New York City events May 2018. Things to do in NYC.

New York City
Best events for 12 months

New York City events May 2018

French film festival

May 1, 2018
multiple locations
Focus on French Cinema features screenings of French films, receptions, parties, and actor & director Q&As.

Taste of Queens

May 1, 2018
(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 $125 Queens Taste at New York Hall of Science.

Nonfiction film festival

May 1 - 6, 2018
1.2 miles NW
See a diverse collection of boundary-pushing nonfiction films at Art of the Real at Lincoln Center.
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Polish film festival

May 2 - 6, 2018
2.6 miles south
New York Polish Film Festival screens feature films, shorts, and documentaries, which all have English subtitles at Anthology Film Archives. Opening night (May 2) is at Directors Guild Of America Theater.

Taste of the Lower East Side

May 3, 2018
(6 to 10 p.m.)
1.7 miles south
Enjoy unlimited tastes from 50 local restaurants plus open bars at the Taste of the Lower East Side in Metropolitan Pavilion for $195+ to support charity.

Contemporary art fair

May 3 - 6, 2018
(preview May 2)
2.6 miles SW
Superfine promises 75 “galleries and artists at the cutting edge of emerging contemporary art, with an array of price points friendly to even the most novice collector” at 459 W. 14th Street. Tours & parties too.

Film festival

May 3 - 6, 2018
4 miles north
Harlem International Film Festival screens 75 features, documentaries, shorts, youth projects, and animated works from 25 different countries, and it includes panel discussions and awards.

Art fair on Randall’s Island

May 3 - 6 , 2018
6 miles NE
Shop for art from 190 galleries, attend talks, and mingle with art-world celebrities at Frieze New York in tents at Randall’s Island Park.

Contemporary art

May 3 - 7, 2018
3 miles south
Collective Design Fair displays curated pieces from dozens of galleries alongside experimental works from the next generation of global talent, with talks and tours at Skylight Clarkson.

Bicycle expo

May 4 - 5, 2018
9.9 miles south
Visit 100 bicycle and accessory exhibitors, and attend biking presentations and classes at Bike Expo New York at Pier 12 in Red Hook. Free. [Do not confuse with NYC Bike Expo, May 18 & 19.]

Free film festival

May 4 - 6, 2018
1.8 miles SW
Dusty Film & Animation Festival screens 40 animations (May 4) and 50 films (May 5-6) made by students at SVA Theatre. Free.

New art fair

May 4 - 6, 2018
(preview May 3)
4.4 miles SE
Based in London, The Other Art Fair “leads the way in uncovering and nurturing new and innovative creative talent” exhibiting works by 120 emerging artists at the Brooklyn Expo Center. Held in May and November.

Elite art fair

May 4 - 8, 2018
1 mile north
See exceptional modern and contemporary art from international galleries at TEFAF New York Spring at Park Avenue Armory. Repeats in October.

Free movies in parks

May 4 - Sept. 25, 2018
NYC locations
Free Summer Movies are shown evenings at parks in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx.

Hip hop

May 5, 2018
(8 p.m.)
10 miles north
Hip Hop Fever brings you 14 legendary performers, including Black Sheep, Kool Moe Dee, and Kurtis Blow at Lehman Center for the Arts CUNY.

Cat conference

May 5 - 6, 2018
1.1 miles SW
Cat lovers are invited to Cat Camp to shop from vendors, meet adoptable cats, learn about cats, and “discuss some of the most important and challenging problems facing cats today” at Penn Plaza Pavilion.

Arts festival

May 5 - 12, 2018
Lower Manhattan
Downtown Urban Arts Festival (DUAF) showcases urban artists and promotes diversity, featuring music, creative plays, poetry, and films.

Bike tour

May 6, 2018
5 miles south
Bike 40 miles through New York’s five boroughs on Five Boro Bike Tour, starting north of Battery Park.

Indie film festival

May 7 - 13, 2018
(party May 6)
0.9 miles west
NYC Independent Film Festival celebrates the independent filmmaker with screenings, panels, and parties at the Producers Club.

Latino LGBTQ festival

May 9 - 20, 2018
3.2 miles NE
FuerzaFest includes films, short plays, dance, panel discussions, networking events, and art exhibitions.

Interested in technology?

May 10, 2018
1.3 miles NW
TechDay is a giant science fair with 400 exhibitors, including innovative startups at Pier 94. Free.

Creative film festival

May 11 - 13, 2018
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.

Bronx Week

May 11, 19, 20, 2018
6 miles north
Bronx Week includes a breakfast, neighborhood tours, Bronx Ball, parade, and a food & arts festival.

