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NYC events in May 2019

Plan your month with our events calendar highlighting the best NYC events in May 2019 including major holidays

central park
Photograph: Shutterstock
By Evelyn Derico |

Now that spring is in full swing there’s certainly no shortage of outstanding NYC events in May 2019. We encourage you to find things to do outside and take in all the greenery by visiting some of the best NYC parks while the flowers are blooming. As for the month’s major holidays, don’t miss out on all the awesome things to do for Mother’s Day and Memorial Day. There’s also incredible spring festivals showcasing some of the best art and music.

RECOMMENDED: Full NYC events calendar for 2019

Featured events in May 2019

Flower Girl
Photograph: Jessica Lin
Things to do

Mother’s Day in NYC

You can do better than a dozen carnations for Mother’s Day this year to show Mom how much you love her and how well you know her. After all, she brought you into the world, so the least you can do is show your appreciation. Check out this list of things to do on Mother’s Day including the best restaurants in NYC to take her to, the best shops in NYC for gifts, spas in NYC for a relaxing day, flower shops for the perfect bouquet—basically, how to spoil the most important lady you know.

Photograph: Mark Doyle
Things to do, Festivals

Japan Day

The season for things to do outside has arrived along with lush trees and blooming tulips at NYC parks. So what better way to spend an afternoon than by soaking up the sun during the annual celebration of Japan Day? NYC will bring Japan to you at this fun festival, and judging by the lineup of performances, activity tents and other attractions, it’s safe to say that this massive cultural event is certainly one of the best things to do in spring.

Photograph: Philip Greenberg
Things to do

Memorial Day

On Memorial Day 2019, NYC will kick off the start to summer with tons of events. Memorial Day isn’t just about day-drinking and savoring the long weekend—it’s also about honoring the men and women who have died while serving in our armed forces. So before you chow down on the best BBQ in the city and line up for the best Memorial Day sample sales, remember the sacrifices made for the red, white and blue.

Fleet Week 2010, lead image
Things to do, Festivals

Fleet Week

Ahoy, sailors! Fleet Week NYC 2019 is a seven-day celebration in New York City, which honors the members of the United States Navy, Coast Guard and Marine Corps. Every year, the weeklong party kicks off with the Parade of Ships—a flotilla of visiting vessels and tall ships that cruise along the Hudson river—and continues with military demonstrations, a Memorial Day ceremony and more outstanding things to do around some great New York attractions.

Things to do, Film events

Randall's Island Outdoor Movie Nights

icon-location-pin Randalls Island Park, Randall's Island

Randall's Island Park returns with its annual free film series, presenting family friendly hits against a stunning city backdrop. On this year's schedule: Incredibles 2 (May 24), Mary Poppins Returns (June 8), Black Panther (June 15), Spider Man: Into the Spider-Verse (July 14), Tangled (July 28), Crazy Rich Asians (Aug 11), Ralph Breaks the Internet (Aug 18) and Creed II (Sep 8). Show up early for free games and crafts—and to grab some free popcorn while it lasts.

Queens Night Market
Photograph: Courtesy Queens Night Market
Things to do

Queens Night Market

icon-location-pin New York Hall of Science Design Lab, Queens

Consider yourself a travel-loving foodie? Queens Night Market is your one-stop shop in NYC to discover bites from 80 countries. Try a diverse range of grub that runs the gamut from Middle Eastern stews and Barbadian fishballs to Romanian-Hungarian chimney cake and tacos al pastor. The open-air bazaar operates from 5pm to midnight every Saturday, but the market has more to offer aside from fulfilling your late-night food cravings. Plus, stick around for the performances of Bollywood dancers, Indian electronica tunes, DJs and more.

Leonard Cohen Exhibit
Photograph: Courtesy Richard-Max Tremblay
Things to do, Exhibitions

"Leonard Cohen: A Crack In Everything"

icon-location-pin The Jewish Museum, Central Park

The late poet turned singer-songwriter’s legend lives on in this tribute, which makes its way to the States from Cohen’s homeland of Canada. In it, a dozen artists have been commissioned to create new works that interpret the lyricist’s themes. Spread over two floors, the exhibit, which was green-lighted by Cohen before his death, will also feature original drawings by the man himself, as well as a multimedia area where you can listen to Cohen covers by the likes of the National, Feist, Moby and Sufjan Stevens.

Photograph: Courtesy Metropolitan Museum of Art/Kate Simon
Things to do, Exhibitions

“Play It Loud: Instruments of Rock and Roll”

icon-location-pin The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Central Park

Technically, it’s “Play it fucking loud!”—at least that’s what Bob Dylan famously instructed his band to do after being heckled for going electric at a gig in ’66—but we understand why the mighty Met would want to scrub out the cursing. To toast the greatest genre of music—that’s rock & roll, of course—New York’s art-institution powerhouse turns it up to 11, displaying posters, costumes and other historical ephemera, not to mention around 130 guitars, drums and other instruments used by everyone from Chuck Berry and the Beatles to Van Halen and St. Vincent.

Live! At the Inn!
Photograph: Courtesy David Zimand

Live! At the Inn!

icon-location-pin Music Inn World Instruments, West Village

Head to a beloved West Village music shop for a banging musical comedy blowout every month. Host Max Stalker-Wilde and his big band welcome a lineup of stand-ups and musical guests to tear the roof off the classic venue every month. Show up early, save a seat and BYOB: You're in for a party. 

Comedy, Sketch shows


icon-location-pin Littlefield, Gowanus

Jo Firestone and her Rodney Dangerfield impersonator father, Fred, host this beloved competition, in which the first 18 individuals or duos to sign up at the door attempt to pun-up each other’s spontaneously-produced wordplay. Winners are determined by the Human Clap-O-Meter and go home with a Mystery Box prize. Get ready to laugh—and groan. 

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