The Ultimate Guide to Visiting New York in May

New York is undoubtedly one of the world's most renowned tourist destinations. It boasts iconic skyscrapers, bustling streets, world-class museums, diverse cultural experiences, and a climate that changes with the seasons. Also known as 'The Big Apple', this global metropolis is defined by its impressive skyline and diverse neighborhoods that celebrate various cultures. From the dazzling lights of Times Square to the tranquil oasis of Central Park, New York offers a wide spectrum of experiences for all.

The city's dynamic weather varies throughout the year, providing different opportunities and activities for each season. While New York remains vibrant year-round, let's explore what it has in store for travelers during the month of May.

Is May a good time to visit New York?

May offers a perfect balance of favorable weather, cultural events, and outdoor activities, making it an excellent time to visit New York City.

New York in May

Why you should visit?

  • May typically brings mild and pleasant weather to New York City. Spring is in full bloom, with temperatures warming up but not yet reaching the peak summer heat. 
  • This is the peak of the cherry blossom season, therefore, you can witness breathtaking displays of these delicate pink and white blooms.
  • New York hosts numerous events and festivals in May, including parades, food festivals, and cultural celebrations. Museums, theaters, and cultural institutions host exciting exhibitions and performances during the month.
New York in May

What to look out for?

  • Catch sight of the cherry blossoms in Central Park, the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, and lesser-known locations throughout the city.
  • May falls into the shoulder season for tourism, resulting in fewer crowds at popular attractions and more affordable accommodation options.
  • Check out the several events and festivals, including parades, food festivals, and cultural celebrations. The annual Fleet Week and Memorial Day events are noteworthy.

Overview of the weather in New York in May

New York in May

More about the weather in New York in May

How hot is New York in May?

The month of May offers delightful spring weather in New York. It is warm and sunny with little rainfall. However, evenings can be cool.

Can you swim at beaches in New York in May?

We don't suggest swimming at the beaches in New York in May because sea temperatures are still cold even though the overall weather is pleasant. The cold seawater results from NYC’s location at the boundary of the cool temperate maritime climate of the North Atlantic and the cool temperate continental climate of the North. Wind mixes surface water with cold, nutrient-rich water from the ocean's depths, keeping the coastal waters chilly.

Does it rain in New York in May?

The weather is mostly warm and sunny in May but the city does experience light showers or rainfall during the month.

Is New York windy in May?

Yes, the city can be windy in May.

Best things to do in New York in May

New York in May
New York in May

2. The High Line

City Landmark | Park

Built on a historic freight rail line, The High Line is an elevated linear park offering a unique urban experience with beautifully landscaped gardens, art installations, and views of the cityscape. Visitors can stroll along the path, relax on benches, and enjoy the greenery amidst the bustling city. The park hosts cultural events, guided tours, and public art exhibitions. It's a serene escape from the chaos of the city, providing a blend of nature, art, and urban design that's perfect for a leisurely walk or quiet reflection.

New York in May

3. The Metropolitan Museum of Art

City Landmark | Museum

Located along Fifth Avenue's Museum Mile, The Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of the largest and most prestigious art museums in the world boasting a vast and diverse collection spanning over 5,000 years of art and culture. Visitors can explore its numerous galleries, which house everything from ancient Egyptian artifacts to European masterpieces to contemporary works. The Met offers an immersive journey through human creativity and history, making it a cultural treasure trove and a must-visit destination for art enthusiasts and history buffs alike.

New York in May
New York in May
New York in May

6. The Bronx Zoo

City Landmark | Zoo

The Bronx Zoo, located in the Bronx borough of New York City, is one of the largest and most renowned metropolitan zoos in the world. Spanning over 260 acres, it is home to thousands of animals from diverse species. Visitors can explore various exhibits, including the Congo Gorilla Forest, JungleWorld, and Tiger Mountain, to witness animals in naturalistic habitats. The zoo is dedicated to wildlife conservation and education, making it an ideal destination for families and animal enthusiasts, providing both entertainment and a deeper understanding of the natural world.

New York in May

7. Governor's Island

Governors Island is a scenic gem in New York Harbor, just a short ferry ride from Manhattan or Brooklyn. This 172-acre island offers a peaceful escape from the city's hustle and bustle. Visitors can enjoy leisurely biking along car-free paths, exploring historic forts like Fort Jay and Castle Williams, and picnicking on its green lawns with fantastic views of the Statue of Liberty and Lower Manhattan. Seasonal events, art installations, and food vendors make it a unique destination for culture and relaxation. It's a hidden treasure offering a tranquil urban oasis.

New York in May
New York in May

9. Brooklyn Botanic Garden

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is a beautiful oasis located in the heart of Brooklyn. Each spring, it bursts into a riot of color when its cherry blossoms come into full bloom. The garden boasts a diverse collection of cherry trees, primarily the iconic Japanese cherry blossoms or sakura. These delicate, pink-hued blossoms create a breathtaking spectacle, drawing visitors from near and far, making it a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts and lovers of cherry blossoms alike. Also, explore the themed gardens and exhibitions while you’re here.

