Boston Weather May Averages, USA
What's the weather like in Boston in May
Things start to warm up for Boston, USA in May after a long winter, with longer, warmer days and nights and temperatures heading higher as the month goes on. The average temperature for the city in May is a balmy high of 18.9°C and a comfortable low of 9.9°C. The temperature will go above 21°C on ten days or more on average and above 26°C on three days. There have even been isolated instances when it has topped 32°C. The temperature only falls below the average low on 17 days and the chances of it falling below zero are minimal. The lowest recorded May temperature in Boston is 1°C and the highest was 35°C. The average sea temperature rises too, up to 9°C and bearable for the hardy swimmer compared with the icy 4°C in January. The average relative humidity in Boston in May is higher, at 67 per cent. It peaks at 77 per cent in the early hours of the morning before falling to 58 per cent in the afternoon. You can check the local weather report here. If you're looking for a sunkissed USA holiday, take a trip to Miami where the temperatures rarely fall below 25°C in May.
Rain and snow
Rain is likely at any time of the year in Boston and while May is warmer and drier overall, it still receives an average of 89mm/3.5inches of rainfall with 13 rainy days on average. Thunderstorms do occur in May but are very rare. The chances of snowfall are virtually nil.
The average daily sunshine in Boston in May is 8.5 hours, or 263 for the whole month. The skies are clear for six days of the month on average, with cloud cover at 30 per cent or less and the sun reaches the ground 58 per cent of the time in May on average. The days continue to get longer as we head towards mid-summer and daylight lasts for an average of 14 hours and 37 minutes a day. There are 14 hours and 5 minutes of daylight on May 1, rising to 15 hours and four minutes by May 31.
The average May wind speed in Boston is around the annual average, at 12mph and storms are much less likely.
You will always have to factor in the rain in Boston whatever the month and May is no different. But the good news is that the heavy winter clothing can be left at home. Pack a coat and jumper for the evenings, but you can also break out the warm weather clothing, including shorts and t-shirts and even swimming gear. It's worth checking our 14-day forecast for Boston before you leave.
Boston Hotels in May
With warmer days to look forward to, why not seek out hotels with good outside space and the best views, to make the most of those Boston skylines? Downtown is a good choice, offering a variety of prices and hotel styles.
For some unadulterated waterfront luxury, the landmark Intercontinental Hotel is a good bet for the discerning traveller. Named one of the world's best hotels by Condé Nast Traveller magazine, the hotel is surrounded by the Fort Point Channel and is steps from all the Boston attractions, including Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market, Boston Convention & Exhibition Centre, Chinatown, the Boston Tea Party Museum and Freedom Trail. The 424-room hotel has a luxurious 6,600 spa, fitness club, pool and steam rooms and several bars and restaurants, including
the French-influence Brasserie Provençale, the eastern flavours of Sushi-Teq, which pairs pairing sushi with tequila and the RumBa bar, which has more than 100 rums and serves Caribbean cuisine.
Kimpton Nine Zero
The Kimpton Nine Zero is another award-winning downtown hotel, having been chosen as Boston's best in 2016 by Conde Nast Traveller and Massachusetts's best the following year. It has Boston Common as a neighbour and has recently undergone a major refurbishment, with its 190 rooms and suites being modernised. The hotel's bar The Highball Lounge has also won a clutch of awards for its cocktails and imaginative bar menu. There are even board games and resident DJs to live up the atmosphere.
Revere Boston Common
Boasting a rooftop bar hailed as one of the world's best, May is a great month to stay at the Revere Boston Common named after War of Independence hero Paul Revere and reflecting the role of the city and its people in the American Revolution. Looking out over Back Bay, the hotel has 356 rooms and suites, an indoor pool and 24-hour fitness centre. The rebel theme continues at the Rebel's Guild restaurant, which opens for breakfast, lunch and dinner serving New England favourites. Food is also served in the Rooftop Bar, which opens in May until September and there is a stylish lobby bar.
