Boston events for May 2017. Best festivals, fun things to do, weekend street fairs, kids activities, and free entertainment in Boston, Massachusetts.

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May 2017
May 2017

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

Distance is from Faneuil Hall in downtown Boston, Massachusetts.

Past events are not included. Remove past events. Add past events. You can add them if you turn on JavaScript.

New song competition

May 1, 2017 (8 p.m.)

2 miles west

Writers pitch their songs to 12 vocalists, who perform with a band before a panel of judges to win prizes at Perfect Pitch Concert at Berklee Performance Center.

Flowers & art

May 1, 2017 (begins April 29)

2.6 miles SW

Art in Bloom is a festival of floral arrangement and fine art that includes a preview party, classes, demonstrations, walking tours, and a family-friendly Community Day on Sunday at Museum of Fine Arts.

Film festival

May 1 - 3, 2017

Boston locations

The Independent Film Festival Boston (IFFBoston) shows nearly 100 innovative crowd-pleasing films, holds frequent parties, invites filmmakers to attend panel discussions, and has an awards ceremony.


May 1 - 7, 2017

Greater Boston

ArtWeek Boston offers hundreds of artist talks, creative experiences, performances, behind-the-scenes tours, and kids’ activities. Many are free. Repeats in Sept.

Return of the Swans

May 2, 2017 (noon)

0.8 miles SW

The Return of the Swans from their winter home at Franklin Park Zoo to the lagoon in Boston Public Garden includes a parade with a brass band, children’s activities, and a welcome by the mayor. Free.

Technology party

May 3, 2017 (6 to 9 p.m.)

0.2 miles east

Join tech community professionals at BostInno de Mayo for margaritas, snacks, and networking at Tia’s. Your ticket includes food and a drink.

Symphonic concert

May 3, 2017 (8 p.m.)

2 miles west

Berklee Symphonic Winds Spring Concert features works for stage and screen at the Berklee Performance Center. Repeats in Dec. Free.

Cinco de Mayo pub crawl

May 5 - 6, 2017

0 miles

Cinco de Mayo Pub Crawl Boston includes drink specials at the Hard Rock Cafe and Mija Cantina at Faneuil Hall.

Viking beer marathon

May 6, 2017

2.6 miles SW

A ticket to Great Boston Beer Marathon gets you a shirt, a Viking hat, and food and drink specials at 26 Fenway and Allston bars.

Home tour

May 6, 2017 (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.)

17.2 miles SW

Wellesley Kitchen and Home Tour features a ticketed tour of six different houses in Wellesley, with gourmet bites and an opportunity to meet the interior designers and landscape architects for age 18+. No photos.

Art walk

May 6 - 7, 2017 (11 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

1.4 miles SW

Meet 100 artists in their studios and view gallery exhibits during the self-guided SoWa Art Walk. The SoWa Open Market also will be open until 4 p.m. Free.

Monster trucks

May 6 - 7, 2017

54 miles NW

Big trucks with big wheels create big noise and excitement at Monster Jam at SNHU Arena in Manchester, NH.

Charity walk

May 7, 2017

1 mile SW

Join 40,000 people on the 20-mile Walk for Hunger and 5K run, which begin on Boston Common.

Lamb tasting

May 7, 2017 (3 to 6 p.m.)

1.3 miles NW

Taste lamb and BBQ cooked by six local chefs, and sample beer, wine, and spirits at Boston Lamb Jam, with butcher demonstrations and live music at Royal Sonesta Cambridge for age 21+.

MayFair at Harvard Square

May 7, 2017 (12 to 6 p.m.)

3.6 miles west

MayFair offers three stages of entertainment, chalk art, beer gardens, and vendors of food, crafts, and jewelry at Harvard Square. Rain date May 21. Free.

Music and food benefit

May 10, 2017 (7 to 10 p.m.)

2.4 miles west

Sample fare from 15 Boston restaurants, dance to reggae, and attend an auction at Beyond Shelter at House of Blues for the Friends of Boston’s Homeless.

Art walk

May 12 - 14, 2017

1.1 miles SE

See galleries and artists’ studios in historic waterfront warehouses during Spring Art Walk in Fort Point. Free. Repeats in Oct.

Japanese festival

May 13, 2017 (12 to 4 p.m.)

5 miles SW

The Brookline Cherry Blossom Festival features Japanese music, food, taiko drumming, bon odori festival dancing, crafts, and games at Brookline High School. Donation.

Lilac day

May 13, 2017

5.4 miles SW

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

Steampunk festival

May 13, 2017 (rain date May 14)

12 miles west

Watch City Steampunk Festival promises 50 vendors, kids’ activities, food trucks, and costumed performers in Waltham. Free.

Craft fair

May 13, 2017

23 miles north

Shop from 150 vendors at Andover Crafts in the Park. Free.

Bike week

May 13 - 21, 2017

Greater Boston area

Find bike rodeos, rides, breakfasts, and workshops offered during Bay State Bike Week.

Renaissance fair

May 13 - 14 and 20 - 21, 2017

48 miles north

New Hampshire 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.

Mother’s Day restaurants

May 14, 2017

New England locations

OpenTable lists restaurants that offer special brunch, lunch, and dinner menus on Mother’s Day. We also recommend checking the list of Mother’s Day restaurants at BostonChefs.

Mother’s Day wine/chocolate

May 14, 2017 (4 to 6 p.m.)

0.2 miles north

Mother’s Day Wine & Chocolate includes a two-hour class about wine and chocolate from Boston Wine School, plus a tasting at The Kitchen at the Boston Public Market for age 21+.

Mother’s Day cruise

May 14, 2017 (boarding 11:30 a.m.)