New York in May

Top experiences & things to do in New York in May


Events in New York in May

New York in May

Memorial Day Parade

The Memorial Day Parade is a solemn and patriotic event held annually on Memorial Day, typically the last Monday of May. It is organized to honor the men and women of the US military who have made the ultimate sacrifice while serving their country. The parade features military units, veterans, marching bands, and patriotic displays, making it a significant and poignant observance of American history and sacrifice.

New York in May

Fleet Week

Fleet Week is an annual event celebrating the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. During this week-long celebration, naval vessels dock at the city's ports, and sailors and Marines engage with the public through ship tours, military demonstrations, and community outreach programs. It offers New Yorkers and visitors a unique opportunity to interact with servicemen and women while honoring their dedication to national defense. The event typically includes air shows and various festivities, making it a vibrant tribute to the armed forces.

New York in May

Dance Parade

The Dance Parade in New York is a colorful and vibrant celebration of dance in all its forms. Held annually, it features thousands of dancers, from professionals to amateurs, showcasing a diverse range of dance styles. The parade winds its way through Manhattan, culminating in a festival at Tompkins Square Park. It's a joyful and inclusive event that unites people through the universal language of dance while promoting cultural diversity and artistic expression.

New York in May

Japan Day

Japan Day in New York is an annual event that celebrates Japanese culture and heritage. Held in Central Park, it features a wide array of cultural activities, including traditional performances, martial arts demonstrations, Japanese cuisine, and art exhibitions. The event fosters cultural exchange and understanding between Japan and the United States, offering New Yorkers and visitors a taste of Japan's rich traditions and contemporary culture. It's a day filled with cultural immersion and appreciation.

New York in May


Manhattanhenge is a jaw-dropping natural phenomenon that occurs in New York City. During certain days in May and July, the setting sun aligns perfectly with the city's east-west grid, creating a stunning visual effect. As the sun sinks between the skyscrapers, it bathes the streets in a warm, ethereal glow, offering a remarkable spectacle for photographers and city dwellers. It's a unique and Instagram-worthy event that draws crowds to iconic streets like 34th and 42nd.

New York in May

Five Boro Bike Tour

The Five Boro Bike Tour is a massive annual cycling event in New York City. It attracts thousands of cyclists of all skill levels who ride through all five boroughs of the city, experiencing its diverse neighborhoods and iconic landmarks. The tour is known for its festive atmosphere, with participants enjoying car-free streets and breathtaking views. It's a unique way to explore the city and promote cycling as a sustainable mode of transportation.

New York in May

Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo is a lively celebration of Mexican culture and heritage that takes place on 5 May every year. Festivities include colorful parades, traditional music and dance performances, and, of course, delicious Mexican cuisine. Many bars and restaurants offer special menus and drink deals, making it a fun and festive day to enjoy Mexican fare and entertainment throughout the city.

New York in May

Bike Expo New York

Bike Expo New York is the preeminent cycling expo in the Northeastern United States, held in conjunction with the Five Boro Bike Tour. This event offers cyclists a one-stop-shop to prepare for the tour, featuring a vast array of biking gear, accessories, and exhibitors. It's an opportunity for participants to explore the latest trends in cycling, learn about bike safety, and get any last-minute essentials before embarking on the iconic Five Boro Bike Tour through New York City.

Shopping in New York in May

Shopping in New York City during May is a fun experience, combining spring's pleasant weather with a wide range of shopping options. It is the perfect time to update your wardrobe with the latest spring fashion trends. Boutiques, department stores, and iconic shopping streets like Fifth Avenue offer a wide selection of clothing, accessories, and footwear.

Explore outdoor markets like Smorgasburg in Williamsburg and Chelsea Market. Try artisanal foods, shop for unique gifts, and enjoy the lively atmosphere. Keep an eye out for sample sales across the city, where you can find designer clothing and accessories at discounted prices. Brooklyn Flea and Hell's Kitchen Flea Market are great places to discover vintage clothing, antiques, and collectibles.

Throughout May, various street fairs pop up around the city, featuring art, crafts, jewelry, and more. If you're into luxury brands, head to neighborhoods like SoHo and the Upper East Side, home to flagship stores of renowned designers. New York also has a plethora of thrift shops and consignment stores where you can hunt for unique and affordable treasures. Don't miss the iconic Macy's, Bloomingdale's, and Saks Fifth Avenue for a wide range of shopping options under one roof.

