Check the Boston Event Calendar for May for fun things to do as spring arrives.  Boston bursts into bloom, and you'll want to be outside soaking up the sun.

Top May events include the Boston Calling Festival, the start of whale watching cruises, and art walks. 

More top May events include Memorial Day Weekend activities, Mother's Day events, and concerts

More big events include Lilac Sunday, the Garden of Flags on the Common, Duckling Day Parade, special Harbor cruises, Beacon Hill's Hidden Gardens tour, and lots of Theatre District shows and performances.

Take advantage of the balmy temperatures to see Boston on a Duck Tour, catch a Boston Red Sox games at Fenway Park, join a Historic Pub Crawl Tour along the Freedom Trail for a fun way to explore Boston, or just relax as you enjoy outdoor patio dining at one of our wonderful restaurants. 

See for yourself why May is the perfect month to be in Boston!

Top photo:  Tulips blooming in mid-May in Boston's Public Garden, (c) Boston Discovery Guide

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Boston Calling 2023

Boston Calling Music Festival performance
Boston Calling Music Festival performance - Photo credit John Eckman, Creative Commons License

Boston Calling Music Festival, the popular 3-day indie and pop rock music festival that takes place over Memorial Day Weekend, returns to the Harvard Athletic Complex in Allston bigger and better than ever.  

Headliners (last year's were Metallica, Foo Fighters, and Rage against the Machine) will take center stage in 2023.

Look for three music stages, a comedy stage, and more music than ever from over 50 groups, plus over 30 food vendors, a wide selection of beer and wine, sponsor exhibits, and surprise attractions.

Tickets typically go fast, and prices rise as the dates draw closer.  In addition for single-day passes, you'll see options for 3-day passes plus a tiered array of VIP tickets; the most expensive tiers typically sell out the fastest.

Boston Calling 2023 Tickets

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Boston Whale Watching Season Begins for 2023!

New show opening at ICA Boston
Breaching whale - Photo credit: iStockPhotos/Kelly Summers

Boston whale watching cruises start on May 16.   Don't wait to get your tickets!

These exciting excursions last about 3.5-4 hours and take you through Boston Harbor and out to Stellwagen Bank, a protected marine area 25 miles east of the city.  Marine biologists or naturalists serve as guides to make sure you don't miss a thing.

What will you see?  On a typical day, you may see various types of large whales, dolphins, sea birds, and other marine creatures.

Be sure to bring your camera!  

Get your whale watch tickets and reservations

More about Boston whale watching cruises

Revere Beach Kite Festival - 2023

Revere Beach
Revere Beach Kite Festival - Photo courtesy of Francis, Creative Commons license

Celebrate spring by heading to Revere Beach, America's oldest public beach, on Saturday, May 20 at 10am-1pm for the annual family-friendly kite festival with kite decorating, live music, and of course, kite flying.

Bring your own kite, and watch it soar.  You'll see people of all ages flying kites, having a great time, and enjoying this lovely 2-mile long expanse of sun and water.

Don't forget that across the street from the pavilion, you can get fabulous fried clams or a lobster roll at Kelly's Roast Beef, just a short walk from the Blue Line's Wonderland Station.

More about Revere Beach and other Boston beaches

More Ways to Enjoy Boston

More:   Sightseeing Tours   |   Tours for Teens   |   Kids & Family Tours

Memorial Day Weekend Events in Boston 2023

Field of Flags - Boston
Garden of Flags in Boston Common

When:    Monday, May 29 - Memorial Day 2023

Many Bostonians leave town on Memorial Day - so if you're visiting, you have the best of both worlds: plenty of fun things to do, less competition (and perhaps lower prices) for tickets, and somewhat smaller crowds.

Memorial Day Weekend events in Boston range from somber ceremonies of remembrance and the Garden of Flags on Boston Common to fun activities embracing summer weather such as the Boston Calling Music Festival (get your tickets now!), the city's waterfront location, and of course, the Red Sox, home again in time to play the Cincinnati Reds at Fenway Park on May 28, 30, and 31st.

Find out about all the best Memorial Day events and activities.

Need a place to stay?  Check out available Boston hotels, apartments, and last-minute deals

Boston Harbor Sightseeing Cruises

Boston sailing and yacht cruises

Tour Boston by boat - the best way to see the city!   Check out these fun sightseeing, sunset, and entertainment Boston Harbor cruises on the Yacht Northern Lights and Schooner Adirondack III:

Popular Cruises on the Northern Lights:

  • Brunch Cruise on the Northern Lights - Savor a delicious 3-course brunch on this relaxing sightseeing cruise around Boston Harbor
  • Boston Harbor Cruise on Northern Lights - Soak up Boston's unique sites and rich history on this comfortable sightseeing cruise around the Harbor - perfect friends and family experience!  Food and beverages available for purchase at the bar
  • Northern Lights Sunset Cruise - Grab a refreshments from the bar and then relax as you watch the sun set on this sail around the Harbor, just in time to catch the USS Constitution fire its cannons as the sun dips down past the horizon
  • Evening Jazz Cruise on Northern Lights - End your weekend on the perfect note by grooving to live jazz as you watch the ever-changing sunset colors as the sun sets behind Boston's city skyline

Sailing on the Adirondack III

  • Adirondack III Day Sail - Enjoy cool breezes and the afternoon sun on this relaxing sightseeing sail around Boston Harbor and the Inner Harbor Islands - Starts May 3
  • Adirondack III Sunset Sail - Relax as the setting sun turns the sky brilliant colors - Starts May 3
  • Adirondack III 90-Minute Mimosa Day Sail - Soak up the sun on this afternoon sail through the Inner Harbor and Harbor Islands with drinks available for purchase at the bar - Starts July 1

Book Your July 4th Cruises Now!

