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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Best events for 12 months
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.

New song competition

May 1, 2017 (8 p.m.)

2 miles west

Writers pitch their songs to 12 vocalists, who perform 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 classes, demonstrations, walking tours, teas, a preview party, and a family-friendly Community Day on Sunday at the Museum of Fine Arts.

Film festival

May 1 - 3, 2017 (begins April 26)

Boston locations

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


May 1 - 7, 2017 (begins April 28)

Greater Boston

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


May 1 - Aug. 31, 2017

multiple locations

These discount ticket prices include all taxes and fees.

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.

Short plays

May 3 - 20, 2017 (begins April 28)

1.5 miles SW

Desire is an evening of edgy plays that depict love, innocence, isolation, and loss, based on six short stories by Tennessee Williams at Boston Center for the Arts. Discount tickets $10 to $15.

Cruise the harbor

May 4 - 28, 2017 (also April)

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 $26.

Cinco de Mayo pub crawl

May 5, 2017

0 miles

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

Charming musical

May 5 - 7, 2017 (begins April 21)

20 miles NW

Big Fish is about a traveling salesman who tells tall tales and his son who seeks the truth behind the stories at Umbrella Center for the Arts in Concord. Discount tickets $15.

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. Discount tickets $15.

Wine and chocolate

May 6, 2017 (7 to 10 p.m.)

6 miles north

Enjoy wine, sparkling juice, appetizers, and desserts at Friends of the Malden Public Library Wine Tasting and Chocolate Buffet, with live piano music.

Home tour

May 6, 2017

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.

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.

Discount Saturday tickets $16.

Evening jazz cruise

May 6 & 26, 2017 (board 9:15 p.m.)

0.5 miles SE

The 1.5-hour Boston Jazz Cruise features music by Benjamin Young Jazz Trio and views of Boston Harbor aboard the vintage Northern Lights, departing from Rowes Wharf. Discount tickets $28.

Sailboat ride

May 6 - 31, 2017

0.4 miles SE

Tour Boston Harbor aboard beautiful pilot schooner Adirondack III, which sails from Rowes Wharf.

Charity walk

May 7, 2017

1 mile SW

Join 40,000 people on the 10-mile Walk for Hunger and 5K run, which begin on Boston Common.

MayFair at Harvard Square

May 7, 2017 (rain date May 21)

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. Free.

Music and food benefit

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

2.4 miles west

Sample fare from 20 Boston restaurants, dance to reggae, and attend an auction at Beyond Shelter at House of Blues for the Friends of Boston’s Homeless.

Family theater

May 12, 2017 (7:30 p.m.)

3.7 miles SW

Charlotte’s Web is the award-winning story about Charlotte the spider who saves Wilbur the pig at Wheelock Family Theatre. Discount tickets $13 to $16.

Open art studios

May 12 - 14, 2017

1.1 miles SE

See studios of 80 artists in historic waterfront warehouses during Fort Point Open Studios. Free. Repeats in Oct.

Beer festival

May 13, 2017 (12:30 & 5:30 p.m.)

1.2 miles SW

Beer Summit is a craft beer tasting, with 50 brewers, 200 spring beers, and food for sale at the Castle at Park Plaza.

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.

Daredevil dogs

May 13, 2017 (5 p.m.)

10.4 miles NE

You’ve seen the famous dogs of Chris Perondi on the Tonight Show. Now watch them live during Stunt Dog Experience at Lynn Auditorium. Discount tickets $11.

Steampunk festival

May 13, 2017

12 miles west

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

Craft fair

May 13, 2017

23 miles north

Shop from 150 vendors at Andover Crafts in the Park.

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.

Charles River cruise

May 13 - 31, 2017 (departures 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

1.3 miles NW

Take the 70-minute narrated Charles River Boat Tour for views of Beacon Hill, Esplanade Park, the Back Bay, Boston University, M.I.T., and Harvard, departing from Lechmere Canal Park at CambridgeSide Galleria Mall. Discount tickets $13.

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+. [This is likely to sell out.]

Mother’s Day cruise

May 14, 2017

0.4 miles east

Mother’s Day Brunch Cruise includes a brunch buffet, views of Boston Harbor, and a rose for Mom for $60.

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 comedy

May 14, 2017

4.5 miles NW

The Boston Comedy Chicks tell jokes about motherhood at their Mother’s Day Comedy Show at The Center for Arts at the Armory in Somerville.

Lilac day

May 14, 2017

5.4 miles SW

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

Mother’s Day tea

May 14, 2017 (3 p.m.)

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 cupcakes

May 14, 2017 (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.)

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.

Abba musical

May 15, 2017 (8 p.m.)

2.1 miles SW

Mamma Mia! is a rousing dance musical and story of love and friendship with 24 Abba songs at Boston Symphony Hall. Discount tickets $61 to $81.

Nantucket Wine Festival

May 17 - 21, 2017

112 miles SE via ferry

Nantucket Wine Festival offers 60 events, including tastings, seminars, meals, and marketplaces.

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.

Romantic musical: Camelot

May 19 - 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 $37.

Kite and Bike Festival

May 20, 2017

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.

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.

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, with a party afterward. Free.

Motown musical

May 23 - 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.

Mother’s Day memorial

May 24, 2017 (2 to 3:30 p.m.)

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.

Comedy competition

May 26, 2017

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.

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.

Chocolate tour

May 27, 2017 (10:15 a.m.)

1.4 miles SW

Your reward for taking the one-mile Back Bay Chocolate Walking Tour is chocolate samples in various shops and a scenic tour. Discount tickets $24.

Party cruise

May 28, 2017 (departs 11 p.m.)

1.1 miles SE

Wear upscale white to the Pier Pressure Memorial Day cruise to enjoy hours of views, DJ music, and two dance floors aboard the Spirit of Boston for age 21+, leaving 200 Seaport Boulevard. Discount tickets $10.

Memorial Day Parade

May 28, 2017

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.

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 2 in Newburyport and June 17 in Danbury, CT.
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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