Know before you visit New York in May

Travel essentials
What to wear?
What to pack?
New York in May
New York in May
  • Carry light and casual clothes as the days are usually warm and sunny during May.
  • You could keep a light cardigan or a windcheater jacket for day trips. 
  • Carry an umbrella or wear a waterproof jacket due to occasional showers. 
  • Comfortable and sturdy walking shoes are a must because walking is a big part of experiencing New York!
New York in May
  • Pack a phone charger, power bank, and power adapters. 
  • Keep hand sanitizers as some parts of New York might not be very clean. 
  • Pack all your necessary medicines and first-aid supplies, including band-aids. 
  • Carry chapstick and lotion to moisturize your lips and hands.
  • Pack sunglasses, caps, or hats to protect yourself from the sunny and warm climate.
  • Pack sunscreen and a warm coat or jacket because evenings can be windy and cool.
New York in May
  • By bus: The bus network covers areas that are not served by the subway, making them an affordable option for travel.
  • By subway: The subway is the most efficient and affordable way to get around New York. It runs 24/7 and connects all major attractions and neighborhoods across the city.
  • By ferry: Use the ferry to travel between Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx, while admiring breathtaking views of the waterfront and the city.
  • By taxi: Cabs and ride-sharing services, like Uber and Lyft, are available across the city.
New York in May

New York provides lodging to fit every budget, ranging from luxurious hotels to budget-friendly options, including backpacker hostels, ensuring accommodation for all.

  • Budget hotels: Hostelling International New York, Park Central Hotel New York, & Pod 51 Hotel.
  • Mid-range hotels: Arlo NoMad, Row NYC, & The Tillary Hotel Brooklyn.
  • Luxury hotels: The Ritz-Carlton New York, The Peninsula New York, & Loews Regency New York Hotel.
New York in May

New York offers diverse cuisine to suit all tastes. Many outstanding restaurants serve global dishes, catering to a variety of preferences.

  • Crif Dogs: This East Village hot dog joint is famous for its creative and unique hot dog combinations, including the popular "Chihuahua" wrapped in bacon.
  • Roberto’s: Head to this Italian eatery for Chef Roberto Paciullo’s Salerno specialties in an old-style setting. 
  • The Spotted Pig: This rustic and modern gastropub serves European and American fare along with brunch on weekends.
  • Tamarind: Located in Tribeca, Tamarind offers fine dining with a menu that features classic Indian dishes served in a modern way.
  • Breads Bakery: Known for its exceptional babka, rugelach, and a wide selection of handmade bread, Breads Bakery brings a taste of Israel to New York City.

Hacks & tips to visit New York in May

  • New York is a popular tourist destination and, with the end of winter, people are more eager and likely to visit the city, which is why you should book your tickets to various attractions online and much in advance. 
  • Use public transport to get around New York because it is the most efficient and affordable way to explore the city.
  • Buy A MetroCard for extensive travel within New York because it provides access to all MTA-managed transport routes.
  • May is a shoulder month for tourists, which means you’ll find fewer crowds at popular attractions. You will also be able to book hotels and lodging at cheaper rates.
  • May also happens to be the season of baseball games. Catch the New York Mets and New York Yankees battle it out against each other. 
  • May is the perfect time to go on heritage and walking tours and engage in other outdoor activities. 
  • Be wary of pickpockets, especially when you’re visiting Times Square, because it can get really crowded.
  • Explore local joints and discover the streets and neighborhoods of New York for an offbeat experience.

Frequently asked questions about visiting New York in May

Is May a good time to visit New York?

Yes. May is a shoulder season for tourists, which means lesser crowds at popular attractions and cheaper accommodation rates.

What are the best things to do in New York in May?

There are quite a few things you can do and places you can explore in New York in the month of May. Admire the beautiful cherry blossoms at Central Park and Brooklyn Botanical Garden, visit the observation decks for breathtaking city views, go museum-hopping, visit the New York Public Library, and do not miss out on the heritage tours and walking trails.

Is New York cold in May?

No. New York mostly experiences warm and sunny days in May, along with little rainfall.

How hot is New York in May?

The month of May offers amazing spring weather with warm and sunny days and slight showers.

Can you swim in New York in May?

No. You cannot swim at beaches in New York in May because sea temperatures are cold.

Is it sunny in New York in May?

Yes. It is warm and sunny in New York in May.

What clothes to wear in New York in May?

You can wear light, casual, and comfortable clothes like dresses, shorts, shirts, t-shirts, and more, in New York in May.

Is it rainy in New York in May?

The city experiences light rainfall in the month of May.

Is New York expensive to visit?

New York is one of the most expensive cities to visit but May is a shoulder season for tourism, which means accommodations and attractions are slightly cheaper to book.

How safe is New York?

New York is quite a safe city to visit. However, avoid going to deserted areas alone at night and watch out for pickpockets in busy streets, especially Times Square.

What can I see in New York in May?

You can visit the Museum of Modern Art, Guggenheim Museum, the New York Public Library, Brooklyn Botanical Garden, Ellis Island, Governor’s Island, The Edge NYC, and Times Square, to name a few.

What are the major events in New York in May?

A few major events held in May include the Memorial Day Parade, Dance Parade, Fleet Week, Manhattanhenge, and the Five Boro Bike Tour, to name a few.

What is the average temperature in New York in May?

In May, the temperature usually ranges from 13°C to 21°C.

What are the best things to do with kids in New York in May?

Your kids can explore the American Museum of Natural History, the Bronx Zoo, New York Aquarium, Children’s Museum of the Arts, and Lincoln Center. Take them to a Broadway show for kids.