Whale Watching Cruise Tickets

Whale watching cruise
Tail of a humpback whale, seen on a whale watching cruise - Photo credit:

Join one of the exciting 3-hour Whale Watching Cruises departing from the Downtown Boston Waterfront, and experience the thrill of spotting whales off the coast of Boston. 

You'll see magnificent creatures such as Humpback and Finback whales close-up from the deck of your ship, and spot White-Sided Dolphins frolicking in the waters.

These cruises sell out quickly, so don't wait to get your tickets now for this iconic Boston experience!

Treat Your Mom to a Relaxing Mother's Day Harbor Cruise

Odyssey cruise ship in Boston Harbor

Your Mom:  Busy helping others, sometimes stressed, definnitely deserves a break!

Treat her to a fun, relaxing cruise around Boston Harbor aboard the Northern Lights classic 1940s-style commuter yacht or Adirondack III, Boston's own "tall ship" schooner.

Enjoy the music, treat your mom to the beverage of her choice, and smile as you watch her relax and enjoy the great views.

Mothers Day Cruise

More Cruises on Mothers Day Weekend (Friday, Saturday, Sunday)

Take Your Mom for a Mother's Day Brunch 

Belgium waffles & crabcakes for Mother's Day Brunch in Boston
Belgium waffles & crabcakes for Mother's Day Brunch in Boston

Your Mom:  Loves to cook, and made a fantastic (or at least edible, most of the time) dinner every night when you were growing up.

But let's face it...that adds up to almost 10,000 dinners (not to speak of breakfasts, school lunches, and snacks for your entire soccer team) - So now, Mother's Day is her chance to enjoy a meal cooked by someone else.

Here are suggestions for where to treat her to a special Mother's Day brunch in Boston:

  • Miel Brasserie, at the InterContinental Boston - Treat your mom to a feast at Miel's Mother's Day brunch featuring an omelette station, lobster benedict, fruits, parfaits, French toast, a carving station, salads, and a sushi and seafood raw bar.  Save room for the chef's dessert table!
  • Mamma Maria in Boston's North End - Northern Italian cuisine featuring local and New England products, with a seasonal menu that changes daily
  • Peregrine in the Whitney Hotel in Beacon Hill - Enjoy patio dining and Peregrine's Italian coastal specialties
  • Carmelina's in Boston's North End - Southern Italian cuisine at its finest, with one of the tastiest red sauces in the neighborhood.  Go for the calamari fra diavolo, the pasta with Bolognese sauce, or the pesce al forno, and then head for one of the neighborhood bakeries for dessert
  • 75 Liberty Wharf, Seaport neighborhood - So many great choices!  Try the raspberry-stuffed French toast, the Seaport lobster toast, the Mediterranean platter, or the Nantucket Seafood Stew as you enjoy the views overlooking Boston Harbor
  • Q Restaurant in Boston's Chinatown/Theatre District) - Share Mongolian hot pot with your mom, or choose from the extensive Chinese entrees and sushi selections
  • Bistro du Midi in Back Bay - Start with a shellfish platter, and proceed to bavette steak and eggs or perhaps a croque madame, and you'll almost believe you're enjoying brunch in Paris - even though you're at this favorite Boston French restaurant overlooking the Public Garden
  • Stephanie's on Newbury in Back Bay - Relax with your mom on Stephanie's huge terrace overlooking Newbury Street, and treat yourselves to her favorite brunch classics: cinnamon monkey bread, a smoked salmon platter, New England clam chowder, and an ice cream sundae
  • Cafe Luna in Kendall Square, Cambridge - Take your mom to brunch (9am-4pm) and indulge her with steak and lobster eggs benedict, lemon ricotta pancakes, or the housemade corned beef hash with eggs; dine indoors or at a sidewalk table.

Forgot to make reservations?  Take your mom for Dim Sum in Boston's Chinatown - but pretend that's what you were planning all along.  You'll see other mom/child couples doing the same thing.

More fun possibilities (because who doesn't love pizza?):

Wine Tasting Classes with Food Pairing at Bonde

Bonde Fine Wine Shop in Harvard Square
Bonde Fine Wine Shop in Harvard Square

Get ready to savor superb small-production American wines paired with cuisine from top local restaurants when Bonde Fine Wines' owner/sommelier Bertil Jean-Chronberg teams up with top chefs to present weekly wine and food pairings. 

You'll enjoy a flight of special wines accompanied by small plates of complementary food as you learn about the key things to consider when doing your own pairings.

