Boston May Events

Boston Events for May 2021

Boston Calling, Memorial Day, Art Walks, Red Sox, Theater, Concerts, & More

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 (cancelled for 2021).  On other Boston concert stages, look for performances in the smaller venues (for now).

More top May events include Memorial Day Weekend activities, Mother's Day events, concerts, ArtWeek, and art walks. 

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, sample lobster and local craft beers while exploring historic 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!

Please note:  Due to the ongoing pandemic, some events in this article have been canceled.  We are leaving general information for you to see what happens in a normal year.

Top photo:  Tulips blooming in mid-May in Boston's Public Garden

Mother's Day Events in Boston

Mother's Day is on Sunday, May 9.  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.

Boston Harbor Cruises on Sunday, Mothers Day

More Cruises on Friday & Saturday, Mothers Day Weekend


Lilac Sunday -  Mother's Day Event

Lilac Sunday at Arnold Arboretum

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 10; 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

Memorial Day Weekend Events in Boston

Field of Flags - Boston
Garden of Flags in Boston Common

When:    Monday, May 31 - Memorial Day 2021

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 for tickets (and perhaps lower prices), 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, the city's waterfront location, and of course, the Red Sox, home again in time to play the Cleveland Indians at Fenway Park on Memorial Day. 

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

Need a hotel?  Hotels.com is listing lots of last-minute deals right now - Check them out! 

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, music, and entertainment Boston Harbor cruises on the Yacht Northern Lights and Schooner Adirondack III:

Fun Boston Harbor Cruises To Do Right Now:

  • Northern Lights Sunset Cruise - Grab a cocktail and apps 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
  • 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!  Drinks and small bites are available for purchase at the bar
  • Brunch Cruise - Savor a delicious 3-course brunch on this relaxing sightseeing cruise around Boston Harbor
  • Gift Card - Looking for a special gift?  Purchase a Classic Harbor Line gift card with a value of your choosing!

Book Now for May:

  • Live Irish Music Cruise - Enjoy live Irish tunes on this fun sightseeing cruise around the Harbor - May
  • Sunday Evening Jazz Cruise - 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 - Starts May
  • 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
  • Adirondack III Sunset Sail - Relax as the setting sun turns the sky brilliant colors during this calming sunset sailing experience - Starts May 7

Whale Watching Cruise TicketsWhale watching cruise

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 and capacity is currently limited to 15 participants per cruise, so don't wait to get your tickets now for this iconic Boston experience!


Where to Go for Mother's Day Brunch in Boston 2021

Belgian waffle with fresh berries at Braserrie Jo restaurant in Boston

Show your appreciation for all those tasty meals your mom cooked for you, and take her out for Mother's Day Brunch on Sunday, May 9 at one of these Boston and Cambridge restaurants offering a special menu for the occasion.  Seated is still limited due to pandemic distancing, so make reservations well ahead of the event.

  • Miel Brasserie (InterContinental Hotel on the downtown waterfront; website) - Celebrate your mom with French flair at brunch featuring Chef Didier Montarou's mouth-watering Mother's Day menu; all entrées include the homemade dessert bar with strawberry shortcake
  • Peregrine (Whitney Hotel, Beacon Hill; website) - Enjoy patio dining and Peregrine's Italian coastal specialties such as dressed oysters, spring risotto, radiatore pasta, confit lamb breast, and lemon pistachio cake
  • Cafe Luna (612 Main Street, Kendall Square, Cambridge; website) - Take your mom to brunch (9am-4pm) and choose from Cafe Luna's huge brunch m menu with specialty eggs benedict (steak and lobster, crab cake, prosciutto with roasted fig jam, smoked salmon and avocado), Mexican churro French toast, shrimp tacos, wings and waffles, lemon ricotta pancakes, and lots more.
  • Q Restaurant (660 Washington Street, Chinatown/Theatre District) - Share Mongolian hot pot with your mom, or choose from the extensive Chinese entrees and sushi selections.
  • Bistro du Midi (272 Boylston Street, Back Bay; website) - Start with a selection of Viennoiserie or a charcuterie board, follow with a main course such as salade Niçoise, duck confit on a Belgium waffle, bavette steak and eggs, or a croque madame, and end with a chocolate hazelnut torte and you'll almost believe you're in Paris for Mother's Day.
  • Stephanie's on Newbury (190 Newbury St; website) - Relax with your mom on Stephanie's huge patio and treat yourselves to her favorite brunch classics: cinnamon monkey break, a smoked salmon platter, New England clam chowder, a skillet breakfast with eggs, smoked bacon, maple sausage, and baked cheddar home fries, and an ice cream sundae. 

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.

Duckling Day Parade - Virtual for 2021

Make Way for Ducklings

The Duckling Day Parade will be virtual this year - find information here.

On a normal year when there's no pandemic still underway, this is what happens:

When:  Mother's Day Sunday, May 9 - parade begins at 12 noon
Where:  Boston Common and the Public Garden - Preregister at 10am on Boston Common at the Parkman Bandstand; enjoy entertainment until the parade starts
Cost:  $35 ($40 on day of event) donation per family, which includes snacks, entertainment, and special goodie bag for each child
More info   

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.  

