Boston events for May 2015. Best festivals, fun things to do, weekend street fairs, kids activities, and free entertainment in Boston, Massachusetts.

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May 2015

Enjoy the best Boston events, festivals, and things to do in May 2015 with this calendar of events.

Events are listed by starting date, and all dates are confirmed. Mileage is from Faneuil Hall in downtown Boston, Massachusetts.


May 1 - 2, 2015 (begins April 17)

20 miles NW

Drag queens and conservatives collide in the comic play about gay pride: La Cage Aux Folles at Emerson Umbrella Center for the Arts, Concord.

Discount tix.

Jazz Week

May 1 - 3, 2015 (begins April 24)

Greater Boston locations

Jazz Week offers 200 jazz events, from solo shows to jazz ensembles, at 90 venues. Some free.

Harvard Arts First Festival

May 1 - 3, 2015 (begins April 30)

3.5 miles NW

Harvard Arts First Festival celebrates student and faculty creativity with more than 200 music, theater, dance, film, and visual arts events. Most are free.

Women’s play

May 1 - 3, 2015

18 miles NE

Women recall hilarious & poignant stories based on clothing they wore in Love, Loss and What I Wore, a play at Larcom Theatre in Beverly.

Discount tickets.

Improvised musical

May 1 - June 19, 2015 (8 p.m.)

1 mile SE

Boston’s Unscripted Musical Project is an improvised one-act musical full of heroes, villains, and comic relief (songs, dance, and live music are made up on the spot) at 50 Melcher Street.

Discount tickets.

Rare books & photos fair

May 2, 2015

16 miles north

Browse vintage books, documents, and photos or get yours appraised at the Book, Paper & Photo Expo at Shriner’s Auditorium in Wilmington.

Charity walk

May 3, 2015

1 mile SW

Join 40,000 people on the Walk for Hunger, which begins at Boston Common and goes up to 20 miles.

Mayfair at Harvard Square

May 3, 2015 (12 to 6 p.m.)

3.6 miles west

Mayfair offers four stages of entertainment, chalk art, beer gardens, and vendors of food, art, jewelry, and clothing at Harvard Square. Rain date May 17. Free.

Symphonic concert

May 5, 2015 (8:15 p.m.)

2 miles west

Berklee Symphonic Winds Spring Concert features works for winds, brass, and percussion at the Berklee Performance Center.

Bluegrass festival

May 8 - 10, 2015

30 miles SE

Bluegrass on the Bogs [sound] is an acoustic non-traditional bluegrass festival with local bands, food and craft vendors, workshops, kids’ events, and camping at Camp Kiwanee in Hanson.

Japanese festival

May 9, 2015

4.5 miles SW

Sakura Matsuri features Japanese music, food, taiko drumming, bon odori festival dancing, crafts, and games at Brookline High School. Donation.

Steampunk festival

May 9, 2015 (gala May 8, rain day May 10)

12 miles west

Watch City Steampunk Festival features Victorian calliopes, Penny Farthings, costumed performers, musicians, bands, lectures, an open-air market with Steampunk vendors, and a parade in Waltham.

Craft fair

May 9, 2015

23 miles north

Shop from 150 vendors at Andover Crafts in the Park.
May 2015

Renaissance fair

May 9 - 10 & 16 - 17, 2015

48 miles north

NH Renaissance Faire is a laid-back event with craft and food vendors, wandering musicians, theater on stage, and knights jousting in a field in Kingston NH.

Duckling parade

May 10, 2015

1 mile SW

Families celebrate the Boston-based book “Make Way for Ducklings” by dressing as ducks for a Duckling Day Parade at Boston Public Garden. Register online.

Short play festival

May 10, 2015

1.5 miles SW

See the best 50 plays shorter than 10 minutes, out of 400 entries by New England playwrights, at Boston Theater Marathon at Boston Center for the Arts.

Lilac day

May 10, 2015

5.4 miles SW

Lilac Sunday features tours of the lilacs and other collections, live music, family activities, food vendors, and picnicking at the Arnold Arboretum. Free.