Here's the tasting events lineup for May:

  • May 3 – Nouveau Wines - Learn how to appreciate the simplicity of light, fun, and easy to enjoy new wines
  • May 17 – Spanish Wine Grapes - Learn about wines that originated in Spain and are now thriving on American soil
  • May 31 – Perfect Grill Pairings - Burgers and Bordeaux?  Learn the secrets of pairing wines with your favorite BBQ

Time:  Wednesday evenings, 7pm-8:30pm
Cost:  $85; sessions limited to 8 participants; reservations required

Bonde also offers an on-going Winemaker Tasting Series.  On Tuesday, May 9, winemakers Bob and Louisa of Lindquist Family & Verdad Wines will join sommelier Bertil Jean-Chronbert for an evening of Rhone and Iberian-inspired wines paired with food.

Location:  54 Church Street, Harvard Square, Cambridge
More information and reservations: Bonde website

More about where to find wine tastings in Boston 

Duckling Day Parade - 2023

Duckling Day Parade in Boston

For the perfect Mother's Day celebration, join Boston's annual Duckling Day Parade with your young children - and be sure to bring your camera!

You'll retrace the path taken by Mr. and Mrs. Mallard and their own flock of 8 young ducklings in Robert McCloskey's beloved children's book, Make Way for Ducklings. 

To really get into the spirit, dress your offspring in yellow to resemble their favorite Ducklings characters, and decorate your stroller or even a wagon.  

When:  Mother's Day Sunday, May 14, with entertainment and the Harvard University Band starting at 10am until the parade kicks off at around noon 

Where:  Boston Common and the Public Garden - Starts at the Parkman Bandstand on Boston Common and ends in the Public Garden near the Make Way for Ducklings statues. 

Cost:  $35 before May 6 ($40 on day of event) donation per family, which includes a special goodie bag for each child; proceeds benefit the nonprofit Friends of the Public Garden
More info   

Need cute duckling outfits?  Here's our favorite selection on Amazon (#ad).

More about the Duckling Day Parade  

For a special Mother's Day weekend, stay in a hotel overlooking the Public Garden.  Here are 4 with spectacular views to consider:

Hotels with Public Garden & Boston Common Views

Find out more about these spectacular hotels

Boston Theater & Shows for May 2023

Theater productions and shows for May in Boston

Top May Shows in Boston - Schedules & Tickets

Enter DISCOVERY10 to save 10% on TicketLiquidator & TicketNetwork tickets.  Good through 12/31/24.

2024 Shows in Boston:

  • Clue - A New Comedy - Colonial Theatre - May 1 - 5 - A hilarious murder mystery comedy based on the classic board game and the 1985 cult movie version starring Tim Curry

More shows for May

More Boston Theater District Shows

Where to stay and dine in Boston's Theatre District

Top Hotels near Boston's Theatre District

Enjoy your Boston performance or show experience to the fullest when you stay in one of the nearby Theatre District hotels, such as the hip and glamorous Revere Hotel:

Revere Boston Hotel, top choice near Boston's Theatre District

More top Theatre District hotels:

Check out more hotels in Boston's Theatre District

Fun Boston Sightseeing Tours

Boston Concerts & Shows - May

Top April Concerts & Shows in Boston

Top concerts in Boston in May 2023 include 3(!) Taylor Swift shows at Gillette, Seal at the Wang Theatre, Blink-182 at the Garden, and the 3-day Boston Calling Music Festival over Memorial Day Weekend - plus plenty more concerts to enjoy throughout the month:

Enter DISCOVERY10 to save 10% on TicketLiquidator & TicketNetwork tickets.  Good through 12/31/24.

Schedules & Tickets

More Concerts & Shows for May

Boston Concerts throughout the Year 

Boston Comedy Clubs May 2023

Looking for something to do in Boston that doesn't (usually) cost too much money? 

Head over to one of Boston's comedy shows.  You're sure to leave smiling!

Enter DISCOVERY10 to save 10% on TicketLiquidator & TicketNetwork tickets.  Good through 12/31/24.

Find more comedy club show schedule & tickets

More about Boston's comedy clubs

May Boston Red Sox Schedule - Home Games at Fenway

Red Sox Schedule May - Red Sox fans walking to Fenway Park
Red Sox fans walking to Fenway Park

Location:  Fenway Park
Nearest T stations:  Green Line B or C/Kenmore; Commuter Rail Worcester Line/Yawkey

Indulge your passion for baseball by going to see the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park!

Get Schedule & Tickets

Enter DISCOVERY10 to save 10% on TicketLiquidator & TicketNetwork tickets.  Good through 12/31/24.

Find Red Sox Home Games at Fenway for Other Months

June  -   July  -  August  - September  -   October

Stay:  Hotels near Fenway Park
Park:  Garages & lots near Fenway Park
Celebrate:   Best sports bars near Fenway Park

Find out about more Boston sports

MFA:  Memorial Day Open House - Free Admission - 2023

MFA Boston free Open House on Memorial DayMuseum of Fine Arts in Boston

MFA will offer family-oriented festivities this year with special exhibitions and free admission on Memorial Day.

