New York City – What to Wear in May

May is a lovely time to visit New York City, with warm, mild temperatures and plenty of things to do. It’s a great month to visit NYC and enjoy outdoor attractions as well as museums, shopping, outdoor dining, rooftop views, and nightlife.

May is warm and mild with some rain and cooler temperatures at night. This guide will help you figure out what to pack and what to wear so you can stay comfortable and stylish on your spring trip to New York City.

We’ve been living in New York City for over a decade and May is one of our favorite times of the year. In a city that has very extreme cold and hot temperatures, May is a time when we get a respite and can enjoy mild weather.

However, there are a few essential things you need to know before visiting:

  • What to pack/which clothes to bring
  • What to wear
  • The weather (rain, temps)

Weather

May is a warm and mild month in New York City. There may be some cooler temperatures at night, so be prepared with a light jacket or hoodie to enjoy nighttime adventures. New York can be a windy city so a light jacket or hoodie is usually a good idea in May.

Here are the average high temperatures:

  • Early May: 67°F (19°C)
  • Mid-May: 70°F (21°C)
  • Late May: 75°F (24°C)
A Typical Day

A typical day in May in NYC is warm, with the highest temperatures in the mid to late afternoons. There may be some breeze from the waterways and nighttime can get cool at times, so a light jacket or hoodie will keep you warm.

Early May has slightly cooler temperatures than late May, which starts to feel more like summer. A jacket, short-sleeved shirt, jeans, and walking shoes are your best bet for most during this time in the city.

Later in the month, it gets very warm and you might want to wear tank tops or shorts if you are visiting at the end of May. Comfortable walking shoes are a must so you can enjoy all the city has to offer without getting sore feet.

We will get into more details on what to wear during your time in the city later.

A sunny but windy afternoon in late May.

Daily temperature progression on a typical May day in New York City:

  • Morning (8 AM): 60°F
  • Afternoon (2:30 PM): 70°F
  • Evening (10 PM): 63°F
Rain

May usually has quite a few rainy days, with an average of 11 days of precipitation during the month. To prepare for the rain, pack rain boots, an umbrella, and a poncho or rain jacket. More details about that later!

However, rain won’t last too long most of the time and you still have almost 20 sunny, or partly sunny days at this time of the year.

What to Wear / What to Pack

It can get windier and slightly cooler in the evening.

When you’re packing for your New York City May trip, include jeans, short-sleeved shirts, a light jacket, and comfortable shoes for walking. The first half of the month is slightly cooler, so you will be more likely to need your jacket at this time. Nights can be cooler any time though, so a jacket is perfect to stay warm on the go at night.

In New York City May during May, you wear jeans, short-sleeved shirts, a light jacket, and comfortable shoes for walking. The first half of the month is slightly cooler, so you will be more likely to need a jacket at this time.

Nights can be cooler any time though, so a jacket is perfect to stay warm on the go at night.

💡 May is a mild time of year in NYC, with warm days and slightly cooler temperatures in the early mornings and at night. It is very rarely cold in May but it does rain occasionally, so rain gear and light layers will keep you comfortable.

By the end of the month, temperatures are warmer and you may want to wear tank tops or even shorts.

Shoes

NYC is the biggest walking city in the country, so you will want to wear comfortable shoes. Make sure you “break in” your sneakers and walk in them regularly for about a week before your visit. Since it usually rains several times, you should also pack water-resistant shoes like rain boots.

Women’s Outfit Tips

For women visiting New York City in May, pack for warm weather with light layers, including short-sleeved shirts, jeans, a jacket, a hoodie, and rain gear. If you are traveling to the city in late May, you should also bring tank tops and skirts or shorts for summery weather.

Be prepared for the rain with rain boots, an umbrella, and a poncho or rain jacket for spring showers.

Tops

Warm weather tops and a light jacket or hoodie will help you stay comfortable during this mild month. Most days will be mild and warm, so wear a short-sleeved base layer that you can dress up or dress down.

Add a hoodie or jacket for windy, chilly times, which are often at night. We often wear jackets or hoodies in the evenings as the temperatures tend to get cooler after the sun goes down.