Beer festival

May 15 - 16, 2015

1.5 miles SE

Catch a shuttle from South Station to Harpoon Brewery to enjoy beer, great food, and live local music at HarpoonFest. Tickets at the door.

Bike parade

May 17, 2015

3.3 miles SW

Ride five miles on Beacon Street with no cars and a police escort in the Brookline Bicycle Parade, which has adult and child versions that begin and end at Amory Playground, with a party afterward. Free.

Boston Calling music festival

May 22 - 24, 2015

0.1 miles west

Family friendly Boston Calling has outdoor stages for big-name music acts at City Hall Plaza. Repeats Sept.

Campfire music festival

May 22 - 25, 2015

3.6 miles NW

Hear new performers and watch songwriters interact and swap tunes as they sing in the round at the Campfire Festival at Club Passim. Repeats in Aug.

Street performers

May 23, 2015

0 miles

See musicians and entertainers throughout Faneuil Hall during Street Performer Spring Showcase. Free.

Memorial Day Parade

May 24, 2015

3 miles NW

Watch marching bands, veterans’ groups, and beauty queens in the Memorial Day Parade that begins at Somerville City Hall and goes up Highland Avenue to Veterans Memorial Cemetery at 1330 Broadway. Free.

Guitar concert

May 26, 2015 (7:30 p.m.)

1.8 miles SW

Guitar Night: R&B/Funk Showcase features six guitarists leading their groups in an evening of original and cover material in the genres of R & B and funk at 921 Boylston Street. Free.

Beer festival

May 29 - 30, 2015

1.1 miles SE

Billed as the East Coast’s largest craft beer event, American Craft Beer Fest (ACBF) features 640 beers from 140 brewers at the Seaport World Trade Center.

Quilt show

May 29 - 31, 2015

5.8 miles west

See 200 quilts that range from classic to cutting-edge at Quilters’ Connection Quilt Show, which has guided tours and demonstrations of quilting techniques at the Arsenal Center for the Arts in Watertown.

Wine at the zoo

May 30, 2015

3.5 miles SW

Sample wines at Uncorked as you stroll past animals in the Tropical Forest Pavilion at Franklin Park Zoo.

Get painted as you run

May 31, 2015

Location uncertain

Wear a white shirt, and then get bombarded by handfuls of colored cornstarch and glitter as you run the Color Run 5K.

Bicycle rides

May 2015 (undated)

Greater Boston area

Find bike rodeos, rides, breakfasts, and workshops offered during the month-long Bay State Bike Week.

Wine and chocolate

May 2015 (undated)

6 miles north

Enjoy wine, sparkling juice, appetizers, and desserts at Friends of the Malden Public Library Wine Tasting and Chocolate Buffet. Sells out.

Jazz Week

May 2015 (undated)

Greater Boston locations

Jazz Week offers 200 jazz events, from solo shows to jazz ensembles, at 90 venues. Some free.

Music festival

May 2015 (undated)

Cambridge locations

Together Boston celebrates music, art, and technology with performances, films, exhibits, and educational panels in Cambridge.

Music concert

May 2015 (undated)

1.2 miles west

EarthFest is a popular outdoor concert that includes environmental exhibits and a family area at the Hatch Shell on the Charles River. Free.

Environmental films

May 2015 (undated)

Boston locations

See films about environmental activism, natural beauty, climate change, and energy, during the one-day Boston Enviro-Film Festival.

Irish festival

May 2015 (undated)

20 miles south

Boston Irish Festival has live music, an Irish dance competition (feis), Gaelic Athletic Games, a 5K race, an Irish market, and performances at Irish Cultural Centre in Canton.

Taste of Faneuil Hall

May 2015 (undated)

0 miles

A ticket to Taste of Faneuil Hall includes all-you-can-eat restaurant samples, beer tasting, and DJ music.
Next month:June 2015

May 2015 calendar of events in Boston, MA. Best events, fairs, festivals, and things to do in Boston, Massachusetts.