0.4 miles east

Mother’s Day Brunch Cruise includes a brunch buffet, views of Boston Harbor, and a rose for Mom for $75.

Duckling parade

May 14, 2017

1 mile SW

Families celebrate the Boston-based book “Make Way for Ducklings” by wearing yellow and registering to join the Duckling Day Parade at Boston Public Garden.

Short play festival

May 14, 2017

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.

Mother’s Day memorial

May 14, 2017 (canceled due to weather)

6.5 miles west

Visit the graves of notable mothers and see symbols of motherhood on monuments during the Memories of Mothers tour at Mount Auburn Cemetery.

Mother’s Day tea

May 14, 2017 (SOLD OUT)

10 miles west

Take Mom to Mother’s Day Tea at Gore Place to have tea and cake and then tour the beautiful 1806 mansion at Gore Place in Waltham.

Mother’s Day comedy

May 14, 2017 (5 to 6:30 p.m.)

14 miles SW

The Boston Comedy Chicks tell jokes about motherhood at their Mother’s Day Comedy Show at the Holiday Inn in Dedham (plus Manchester).

Mother’s Day cupcakes

May 14, 2017 (SOLD OUT)

14 miles SW

Decorate six jumbo cupcakes either with or for Mom at Mother’s Day Cupcake Decorating Class at Treat Cupcake Bar in Needham, $75 includes adult & child.

Music festival

May 14 - 21, 2017

Cambridge locations

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

Nantucket Wine Festival

May 17 - 21, 2017

112 miles SE via ferry

Nantucket Wine Festival offers 70 events, including tastings, seminars, meals, and marketplaces.

Dessert night

May 18, 2017 (6 to 9 p.m.)

5 miles SW

Sweet Tastes of JP (Jamaica Plain) features an assortment of desserts from Boston bakeries, a no-host bar, and music at Bella Luna & The Milky Way to support seniors. Tickets are $35.

Beer festival

May 19 - 20, 2017

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.

Kite and Bike Festival

May 20, 2017 (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

6 miles SE

Buy a kite and borrow a free bike at the Kite and Bike Festival in Franklin Park Playstead, or bring your own.

Country music festival

May 20, 2017 (12 to 10 p.m.)

30.7 miles SE

South Shore Country Festival is an all-ages event with food vendors and seven bands, including Lonestar, in Marshfield.

Run in the mud

May 20 - 21, 2017

40 miles NW

Run through the wet and muddy 5K obstacle course in Devens called Muckfest both for the fun of it and to support charity.

Medieval battle in the park

May 21, 2017 (8 to 11 a.m.)

0.9 miles SW

Engage in combat using padded swords, shields, spears, axes, grappling equipment, and archery at Medieval Combat on Boston Common near the baseball field for age 18+. Free.

Memorial Day Parade

May 21, 2017 (1 p.m.)

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 and then Holland Street. Free.

Bike parade

May 21, 2017

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 Park, plus a party in the park. Free.

Romantic musical

May 24 - June 3, 2017

2 miles SW

Based on a best-selling book, The Bridges of Madison County is about a farm wife who finds her life forever changed when she meets a traveling photographer at Calderwood Pavilion. Discount tickets $31 to $62.


May 24 - Aug. 31, 2017

multiple locations

These discount ticket prices include all taxes and fees.

Motown musical

May 25 - 28, 2017

47.4 miles west

Motown the Musical is the history of Motown music told in nearly nonstop songs and energetic dance numbers at Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts in Worcester. Discount tickets $25 to $30.

Cruise the harbor

May 25 - June 30, 2017

0.5 miles SE

Take a 3-hour Boston Harbor Islands Cruise aboard the 1920s Northern Lights yacht for great views of Boston Harbor, leaving Rowes Wharf. Discount tickets $20 to $26.

Comedy competition

May 26, 2017 (10 p.m.)

2.6 miles west

Vote for your favorite Boston standup comics in the final round of the month-long StandUp ThrowDown tournament at ImprovBoston.

Adventure race

May 26 - 27, 2017

0.3 miles east

Questival is a 24-hour adventure where your team completes challenges via smartphone app to win an exotic trip, at Christopher Columbus Park.


May 26 - 28, 2017

0.8 miles SW

Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg performs “Tchaikovsky” under the direction of Boris Eifman at Cutler Majestic Theatre. Discount tickets $46 to $95.

Boston Calling music festival

May 26 - 28, 2017

5.6 miles west

Family friendly Boston Calling has outdoor stages for big-name music acts in the Harvard Athletic Complex at 65 N. Harvard Street in Allston. Repeats in Sept.

Campfire music festival

May 26 - 29, 2017

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.

Funny murder mystery

May 26 - June 30, 2017

1 mile SW

Awarded “best comedy” by the Boston Globe, Shear Madness is a whodunit with audience participation, set in a hair salon at Charles Playhouse. Discount tickets $20 to $35.

Bicycle film festival

May 31, 2017

7.6 miles NW

See 8 short films about bicycling worldwide, with a cookie buffet and live band at the Bike Travel Film Festival at Regent Theatre in Arlington. Films repeat June 15 in Northampton and June 16 in Danbury, CT.

Romantic musical: Camelot

May 31 - June 25, 2017

1.4 miles SW

Full of catchy tunes by Lerner and Loewe, Camelot is a Tony winner about a love triangle between King Arthur, Queen Guenevere, and Sir Lancelot at Lyric Stage Company of Boston. Discount tickets $25 to $48.
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© May 2017 calendar of events in Boston, MA. Best events, fairs, festivals, and things to do in Boston, Massachusetts. bos-05