10 events to visit in Boston this May


With spring in full swing and warm days aplenty, May is a great time to visit Boston, not least because of the huge choice of events that take place across the city at this time of year.

Massachusetts Office Of Travel & Tourism via Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0)

After a long winter, and with longer, hotter days and nights and temperatures heading higher as the month goes on, it’s easy to see the appeal for those who chose May for a Boston adventure. It’s a month when the city’s outdoor music and cultural scenes really rev into gear, while its array of museums offer plenty of indoor exhibitions for those occasional days when the weather lets you down. If you’re coming to Boston this May, we’ve picked out 10 great events to look out for.

Boston Calling Music Festival

Welcoming tens of thousands of music lovers every year, this acclaimed music festival returns for 2022 promising another stellar line-up of influential performers and bands spanning rock, hip hop, indie and other genres. The festival features performances across five stages, as well as a wide range of sonic and visual arts, gourmet food, carnival attractions and more. Among the notable names to have appeared in recent years are Kendrick Lamar, Vampire Weekend, Tool and Eminem.

Harvard Athletics Complex / 27-29 May 2022

West End Walking Tour

Once considered a “slum” by the wealthy and merchant classes, today Boston’s West End is one of  the city’s most sought-after neighbourhoods. Visitor keen to learn more about its long history can do so by joining a guided walking tour of the area hosted by West End Museum Director, Sebastian Belfanti. Covering its evolution from a modest settlement through to its modern standing as a district bursting with activity, tour guests are regaled with fascinating stories about the noteworthy people who have resided here over the past four centuries, enhancing their appreciation of its place in Boston’s distinguished heritage.

The West End / Through May 2022

‘Game Changers: Video Games and Contemporary Art’ exhibition

(Photo: She Gathers The Rain by Skawennati)

Boston’s newest – and free – contemporary art museum, featuring groundbreaking works by visionary artists, has achieved rave reviews since opening its doors in 2020. Among its spring events will be this dazzling group exhibition that explores artists working at the confluence of contemporary art and video games. Whether highlighting under-explored narratives, pushing technological boundaries, or imagining alternative worlds through game aesthetics, the artists featured in the exhibition are discovering new possibilities for what game-related art can be and do.

MassArt Art Museum / Through 22 May 2022

Wake Up Your Garden

(Photo: Loring Greenough House)

Part of the Gardening Together Series, Wake Up Your Garden is a fun, informative, outdoor event that takes place on the pristinely-kept Loring Greenough Lawn to celebrate the arrival of spring. Visitors are invited to come along for a plant sale and lots of garden goodness, while gardening experts will be on hand to answer all your pressing planting questions. Above all, this is a chance to welcome this glorious season and Wake Up The Gardens Together!

Loring Greenough House / 7 May 2022

‘Stitching to Survive’ exhibition

(Photo: Armenian Museum of America)

Located in Watertown in Greater Boston, the Armenian Museum of America is home to the largest collection of Armenian artifacts in North America. Among its permanent displays is this exhibition showcasing a sampling of different genres of Armenian women’s art created in the last century. Embroidered clothing, exquisite laces, knitted socks, domestic furnishings, knotted rugs and other fine examples made for domestic use or to be sold commercially. Together they demonstrate how, from time immemorial, Armenian women have created and ornamented clothing and created works that delighted the eye of the wearer and viewer

Armenian Museum of America / Permanent

Ducking Day

A cherished Mother’s Day Boston tradition for more than three decades, every year, over 1,000 people meet up and parade through the city’s most scenic parks, dressed like characters from the classic children’s book, Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey. The parade begins on the Boston Common and ends in the Public Garden near the famous Make Way for Ducklings sculpture. Prior to the parade there’s also Playtime on the Common, featuring an array of family entertainment including a creative play area, a magician, interactive circus games, live music, and more.

Parks across Boston / 8 May 2022

Lilac Sunday

(Photo: Clembore Memotech via Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0)

Another Boston event scheduled to coincide with Mother’s Day each year, Lilac Sunday is a veritable feast for the eyes. Held for well over a century, horticulture fans flock to the Arnold Arboretum in Jamaica Plain to marvel at the park’s hundreds of lilacs in peak bloom. Visitors can join a guided tour of the 281-acre preserve with an expert or take a look around independently. The day also features a number of hands-on children’s activities.

Arnold Arboretum / 8 May 2022

James Arthur: It’ll All Make Sense Tour

English singer and songwriter James Arthur is coming to Boston this May to perform his brand new It’ll All Make Sense Tour. Performing live at the city’s House of Blues music concert hall and restaurant, the show is part of the chart-topping artist’s UK and North America tour in support of his eponymous album, which hit stores last November. As well as its live music, the venue is also renowned for its Southern-themed cuisine including dishes such as po’ boys & jambalaya.

House of Blues / 17 May 2022

‘Emotions at Play with Pixar’s Inside Out’ exhibition

(Photo: Museum of Science)

Based on the award-winning 2015 Disney and Pixar movie ‘Inside Out’ , this interactive exhibition is designed to help visitors – young and old – understand the important role emotions, memory, and imagination play in our everyday lives. Focusing on the five core emotions featured in the filmJoy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust, and Fear – it features hands-on and digital experiences that let you explore some of the ways we express our emotions, and how to recognise them in others, too.

Museum of Science / Through 15 May 2022

Memorial Day Weekend

(Photo: Vjeran Pavic via Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0)

Observed across the country on the last Monday of May, honouring the men and women who have died while serving in the U.S. military, Memorial Day Weekend also marks the unofficial start of summer in Boston. Patio dining at local restaurants, Red Sox baseball games, and poppy ceremonies make the weekend a great time to visit the city. Highlights include the ceremonial planting of over 37,000 flags at the base of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in the Boston Common to honour Bay State veterans who died serving their country, dating back to the Revolutionary War

Venues across Boston / 30 May 2022

By Paul Joseph