Jacket

May is generally a warm month in NYC, but it can be windy and cool sometimes, especially at nighttime. A light jacket will keep you warm and you can tie your jacket around your waist or put it in your bag if you’re out in the city and the temperatures keep rising.

Pack a rain jacket, as there can be quite a few rainy days during this period. Check out our recs above for jacket suggestions.

Shoes

Comfortable shoes are the most important piece of clothing to enjoy your travels in New York City because you will be walking a lot. (Check out our tips on attractions to visit at the end of this guide!).

💡 We like to wear comfortable sneakers in dark colors as they will be less likely to show dirt from the subway and city streets. Ankle boots are also a versatile way to dress up.

Make sure you try out any new shoes before packing so you know they will be comfortable and won’t give you blisters. Also, bring rain boots to keep your feet dry on rainy days.

Pants

Jeans are versatile pants that you can dress up with a nice shirt and boots or dress down with a hoodie and sneakers. Whether it’s warm or cool, you can pair jeans with almost any top for a stylish outfit to explore NYC.

For hotter days later in the month, you can also wear shorts or skirts to stay cool.

Accessories

May in NYC is warm and mild so the only weather accessories you’ll need are an umbrella and rain boots.

For going out at night, bring a purse or small bag. During the day, you may need a larger bag for carrying water, your wallet, phone, jacket, and hand sanitizer.

Besides, we highly recommend a bag with anti-theft features (see our recommendation above) to keep your belongings safe in the city!

Men Outfit Tips

For men traveling to New York City in May, pack warm weather clothes and a light outer layer, water-resistant boots, a jacket, and an umbrella. You’ll also want to bring comfortable shoes to walk around the city.

Tops

May is a beautiful time in NYC with mild temperatures and some rainy days, with cooler nights and warm, mild days. The temperatures are especially warm at the end of the month.

That means wearing light layers will keep you comfortable. This should include a short-sleeved shirt and a hoodie or light jacket.

Jacket

May weather in New York is generally warm and mild, with some rain and cooler temps at night. A light jacket is perfect to stay comfortable while traveling around the city during this month.

Jeans

Pack jeans for versatile outfits that you can make more casual, with sneakers and hoodies or t-shirts, or dress up with a button-up shirt and boots.

Rain Gear

Be prepared for spring rain showers in May with an umbrella, rain jacket, and weather-resistant shoes.

Shoes

Bring comfortable sneakers that you will be able to explore the city in. We like to wear dark sneakers that don’t show dirt. Also, pack waterproof shoes or rain boots for your May trip to New York.

Packing Checklist

  • Light jacket
  • Rain boots
  • Sneakers
  • Jeans
  • Short-sleeved shirts
  • Hoodies
  • Socks
  • Umbrella
  • Poncho or rain jacket
  • Shorts (for trips in late May)
  • Tank tops (for late May)
  • Toiletries

Things To Do

May is a beautiful time of year in New York City, and a great month to visit. It’s the perfect time to enjoy Central Park, outdoor attractions, theater, nightlife, shopping, restaurants and dining, museums, and cultural activities.

Some ideas for traveling in May in NYC include:

  • See a Broadway show
  • Visit Central Park
  • Visit the High Line and City Island
  • Shop in Soho
  • Enjoy an outdoor brunch
  • Art museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Guggenheim Museum
  • Try New York-style pizza
  • Walk the Brooklyn Bridge
  • Enjoy rooftop bars with city views
  • The American Museum of Natural History
  • Rooftop views from the Empire State Building
  • Bars and nightclubs in Greenwich Village and the East Village

Must-Visit Attractions

May is a great time to visit New York City for mild weather and outdoor attractions like rooftop bars. Enjoy exploring Central Park, outdoor brunch and dining, and many outdoor attractions.

May is getting close to summer’s peak tourism time, so top attractions may still require advanced tickets at places such as Top of the Rock at sunset, the Statue of Liberty, and other top sites. May is also one of the best times to visit the Empire State Building.