This fun family event takes place in the Shapiro Family Courtyard where you can make art, make music, watch a film, and join tours and discussions in the art galleries.

Want to come on another day?  If you have a GoBoston card or CityPASS, you can get free admission at any time.

When:  Monday, May 29 - Memorial Day Weekend

Find more things to do on Memorial Day Weekend in Boston

Immersive Disney Animation Boston

Scene from Donald Duck at Immersive Disney Animation in Boston - Photo credit: Lighthouse Immersive
Scene from Donald Duck at Immersive Disney Animation in Boston - Photo credit: Lighthouse Immersive

Immersive Disney Animation Boston brings all your favorite Disney characters, stories, and music to life in a magical immersive experience with you at the center. 

You'll visit La Casita with Mirabel from Encanto, watch Rafiki present Simba in the Lion King, take the journey of a lifetime with Aladdin and Jasmine in the Magic Carpets of Aladdin, hop on a train to Zootopia, enter the enchanted worlds of Peter Pan and Pinocchio, and so much more in this family-friendly, kid-pleasing innovative production.

The show lasts one hour and is currently playing at Boston's Lighthouse ArtSpace at The Saunders Castle, 130 Columbus Ave, now through August 13. 

Book your tickets online in advance to get your preferred date/timeslot.

Boston Hotels with Outdoor Swimming Pools

Boston hotels with outdoor swimming pools:  The Verb
Enjoy your summer vacation to the fullest in when you stay at a Boston hotel with an outdoor swimming pool:

Find more Boston hotels with outdoor swimming pools 

Fun Boston Tours for May

Cinco de Mayo Celebration & More in Downtown Crossing

The Stairs in Downtown Crossing
The Stairs in Downtown Crossing

Enjoy free serenade of Mexican folk music and bilingual public performances by Zaira Meneses and Daniela Gomez to celebrate Cinco de Mayo at The Stairs in Downtown Crossing (1 Franklin Street) on Friday, May 5 from 12 noon - 2pm.

Also in DTX:  The Downtown Boston Arts Market opens on pedestrian-only Summer Street Plaza on Thursday, May 4, and will be open every Thursday and Friday from 11am - 5:30pm going forward.  

Stop by and check out handcrafted products including jewelry, sculptures, clothing and more offered by 20+ vendors, including local and minority-owned businesses. 

Look for other live music and entertainment in this area as well! 

More information on the DTX website (click on Explore/Events Calendar)

Mother's Day Events in Boston

Mother's Day is on Sunday, May 14.  Check out things to do with your mom in Boston on Mother's Day

More Mother's Day events:

Mother's Day Harbor Cruises

Odyssey cruise ship in Boston Harbor

Treat her to a fun, relaxing cruise around Boston Harbor aboard the Northern Lights classic 1940s-style commuter yacht or Adirondack III, Boston's own "tall ship" schooner.

Enjoy the music, treat your mom to the beverage of her choice, and smile as you watch her relax and enjoy the best views of Boston.

Mothers Day Cruise

More Cruises on Mothers Day Weekend (Friday, Saturday, Sunday)

Lilac Sunday -  Mother's Day Event

Lilac Sunday at Arnold Arboretum
Lilacs in bloom in May  - Photo credit: AdobeStock/a40757se

The Arnold Arboretum's large lilac collection bursts into glorious bloom in May, putting on an exuberant show of color and intoxicating fragrance just in time for Mother's Day. 

Visit on Lilac Sunday to enjoy family-oriented activities in honor of Mother's Day - or come any time during early-to-mid-May to experience the unforgettable scent of these gorgeous lilacs. 

Lilac Sunday is the only day of the year when the Arboretum allows picnics - so take advantage by bringing a tasty brunch or lunch and perhaps a blanket for sitting.

When:  May 14; lilac tours and family activities from 10am - 3pm; Arboretum open from dawn to dusk
Where:  Arnold Arboretum, 125 Arborway, Jamaica Way, Boston
Closest T station: Orange Line/Forest Hills; follow the signs to the Arboretum, about a 10 minute walk
Parking:  Street-side parking spaces are always quite limited so don't count on finding any available on Lilac Sunday - take public transportation!
Cost:  Free
More information:  617-524-1718; Arnold Arboretum website

Fun Events & Activities on the Rose Kennedy Greenway 2023

Splash fountain on the Greenway
Splash fountain on the Greenway

The Rose Kennedy Greenway is offering so many fun things to do this summer: 

