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8 Great Things to Do in New York in May

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Now that Spring is in full force and the weather is warming, the birds are chirping, and the flowers are blooming, it’s a perfect time to travel around New York.

If you are looking for fun things to do in New York in May, we’ve got you covered with some great things to do throughout the state during the month.

Take some time to check out our handpicked events below and start planning your New York travels for the month.

(Article updated April 12, 2024 for events in May 2024)

Rochester Lilac Festival in Rochester – May 10-19

Dubbed the “largest free festival of its kind in North America”, the Rochester Lilac Festival will be returning to the Finger Lakes this May.

While an entire festival highlighting these beautiful and fragrant flowers might be enough on its own to attract visitors, there’s also a lot going on during the event’s three weekends.

Activities include craft beer and wine tastings, kid’s activities, art vendors, garden displays, and several races. There’s also a parade on May 11 featuring more than 2,000 participants.

Find out more about all the festival’s events on its website.

Japan Parade in New York City – May 11

Commemorate the history of Japanese relations with the United States with the Japan Parade, happening along Central Park West on Saturday, May 11. 

The third edition of the parade is sure to delete with an entire parade filled with rich Japanese culture and music. And, it all starts off with the parade’s Grand Marshall, Paralympian Shingo Kunieda.

Find out more information about this fun and unique parade on the event’s website.

Albany Tulip Festival in Albany – May 11-12

Flower lovers won’t want to miss the Albany Tulip Festival in mid-May. During the festival, visitors will be able to see more than 140,000 tulips from 150 different varieties at the oldest Dutch settlement in the country.

In addition to the many tulips, there will also be traditional Dutch activities like street scrubbing, tours, live entertainment, and much more.

For more information, visit the event’s website.

Apple Blossom Festival in Newfane – May 19

If you love apples, you don’t want to miss the Apple Blossom Festival in northwestern New York.

This festival includes fantastic foods, a flea market, apple butter production, and even historical reenactments. You can also drive a short distance away to tour several historic sites throughout Niagara County.

Find out more on the festival’s website.

GlassFest in Corning – May 24-26

GlassFest in Corning is one of the best things to do in New York in May
Watch artisans at work during GlassFest.

GlassFest in Corning celebrates the town’s rich history of glassmaking. In addition to being able to watch live as gaffers make incredible pieces of art at the Corning Museum of Glass, visitors will also be able to tour historic museums, shop great vendors and shops in downtown Corning, and enjoy live entertainment.

If that’s not enough, there is also the Wineglass 8k race, which offers a great chance to enjoy the beauty of the region while getting some exercise.

Find out more on the event’s website.

Great Adirondack Garage Sale – May 24-26

The annual Great Adirondack Garage Sale returns for three days this May.

Featuring more than 200 miles of yard sales along Routes 3, 28, and 30, there is something for everyone to enjoy and maybe even buy. Plus, you’ll get to drive through some of the most beautiful scenery in New York.

Find out more on the sale’s website.

Memorial Day Parade in Brooklyn – May 27

While there are many Memorial Day parades in New York, none are more iconic than the Brooklyn Memorial Day Parade. Now in its 157th year, this parade is one of the oldest celebrations in the country.

During the parade, thousands of veterans, marching bands, and others will parade through the streets of Brooklyn.

For more information, visit the parade’s website.

See New York’s Waterfalls

Visiting waterfalls is one of the best things to do in NY in May
Visit one of New York’s waterfalls in May.

May is the perfect month to head out and see the hundreds of waterfalls scattered throughout New York. From the waterfalls in the Finger Lakes to those in the Adirondacks, there are great waterfalls for everyone to visit.

May is a great month to visit these waterfalls as the snow and ice are gone and replaced with the rain that fuels the many waterfalls in New York.

Looking for more events in New York? Check out our picks for the top things to do in New York in April and the best things to do in New York in June.

More places worth exploring in New York

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