Asian burlesque

May 12, 2018
(7:30 p.m.)
2.3 miles SW
This year’s New York Asian Burlesque Extravaganza features Calamity Chang and nine more in glamorous costumes at the Highline Ballroom.

Jazz gala

May 12, 2018
(7:30 p.m.)
3.6 miles south
Made in New York Jazz Gala features famous jazz artists plus international guest performers at Tribeca Performing Arts Center.

Festival of colors

May 12, 2018
5 miles south via ferry
Throw brightly colored powder, dance to live music, and buy Indian food to celebrate spring at Holi Hai festival at Governors Island. Buy non-toxic color online or onsite, don’t bring your own. Free entry.

Mother’s Day R&B

May 12, 2018
(7 p.m.)
8 miles south
Arriving a day early, the Mother’s Day Good Music Festival features Charlie Wilson, KEM, Boyz II Men, and Joe at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Gospel festival

May 12, 2018
(5 p.m.)
16.6 miles SW
Gospelfest is a talent competition followed by a gospel concert at Newark Symphony Hall in Newark, NJ.

Mother’s Day in the garden

May 12 - 13, 2018
12 miles north
Mother’s Day Weekend Garden Party features live music, games, family activities, tours, food trucks, and casual picnicking at New York Botanical Garden.

Mother’s Day at the zoo

May 13, 2018
(9 a.m. and 1 p.m.)
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 plus a child age 3 to 10.

Mother’s Day scavenger hunt

May 13, 2018
(1:30 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 13, 2018
1.2 miles north
Japan Day @ Central Park includes dance performances, music, calligraphy, origami, and food tents at Central Park Bandshell. Free.

Mother’s Day in the garden

May 13, 2018
11 miles east
Enjoy a catered Mother’s Day Brunch plus a stroll in the gardens at Queens Botanical Garden.

Mother’s Day at Wave Hill

May 13, 2018
(10:30 a.m. & 1 p.m.)
12 miles north
Wave Hill offers family art projects and garden walks in the Bronx, plus a Mother’s Day Brunch that requires making a reservation by noon on May 9.

BBQ tasting

May 14, 2018
(7 to 9 p.m.)
2.4 miles south
Taste eight different plant-based burgers and vote for your favorite at the The Burger Supremacy, which includes chips, salsa, and drink specials at Vspot Organic, 12 Saint Mark’s Place.

New-music festival

May 16 - 20, 2018
3.1 miles east
Queens New Music Festival features live concerts of music written in the last 50 years at the Secret Theatre.

African film festival

May 16 - 22, 2018
NYC locations
New York African Film Festival screens both new and classic African cinema, with a special focus on intergenerational discourse, featuring works by women and younger generations.

Spooky stories

May 16 - 27, 2018
2.4 miles south
Hear macabre stories read by candlight during Edgar Allan Poe Festival in St. John’s Lutheran Church.


May 16 - Sept. 27, 2018
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.

Guitar festival

May 18 - 19, 2018
NYC locations
New York Guitar Festival features familiar and influential guitarists plus new talent and new sounds.

Bicycle expo

May 18 - 19, 2018
1.1 miles SW
Join 10,000 cyclists visiting exhibitors at the NYC Bike Expo at Penn Plaza Pavilion. Free admission and secure bike check. [Do not confuse with Bike Expo New York, May 4 & 5.]

Taste of the Upper West Side

May 18 - 19, 2018
1.7 miles north
Sample restaurant food, and taste wine, beer, and cocktails under a tent at Taste of the Upper West Side at Columbus Avenue & West 77th Street.

Parade of dancers

May 19, 2018
2 miles south
Watch colorful dancers perform ballet, break dance, disco, hula, and samba in the 1 p.m. Dance Parade beginning at Broadway & 21st Street and ending at DanceFest in Tompkins Park from 3 to 7 p.m. Free.

Chili cook-off

May 19, 2018
(1 to 6 p.m.)
2.3 miles NW
Texas Chili Cook-off serves chili, beer, and a band, rain or shine at Boat Basin Cafe.

Block party

May 19, 2018
(12 to 5 p.m.)
3.2 miles south
Essex Street Market - Block Party has 15 food vendors, pushcarts, live music, and kids’ activities on Essex Street (from Delancey to Rivington). Free.

World block party

May 19, 2018
(11 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
3.3 miles north
East Harlem’s Ethnic Festival has music, dance, arts and crafts, ethnic food, and children’s activities on E. 104th Street (from 2nd to 3rd Avenue). Free.

Multicultural festival

May 19, 2018
(12 to 6 p.m.)
5 miles north
New York City Multicultural Festival [sound] promises diverse cultural music, dance, food, fashion, and a kids’ area on St. Nicholas Avenue (from 141st to 145th). Free.

