New York City events calendar for May 2016. Best festivals, fun things to do, weekend street fairs, kids activities, and free entertainment in NYC, New York.

Best events for 12 months
New York City
Best events for 12 months
May 2016
May 2016

Enjoy the best New York City events, festivals, and things to do with this calendar of events.

Mileage is from Rockefeller Center in downtown New York City, New York.

African authors

May 1, 2016 (begins April 25)

NYC locations

Attend readings, discussions, and workshops with writers who share their ideas about contemporary cultural and political issues in Africa at PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature.

Student monologue contest

May 1, 2016

0.5 miles east

Watch the best U.S. high-school students perform monologues from August Wilson’s Century Cycle to win the National Finals at August Wilson Theatre. Free.

Indie film fest

May 1, 2016 (begins April 27)

0.9 miles west

NYC Independent Film Festival celebrates the independent filmmaker with screenings, panels, and parties at the Producers Club.

Games festival

May 1, 2016 (begins April 29)

4 miles east

IndieCade East is a festival for independent video games with talks, panels, parties, and plenty of play time at the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens.

Hoboken festival

May 1, 2016

4.7 miles SW

Spring Arts & Music Festival features 300 artists, sculptors, photographers, and crafters, plus top music acts, rides, games, and food vendors. Free.

Bike tour

May 1, 2016

5 miles south

Bike 40 miles through New York’s five boroughs on Five Boro Bike Tour, starting north of Battery Park.

Bad films

May 1, 2016 (begins April 28)

6 miles SE

Bad Film Fest screens weird, wild, and outrageous films by new filmmakers that are supposed to be so bad they’re good at Cloud City.

Cherry blossom festival

May 1, 2016 (begins April 30)

7.5 miles SE

Sakura Matsuri features 200 blossoming cherry trees and 60 events and performances celebrating Japanese culture at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

Food Book Fair

May 1 - 2, 2016

4 miles SE

Food enthusiasts, chefs, artists, writers, designers, and publishers attend Food Book Fair to celebrate, discuss, and sample fine food at Wythe Hotel.

Craft fair

May 1 - 15, 2016 (begins April 30)

2 miles north

Spring Crafts on Columbus features 100 juried artists near the American Museum of Natural History. Free.

Sailboat ride on Clipper City

May 1 - 31, 2016 (begins April 22)

4.5 miles south

Tour New York City Harbor aboard the majestic Clipper City tall ship, sailing from Battery Park.

Taste of Queens

May 3, 2016 (6 to 9 p.m.)

10 miles east

Sample food and drink from 60 restaurants, and mingle with the borough’s business leaders at the Queens Taste at New York Hall of Science.

Design celebration

May 3 - 17, 2016

NYC locations

NYCxDesign includes hundreds of exhibitions, installations, trade shows, talks, launches, and open studios that deal with graphic design, architecture, urban design, fashion design, and product design.

African film festival

May 4 - 10, 2016

NYC locations

The New York African Film Festival screens films at three venues: Lincoln Center, Maysles Cinema Institute, and BAM Rose Cinemas.

Latino film festival

May 5 - 8, 2016

2.6 miles south

Viva! Latino Film Festival screens subtitled shorts, feature films, documentaries, and music videos at Anthology Film Archives.

Art fair on Randall’s Island

May 5 - 8, 2016

6 miles NE

Shop for art from 1000 contemporary artists; attend talks, and mingle with art-world celebrities at Frieze New York in tents at Randall’s Island Park.

Soho film festival

May 5 - 12, 2016

2.3 miles south

See great films from around the world at the Soho International Film Festival at Village East Cinema.

Bronx Week

May 5 - 15, 2016

6 miles north

Bronx Week includes a film festival, neighborhood tours, Bronx Ball, parade, and a food & arts festival.

Taste of Asia

May 6, 2016

Location uncertain

Taste dishes from dozens of Asian restaurants with cocktails, beer, and wine at New York Feast by LuckyRice.

Amazing dog tricks

May 6, 2016 (7 p.m.)

1 mile NW

The Olate Dogs won $1 million on the TV show America’s Got Talent. Watch these wonder dogs from rescue shelters perform live at New York Society for Ethical Culture. Discount tickets $19.

Beer festival

May 6, 2016

3.5 miles east

Five Boro Craft Beer Fest features 30 craft brewers, local food vendors, and a band at Studio Square.

Wine tasting

May 7, 2016 (2 & 7 p.m.)

