The Secret's Out! May Is the Best Time to Visit NYC. Find Out Why.

Beat the Heat and the Crowds By Visiting NYC During this Mild Month

Spring bloom in Central Park
Mitchell Funk/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

From the fantastic weather, specials events, and the scarcity of tourists, May is a great time to visit the City That Never Sleeps. 

Things to Do Around Town

There are plenty of things to do in New York City this month, but, fortunately, you will most likely miss the throngs of tourists that invade the city's most popular attractions in the summertime. You should keep in mind though, that while crowds tend to be minimal in late spring, Manhattan is just one tiny island, so don't expect to have the city all to yourself, no matter the time of year. 

The warm weather lures both residents and visitors alike to flock to green spaces the Highline, and Bryant Park, to participate in a New Yorker's favorite pastime: people-watching. Picknicking in the parks is also a favorite hobby of locals, and you'd be hard-pressed to find Sheep's Meadow in Central Park without blankets, beverages, and charcuterie on any given Saturday or Sunday.  

Another way to spend time outdoors is to see a local baseball game. You have not one but two major league teams to choose from; the iconic New York Yankees, who call Yankee Stadium (located in The Bronx) home, or the Mets (short for Metropolitans) the play at Citi Field (located in Queens). Or, if you'd prefer to save some money, you can catch a minor league game instead. Two fan favorites are the Brooklyn Cyclones that play at Coney Island, and the Staten Island Yankees that can be reached via a free ferry ride.

Average Temperatures this Month

  • Average high: 71 F 
  • Average low: 55 F
  • Rainfall is moderate this month, average about  4.45 inches 

Important Dates and Event Information 

With spring in full swing, you can count on being very comfortable while spending time outside. Temperatures are comfortable enough for taking a walking tour or exploring all of Manhattan, and the neighboring boroughs on your own. Major events happening this month include:

  • Memorial Day always falls on the last Monday in May (the 28th this year) and commemorates those who died in defense of the United States of America. This day also marks the unofficial beginning of summer, and many seasonal attractions (such as Coney Island) open during this long holiday weekend. The holiday weekend also drives many locals out of town for a beach or countryside getaway, and aside from government offices, banks, post offices, and some smaller stores, most tourist services remain open. 
  • If you like men in uniform, you will see an influx of sailors flood the town during Fleet Week (May 23th - 29th). Sailors often offer free tours of their ships that are docked in either Manhattan or Staten Island to patriotic visitors. 
  • You can rub elbows with movie stars at the Tribeca Film Festival. Many people believe that this festival is private, but tickets to a great number of film screenings are open to the public and surprisingly affordable. The festival usually takes place in late April through early May, but for 2018, the event will end a bit early on April 29th.
  • Watch over 32,000 people ride together during the TD Five Borough Bike Tour on May 6th. Operated by a nonprofit organization, this event aims to promote and encourage bicycle safety through community outreach, and large events.
  • Mother's Day is a day dedicated to celebrating the incredible women who brought us into this world. Falling on the second Sunday of May annually, this year the date is May 13th. Most children and adults honor their mothers by buying her flowers, sending a card, and taking mom out to brunch.
  • Now in its 12th year, the Dance Parade brings together 10,000 dancers, DJs, and live bands for one of New York's liveliest parades. This year's theme is The Cabaret of Life! and will take place on May 12th.
  • On May 20th, more than 30,000 caring participants will unite for the  AIDS Walk NY. Taking place in Central Park, the walk aims to raise funds for those living with HIV and AIDS in New York City. 
  • The Ninth Avenue International Food Festival shuts down a busy New York street for two days (May 19th and 20th) in May to celebrate foods from around the globe.
  • Cinco De Mayo is celebrated on May 5th. Expect to see plenty of tequila flowing, and Mexican restaurants to fill up, even in the early morning. 
  • You can rub elbows with movie stars at the Tribeca Film Festival. Many people believe that this festival is private, but tickets to a great number of film screenings are open to the public and surprisingly affordable. The festival usually takes place in late April through early May, but for 2018, the event will end a bit early on April 29th.