  • Greenway Artisan Market, 11am - 5pm, operated by Somerville Flea on Rowes Wharf Plaza - Shop for handmade items by local makers and artisans; open every Saturday from May 6 through October 31 and every Sunday from May 28 through October 8, 2023
  • Trillium Beer Garden in the Wharf District Parks (High Street and Atlantic Ave) featuring draft beers by Trillium Brewing Company and a rotating selection of food trucks.  Open Thursday 3pm-8pm, Friday and Saturday 12pm-8pm, and Sunday 12 noon-6pm.
  • Greenway Food Truck Festival, May 6, 11am - 3pm at High Street and Atlantic Avenue - Savor everything from dumplings to ice cream, including local favorites such as The Dining Car, Gogi on The Block, Indulge India, and many more
  • Fountains - You'll find them in 7 different locations along the Greenway - so get ready to splash, wade, and cool off! 
  • Carousel - Open daily, 11am-6pm.  Tickets: $4 (buy online)
  • Boston Chinatown Lantern Festival with Gala Performances - 5:30pm-6:30pm, May 16 at Chin Park (near Chinatown's Gate) - Enjoy free music and dance performances in this celebration of Asian and new immigrant families
  • Massachusetts Youth Pride Celebration - May 20, 10am - 4pm - Youth-led festival with a march and live performances the India Street and Atlantic Ave
  • Greenway Food Trucks:   A rotation of 18 trucks, including 6 new ones this year, offer Korean, Jamaican, Italian, Caribbean, Italian, seafood, and other specialties along the Greenway in Dewey Square, the Carousel, Rings Fountain (Milk Street), State Street, Rowes Wharf Plaza, and Trillium Beer Garden.  You'll find them at several locations each day, usually with a total of about 3 trucks per day.  You can track the schedule and locations of your favorites here
  • Public Art - See new installations by top artists

More about the Rose Kennedy Greenway

Greenway walking tour and map

Independent Film Festival Boston 2023

When:  April 26 - May 3 
Where:  Somerville Theatre, Brattle Theatre, and Coolidge Corner Theatre

Tickets:  Buy season passes (partially tax deductible) or individual tickets - see IFF's website for pricing.
More informationIFF Boston Website   

The Independent Film Festival Boston spans eight days this year year, and promises to be bigger and better than ever, with familiar names plus many new ones.  

IFF Boston showcases independent film makers from around the world working outside of the Hollywood system, and the lineup offers plenty of interesting features, shorts, and documentaries. 

Lots of panels and parties let you can talk with the filmmakers and ask them questions.   Boston film fanatics rate this festival as one of the best.

Find more Boston film festivals

SoWa First Fridays 2023

SoWa First Fridays in Boston's South End
Inside a SoWa artist's studio

On April 2 as well as on other SoWa First Fridays in Boston's art-filled South End, over 60 galleries south of Washington Street and at the Artist's Guild at 450 + 460 Harrison Ave, and nearby businesses and restaurants open their doors from 5pm to 9pm to give you a chance to experience the vibrant South End arts community. 

Start at either 450 or 460 Harrison, and just follow the gallery lights and signs as you stroll around the neighborhood.  

Wrap up your evening at one of the South End's renowned restaurants.

Martha's Vineyard Day Trip from Boston

Harbor at Martha's Vineyard - Photo credit: andykazie/iStock
Harbor at Martha's Vineyard - Photo credit: andykazie/iStock

Spend the day exploring the beautiful beaches, art galleries, gingerbread houses, and seafood restaurants on this unforgettable Martha's Vineyard Day Trip fro Boston. 

And don't forget to catch the brass ring at the country's oldest carousel!

Pickup and dropoff from selected Boston hotels plus ferry tickets are included.

Book now

More Fun Boston Tours

What to See in Boston's Museums - May 2023

Museum of Science Exhibits

Museum of Science Boston Exhibit
Museum of Science Butterfly Garden - Photo credit: Ted

Special Exhibits

  • New England Climate Stories - Meet fascinating New England animals
  • All Aboard! Trains at Science Park - Visit miniature landscapes with fantasic model trains - through January 16
  • Gaia - View our planet in a new way through UK artist Luke Jerram's artwork with NASA images of Earth's surface
  • Mental Health: Mind Matters - Get insights into understanding mental health through this interactive exhibit

With fascinating permanent exhibits for all ages, there's always something to see, do, and learn.  Here are just a few of the most popular: Engineering Design Workshop, Colossal Fossil: Triceratops Cliff, Cosmic Light, Dinosaurs, Arctic Adventure, Hall of Human Life, Live Animal Care Center, Mathematica, Exploring AI, Natural Mysteries, New England Habitats, Project Vaccine.

Where:   Boston's Museum of Science
When:   Daily, 9am-5pm; open until 9pm on Fridays
Admission:  $29 general museum admission ($24 for kids; children under 3 free).  Get free museum admission when you have a GoBoston Discount card or Boston CityPASS card. 
Imax Theater and Planetarium:  Additional fees apply

New England Aquarium

Harbor seals and seal lions, a giant 4-story ocean tank with hundreds of Caribbean reef animals, an Amazon rain forest, sharks, Myrtle the green sea turtle, and frisky penguins are just a few of the thousands of aquatic animals you'll experience here. 

Get your tickets in advance, or find out more about the Aquarium.  Admission also available through the Go Boston Pass, Explorer Pass, and Boston CityPASS discount cards.

Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum

Watch the famous tea party event come alive with live actors, immersive exhibits, and a visit to the full-scale replica 18th century sailing ships at this unique living history museum.  Get advance tickets.

