5/1 SoWa Open Market
Last day of Big Apple Circus @City Hall Plaza
5/27 Boston Calling Festival @City Hall Plaza
5/29 Boston Calling Festival @City Hall Plaza
(Month of May)—Boston Red Sox @Fenway Park
May in Boston is a truly wonderful time; flowerbeds in the Public Gardens are bursting with tulips, the weather is steadily gorgeous—nope, definitely not going to snow this month—while those unfortunate college students are quietly cramming for final exams before leading their Mass exodus […sorry, we’ve been waiting all winter to use that one]. Crowds are still low, as the tourist hordes won’t be embarking on their Great American Family Vacations for another month. The city continues to spring to life with all kinds of seasonal events this month—outdoor music festivals, the return of our lively open SOWA market, and a lot more.
Sunday, May 1st sees the return of Boston’s unique SoWa Open Market; so don’t forget to head down to the lively South End neighborhood (sandwiched in between Albany Street the Southern part of Washington street, to be precise), for the huge array of vendors spread across the market’s open-air grounds—ranging from local produce brought by local farmers, local gourmet goods and specialty food items, baked goods, and handicrafts made by local artists and artisans. If the shopping is making you hungry, a line up of 15 of our favorite food trucks from around the city will be there, slinging tacos, pizzas, banh mi sandwiches, and the usual creative fare. Don’t neglect the charming but often-overlooked neighborhoods of SoWa and the South End, folks! This section of Boston has recently blossomed into a hotspot for boutiques, art galleries, and a top-notch dining scene featuring everything from cafes like Flour Bakery, to hip and delicious Coppa Enoteca and Toro; you might want to spend some time down here for a more local experience than you’ll get downtown.
In May, baseball bats will also be getting into the swing of things, over at Fenway Park. Watch our beloved Red Sox as their new line-up promises to climb back out of the basement from last year’s dismal last place finish, as they take on division rivals, the New York Yankees, on May 1st—or catch them later throughout the month, facing off against the Cleveland Indians, Houston Astros, Oakland Athletics, and more!
May 8th, the following weekend is Mother’s Day, and options are plenty. If mom (or anyone else for that matter) likes lilacs, check out the Arnold Arboretum’s annual Lilac Sunday festivities, when the flowers are in amazing abundance all around Boston’s most treasured green space. Family activities, food trucks and free admission make for a great Mother’s Day out in this beautiful park.
Another Mother’s Day family activity is the Duckling Day Parade, celebrating Robert McCloskey’s illustrated children’s classic, Make Way For Ducklings. Join thousands of parading participants, ducked-out in their Sunday best, for a day of fun, games, face-painting and family entertainment on the Commons, before reenacting the Boston-based tale, waddling from the Boston Commons to the Public Gardens—but probably not swimming out to the islands in the Charles River, dodging cyclists at the Esplanade, or scurrying through heavy traffic across Storrow Drive—which is generally not recommended, duck-suit or not. You’ll need to register, with a fee of $35 per family ($40 on the day of the event).
But if your family is all grown up, well, mom deserves something a little bit special, don’t you think? She’s put up with you for so many years now, the least you could do would be to take her out for champagne and oysters somewhere nice—luckily, Boston is chock full of great restaurants and bistros, offering Mother’s Day buffets and special brunch menus, so check the link and make some reservations ASAP.
May 8th will also be the closing day for the Big Apple Circus at City Hall, so if you haven’t stopped by the Big Top yet, this is your last chance. Speaking of the circus—later that week, Canadian bad-boy/heart throb/pop-singer Justin Bieber brings his over-the-top arena show to the TD Garden on Tuesday, May 10th. In fact, May is a big month for music in the Hub, with the aforementioned pop icon’s less polarizing former love interest, Disney-kid-turned-pop goddess Selena Gomez, set to grace the same stage at TD Garden on May 28th. If you know what’s Good for You, you might want to check it out. But its safe to say, Bostonians are most excited for the return of the highly successful, biannual Boston Calling Festival, slated for its 4th year at City Hall Plaza, over Memorial Day Weekend, May 27th through May 29th. The popular outdoor music festival will feature international and domestic acts from across the musical spectrum, like UK-electronica duo Disclosure, indie-folk/multi-instrumentalist Sufjan Stevens, quirky Aussie songstress Sia, Swedish dance-pop starlet Robyn, and the inimitable, eccentric diva, tux-wearing cover girl (and now, actress) Janelle Monae.
On Memorial Day, Monday May 30th, most of us will be at home lighting up the grills for the first time of the year, and hopefully not igniting the piles of dead leaves we forgot about in the backyard—or we’ll be heading out of town, maybe for an early-season trip down to Cape Cod, before the heat and masses crowd the summer shores; many of the students will have already packed up their parents’ minivans, or flown back to their corners of the globe. You folks will get the town to yourselves (sort of), so why not enjoy it? Also, this is one of the few times when you can enjoy Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts for FREE, at the MFA’s annual Memorial Day open house, this year falling on Monday, May 30th. Check the link for updated details, as it gets closer to the date!