Guesthouse accommodation is given an upmarket treatment at the historic No284 in Commonwealth Avenue, which has been reopened after closing for complete renovation. It opened in 1880 as a private home for hosiery and glove merchant Sumner Mead and his wife Anna and was the site of a music studio in the 1950s. No284 retains the cosy domestic atmosphere, with just 23 rooms, a library and courtyard but no restaurant. This is an affordable and stylish alternative to Boston's big hotels in a perfect central location.
Bars and Restaurants
Beer connoisseurs should look no further than Lord Hobo, either at its bar and brewery 11 miles outside Boston in Woburn, or at its atmospheric bar near Harvard University in Cambridge, three miles from downtown. With an ever-changing beer selection, the Cambridge venue also serves hearty, straightforward pub food including pork, salmon and beef dishes, salads and snacks. Take the chance to go on a Harvard campus tour too, although it's best to do that before you start sampling the beers!
The Barking Crab
A much-loved restaurant and watering hole on the edge of Boston's Fort Point Channel, The Barking Crab, is in its 25th year and has the atmosphere of a typical Boston clam shack. It first opened as an outdoor summer restaurant, and now operates year-round alongside the marina, just a short walk from all the main Boston sights. Lobster, crab, shellfish and clams all feature on the menu and the restaurant specialises in large group bookings.
Irish eyes are always smiling at The Druid in Cambridge's Inman Square, a lively and sociable pub with a reputation for great food, including Irish beef stew, Shepherd's Pie and huge breakfasts. But it's the beer, music and atmosphere that draws most people to its base in the city of Cambridge's oldest wooden building. With Guinness flowing freely and live music and entertainment throughout the week, this is a small, narrow and bustling bar that can get crowded at times.
ArtScience Culture Lab & Café
Also in Cambridge, it's fair to say there is nowhere quite like the ArtScience Culture Lab & Café which combines classy cocktails and good food with art, science, and design experiences, including regular exhibitions. But if it's just food and drink you're after, you won't be disappointed. A small menu features a choice of beef tartare, octopus, fois gras and duck and the drinks menu includes cocktails with unusual garnishes such as violets and edible gold paper. Try a 'Hummingbird', with pineapple juice, local rum, butterfly pea flower, and velvet falernum topped with an inhalable marshmallow cloud!
Things to do in Boston in May
Bunker Hill Monument
For some vigorous exercise, a fascinating history lesson and stunning Boston views, visit Bunker Hill Monument and climb the 294 steps to the top. The American Revolution started in Massachusetts and on June 17, 1775 troops from Britain and New England clashed here. The first monument went up in 1794 honouring fallen Patriot Dr Joseph Warren. In 1823, a group of prominent citizens formed the Bunker Hill Monument Association and the current monument was finished in 1842. Now a national park, there are extensive grounds and a museum.
Take a boat tour
With the weather warming up, May is a good month to take one of the many boat tours that head out from Boston. Whale watching cruises depart from central wharf in downtown Boston and will get you up close to these beautiful creatures, with the added bonus of dolphins, sea birds and other marine life. The tour will take in some of Boston's harbour islands and lasts 3-4 hours. Boston's popular duck tours are another way to see the city's most atmospheric neighbourhoods from land and water, taking in Bunker Hill, Charlestown and the State House along the way in amphibious vehicles.
Duckling Day Parade
The annual Mother's Day Duckling Day Parade is a perfect family event, with children in fancy dress and their parents following the path taken by Mr. and Mrs. Mallard and their own flock of ducklings through Boston Common and the public garden in Robert McCloskey's children's book, Make Way for Ducklings. Now in its 31st year, the main parade begins at noon and there is an entrance donation of around $35 for each party to include snacks and a goodie bag for each child.
Memorial Day falls on the last Monday of every May and honours those who died defending the USA. It is also a national holiday, so the Memorial Day weekend is packed with things to see and do. One spectacular sight is the annual planting of the Garden of Flags on Boston Common, when 37,000 flags are placed in front of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument to remember all the fallen of Massachusetts since the Revolutionary War. Boston Calling, the three-day music and comedy festival, takes place over Memorial Day Weekend at Harvard's Athletic Stadium in Allston and draws some of the world's biggest names, including The Killers and Eminem. For a calmer experience shop the sales or take a walking tour of Boston led by expert guides.