4.2 miles south

Taste 200 wines with hors d’oeuvres and live jazz at NYC Spring Wine Festival at Broad Street Ballroom.

Coupon code “events12” saves 10%.

Gospel festival

May 7, 2016 (4 p.m.)

13 miles SW

Gospelfest is a talent competition that also features top gospel singers at the Prudential Center in Newark.

Dutch Festival

May 7, 2016

28 miles east

The Dutch Festival features jazz music, blooming tulips, face painting, craft vendors, and authentic Dutch food and beverages outdoors on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead. Free.

Film festival

May 7 - 8, 2016

NYC locations

NYLA International Film Festival shows work by independent filmmakers and provides networking opportunities at Producers Club & Millennium Theater.

Vegetarian festival

May 7 - 8, 2016

1.7 miles south

NYC Vegetarian Food Festival features food samples and meals from vegetarian restaurants, health and wellness vendors, vegetarian and animal-welfare groups, and talks and shows at Metropolitan Pavilion.

Mother’s Day in the garden

May 7 - 8, 2016

12 miles north

Mother’s Day Weekend Garden Party features live music, dancers, games, food trucks, and casual picnicking at New York Botanical Garden.

Mother’s Day restaurants

May 8, 2016

NYC locations

OpenTable lists restaurants that offer special brunch, lunch, and dinner menus on Mother’s Day. Also see 17 Excellent Options for Mother’s Day Brunch and Where to Brunch with Mom on Mother’s Day.

Mother’s Day at the zoo

May 8, 2016

0.7 miles north

A $75 ticket to Mother’s Day Celebration at Central Park Zoo includes baby animal feeding, a scavenger hunt, craft making, and treats for an adult and child.

Mother’s Day scavenger hunt

May 8, 2016 (2 p.m.)

0.7 miles south

Find hidden clues and complete fun tasks in a race around the city from Slattery’s Midtown Pub on The Amazing Mother’s Day Scavenger Hunt.

Discount tickets $27 for two.

Mother’s Day walk

May 8, 2016

Starting location is 3.6 miles south

The Mother’s Day Walk goes across the Brooklyn Bridge to a family picnic with dance music in Cadman Plaza Park to celebrate Mother’s Day.

Mother’s Day in the garden

May 8, 2016

11 miles east

Mother’s Day at Queens Botanical Garden includes a family garden tour, a botanically-themed children’s craft, and a brunch.

Mother’s Day at Wave Hill

May 8, 2016

12 miles north

Wave Hill offers family art projects and garden walks in the Bronx, including a brunch that quickly sells out.

Brunch on a sailboat

May 8 - Oct. 9, 2016 (Sundays)

4.2 miles south

Enjoy skyline views on a two-hour Champagne Brunch Sail aboard the Shearwater classic schooner, which departs from Lower Manhattan.

NJ wine festival

May 13, 2016 (7 to 10 p.m.)

29 miles west

Taste 150 wines, hors d’oeuvres, cheeses, pasta, and desserts to live jazz at New Jersey Spring Wine Festival at the Hilton Hotel in Short Hills, NJ.

Coupon code “events12” saves 10%.

Bicycle expo

May 13 - 14, 2016

1.6 miles south

Join 15,000 cyclists visiting exhibitors at the NYC Bike Expo at Lexington Armory. Secure bike check. Free. [Do not confuse with the bike expo on April 29-30.]

Dance party

May 13 - 15, 2016

NYC locations

Do the dances you love with fun people, to live music and seasoned DJs at Big Apple Balboa, Blues and Lindy Exchange (BABBLE).

Steampunk festival

May 13 - 15, 2016

42 miles SW

Combine mad science with the Victorian era and you have The Steampunk World’s Fair, which features music, entertainment, costumes, games, social activities, and friendly people at Radisson Hotel, Piscataway, NJ.

Chili cook-off

May 14, 2016

1.3 miles west

Texas Chili Cook-off serves chili, beer, and a band, rain or shine at Pier 84 at Hudson River Park.

Pet expo

May 14 - 15, 2016

4.4 miles SE

Bring your pet (see rules) to New York Pet Expo, which offers vendors, vaccinations, entertainment, and adoptions at Brooklyn Expo Center. Free except parking.

Dance-music concert

May 14 - 15, 2016

9 miles NW

Electric Daisy Carnival combines electronic dance music with cutting-edge production to create a unique experience of sight and sound at MetLife Stadium.

