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.

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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.

International authors

May 1, 2016 (begins April 25)

NYC locations

Attend readings, discussions, and workshops with writers addressing contemporary cultural and political issues in Mexico and other countries at PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature.

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.

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.

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 (weekends from April 30)

2 miles north

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

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.

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.

Films about dating

May 4 - 17, 2016

7.8 miles south

See 20 films ranging from cautionary silent dramas about the perils of unsupervised courtship to iconic romantic comedies, plus films of feminism and gay liberation at Labor of Love at BAM Rose Cinemas.

Free Summer Movies

May 4 - Sept. 15, 2016

NYC locations

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

Cinco de Mayo party

May 5, 2016 (7 to 10 p.m.)

2.9 miles south

Cinco Strut is a Mexican themed party with open bar, appetizers, a DJ, and six Latin American artists at Rayuela.

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.

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.

Beer festival

May 6, 2016 (6:30 p.m.)

5.9 miles SE

Five Boro Craft Beer Fest features 30 craft brewers, local food vendors, and a band at The Well in Brooklyn.

Wine tasting

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

0.1 miles north

Taste 200 wines with hors d’oeuvres and live jazz at NYC Spring Wine Festival at 7 West 51st Street.

Mother’s Day R&B

May 7, 2016 (8 p.m.)

8 miles south

Arriving a day early, the Mother’s Day Good Music Festival features R&B superstars Keyshia Cole, Monica, Tank, Ginuwine, Joe, and Avant at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Gospel festival

May 7, 2016 (4 p.m.)

13 miles SW

Gospelfest is a talent competition followed by a gospel concert at the Prudential Center in Newark.

Chicken wings festival

May 7, 2016 (1 to 5 p.m.)

18.8 miles east

A ticket to Ultimate Wing Fest “includes all you can eat wings cooked by local wingmasters with their special sauces” plus beer, wine, cider and live music at Belmont Park Race Track in Elmont.

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.

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 (SOLD OUT)

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:

Approved Guide to Mother’s Day Brunch and

Mother’s Day NYC.

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 to 5 p.m.)

0.7 miles south

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

Japanese festival

May 8, 2016

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.

Flamenco guitar

May 8, 2016 (8 p.m.)

2.3 miles SW

Ottmar Liebert & Luna Negra play nouveau flamenco, which blends in jazz rhythms and pop music structures, at Highline Ballroom.

Mother’s Day walk

May 8, 2016

Starting location is 3.6 miles south

The Mother’s Day Walk begins at Park Row & Centre Street and crosses 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 (10 a.m. & 1 p.m.)

11 miles east

Enjoy a caterred Mother’s Day Brunch plus a stroll in the gardens at Queens Botanical Garden.

Mother’s Day at Wave Hill

May 8, 2016 (SOLD OUT)

12 miles north

Wave Hill offers family art projects and garden walks in the Bronx, plus a Mother’s Day Brunch.

Guitar festival

May 8 - 15, 2016

NYC locations

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

Eat breakfast for dinner

May 11, 2016 (8 to 11 p.m.)

1.2 miles west

Your ticket to Brunch Eats includes samples of brunch dishes and cocktails from 20 restaurants and bakeries selected by the Village Voice, set among World War II airplanes atop the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.

Tasting event

May 13, 2016 (7 p.m., VIP 6)

1.7 miles south

Enjoy bites from 60 restaurants and tastes from breweries, wineries, and distilleries at Spring Taste NYC, which includes live entertainment and cooking demos at Metropolitan Pavilion.

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.

Bicycle expo

May 13 - 14, 2016

1.5 miles south

Join 15,000 cyclists visiting exhibitors at the NYC Bike Expo at 69th Regiment 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).

Cajun, creole, zydeco festival

May 13 - 15, 2016

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.

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.

Creative film festival

May 13 - 17, 2016

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 Lincoln Center.

Family festival

May 14, 2016 (11 a.m. to 2 p.m.)

1 mile NW

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

Chili cook-off

May 14, 2016 (12 to 5 p.m.)

1.3 miles west

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

Art on Randall’s Island

May 14, 2016

6 miles NE

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

International food fest

May 14 - 15, 2016 (12 to 5 p.m.)

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.

Dance-music concert

May 14 - 15, 2016

10.5 miles east

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

Cake show

May 15, 2016

0.4 miles SW

See extraordinary decorated cakes and visit vendors at The NY Cake Show at Marriott Marquis. Classes and a Saturday off-site cocktail party are at additional cost.

Mothers celebration

May 15, 2016 (12 to 5 p.m.)

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 (12 to 6 p.m.)

