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
(begins April 27)
multiple locations
Focus on French Cinema features screenings of French films, receptions, parties, and actor & director Q&As.
  • April 27 to 29 - Greenwich, CT
  • April 30 - Stamford, CT
  • May 1 - Manhattan, NY

Sexy poetry party

May 1, 2018
(9 p.m.)
7 miles SE
Inspired by 19th-century bordellos of Paris and New Orleans, The Poetry Brothel presents a rotating cast of poets in an immersive and lush, speakeasy-style environment with a bar and live music at The House of Yes in Brooklyn for age 21+.

Ticket deal $20

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.
CityPass New York

Nonfiction film festival

May 1 - 6, 2018
(begins April 26)
1.2 miles NW
See a diverse collection of boundary-pushing nonfiction films at Art of the Real at Lincoln Center.

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.

Video-game expo

May 3, 2018
(6 and 7:30 p.m.)
0.9 miles SW
Play 100 new games from developers at the NYC Game Expo, with pizza at Microsoft Technology Center.

Ticket deal $5

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.

Beatles music

May 3 - 6, 2018
1.2 miles SW
Rain celebrates the 50th anniversary of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” by performing the entire album live at Madison Square Garden.

Ticket deal $39 to $79

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 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 190 galleries, attend talks, and mingle with art-world celebrities at Frieze New York in tents at Randall’s Island Park.

Cinderella opera

May 3, 7, 11, 2018
1.1 miles NW
Cendrillon is Jules Massenet’s sumptuous operatic version of the magical and romantic fairy tale Cinderella, sung in French with subtitles (English, German, Spanish) at the Metropolitan Opera House.

Ticket deal $37 to $119

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.

Ticket deal $6 to $15

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.

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
(begins April 7)
Lower Manhattan
Downtown Urban Arts Festival (DUAF) showcases urban artists and promotes diversity, featuring music (April 7), creative plays (April 13-28), poetry (May 5), and films (May 8-12).

Hoboken festival

May 6, 2018
4.7 miles SW
Spring Arts & Music Festival features 300 artists, sculptors, photographers, and crafters, plus three stages of music, rides, games, and food vendors at 94 Washington Street in Hoboken, NJ. Free.

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

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.

Taco & tequila tasting

May 12, 2018
4.4 miles SE
A ticket to Taco Takeover includes an “unlimited open bar” serving tequila cocktails, beer, and more, plus four taco tokens at Brooklyn Expo Center for age 21+.

Ticket deal $45 to $75

Caribbean musical

May 12, 2018
(3 p.m.)
4.5 miles north
Citizens of Jamaica fight the overreach of American commercialism in a show full of surprising sets, colorful costumes, and Calypso-inspired songs at Harlem Repertory Theatre.

Ticket deal $13 to $25

Classic drama about prejudice

May 12, 2018
(7 p.m.)
4.5 miles north
A black family moves to the white side of Chicago in A Raisin in the Sun, a groundbreaking classic that became a movie starring Sidney Poitier, live at Harlem Repertory Theatre.

Ticket deal $15

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.

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 jazz brunch

May 13, 2018
(11:30 a.m., 1 p.m.)
2.3 miles south
New Orleans Mardi Gras Brunch features award-winning Joey Morant and his band Catfish Stew at Blue Note Jazz Club. Your ticket includes brunch and a drink.

Ticket deal $20.

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.

Vegetarian 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 $25 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.


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. In 2018, it focuses on The Sounds of Spain.

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.]

Taste of the Upper West Side

May 18 - 19, 2018
1.7 miles north
Sample food from 40 restaurants, 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
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.

Fitness event

May 19, 2018
3.5 miles SW
Hudson River Park Games has a Team Pentathlon competition, Healthy on the Hudson workouts & yoga, health and wellness stations, and a Games Village with live music, a beer garden, and family-friendly activities at Pier 26 in Hudson River Park. Mostly free.

Multicultural festival

May 19, 2018
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.

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.

Coffee festival

May 19 - 20, 2018
0.3 miles north
Taste coffee, see exhibits, and attend classes at the consumer CoffeeCon at New York Hilton Midtown.

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.

Ticket deal $18 (VIP $45)

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.

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 DJ dancing 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 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.

Fleet Week

May 23 - 29, 2018
multiple locations
Tour ships, hear concerts, watch demonstrations, and see military displays during Fleet Week. Tours require ID if your 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 with performances, classes, films, a dance party, and a craft & food bazaar at BAM Howard Gilman Opera House.

Outdoor movies

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.

Free Summer Movies

May 25 - Sept. 9, 2018
NYC locations
Free Summer Movies are shown evenings at parks in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx.

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 night-market foods, teas, Taiwanese crafts, and aboriginal music and dance in Union Square Park North. Free.

Latino festival

May 27, 2018
(12 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, plus an 11 a.m. kids’ parade. Free.

Science festival

May 29 - June 3, 2018
NYC locations
Attend 50 world-class lectures, films, and events on science and innovation at 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 June 24 – Othello
  • July 17 to Aug. 19 – Twelfth Night

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.

Uptown Arts Stroll

May 30 - June 30, 2018
9 miles north
See hundreds of art exhibitions, open studios, 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.

LGBT book fair

May 2018
1.1 miles NW
Meet 100 publishers, writers, poets, editors, and booksellers of gay and lesbian literature at the Rainbow Book Fair at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Free.

Food Book Fair

May 2018
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
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+.

Women’s festival

May 2018
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
6 miles NE
Attend the grand opening of the Flow.18 outdoor art exhibit and meet the artists at Randall’s Island Park. Free.

Wine tasting

May 2018
10.9 miles south
Sip award-winning New York state wines and taste fine fare at Brooklyn Uncorked at Industry City, age 21+.

Jewish parade & fair

May 2018
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.

Memorial Day ceremony

May 2018
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.