Contemporary design fair

May 14 - 17, 2016

1.5 miles SW

The International Contemporary Furniture Fair is a showcase for 500 exhibitors that opens to the public on the last day in Jacob Javits Convention Center.

International food fest

May 15, 2016

1 mile NW

Ninth Avenue International Food Festival features food from around the world, international music and dance, artists and vendors, and children’s rides and games on 9th Avenue (42nd to 57th). Free entry.

Mothers celebration

May 15, 2016 (uncertain)

1.7 miles NW

Mamapalooza offers music, art, kids’ activities, food vendors, and crafts for mothers and the people who love them on the pier near Pier i Cafe. Free.

Waterfront celebration

May 15, 2016

17 miles south

Bayfest is 8 blocks of local food vendors, live music, and kids’ crafts on Emmons Ave. in Brooklyn. Free.

Internet conference

May 16 - 22, 2016

NYC locations

Internet Week includes 250 talks, interviews, panels, and discussions with celebrities, business executives, founders of New-York-based startups, and leaders.

Funny songs festival

May 19 - 21, 2016

Lower East Side

Hear funny music and witty verses by 75 jokesters and comedians at the NY Funny Songs Fest.

New-music festival

May 19 - 22, 2016

3 to 10 miles east

Queens New Music Festival features live concerts of music written in the last 50 years at the Secret Theatre (first day at Church-in-the-Gardens).

Cocktail festival

May 20, 2016

NYC locations

Manhattan Cocktail Classic offers nearly 100 events, including a black-tie Saturday-night gala, tastings, parties, pairings, seminars, and a trade conference.

Parade of dancers

May 21, 2016

2 miles south

Watch colorful dancers perform ballet, break dance, disco, hula, and samba in Dance Parade, which ends at DanceFest in Tompkins Square Park. Free.

Sports in the park

May 21, 2016

3 miles SW

Hudson River Park Games include yoga, kickboxing, a 5K, team pentathlon, and a village with music, kids’ activities, and food at Hudson River Park.

Ethnic Festival

May 21, 2016

3.3 miles north

East Harlem’s Ethnic Festival has music, dance, arts and crafts, ethnic food, and children’s activities. Free.

African jazz

May 21, 2016 (8 p.m.)

4.2 miles north

Hear two works from Grammy-winning composer Arturo O’Farrill that explore the connection between jazz and spiritual traditions at Jazz & Spirit, featuring the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra at the Apollo Theater. Discount tickets $27.

Brooklyn wine tasting

May 21, 2016 (3 & 8 p.m.)

10 miles south

Sample 200 wines with hors d’oeuvres at Brooklyn Crush Wine & Artisanal Food Festival at Industry City.

Coupon code “events12” saves 10%.

Disability film festival

May 21 - 22, 2016

1.8 miles SW

Sprout Film Festival screens seven inspiring films about disability at the School of Visual Arts Theatre.

Pop music festival

May 26 - 29, 2016

NYC locations

The upbeat NYC Popfest brings indie-pop bands from around the world to Brooklyn and the Lower East Side.

Festival of the arts

May 27 - 29, 2016

3 miles south

Lower East Side Festival of the Arts [sound] features dance, film, music, poetry, theater, and visual art at the Theater for the New City. Free.

Stamp show

May 28 - June 4, 2016

1.7 miles SW

Get a free evaluation of your postage-stamp collection, and visit 200 dealers and exhibitors (including the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum) at the World Stamp Show in Javits Center.

Art exhibit

May 28 - June 5, 2016

2 miles south

Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit features 120 artists on the sidewalks of University Place. Repeats in Sept. Free.

Free Summer Movies

May 2016 (undated)

NYC locations

Free Summer Movies are shown evenings at NYC parks in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx.

Guitar festival

May 2016 (undated)

NYC locations

New York Guitar Festival features familiar and influential guitarists plus new talent and new sounds.


May 2016 (undated)

NYC locations

Enjoy outstanding music, comedy, theater, dance, lectures, and films during SummerStage in city parks. The free concerts are popular, so arrive early.

Spirits tasting

May 2016 (undated)

0.4 miles south

Sample handcrafted spirits and meet the makers at NY Indie Spirits Expo at the Penn Club of New York.

Family festival

May 2016 (undated)

1 mile NW

Kids Spring Fling has sing alongs, dance performances and lessons, and short films at Lincoln Center. Free.

