We know—this isn’t any ordinary trip to New York. You’re here for the Big Day. For the cap and gown (at last). For as many posed family portraits as your brand new NYU graduate, decked out in Violet, will endure.

There’s the All-University Commencement at Yankee Stadium on May 16, of course, and the graduation ceremonies for each school—but you already knew all that. You’ve already got your outfits picked out and reservations made for a celebratory feast or two—not to mention a game plan for Grad Alley, NYU’s carnival-like Commencement-Eve block party.

What else is there to do? A lot, it turns out.

On the off chance you happen upon a moment of downtime during your stay—or just need a few minutes of peace and quiet amid all the fanfare and nostalgia—here’s a guide to some low-key entertainment across campus.


Steinhardt vocal performance students perform a free choral concert in the Frederick Loewe Theatre on May 10.

A large scale Chinese singing reality show brings students from 92 schools around the U.S. to compete in a grand finale at Skirball on May 12.

In the Frederick Loewe Theater, all the university choral ensembles come together to sing into spring on May 12.

On May 13, the Bang on a Can Marathon—featuring ten hours of performances of boundary-busting music by contemporary musicians including NYU's own Julia Wolfecomes to NYU Skirball for the first time.

The New York City Gay Men's Chorus teams up with Los Angeles's Angel City Chorale to present a David Bowie tribute concert at Skirball on May 19. 

The second annual Chita Rivera Awards—celebrating dance and choreographic excellence—will take place at Skirball on May 20.


On May 17, graduating undergraduate and graduate students of the NYU Game Center showcase their work in a free public event at MAGNET in Brooklyn. 

Tisch highlights student work with Design Show 2018, which showcases the work of 17 graduating MFA set, costume, lighting, and film designers (on view through May 17), and Show Two, an exhibition of work from the entire senior undergraduate Photography & Imaging class (on view through May 18).

Steinhardt MFA art student thesis work will be shown at the Washington Square East Gallery through May 19.

Fales Library presents Our Troubled Youth, an exhibition tracing the complicated history of friendship before social media—through artist Leah DeVun's personal archive of 1980s and 90s punk ephemera, items from Fales's collection, and original photographs and video (on view through May 31).

The Grey Art Gallery presents Landscapes after Ruskin: Redefining the Sublime, which explores contemporary painting, photography, sculpture, and video through the lens of English art critic John Ruskin, who argued that the artist’s principal responsibility is "truth to nature" (on view through July 7).


As part of Tamiment Library's Spring 2018 Cold War Center Seminar Series, NYU Haury dissertation fellow Minju Bae will discuss “Testimonies from the “Frozen Zone”: Garment Workers and the Fight for Jobs, 1996-2003” on May 10.

Radiolab producer Molly Webster leads a discussion about how to improve sex ed at Skirball on May 16. 

Only at NYU

May 15 kicks off a two-day exhibition of recent creative tech projects by the graduate students in NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program. 

You never know what you might find there, but here are some highlights from a previous showcase: