20. Taste of the North End
Rumor has it that the North End has some good food. #justsayin. Now’s the chance to try it all at the Taste of the North End. More than 35 restaurants showcase appetizers, cheeses, entrees and desserts for the ticket price of $65-$99. There will be area wine and beer, and a high-end silent auction. Mangia.
When: May 2, 7pm
19. Ray LaMontagne
It may have recently changed its named to Blue Hills Bank Pavilion, but the former Harborlights tent still delivers an amazing outdoor venue set among waterfront views and nestled into the city’s backdrop. With the raspy heartfelt vocal of this New England singer/songwriter flowing through the air, you can’t go wrong for a spring night.
When: May 31, 7:30pm
18. Boston Harbor Islands
The season is underway to get to know the islands peppering the harbor. Most people arrive via a brief ferry ride from Long Wharf-North in Boston. The ferry system gets you to the islands (and home again) quickly and easily. Enjoy a day of exploring historic sites, photographing birds, enjoying a picnic, hiking, swimming, wading in tidal pools, or simply enjoying the scenery.
17. SoWa Art Walk in South End
Grab some coffee then hits the bricks at the annual spring SoWa Art Walk in The South End. Explore artists' studios to admire the paintings, sculpture, jewelry, ceramics, photography. Tip: start on Harrison Ave with more studios on Wareham, Waltham, Plympton, Thayer, and Washington Streets. Then stop at those food trucks we were talking about earlier.
When: May 4, 11am-6pm
16. Visit the Love Birds
On April 30, we welcomed Romeo and Juliet, the Public Garden's resident swans, back from the Franklin Park Zoo where they spent the winter. Visit them on their first full day as the ambassadors of the Public Garden.
15. Hidden Gardens of Beacon Hill
Stop trying to be a Ninja. You know you aren’t good at hopping fences. Do it legit with this special tour that opens the gates to 12 hidden gardens and three “ribbon” gardens. The tour includes stops on Chestnut, Pinckney, Lime Street and more, with two gardens inviting visitors for the first time ever. For $40, the tour is self-guided, so grab a few friends and stroll the forbidden gardens.
When: May 15, 9am-5pm
14. Kentucky Derby Day
Known as the “The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports” to some and “the day I get to wear a giant hat” to others, celebrate this horse racing event at Pier 6 in Charlestown. For $55 per person, Derby enthusiasts enjoy the party on the deck with classic cocktails, derby-themed appetizers and oysters shucked by Island Creek Oysters. Proceeds support Giving Opportunities to Others’ mission to enrich the lives of underprivileged middle school students by immersing them in art and music.
When: May 3, 4-7pm
13. Cinco De Mayo
Look not only to local favorite Mexican joints like PapaGayo or Painted Burro for festivities but also the Beehive, Salvatore’s, Poe’s Kitchen (which introduces its That Dirty Water Margarita) and Beat Hotel (which tosses its jazz out the window for nine piece Mariachi band).
12. Mother’s Day
Did we mention it’s Mother’s Day in May? Pay tribute to that special lady in your life with a brunch, lunch or dinner at several of Boston’s finest eateries. A few of our favorites: Beacon Hill Bistro, Del Frisco’s, Towne, Bistro 5 and Boston Chops with their special mom menus.
When: May 11
11. Duckling Parade
Spring has sprung when the ducklings come out to play during this beloved Mother’s Day event. Families celebrate the Boston-based book “Make Way for Ducklings.” Every year, over 1,000 children dress up as feathered friends and gather on Boston Common to enjoy face painting, a puppet show, and marching behind the famous Harvard Band to the Public Garden. Mommy bonus: they’ll be offering free mini-massages this year.
When: May 11
10. Brookline's Seventh Annual Bicycle Parade
Held at Amory Park, get your bike checked for free (courtesy of Landry's, Urban AdvenTours, East Coast Alpine, and MyBike) and then hop on your ride for a giant parade through town. Five miles with hundreds of your fellow peddlers.
When: May 18, noon (ride starts at 1pm sharp)
9. Boston Calling Music Festival
Hey you. Boston’s calling. They want their great music back. City Hall Plaza is going to be a zoo, but in a good way. The Boston Calling Music Festival features some of the largest live music acts on two stages. They just announced the lineup, including Modest Mouse, Jack Johnson, Bastille and more.
When: May 23-25
Keep the Earth love going with Radio 92.9’s outdoor all-day concert. An annual tradition on our calendar, this day is full of music, festival food and freebies you wouldn’t believe (last year we left with two basil plants, a backpack full of salads and protein bars, a Frisbee and a bunch more). Not to mention the music—this year it’s Neon Trees, the Wailers, Small Pools and Morning Parade. It’s at the Hatchshell and it’s free, because you shouldn’t have to pay for all this lovin’.
When: May 17, 10am-5pm
7. KISS 108 Presents KISS Concert 2014
You can’t beat a lineup like this: Jennifer Lopez, Karmin, R5, MKTO, Calvin Harris and Rixton. And don’t be confused. This is the old Comcast Center, now called the Xfinity Center in Mansfield. Same incredible place to see a show. Grab undercover seats by the stage or hang out on the lawn with the cool kids.
When: May 31, 2pm
6. Stylefixx Boston
Get your style fix with your lady friends during two nights of shopping. Over 65 designers and brands grab spots at the Boston Center for the Arts and open up their trunks. Sip on complimentary cocktails and wine, while you get pampered with beauty treatments and spa services.
When: May 7-8, 5-10pm
5. 2014 Harpoonfest
The band schedule isn’t up yet, but this summer festival never disappoints. Held at the Harpoon Brewery (but you’ll have to take a shuttle from South Station because there’s no parking), this is the place to love beer and summer.
When: May 16, 5:30-11pm; May 17, 2-9pm
4. Lilac Sunday at the Arnold Arboretum
Founded in 1872 as America’s first, the Arnold Arboretum is one of the lushest green spaces in Boston. But around this time, it turns purple. With more than 370 lilac plants of 176 kinds, the Arboretum holds one of the premier lilac collections in North America. Tours of the lilacs, family activities, displays, food vendors, and picnicking (on this special day only) make for a memorable day. Bring your mom. She’ll like it.
When: May 11, Mother’s Day, 10am-3pm
3. Dear Boston: Messages from the Marathon Memorial
This past Boston Marathon was dear to our hearts. Find out the true strength behind Boston Strong with an incredible exhibit at the Boston Public Library. To commemorate those who were injured or lost their lives, this is a heartfelt display of items of support left at the site of the bombings last year. From hand-written notes to running shoes, this is our city and its people.
When: until May 11
2. Cirque du Soleil’s Amaluna
Boston Marine Industrial Park becomes a twisty, topsy, turvy, spinning world of talent when the famed Cirque brings its story of a mysterious island governed by goddesses and guided by the moon cycles. There’s love, pain, triumph, romance and probably a few moves you didn’t think the human body could do.
When: May 29-June 29
1. SoWa Food Trucks Opening Day
You can finally bag the indoor seats for outdoor treats. Every Sunday until October 26, behold SoWa food trucks. There will be 25 opportunities for meals on wheels, so you can grab-and-stroll with everything from grilled cheese, gourmet pizza, tacos, ice cream, grilled veggies and more. Another FYI: the SoWa Arts Market and Farmers Market are there, too. If you can tear yourself away from the snacks.
When: May 4, 11am-4pm