Korean Street Festival

May 19, 2018
(12 to 4 p.m.)
5.2 miles north
Korean Street Festival is a Harlem neighborhood event featuring Korean food, games, entertainment, and crafts at 134th Street and 7th Avenue. Free.

Beer festival

May 19, 2018
5.9 miles SE
A ticket to Five Boro Craft Beer Fest includes beer from dozens of craft breweries, food from local restaurants, and music by three bands at The Well in Brooklyn.

International food fest

May 19 - 20, 2018
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.

Vegetarian festival

May 19 - 20, 2018
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.

Pop-culture festival

May 19 - 20, 2018
2.4 miles SW
Attend screenings, discussions, and jams with movie, TV, and music icons at the Vulture Festival [sound], mostly at Milk Studios and run by Vulture, the culture and entertainment brand of New York Magazine.

Anime convention

May 19 - 20, 2018
5.7 miles NW
Castle Point Anime Convention has panels and workshops, a dealer’s room, artist’s alley, gaming, anime music videos, costume play, and a dance at Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus, NJ and the nearby Holiday Inn.

Coffee festival

May 19 - 20, 2018
8.5 miles SE
Taste coffee, see exhibits, meet experts, and attend classes at the consumer CoffeeCon at Villain. Free admission for your children younger than 12 years old.

A taste of Harlem

May 20, 2018
(12:30 to 5:30 p.m.)
4.2 miles north
A ticket to Ultimate Grand Tasting (highlight of Harlem EatUp!) gets you unlimited food tastes and samples of wine, beer, and cocktails, plus entertainment and a marketplace at Morningside Park for age 21+.

Brunch & bar tasting

May 20, 2018
4.4 miles SE
BrunchCon includes tastes from 30 vendors, a bottomless Mimosa and Bloody Mary bar, lawn games, and music at Brooklyn Expo Center for age 21+.

Contemporary design fair

May 23, 2018
(10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
1.5 miles SW
The International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) is a showcase for 800 exhibitors from May 20 - 23, 2018, and the public can buy tickets to attend on the last day in Jacob Javits Convention Center.

Fleet Week

May 23 - 29, 2018
multiple locations
Tour ships, hear concerts, watch demonstrations, and see military displays during Fleet Week, which begins with a parade of ships on May 23. Tours require ID if you are age 18+. Free.

Festival of the arts

May 25 - 27, 2018
3 miles south
Lower East Side Festival of the Arts features dance, film, music, poetry, theater, and visual art at the Theater for the New City. Free.

African festival

May 25 - 28, 2018
7.9 miles south
DanceAfrica celebrates the dance, music, and culture of Africa at BAM Howard Gilman Opera House. The 2018 performances promise “a taste of the rhythm and spirit of South Africa.”

Free movies on a ship deck

May 25 - Aug. 24, 2018
1.2 miles west
See free movies outdoors at Summer Movie Series at Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. Arrive early.

Puerto Rican festival

May 26, 2018
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.

Mothers celebration

May 27, 2018
1.7 miles NW
Mamapalooza offers music, art, kids’ activities, food vendors, and crafts for mothers and the people who love them at Riverside Park South. Free.

Taiwan festival

May 27, 2018
(12 to 5 p.m.)
1.8 miles south
Passport to Taiwan Festival features “small eats,” stage performances, craft demonstrations, exhibitors, and family activities in Union Square Park North. Free.

Latino festival

May 27, 2018
(11 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
2.9 miles SE
The Loisaida Festival is a family friendly event with music, shows, and vendors on Losaida Avenue. It begins with a community parade at 11 a.m. Free.

Science festival

May 29 - June 3, 2018
NYC locations
Attend dozens of world-class lectures, films, and events on science and innovation during World Science Festival.

Shakespeare in the Park

May 29 - Aug. 19, 2018
2 miles north
For tickets to Shakespeare in the Park at Delacorte Theater in Central Park, pay $500 as a “supporter” or get free tickets by joining a lottery or waiting in line.
  • May 29 to 24 – Othello
  • July 17 to Aug. 19 – Twelfth Night

Uptown Arts Stroll

May 30 - June 30, 2018
9 miles north
See hundreds of art exhibitions, open studios (June 9 & 16), concerts, dance and literary events at Uptown Arts Stroll in Northern Manhattan. Free.

Greek festival

May 31 - June 3, 2018
26 miles SW
Enjoy Greek music, dancing, cooking demonstrations, kids’ activities, and delicious food at NJ Greek Fest at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Westfield, NJ.

Italian film festival

May 31 - June 6, 2018
1.3 miles NW
See Italian life and culture as presented by a new generation of Italian filmmakers at Open Roads: New Italian Cinema at Lincoln Center.