Japanese festival

May 2016 (undated)

1.2 miles north

Japan Day @ Central Park includes dancing and singing, calligraphy and origami, activity tents, and food tents at Central Park Bandshell. Free.

Creative film festival

May 2016 (undated)

1.3 miles NW

Columbia University Film Festival premieres short films, feature screenplays, and teleplays created by graduate MFA students of Columbia University School of the Arts Film Program at the Lincoln Center.

Food-truck tasting

May 2016 (undated)

1.3 miles west

Buy an advance ticket to shop from 20 food trucks with complimentary beverages at Choice Streets on Pier 86 at the The Intrepid Sea Air & Space Museum.

Taiwan festival

May 2016 (undated)

1.6 miles south

Enjoy traditional dance, drums, crafts, and foods at Passport to Taiwan in north Union Square Park. Free.

Shakespeare in the Park

May 2016 (undated)

2 miles north

Wait in line or join the online lottery for a free ticket to Shakespeare in the Park at Delacorte Theater in Central Park.

Fishing tournament

May 2016 (undated)

2.5 miles SW

Register to win prizes for catching striped bass, bluefish, and weakfish from boats at FCA Manhattan Cup, an inshore catch-and-release tournament that ends with awards and a party, at Chelsea Piers.

Polish film festival

May 2016 (undated)

2.6 miles south

New York Polish Film Festival screens feature films, shorts, and documentaries, which all have English subtitles at Anthology Film Archives.

Taste of Greece

May 2016 (undated)

2.7 miles south

Taste of Greece features wines from 50 Greek wineries plus Greek appetizers at City Winery.

Wine tasting

May 2016 (undated)

2.7 miles south

Wine on Wheels features 175 wines served by 50 sommeliers with hors d’oeuvres, plus 20-minute wine seminars, and a silent auction at City Winery.

Asian burlesque

May 2016 (undated)

3 miles south

This year’s Asian Burlesque Spectacular features Calamity Chang, Sukki Singapora, and 8 others in glamorous costumes with lavish set pieces at Drom.

Jazz festival

May 2016 (undated)

4 miles north

Harlem Jazz Shrines Festival features new and established jazz artists in historic Harlem venues.

Kite making

May 2016 (undated)

4.2 miles NE

Sign up for a workshop to build and decorate a paper kite, and then fly it during Kite Flite at Socrates Sculpture Park. Free.

Summer beer festival

May 2016 (undated)

4.2 miles south

Sample 150 craft beers with local restaurant food at the NYC Craft Beer Festival at Pier 15 East River Esplanade.

Bicycle party

May 2016 (undated)

5 miles south

Celebrate cycling with food, drink, and vendors at Bike Home from Work Party in Dumbo, Brooklyn.

Free dance parties

May 2016 (undated)

5 miles south

Expect a big turnout for Brooklyn Bridge Park Dance Parties at Brooklyn Bridge Park. Free.

Art on Randall’s Island

May 2016 (undated)

6 miles NE

Attend the grand opening of the Flow.16 outdoor art exhibit and meet the artists at Randall’s Island Park. Free.

Brazil festival

May 2016 (undated)

6 miles south

DanceAfrica celebrates Brazilian dance, music, and culture with performances, classes, films, a dance party, and a craft & food bazaar in Brooklyn.

Wine tasting

May 2016 (undated)

6 miles south

Sip award-winning New York state wines and taste fine fare at Brooklyn Uncorked at 26 Bridge Street in Brooklyn.

Bacon festival

May 2016 (undated)

7 miles SE

The Great Big Bacon Picnic is an indoor/outdoor gourmet bacon festival with 100 chefs, brew masters, and distillers offering bite-sized samples, spirits, and local craft beer in Williamsburg.

Cajun, Creole, zydeco festival

May 2016 (undated)

7 miles south

Bayou n’ Brooklyn Music Festival features Cajun-zydeco music and dance of Louisiana, fiddle and guitar workshops, jam sessions, and Southern food at Jalopy Theatre and School of Music in Brooklyn.

Food & travel show

May 2016 (undated)

7 miles south

Local Food & Travel Expo includes locally produced food, an outdoor farmer’s market, and local travel vendors at Brooklyn Borough Hall. Free registration.

Staten Island Brewfest

May 2016 (undated)

10 miles south via ferry

Brewfest & Wing Showcase offers 40 craft beers and chicken wings from restaurants on Staten Island.
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© May 2016 calendar of events in NYC, NY. Best events, fairs, festivals, and things to do in New York City, New York.