THE BEST THINGS TO DO IN NYC THIS MAY

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By: Stefanie DiMartino

William Shakespeare once said, “As full of spirit as the month of May, and as gorgeous as the sun in Midsummer.” May kicks off the official start of nicer weather here in NYC. I’m sharing my top picks for May for all the best things to do and see, the best in dining/drinks, and the best art/exhibits. 

The Top 10 Best Things to do in NYC this May

THINGS TO DO + SEE

CANDYTOPIA

111 West 32nd Street, New York, NY 10001

Now – July | Thurs-Sun, 10am-9:30pm | Adults $36, Ages 4-12, $29, Under 3, FREE! 

Candytopia is back and bigger than ever. And, it’s quite literally the sweetest exhibit in NYC. Candytopia is museum exhibit meets art installation meets interactive show. The minute you step off the elevator, you know you’re in for a sweet treat. The space is 24,000 square feet with 17 detailed and interactive rooms. It’s a full sensory experience unlike any other. Some of the fun exhibits include the signature Candytopia marshmallow pit, a New York-centric candy art room, a colorful candy confetti room (and trust me, you will find confetti long after you leave), as well as an infinity mirror room, Ring Swing Garden, Sugar High Theater (where the s’mores pillows actually smell like s’mores), and an indoor zip-line! The exhibits are really thought out and detailed and everything in Candytopia provides an amazing Instagram-worthy photo opportunity! 

So, unleash your inner kid and enjoy the sugar rush! Candytopia is unbridled fun for all ages and sure to be an unforgettable experience. 

Candytopia

ARTECHOUSE: LIFE OF A NEURON

Chelsea Market, 439 West 15th Street, New York, NY 10011

Beginning May 14 | Mon-Sun, 10am-10pm | $25+

ARTECHOUSE is known for its innovative art exhibits. Next on the roster is Life of a Neuron. 

Life of a Neuron brings together decades of neuroscience data and research to create a cellular level journey through the human brain. Created by ARTECHOUSE Studio in partnership with the Society for Neuroscience (SfN), this exhibition is the result of three years of ardent collaboration and research and reveals the story of a universal human experience — the story of ourselves.” – Artechouse 

Photo by Lucas Kapla on Unsplash

Is NYC still worth visiting in 2022? Watch below to find out!

THE FANS STRIKE BACK

526 6th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

*May 4 (Now – June) | Mon, Wed, Thurs, Fri 10am-8/9pm; Sat & Sun 9am-8/9pm | $29.50+

In a galaxy far, far away known as Greenwich Village, Star Wars fans can unite at the largest fan-made exhibit. You especially don’t want to miss out on the festivities on May 4th, aka Star Wars Day! All guests that show up in a Star Wars related costume will get a special surprise – May the 4th be with you!

“The Fans Strike Back is an exhibition featuring more than 600 official items from the Star Wars Universe collected by fans and displayed for fans. Immerse yourself and see photos, posters, costumes, figures, and models of different types and sizes!” – Fever/The Fans Strike Back

Photo by Agnieszka Kowalczyk on Unsplash

KOREA: CUBICALLY IMAGINED

Chelsea Industrial, 549 West 28th Street, New York, NY 10001

Limited Time! May 2 – 14 | FREE! 

Organized by the Korea Creative Content Agency, the exhibition includes seventeen distinctive Korean Wave presentations at the forefront of the nation’s creative talent. Of particular note are the virtual spaces that serve as the backdrops to DOPE and DNA – from the online stages of [BTS MAP OF THE SOUL ON:E]; the virtual spaces and sounds recognizable from Director Bong Joon-ho’s film Parasite; the National Museum’s Royal Procession with the People; d’strict’s FLOWER and JUNGLE environments; and Yiyun Kang’s Projection mapping work Beyond the Scene.” – Korea Cubically Imagined

Photo by shawnanggg on Unsplash

CLASSIC HARBOR LINE: CRUISES

Chelsea Piers, Pier 62 (W. 22nd St.) New York, NY 10011

All of May | $48+

Classic Harbor Line cruises offer a one-of-a-kind way to see NYC! Being on the water and taking in the fabulous skyline views is memorable and fun. With so many offerings, such as brunch cruises, sunset cruises, jazz cruises, and more, you can’t go wrong. Perfect outing with friends, family, significant others, coworkers – anyone! Don’t miss out on this incredible experience!

The orange Staten Island ferry departs from Manhattan. Photo by Sarah Funk.
The orange Staten Island ferry departs from Manhattan. Photo by Sarah Funk.

