New York City events, festivals, things to do – May 2018

New York City
calendar of events

May 2018
best events in New York City

French film festival

May 1, 2018 (begins April 27)

multiple locations

Focus on French Cinema features screenings of French films, receptions, parties, and actor & director Q&As.
  • Stamford, CT
  • Manhattan, NY
  • Greenwich, CT

Taste of Queens

May 1, 2018 (uncertain)

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.

Taste of the Lower East Side

May 3, 2018

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.
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Film festival

May 3 - 6, 2018

4 miles north

Harlem International Film Festival shows features, documentaries, shorts, youth projects, and animated works, and it includes panel discussions and awards.

Art fair on Randall’s Island

May 3 - 6 , 2018

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.

Bicycle expo

May 4 - 5, 2018

4.1 miles south

Visit 100 bicycle and accessory exhibitors, and attend biking presentations and classes at Bike Expo New York at Basketball City, Pier 36. Free. [Do not confuse with NYC Bike Expo, May 18 - 19.]

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.

Discount tickets $6 to $15.

Steampunk festival

May 4 - 6, 2018

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 the Embassy Suites and the Radisson in Piscataway, NJ.

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 film festival

May 4 - 8, 2018

1.8 miles SW

Dusty Film & Animation Festival screens 50 films and 40 animations made by students at SVA Theatre. Free.

Festival of colors

May 5, 2018

5 miles south via ferry

Throw brightly colored powder, dance to the music, and buy Indian food to celebrate spring at Holi Hai festival at Governors Island. Buy non-toxic color on site, don’t bring your own. Free entry.

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

0.9 miles west

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

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.

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.

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 and child.

Mother’s Day scavenger hunt

May 13, 2018

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.

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. Secure bike check. Free. [Do not confuse with Bike Expo New York, May 4 - 5.]

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.

Block party

May 19, 2018 (uncertain)

3.2 miles south

Essex Street Market - Block Party has food vendors, pushcarts, live music, and kids’ activities on Essex Street (from Delancey to Rivington). Free.

World block party

May 19, 2018

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

5 miles north

New York City Multicultural Festival promises diverse cultural music, dance, food, fashion, and a kids’ area on St. Nicholas Avenue (from 141st to 145th). 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.

A taste of Harlem

May 19 - 20, 2018

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+.

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.

Contemporary design fair

May 23, 2018

1.5 miles SW

The International Contemporary Furniture Fair is a showcase for 500 exhibitors from May 20 - 23, 2018, and it opens to the public on the last day in Jacob Javits Convention Center.

Festival of the arts

May 25 - 27, 2018

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.

African festival

May 25 - 28, 2018

7.9 miles south

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

Art fair

May 26 - 28 and June 2 - 3, 2018

2 miles south

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

Science festival

May 29 - June 3, 2018 (uncertain)

NYC locations

Attend 50 world-class lectures, films, and events on science and innovation at World Science Festival.

Book expo

May 30 - June 1, 2018

1.7 miles SW

Book Expo America includes 1000 exhibitors, author lectures and autographing events, and publishing-industry sessions at the Javits Center.

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 [sound] at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Westfield, NJ.

Free Summer Movies

May 2018 (undated)

NYC locations

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

Guitar festival

May 2018 (undated)

NYC locations

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


May 2018 (undated)

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.

Spirits tasting

May 2018 (undated)

0.4 miles south

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

Classical music

May 2018 (undated)

0.9 miles north

Orchestra of St. Luke’s performs works by Mozart and Mendelssohn at Streicker Center (Temple Emanu-El). Free.

Nonfiction film festival

May 2018 (undated)

1.2 miles NW

See a diverse collection of boundary-pushing nonfiction films at Art of the Real at Lincoln Center.

Chili cook-off

May 2018 (undated)

1.3 miles west

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

Creative film festival

May 2018 (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 Lincoln Center.

Whisky tasting

May 2018 (undated)

1.3 miles north

The Whisky Extravaganza includes unlimited tastes of more than 100 whiskies, culinary pairings, and master classes at the Prince George Ballroom for age 21+.

Food Book Fair

May 2018 (undated)

1.4 miles south

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

Restaurant tasting

May 2018 (undated)

1.7 miles south

Sample food from 50 restaurants and 35 nations as chosen by Village Voice food critics, plus drinks at Choice Eats at the Metropolitan Pavilion for age 21+.