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

Theater productions and shows for May in Boston

Top May Shows in Boston 2021

Schedules & Tickets

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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

Look for more concert venues to reopen this month.  For example, Boston City Winery reopens on Saturday, May 1 with local Boston blues & jazz musicians Bees Deluxe headlining the start of the new season.

Here's what's happening now, with more events possibly added to the schedule later.

Top May Concerts in Boston

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Schedules & Tickets:

More Concerts & Shows for May

Boston Concerts & Shows throughout the Year  

May Boston Red Sox Schedule - Home Games at Fenway

Red Sox Schedule May - 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 Tickets:

Enter DISCOVERY 10 to save 10% on TicketNetwork & TicketLiquidator tickets

See all Boston Red Sox games during May

Find Red Sox home game schedule for each month:  April  -   May  -  June  -   July  -  August  - September  -   October

Find Hotels near Fenway Park

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

MFA:  Memorial Day Open House - Free Admission - TBD for 2021

MFA Boston free Open House on Memorial Day

When:  Monday, May 31 - Memorial Day Weekend

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.

Find more things to do on Memorial Day Weekend in Boston


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


Independent Film Festival Boston 2021

When:  May 6-16
Where:   Normally at the Somerville Theatre, Brattle Theatre, and Coolidge Corner Theatre - but online this year
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 11 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

SoWa First Fridays in Boston's South End

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.

Please note:  Right now, capacity limitations apply to galleries, plus not all have reopened yet.  If you are interested in a particular gallery or artist studio, please check with them directly to confirm their open status and hours.

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 

MFA Boston - Current & Up-Coming Shows

  • Women Take the Floor - Female artists' visions & voices - Through May 3, 2021
  • Writing the Future: Basquiat and the Hip-Hop Generation - See the transition from urban street art to museum walls - Through May 16, 2021
  • Black Histories, Black Futures - Teen curators take over - Through June 20, 2021
  • Collecting Stories: The Invention of Folk Art - February 6 - January 9, 2022
  • Paper Stories, Layered Dreams: The Art fo Ekua Holmes - Distinctive vision and commitment to Black imagery by a Roxbury artist/book illustrator - February 27 - Oct 17, 2021

Museum (and show) admission: $25 adults; free entrance with Boston Discount Cards (GoBoston card and Boston CityPASS).  Free admission on Wednesdays after 4pm, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Lunar New Year Celebration Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, & Indigenous Peoples' Day; also on Feb 5, 2021.

Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston - Current & Future Shows

  • i'm yours: Encounters with Art in Our Times - New acquisitions and iconic works - Through May 23, 2021
  • Beyond Infinity: Contemporary Art after Kusama - Her pioneering ideas and artistic vision - Through July 18, 2021
  • Eva LeWitt - Huge colorful hanging wall sculpture made from coated mesh fabric - Jan 16, 2021 - Oct 23, 2022

Admission: $15 adults; free entrance with GoBoston card and Boston CityPASS.  Closed on Mondays.  Free admission on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents' Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, & Indigenous Peoples' Day.

The Swan Boats Return - Opening Day: May 8

Swan Boats in Boston's Public Garden

When:  Opening day for 2021 will be Saturday, May 8; 10am-4pm Friday, Saturdays, and Sunday only through June 20; 10am-5pm daily (back to the normal schedule!) from June 21 through Labor Day)
Where:   Boston's Public Garden
Cost:  $4.50 adults; $3 children 2 - 15 years; under 2 years free; seniors $4
More informationBoston Swan Boats   

In a sure sign that spring has arrived, the pedal-powered Swan Boats return to the Lagoon in Boston's Public Garden every April on the Saturday before Patriots Day.  

Welcome spring and enjoy the pale green hints of spring foliage as your boat glides around the shallow pond for the blissful 12-15-minute ride.  Soon, the Public Garden's resident real swans will also return. 

While you're in the Public Garden, walk over to see the famous Make Way for Ducklings statues.

Find more fun summer activities in Boston


Museum of Science Exhibits

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

Special Exhibits

Arctic Adventure:  Exploring with Technology - Find an Arctic fox, travel across a glacier, & more in this immersive exhibit

Science Behind Pixar:  See how art and science create magic

Design Engineering Workshop - Design, build, and test solutions for everyday problems

Permanent Exhibits

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:  Butterfly Garden (extra fee), Colossal Fossil: Triceratops Cliff, Cosmic Light, Dinosaurs, Hall of Human Life, Live Animal Care Center, Mathematica, Nanotechnology, Natural Mysteries, New England Habitats, The Light House - plus 17 more!

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


Boston-Area Memorial Day Parade - Cancelled for 2021

The largest Memorial Day Parade in the Boston area takes place not in Boston but next door in Somerville - and not on Memorial Day Weekend, but on the Sunday before. 

The Somerville Veterans' Memorial Parade parade honors Veterans, active duty military, guard, and reserves, and police, fire fighters, and first responders.  The parade kicks off from City Hall at 3pm on Sunday, May 17 and marches along Highland Ave to Davis Square, continues along Holland Street, and ends at the corner of Holland and Broadway. 

