC this June to the historic Skylight on Vesey in FiDi! Get tickets here.

6. Or grab tickets to the Banksy Exhibition: Genius or Vandal? 

With over 100 genuine and certified artworks by the famous British street artist, the new Banksy Expo: Genius or Vandal? exhibit will take you on a unique journey through Banksy’s life and work. One of the world’s most exciting Banksy exhibits, the experience is slated to open in New York this summer and will guide you through numerous sculptures, videos, photos, original works and limited edition screen prints. Tickets just went on sale — grab them here!

7. Go on this magical Parisian theatrical walking tour through Greenwich Village

This spellbinding tour will transport you to Moulin Rouge-era Paris, with a glimpse into the life of legendary artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. After more than 250 performances since opening in September, the hit pandemic-friendly theatre experience Voyeur: The Windows of Toulouse-Lautrec is an “only in New York” experience that you don’t want to miss this spring. Grab tickets here!

8. Attend a drive-out live audio theater performance in Queens

Described as a “podcast meets radio play meets Broadway,” this immersive theater experience will transport you to another world through the magic of sound and the spectacle of HD atmospheric and stage projections on a stunning 50×60’ screen. The audio plays will feature a new cast of live actors every weekend, ranging from an adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Tempest to a remount of the company’s popular Treasure Island. Get tickets here.

9. Walk through this “Euphoric” pop-up in Bushwick

Instagram/ @euphoria_360

Transcend into a world of delight and optimism at the immersive pop-up experience Midst Bloom by Euphoria in Bushwick, Brooklyn. The vibrant walk-through experience will allow you to self-reflect and further understand yourself along with your connection to nature. As spring signifies rebirth, growth, and hope, Midst Bloom will leave you with a revitalized outlook on a brighter tomorrow! Find out more here.

10. Plan A Tour Beneath NYC Streets By Candlelight

Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Nolita has been offering tours of its historic catacombs, and it’s an experience every local (and tourist) should check out. And right now, you can purchase tickets that are valid for any date in the future, so you can plan for an amazing tour when the city reopens!

11-13. Celebrate Cinco de Mayo

Photo by @taiscaptures on Unsplash

Here are some events going on in NYC (that yes, involve margarita deals!):

14-16. Treat the mother figure in your life to a special Mother’s Day

Facebook / La Goulue

Another big May holiday is Mother’s Day of course! Here are some fun ways to celebrate mama in the city:

For more ideas, see here.

17. Treat yourself to a gorgeous spring brunch at this exclusive patio in NYC

This exclusive socially distanced brunch series is limited to an intimate attendance capacity. It’s a rare opportunity to be a personal guest at this chic and quirky private arts club! Jazz Age Lawn party is excited to safely and responsibly host you for this indoor Jazz brunch experience where you’ll get to eat great food and hear some dreamy music. Make reservations here.

18-19. Try Making (And/Or Just Order) Magnolia Bakery’s Famous Banana Pudding

Instagram / @magnoliabakery

Sure, you can get Magnolia Bakery’s famous banana pudding shipped or delivered—but you can also 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 you’ve got some extra time on your hands, don’t you? Check out the recipe here.

20. Take a day trip to Governors Island

NYC’s favorite local island getaway is officially open for the season! Catch a ferry and pretend you traveled a lot farther. Our suggestions? Zoom down the longest slide in NYC, visit this waterfront oyster bar, and visit the adorable new sheep!

Plus, glamping has returned again!! Read more here.

21. Visit a secret magic show beneath NYC

Matt Flores via Unsplash

At this immersive magic experience built specifically with safety in mind for the COVID era, you and your private group will join the Society of Conjurers And Magicians (SCAM) for their super-secret weekly meeting in their even-more-super-secret headquarters in the most-superest-secret concrete bunker deep under Times Square. In addition to witnessing magical miracles from some of the Society’s most skilled members, you will also be given tests of skill, intellect, and loyalty to see if anyone in your group will be initiated into the SCAM. Buy tickets here.

22. Go on a wisteria tour of NYC

Instagram / @rtanphoto

This month is especially good time to spy wisteria—the long-living, drippy purple vining flowers that climb high and bloom from spring into early summer. They have a penchant for brightening up the greenery and vines that cover old New York townhouses around this time of year. Enjoy these beautiful photos of what’s blooming on the NYC streets — and find the most picturesque locations here.

23. See the last of the cherry blossoms

Instagram/ @bygracelee

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.

24. Get a 5-cent hot dog on Coney Island

Every Thursday, Nathan’s Famous on Coney Island is throwing it back to their original hot dog price of 5 cents from 5 p.m. until closing — you just have to purchase a regularly-priced food item with it! Read more here.

25. Laugh ’til your stomach hurts at this comedy show with a view

Take advantage of the gorgeous spring weather & enjoy performance arts in NYC once again at this hilarious rooftop comedy show in Brooklyn. The Tiny Cupboard, a self-proclaimed hipster comedy club with its own church, is hosting incredible comedy performances on its giant rooftop in Bushwick! Grab your tickets here.

26. See how much New York City has changed in 80 years

Video still The New Yorker

The New Yorker put together an incredible video featuring side-by-side video footage of the same exact NYC streets, from both the 1930s and present day. It features views from the Brooklyn Bridge (plus a side-by-side of cars driving on it), the Manhattan Bridge, the Upper West Side of Manhattan (along with the Museum of Natural History), Central Park, the Frick Museum, Midtown, Times Square, the Empire State Building, Grand Central, and many more NYC sites. Watch it here.

27-46. Try every rooftop in NYC

Courtesy, The Ready

It’s rooftop season, NYC! From Midtown mainstays to brand new spots with glass greenhouses for socially distant dining, there are tons of amazing options on our top 20 rooftops of NYC list here.

47. Visit Central Park’s most enchanting hidden garden

Instagram/ @hanagramnyc

Looking for your next peaceful refuge? We know just the spot! Located on the East Side of the park between 104th and 106th street, is the magnificent Conservatory Garden unlike any other spot in Central Park. Read more about it here.

48. Watch This Stunning 1911 Film of NYC That Was Recently Colorized

Video Still Youtube

If you feel like traveling back in NYC’s history, we found the perfect time machine. An incredible silent film of New York City that depicts city life in 1911—originally created by a team from the Swedish production company Svenska Biografteatern only a few years before World War I—has been colorized by a YouTube video creator, and it is pure magic! Check it out here.

49. Explore The Netherlands’ breathtaking tulip fields in full bloom


A kaleidoscope of color awaits you in these gorgeous tulip fields. Wanderlust may still feel like more of a curse than a blessing right now, but thankfully there are virtual highlights to whet your travel appetite. If you’ve already  explored the ancient city of Petra, or marveled at the Northern Lights, you can now see the full bloom of spring with a little online excursion to the Keukenhof Flower Exhibit in The Netherlands.

50. Or, get the same experience in NJ!

Instagram / @hollandridgefarms

This tulip farm only an hour and fifteen minutes from NYC also mimics Holland’s gorgeous fields a lot closer to home! Find out more here.

featured image source: Instagram / @hollandridgefarms

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