Museum of Science Boston Exhibit

MFA Boston - Current & Future Shows

  • Frank Bowling's Americas: Powerful color-saturated abstracts by this BritishGuiana-born artist who has spent much of his career in London and New York - Through April 9, 2023
  • Weng Family Collection of Chinese Painting: Art Rocks - Over 25 works exploring how the aesthetics of rocks permeate Chinese architecture, landscape design, and painting styles - Through May 3, 2023
  • Touching Roots Black Ancestral Legacies in the Americas - Exhibition tracing the ways in which 20th century Black artists trace their African roots in their art - Through May 21, 2023
  • Making Past Present: Cy Twombly - Explores Twombly's fascination with antiquity and its influence on his art - January 14-May 7, 2023
  • Hear Me Now: The Black Potters of Old Edgefield, SC - Focuses on the work of 19th century Black potters in Old Edgefield, a center of stoneware production before the Civil War - March 4 - July 9, 2023
  • Hokusai: Inspiration and Influence - A new look at the impact of Japanese artist Hokusai on other artists; features over 90 woodblock prints, paintings, and illustrations by Hokusai - March 26-July 16, 2023

Museum (and show) admission: $27; some special exhibits require a timed-entry reservation and/or additional fee; free entrance with Boston Discount Cards (GoBoston card and Boston CityPASS).  Free admission on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Lunar New Year Celebration Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, & Indigenous Peoples' Day.  MFA is open Thursday - Monday and closed Tuesday & Wednesday.

Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston - Current & Future Shows

  • To Begin Again: Artists & Childhood - Works depicting childhood by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Paul Klee, Faith Ringgold, and other artists from the early 20th century through today - Through Feb 26, 2023
  • Barbara Kruger - Large-scale commissioned work on the Fineberg Art Wall- Through Jan 21, 2024

Admission: $20 adults, 18 and under free; free entrance with GoBoston card and Boston CityPASS.  Closed on Mondays.  Free admission on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents' Day, Memorial Day, Juneteenth, Labor Day, & Indigenous Peoples' Day, and every Thursday from 5-9pm.  For free days and nights, you must have timed tickets for free admission.

Monster Jam at Gillette Stadium 2023

Monster truck - photo credit Chenobrovin
Monster truck - photo credit Chenobrovin

See massive trucks compete at Monster Jam at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough on May 6, with a Pit Party starting at 2:30pm where you can see the monster trucks upclose, watch live pre-race interviews, participate in Q&As with drivers, and relax with other fans at this family-friendly event. 

Get your tickets now (add the Pit Party Pass at the bottom of the ticket list to your regular ticket if you want both experiences).

Berklee Summer in the City:  Free Summer Concerts in Boston 2023

Jazz concert at Brewer Fountain Plaza on Boston Common
Jazz concert at Brewer Fountain Plaza on Boston Common

Berklee College of Music students, faculty, and alumni give hundreds of free outdoor concerts all over the city from May 1 and throughout the summer, usually going through September. 

Music ranges from jazz to classical, Latin to funk, folk to world, and are free.

To kick off the series, Cesare Panizzi will perform at the Brewer Fountain Plaza from May 1 - 5, at 12:15pm - 2:15pm. 

Most concerts for this year are still TBD but once they're announced, you can find the schedule here:  Berklee events website

Locations typically include Atlantic Wharf, the Boston Public Library, Brewer Fountain Plaza on Boston Common, the Charlestown Navy Yard, Chin Park and City Winery on the Greenway, selected Boston Harbor Cruises, the Arnold Arboretum, Christopher Columbus Park on the waterfront, Downtown Boston, the Longwood Medical Campus, multiple locations in Cambridge, Dorchester Heights, Institute of Contemporary Art, Prudential Center, Fenway locations, and more.

Voices of Humanity Concert at Vilna Shul 2023

Vilna Shul in Boston's Beacon Hill neighborhood
Vilna Shul in Boston's Beacon Hill neighborhood

Vilna Shul, a historic landmark on Beacon Hill and Boston's last remaining immigrant-era synagogue (now a Jewish cultural center), presents their annual Voices of Humanity concert on May 7 at 3pm. 

In this community event, three Boston-based choirs will perform uplifting songs from Jewish, Muslim, and Christian traditions in an expression of unity and hope.

Location:  18 Phillips St, Beacon Hill, Boston
Tickets & more information:   Vilna Shul website

2 Easy Ways to Save BIG in Boston on Tours, Cruises, Admissions

Save BIG with Go Boston discount card
CityPASS Boston discount card at

Best way to save in Boston.  Save up to 50% when you take a Boston Harbor cruise or Duck Boat tour, visit Plimouth Plantation, the New England Aquarium, Museum of Science, Museum of Fine Arts, Fenway Park Tour, and more.  

Compare to find out which one is best for you.

Harpoon Fest 2023

Harpoon Brewery (306 Northern Ave, South Boston Waterfront) celebrates spring, local bands and DJs, and local brews with a 2-day beer festival at their brewery featuring a large selection of Harpoon beers, seltzers, and ciders, and food trucks.

Dates:  May 19 and 20, rain or shine 

Cost: Tickets (credit cards onlyi) start at $35 - Includes festival entrance, souvenir cup, and first beer. 