Taste of the Upper West Side

May 2018 (undated)

1.7 miles north

Sample food from 40 restaurants, and taste wine, beer, and cocktails under a tent at Columbus Avenue & West 77th Street.

Shakespeare in the Park

May 2018 (undated)

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.

Arts festival

May 2018 (undated)

Lower Manhattan

See creative plays, films, and more at the Downtown Urban Arts Festival (DUAF), which showcases urban artists and promotes diversity.

Asian burlesque

May 2018 (undated)

2.3 miles SW

This year’s Asian Burlesque Extravaganza features Calamity Chang and nine more in glamorous costumes at the Highline Ballroom.

Pop-culture festival

May 2018 (undated)

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.

Polish film festival

May 2018 (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.

Art party

May 2018 (undated)

2.8 miles SE

Join “500 art lovers, artists, musicians, grinders, art collectors, and entrepreneurs” at the indoor/outdoor Ultra Art Bash for live body painting, breakdancing battles, performances, and mind-blowing art at Q Studios in Long Island City.

New-music festival

May 2018 (undated)

3.1 miles east

Queens New Music Festival features live concerts of music written in the last 50 years at the Secret Theatre.

Latino LGBTQ festival

May 2018 (undated)

3.2 miles NE

FuerzaFest includes films, short plays, dance, panel discussions, networking events, and art exhibitions.

Women’s festival

May 2018 (undated)

4.2 miles north

Women of the World Festival features performances, talks, films, workshops, and music celebrating women’s talents at the Apollo Theater in Harlem.

Art on Randall’s Island

May 2018 (undated)

6 miles NE

Attend the grand opening of the Flow.18 outdoor art exhibit and meet the artists at Randall’s Island Park. Free.

Bronx Week

May 2018 (undated)

6 miles north

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

Festival of colors

May 2018 (undated)

8.1 miles north

Throw brightly colored cornstarch, dance to live music, shop from artists, and buy food and drink at Festival of Colors - Holi NYC at 1110 Oak Point Avenue for age 18+. You cannot bring your own powder.

Wine tasting

May 2018 (undated)

10.9 miles south

Sip award-winning New York state wines and taste fine fare at Brooklyn Uncorked at Industry City, age 21+.

Gospel festival

May 2018 (undated)

13 miles SW

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

Japanese festival

May 2018 (undated)

1.2 miles north

Japan Day @ Central Park includes a four mile run and kids’ race, dancing and singing, calligraphy and origami, and food tents at Central Park Bandshell. Free.

Mother’s Day R&B

May 2018 (undated)

8 miles south

Arriving two days early, the Mother’s Day Good Music Festival features R&B superstars Tyrese, Anthony Hamilton, KEM, and Brandy, plus special guest Major at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Jewish parade & fair

May 2018 (undated)

10.3 miles SE

The Great Parade of floats, marching bands, and school groups begins at 10 a.m. at Brooklyn Avenue & Eastern Parkway and goes to The Great Fair at Troy Avenue & Maple Street from 12 to 5 p.m. Free.

Mother’s Day in the garden

May 2018 (undated)

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 2018 (undated)

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.

Mother’s Day in the garden

May 2018 (undated)

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.

Fleet Week

May 2018 (undated)

multiple locations

Tour ships, hear concerts, watch demonstrations, and see military displays during Fleet Week. Tours require ID if your are age 18+. Free.

Memorial Day concert

May 2018 (undated)

1.1 miles NW

The emotional concert With Strength & Joy begins with a performance of Antonio Vivaldi’s powerful hymn Gloria, followed by Pepper Choplin’s new work of guidance and reflection for tumultuous and uncertain times at Lincoln Center.

Taiwan festival

May 2018 (undated)

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.

Memorial Day ceremony

May 2018 (undated)

2.7 miles NW

Memorial Day Commemoration begins with music at 10 a.m. and then has a procession with Scottish pipes and drums at 10:30 a.m. at the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument in Riverside Park. Free.

Latino festival

May 2018 (undated)

2.9 miles SE

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

Puerto Rican festival

May 2018 (undated)

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.