NYBG SPRING UNCORKED

New York Botanical Garden, 2900 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, NY 10458

May 21 & May 22, 2022 | 12pm-4pm | $50+

Sip and savor spring during this wine lover’s weekend, featuring wineries from the Hudson Valley, Brooklyn, and Long Island. Enjoy samples, relax to live music, learn the science behind making great wines, and kick back with a variety of crafts and games. Be sure to drop by the spring preview of the NYBG Farmers Market for fresh-baked goods and other delicious treats.” – NYBG

Photo by Pixabay

NYBG GLIMMERGLASS FESTIVAL

New York Botanical Garden, 2900 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, NY 10458

May 19, 2022 | 7pm | $45+

“Don’t miss this preview of the 2022 Glimmerglass Festival season, including excerpts from Bizet’s Carmen and Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music. The Festival will also include new works, such as Tenor Overboard (world premiere) by playwright Ken Ludwig, featuring Rossini’s music. Enjoy a double bill of Taking Up Serpents by Kamala Sankaram & Jerre Dye paired with Holy Ground (world premiere) by Damien Geter & Lila Palmer. The program will be performed by members of the Festival’s acclaimed Young Artists Program.” – NYBG

Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

FUNKY EXPERIENCES

Saturdays, Sundays, Custom day + time | Starting at $49+

I love New York City so much that I started a tourism company here. We offer a variety of tours around the city, from history, to sightseeing, to shopping, and one of my favorites – our food tour! 

Rated 5-stars on TripAdvisor and the winner of the “best of the best” award in NYC, you definitely do not want to miss out on any of these amazing tours! There are different tour options available to choose from to fit your interests AND your budget! For a truly unique experience, book a custom-designed private tour with our expert NYC guides!

Murder at the met tour
Murder at the met tour

For the best of both worlds, with food and sightseeing, consider joining the Best of New York Food Tour offered on Sunday mornings. The tour includes five dishes at delicious restaurants and a historic walking tour through Brooklyn!

Live NYC Food tour with Luis & Sarah
Live NYC Food tour with Luis & Sarah. Photo by Jason Gonzalez-Smith

Another option is to join the Secrets of New York Tour on Saturday mornings and visit hidden locations in lower Manhattan and learn secrets most New Yorkers don’t even know! Tours book up fast, so get your tickets today!

Planning a vacation to NYC? If you’re feeling overwhelmed and don’t know where to begin, we are here to help! With Funky Tours Concierge, our team of experts can help you plan your dream NYC vacation! You can make your NYC trip and experience more special with custom-designed plans that fit your budget and your unique interests.

The vacation planning team!

DINING + DRINKS

JAZZ BRUNCH AT ONE IF BY LAND, TWO IF BY SEA

17 Barrow Street, Manhattan, 10014

May 8, May 15, & May 22 | 12pm & 2pm | $49+

There’s nothing like Sunday brunch in NYC. Add jazz to your brunch? Even better!

“This exclusive jazz series is limited to an intimate attendance capacity. It’s a rare opportunity to be a personal guest at this chic venue! One if by Land, Two if by Sea party is excited to safely and responsibly host you for this indoor experience where you’ll get to eat great food and hear some dreamy music. Step into the venue to see candlelit tables, brick fireplaces, a baby grand piano and a private garden. The restaurant operates inside a historic, land-marked carriage house originally built in 1767, and once owned by Aaron Burr, Vice President of the United States. 

Vocalist and host Michael Arenella and Quintet will feature an all-star line-up of New York’s finest Jazz musicians and guest vocalists. On top of the beautiful music, there will be a delightful full brunch menu that you will have access to purchase with menu items like assorted continental pastries, tenderloin and eggs, a lobster Benedict and French toast! With its captivating surroundings and impeccable attention to detail, One if by Land, Two if by Sea is the ultimate aphrodisiac for romantic Epicureans. Whether you sit in The Constitution Room, The Mezzanine, or the main dining area you will enjoy one of the most beautiful settings in New York City!” – Fever 

Photo by Victor Freitas/Pexels

ART EXHIBITIONS

JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT: KING PLEASURE

Now – September | Mon-Thurs, 11am-6pm; Fri-Sun, 10am-7pm | $35+ 

Starrett Lehigh, 601 West 26th Street, New York, NY 10001

Jean-Michel Basquiat’s contributions to the history of art and his explorations of multifaceted cultural phenomena––including music, the Black experience, pop culture, Black American sports figures, literature, and other sources––will be showcased through immersive environments providing unique insight into the late artist’s creative life and his singular voice that propelled a social and cultural narrative that continues to this day.

Organized and curated by the family of Jean-Michel Basquiat, this exhibition of over 200 never-before-seen and rarely shown paintings, drawings, multimedia presentations, ephemera, and artifacts tell the story of Jean-Michel from an intimate perspective, intertwining his artistic endeavors with his personal life, influences, and the times in which he lived.

Photo by Chalo Gallardo on Unsplash

For the coolest and best upcoming activities in NYC, watch my guide here:


In conclusion, these are the top 10 best things to do in NYC this May. Have fun and stay safe!

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