Nearest T station: Silver Line 2/Harbor Ave
Age: 21+
More information and advance tickets: Harpoon Brewery website

Not Sure about Boston Neighborhood Locations?

Map of Boston showing central neighborhoods

This neighborhood map should help you get oriented. You can find a list of top attractions in each neighborhood here.

Need a more details?  Here are our favorite free and low-cost Boston maps.

Lawn on D 2023

Lawn on D summer events
The LED-lit swings at Lawn on D

Lawn on D, a playground for adults (kids are welcome too but this is primarily an adult venue) located behind the Convention Center in the South Boston Waterfront, is where you'll find fun swings with LED lights and comfy seating, pickleball and other games, and music throughout the summer and early fall, along with casual food and wine, beer, cocktails, and non-alcoholic beverages. 

Opening date:  May 1

Open daily from 7am-11pm from May to October, except when closed for private events (always check their website before going). 

Food, drinks, and lawn games available Thursday 3-10:30pm, Friday & Saturday 12 noon-11pm, Sunday 12 noon-10:30pm, with live entertainment by local bands on the weekends. 

Swings are open whenever Lawn on D is open.

Rules, in case you're wondering: No dogs, no outside alcohol, no outside food during concession hours.

Another option in this area is to sample one of the many restaurants in the Seaport and Fort Point areas of the South Boston Waterfront. 

For Boston Harbor views while you dine, visit a Seaport restaurant.  To try the creative cuisine of some of Boston's most innovative chefs, head to a Fort Point restaurant.

Featured New Hotel for May:  Four Seasons Hotel One Dalton

Four Seasons Hotel Boston One Dalton
Four Seasons Hotel One Dalton Street

One Dalton Street, Boston's Back Bay neighborhood

The opening this month of Four Seasons Hotel One Dalton Street in Boston's third tallest building brings another 5-star luxury hotel to chic Back Bay. 

You'll enjoy the excellent location near renowned Newbury Street, top cultural attractions, and Fenway Park - plus the onsite spa, restaurant, and bar, and superb service.

Boston Theater Marathon XXIV - 2023

Boston Theatre Marathon

Even though the Boston Theater Marathon, produced by the Boston Playwrights' Theatre, stretches across a weekend filled with full-length play reading, the heart of this part-festival, part-race takes place from noon until 10pm on one special day when 50 New England theater actors, directors, and technicians present 50 new 10-minute plays produced by 50 New England theaters.

To call this event "lively" is an understatement!  In one short 10-hour period, you'll see the wide diversity of Boston theater in this showcase for the local and New England theater community

Inspired by the iconic Boston Marathon, the Theater Marathon is an endurance event designed to make connections between local playwrights and local theaters.

When:  May 18, noon-10pm (ticket needed)
Where:  Boston Playwrights' Theatre, 949 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston

Tickets:  $35 purchased online;  all net proceeds benefit the non-profit Theatre Community Benevolent Fund to provide financial help for actors in dire need
More information:

SoWa Open Market Opening Day & Sunday Markets 2023

SoWa Open Market Opening Day in May - Boston

A sea of white, blue, and even a few red tents await you at SoWa, Boston's biggest outdoor art and indie market showcasing over 100 local and regional artists, artisans, designers, and creators in Boston's South End.  

Add in musicians, the SoWa Vintage Market (downstairs at 450 Harrison Ave) Sundays, 10am-4pm all year), and onsite food trucks, and you have the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon. 

Vendors are carefully chosen to avoid duplication - plus the mix of vendors is different every week, so you never know what you'll find.  

More information:   What to shop for at SoWa Open Markets

When:  Every Sunday from May 7 through October 29, 10am - 4pm (to be confirmed) 
Where:  530 Harrison Ave, Boston's South End
Closest T station: Orange Line/Back Bay, or Red Line/Broadway

Free Art and Architecture Tour at BPL

Boston Public Library - statue and paintings

Join one of the Boston Public Library's free tours offered once a day almost every day.  You'll see highlights of the library's magnificent Renaissance Revival architecture by Charles Follen McKim and late 20th century building by Philip Johnson. 

You'll also get to view some of the many works by famous artists throughout the building. 

Tours last about an hour, and are conducted by trained volunteer guides.

When:  Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays in May - and throughout the year; times vary
Where: Meet at Dartmouth Entrance (McKim Building), 700 Boylston Street, Copley Square, Boston
Cost:  Free
Closest T station: Green Line/Copley
More information:  617-536-5400; BPL website - click on on Visit/Tours to get dates and times.

More about Boston Public Library

Boston Discount Cards for Attractions, Tours, Cruises

Best way to save in Boston.  Save 50% or more when you take a Boston Harbor cruise or Duck Boat tour, visit Plimouth Plantation, the New England Aquarium, Museum of Science, Museum of Fine Arts, Fenway Park Tour, and more.  

Compare to find out which one is best for you.

Greenway Open Market 2023

Greenway Open Market - Boston
Greenway Open Market in Boston

Greenway Open Market, sister market to SoWa Open Market (held Sundays in the South End), brings an eclectic mix of hand-made art, music, and locally produced products to Boston. 

