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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

Photograph: Shutterstock
By Evelyn Derico |
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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.

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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.

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.

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Photograph: Michael Alexander
Things to do

Night of 1,000 Stevies

icon-location-pin Irving Plaza, Gramercy & Flatiron
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To some, Stevie Nicks may be just a successful singer, but to others she is a way of life. For more than a quarter of a century, the Jackie Factory has produced this event honoring the rock legend with special dance and music performances. Whether you’re serving up Fleetwood Mac–era flowing dresses, or ’80s big-hair glam, you'll want to look your Stevie best. This event is BYOT: Bring your own tambourine.

Citi Field
Photograph: Dominick Totino
Things to do

New York Beer Fest

icon-location-pin Citi Field, Flushing
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Baseball and beer: a brilliant combination for fans of America’s favorite pastime(s). That may be why Citi Field (proud host of the mighty Mets) is once again hosting the daylong NY Beer Fest, which is split between two three-hour sessions when you can sample 200 beers from more than 80 breweries. Tickets are $50, but that’s about what you’d pay for fours beers at a baseball game anyway. Food is available for purchase, and FYI: Citi Field definitely has the best grub selection. (Sorry, Yankees.)

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Photograph: Courtesy Bryant Park
Things to do

Dance Party in Bryant Park

icon-location-pin Bryant Park, Midtown West
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Aside from the gratis yoga and tai chi classes held on the lawn of Bryant Park, the green space coaxes toe-tappers to its nearly 10-acre expanse with a fun and free Dance Party on Wednesday evenings starting in May. Folks can cut a rug and learn new styles led by experts starting at 6pm, when instructors walk you through how to swing, tango, salsa or bachata. An hour later, a live band plays the appropriate tunes so you can show off your new steps under the stars.

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

Queens Night Market

icon-location-pin New York Hall of Science Design Lab, Flushing Meadows–Corona Park
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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.

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

"Leonard Cohen: A Crack In Everything"

icon-location-pin The Jewish Museum, Upper East Side
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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, Upper East Side
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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.

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