In case the weather looks iffy, check the City of Somerville's website for any updates, as well as a list of street closures near the route.

Getting there on the T:  Red Line/Davis Square

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

Save BIG with Go Boston discount card
CityPASS Boston discount card at www.boston-discovery-guide.com

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

Harpoon St Patrick's Day Festival

Harpoon Brewery (306 Northern Ave, South Boston Waterfront) celebrates spring, local music, and local beer with a 2-day beer festival at their brewery featuring a large selection of Harpoon and UFO beers, a brewry tour, handmade brewery pretzels and food from Lucky's Lounge and the Sausage Guyfor purchase, and live music from local bands throughout the weekend.

Dates:  Friday, May 15, 5:30 - 11pm (doors close 9:30pm) and Saturday, May 16, 1pm - 7pm (doors close 5:30pm) - rain or shine!  (In case of rain, though, don't worry - they have huge tents covering most of their space.) 

Cost:  $25 cover, paid at door - Includes festival entrance, souvenir pint glass, and first beer.  Designated Drivers who register at the Customer Service booth when they arrive get free non-alcoholic beverages.

Getting there:  Take the free shuttle from South Station (look for signs on Summer Street)
Important to know: Tickets are not sold in advance, and capacity is limited - so arrive early!
Age: 21+
More information: Harpoon Brewery website

Revere Beach Kite Festival - TBD for 2021

Revere Beach
Photo courtesy of Francis

Celebrate spring by heading to Revere Beach, America's oldest public beach, on Saturday, May 8 at 11am-2pm for the annual family-friendly kite festival. 

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 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

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 - Concerts, Art, Games - Opening Day - TBD for 2021

Lawn on D summer events

Lawn on D, a playground for adults as well as kids located behind the Convention Center in the South Boston Waterfront, is the site of beanbag and other games plus art installations throughout the summer, along with a rotating series of food trucks.  Opening Day is May 1st this year.

But even when no special events are underway, the Lawn gives you a perfect place to just chill under the summer sun.

Event schedule and information:  Website

A visit to Lawn on D provides the perfect excuse to sample one of the many new 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 Season's 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 Season 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 XXIII - TBD for 2021

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 (out of 400 submissions) 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.

When:  May 19, noon-10pm (ticket needed), followed by a party
Where:  Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts at 527 Tremont Street in Boston's South End neighborhood
Tickets:  $25 in advance, $35 on day of marathon;  all net proceeds benefit the non-profit Theatre Community Benevolent Fund to provide financial help for actors in dire need
More information:  www.bu.edu/bpt/performances/boston-theater-marathon-xvi

SoWa Open Market Opening Day & Sunday Markets

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 artists, artisans, and designers 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 5 through October 26, 10am - 4pm
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:  Every day in May - and almost every day 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 "Central Library/Art & Architecture Tours" on the top menu 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 

Greenway Open Market - 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 and 1st and 3rd Sunday from May through October, 11am - 5pm May, June, Sept, Oct, and 11am-6pm July and August
Where:
  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 

Harbor Island Express - Boston

When:  Saturday, May 16
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

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. 

Ancient Fishweir Project on Boston Common 

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

When:  May 5 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 to commemorate 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 temporary 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

SoWa Art Walk in the South End - Cancelled for 2021

SoWa Open Studios

The annual spring SoWa Art Walk in Boston's South End gives you the perfect destination for enjoying a Sunday afternoon in May while viewing the creations of emerging and established artists in 200+ working artists studios.

Explore the fascinating artists' studios, and admire the paintings, sculpture, jewelry, ceramics, photography, and more in the South End's SoWa (South of Washington) neighborhood, home to the largest concentration of artists in the city. 

Be sure to drop into SoWa Open Market which kicks off on Sunday.

When:  Saturday May 1, and Sunday, May 2pm, 11am-5pm
Where:  Participating locations include 450 and 460 Harrison Ave in Boston's South End
Closest T station: Orange Line/Back Bay; or Red Line/Broadway
Parking:  Look for signs
Cost:  Free

Hidden Gardens of Beacon Hill Special Tour

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 Boston's secret gardens.

More about Boston and Cambridge garden tours

When:  Thursday, May 21, 9am - 5pm, rain or shine
Where:  Beacon Hill; hostess booths will be at the corners of Charles and Mt. Vernon, and Charles and Chestnut Streets
Closest T stations: Green and Red Lines/Park
Cost:  $50 advance reservations (see website for deadline), $60 day of the event
More information:  website

Boston Calling - Cancelled for 2021

Boston Calling Music Festival performance
Boston Calling Music Festival performance - Photo credit John Eckman

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.

Headliners include Foo FIghters. Rage Against the Machine, and Red Hot Chili Peppers.  Other well-known performers include Jason Isbell, Emily Ruskowski, Run the Jewels, The 1975, DJ Frank White, DJ RM, Girl in Red, and Lamont Price.  (Please note - this information for was for last year's festival - which also got canceled due to the pandemic.)

Look for 60+ artists and more music than ever across 5 stages, 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 2021 Tickets:

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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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