Look for the sea of white vendor tents - and get ready for some fun shopping, plus good eating at the gourmet food trucks. 

With a different mix of vendors present each week, you never know what treasures you'll find!  It's a quintessential Boston event.

When:  Every Saturday from May 1 through October 31, 11am - 5pm 
  Rose Kennedy Greenway, near Rings Fountain along the Wharf District parks (look for the Carousel and the vendors' white tents)

Nearest T station:  Blue Line/Aquarium, or Orange and Green Lines/Haymarket
Cost:  Free (but of course you'll probably be tempted to buy things

Opening Day for Boston Harbor Islands 2023

Harbor Island Express - Boston
Harbor Island Express ferry to Georges Island

Hop on a ferry at Boston's Long Wharf (near the Boston Marriott Long Wharf) for a 15 minute cruise to Georges or Spectacle Island.  Join a free tour led by the Park Rangers, or enjoy a day of exploring historic sites, photographing birds, enjoying a picnic, hiking, swimming, wading in tidal pools, or simply enjoying the scenery. 

When:  Saturday, May 20 to Spectacle Island; service from Boston to both Spectacle and Georges Islands begins June 24
Where:  Long Wharf - North (ferry location)
Closest T station: Blue Line/Aquarium
Cost:  Check Boston Harbor Islands for current ticket costs.  You can buy your tickets at Long Wharf ticket booth
More information:  Park Rangers:  617-223-8666; Harbor Island Express: 617-222-6999

Ancient Fishweir Project on Boston Common 2023

Fish weir on Boston Common - Photo courtesy of Fishweir dot org

When:  May 4 (to be confirmed) through June, with dance and music performances by the Wampanoag Nation Singers and Dancers on Monday, June 1 during school hours
Where:  Boston Common
Cost:  Free 

Each year, members of the local Wampanoag and Massachusetts Nations collaborate with about 1,000 Boston public school students to build a 150 foot fishweir sculpture on the Common. 

The fishweir commemorates those built by local Native people about 5,000 years ago to catch alewife, herring, smelt, and salmon in the tidal flats then covering the area.  

Remnants of these still exist, buried in layers of clay 28-35 feet under the city's streets.

This ephemeral fishweir is Boston's only centrally-located historical monument focused exclusively on the Native people who lived here for 12,000 years before the arrival of the Puritans.

If you want to take a look at this temporary memorial, you'll easily find it close to the path running from Charles Street to the baseball field.

More info: Ancient Fishweir Project

Hidden Gardens of Beacon Hill Special Tour

Ferns behind an iron fence in Beacon Hill
Iron fence and spring flowers in Beacon Hill

Once a year on the third Thursday in May, a dozen or so Beacon Hill Garden Club members open their gardens to the public for a special Hidden Gardens of Beacon Hill self-guided tour.  

Celebrate spring by spending a day exploring the secret gardens in this historic Boston neighborhood.  But don't forget to break for a relaxing brunch or lunch in one of these wonderful neighborhood spots:

  • 75 Chestnut Street - Brunch menu will be available in dining room or on the patio
  • Peregrine at the Whitney Hotel - (170 Charles Street) - Start your day with breakfast here, enjoy coastal Italian specialties for lunch, or relax with a glass of wine at the bar
  • The Paramount (44 Charles Street) - Classic diner food with a huge local fan base
  • The King & I (145 Charles Street) - Some of the best Thai food in Boston
  • The Grotto (37 Bowdoin Street) - Wonderful Mediterranean cuisine; nice wine list

More about Boston and Cambridge Garden Tours

When:  Thursday, May 18, 9am - 5pm, rain or shine 
Where:  Beacon Hill; hostess booths will be at the corners of Charles and Mt. Vernon Street
Closest T stations:   Green and Red Lines/Park
If you drive:  Park in the garage under Boston Common; if you plan to find on-the-street parking, read this first
Cost:  $60 advance reservations (see website for deadline), $80 day of the event
More information:  Beacon Hill Garden Club website

More about What to See & Do in Beacon Hill

Where to Stay in Beacon Hill

Free Drop-In Summer Yoga on Boston Common 2023

Dropping in on free summer yoga sessions near the carousel on Boston Common is part of what makes Boston fun in the summer.  Instructors will lead a vinyasa flow class focused on releasing stress and expanding energy and welcome participants of all levels.

When:  Every Thursday, 6-7, May 18 - August 31
Where:   Frog Pond at Boston Common
Nearest T station:  Green Line/Park

Cost:  Free
Bring:  Your own mat, blocks, towels, and belt

Looking Ahead to June Events in Boston

More Things to Do in Boston in May

Events and things to do in Boston in May

More Ways to Experience Boston in May

Balmy May days make exploring the city easy. These fun trolley tours, bus tours, and special destinations let you enjoy Boston at its best!

Continuing during May

Boston Events Each Month

January   |   February   |     March   |  April   |    May    |    June   |   July   |    August   |    September  |  October   |    November   |    December  |  Year at a Glance 

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