17 miles south

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

Freshkills Park preview

May 15, 2016 (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

18 miles SW via ferry

Get a sneak peak at the park built on Staten Island landfill on Discovery Day, when you can walk 8 miles of trails, bike 5 miles of pavement, run a 5K course, or register for a kayak tour. Free. Repeats June 26.

Internet conference

May 16 - 22, 2016

NYC locations

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


May 16 - Sept. 23, 2016

NYC locations

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

Contemporary design fair

May 17, 2016

1.5 miles SW

The International Contemporary Furniture Fair is a showcase for 500 exhibitors from May 14 to 17, and it opens to the public on the last day in Jacob Javits Convention Center.

Taste of Greece

May 18, 2016

2.7 miles south

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

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.

Pop music festival

May 19 - 22, 2016

NYC locations

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

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).

Parade of dancers

May 21, 2016 (1 p.m. parade)

2 miles south

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

Asian burlesque

May 21, 2016

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.

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.

Fitness challenge

May 21, 2016

3.5 miles SW

Hudson River Park Games has a body-busting obstacle course called Fear the Pier at Pier 26 and a Team Pentathlon at Pier 40, both in Hudson River Park.

Jazz gala

May 21, 2016 (7:30 p.m.)

3.6 miles south

Hear famous jazz artists at Made in New York Jazz Gala at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center.

Multicultural festival

May 21, 2016 (11 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

5 miles north

NYC Multicultural Festival promises diverse cultural music, dance, food, fashion, and a kids’ area on St. Nicholas Avenue from 141st to 145th. Free.

Brooklyn wine tasting

May 21, 2016 (2 & 7 p.m.)

10 miles south

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

Pop-culture festival

May 21 - 22, 2016

2.4 miles SW

Attend screenings, discussions, and jams with movie, TV, and music icons at the Vulture Festival, mostly at Milk Studios and run by Vulture, the culture and entertainment brand of New York Magazine.

Craft fair

May 21 - 22, 2016 (not public on May 20)

4.4 miles SE

Shop from 200 artisans, chefs, and vintage vendors at Renegade Craft Fair at Brooklyn Expo Center. Free.

Dog party

May 22, 2016 (2 to 8 p.m.)

1.4 miles NW

Bring your dog to Barkfest to enjoy live music, a DJ, celebrity dogs, interactive games, food trucks, and vendors on Hudson River Park’s Pier 97.

Taiwan festival

May 22, 2016 (12 to 5 p.m.)

1.8 miles south

Passport to Taiwan Festival features night-market foods, teas, Taiwanese crafts, and aboriginal music and dance in Union Square Park North. Free.

Spirits tasting

May 23, 2016 (6:30 p.m., VIP 5)

0.4 miles south

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

Shakespeare in the Park

May 24 - Aug. 14, 2016

2 miles north

For tickets to Shakespeare in the Park at Delacorte Theater in Central Park, become a $200 “supporter,” or get free tickets by joining a lottery or waiting in line.

African festival

May 25 - 30, 2016

7.9 miles south

DanceAfrica celebrates the dance, music, and culture of Senegal with performances, classes, films, a dance party, and a craft & food bazaar at BAM Howard Gilman Opera House.

Wine tasting

May 26, 2016 (6 to 9 p.m.)

6 miles south

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

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.

Outdoor movies

May 27 - Aug. 5, 2016

1.2 miles west

See free movies about outer space at Summer Movie Series at Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum outdoors. Arrive early.

Puerto Rican festival

May 28, 2016 (11 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

6.8 miles north

152nd Street Cultural Festival celebrates Puerto Rican culture with live music, dancing, comedy, art and food vendors, celebrity appearances, and a children’s pavilion with storytelling, face painting, and crafts on 152nd Street (Jackson Ave. to Union Ave.). Free.

Stamp show

May 28 - June 4, 2016

1.7 miles SW

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

Art fair

May 28 - June 5, 2016

2 miles south

Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit features 120 artists on the sidewalks of University Place, May 28-30 and June 4-5. Repeats in Sept. Free.

Latino festival

May 29, 2016 (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.)

2.9 miles SE

The Loisaida Festival is a family friendly event with music starting at noon, shows, and vendors on Losaida Avenue. The kids’ parade is 11 a.m. Free.

Spooky stories

May 29 - June 11, 2016 (8 p.m.)

2.4 miles south

Hear macabre stories read by candlight during Edgar Allan Poe Festival in St. John’s Lutheran Church.

Jazz festival

May 31 - July 2, 2016

NYC locations

Blue Note Jazz Festival is 150 concerts in 15 venues.
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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.