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10 Best Things To Do In LA In May

Best things to do in LA in May
Best things to do in LA in May #6

With the advent of May comes the official beginning of Summer. This is a great time to be in Los Angeles as the days get warmer and longer, but with a cool marine layer coming off the Pacific creating the famous ‘May grey’, it’s almost the perfect temperature. This month we’ve got a beach festival, the venerable LA County Fair and the family favorite Harry Potter, with live accompaniment from the LA Phil no less. And that’s before we’ve even mentioned Cinco de Mayo! These are the 10 best things to do in LA in May. We think you’ll agree, in terms of Los Angeles events, it IS hot this month.

Events & Activities in Los Angeles This Month

1. BEACHLIFE FESTIVAL (MAY 3-5

Really the first of the summertime beach city festivals, Beachlife comes to Redondo Beach for the first weekend of May. Sting, Incubus and My Morning Jacket are each headlining a day for the three-day fest, with support from Seal, ZZ Top and Sugar Ray, amongst many others. Don’t forget to slap the sunscreen on. If you don’t, you’ll regret it!

More information here.

2. CINCO DE MAYO (MAY 5-7)

Okay, okay, so they don’t really celebrate Cinco de Mayo (May 5th) in Mexico. But seriously, who cares? For the Mexican immigrant community – and anyone here that appreciates Mexican culture and tequila – it’s an important day/weekend. It’s one of those where if you remember it, it probably wasn’t that special.

How to celebrate? Just go to your local Mexican restaurant (and here in Los Angeles there’s always a local one). Order a margarita and knowingly murmur “Cinco de Mayo!”.

There is a Historical Cinco de Mayo Parade & Festival in Venice (check here for details), or just visit the Los Angeles Pueblo, the spiritual heart of the Mexican community in LA, it’s always a special time to see it (more information here).

3. LA COUNTY FAIR (MAY 3-27)

The LA County Fair has been going since 1921. Obviously back in those days it was a quite different affair, connected as it was to the area’s extensive farming community back then.

Today it retains an element of its pastoral past, with farm animals and wood-block chopping, as well as having the latest fun-fair rides and lots of food trucks and stalls.

More information here.

4. CICLAMINI: WILMINGTON (MAY 19)

CicLAvia was inspired by the first Ciclavia’s in Bogota, Columbia (the word means bike path or route in Spanish). Every month there’s an event in a neighborhood of LA, where roads are closed to automobiles and bikes and pedestrians rule the streets.

This event is a more pedestrian-focused one in south LA’s Wilmington neighborhood and features 1-2 miles of self-guided walking tours, scavenger hunts, street games, local business engagements and art and cultural activities.

More information here.

5. BEVERLY HILLS ART SHOW (MAY 18-19)

There are undoubtedly a lot of residents of Beverly Hills who do collect art, to one extent or another, so this might be quite a good art show to visit. So, if you’re looking for an excuse to visit the famous burg, I’ve just given it to you.

Four garden blocks along Wilshire Boulevard are given over as exhibition space for the 230 artists who are included this year. There’s a wine and beer garden, children’s activities and gourmet food trucks.

More information here.

We also have a free self-guided tour of Rodeo Drive and Beverly Hills, if you want to further explore the neighborhood.

6. EXPLORE THE SAN FERNANDO VALLEY (ALL MONTH)

The San Fernando Valley can be disparaged by Angelenos sometimes, but that’s just not fair. ‘The Valley’ is enormous and has a lot of things to see and do across its many neighborhoods.

You can hike in Griffith Park or in the San Gabriel Mountains, the highest in the region. Or visit Topanga State Park, the biggest in Los Angeles (twice the size of Griffith Park). There are also numerous cultural sites and museums, as well as great bars and restaurants. Not to mention two Hollywood movie studios.

Read our neighborhood guide for the San Fernando Valley here.

7. DUDAMEL CONDUCTS HARRY POTTER (MAY 18-19)

Dudamel leads a magical and family friendly program featuring a Grand Suite from John Williams’ Harry Potter score and an animated exploration of the symphony orchestra.

Los Angeles Music Center

The performances are in the magnificent Walt Disney Concert Hall, at the Music Center in downtown. More information here.

Later in the month Kraftwerk are playing several dates at the Walt Disney Concert Hall too. More information here.

8. JAZZ AT LACMA (VARIOUS DATES)

LACMA is definitely one of the best museums I’ve ever visited, with a truly world-class collection.

The Jazz concerts here have also featured legit legends over their three-decade run, it’s one of LA’s best free live music offerings. Seating is available in the museum’s plaza on a first-come, first-served basis (behind Urban Light), though you’re welcome to picnic on the grass (alcoholic drinks are allowed :-).

More information here.

Music at LACMA

9. THE AMERICAN LIBRARY BY YINKA SHONIBARE (ALL MONTH)

This exhibition creates a library setting where the shelves are filled with more than six thousand books individually wrapped in Shonibare’s signature Dutch wax-printed cotton textiles. Each book bears a name on its spine of a notable American individual.

First and second generation immigrants and Black Americans affected by the Great Migration are featured alongside one another.

Skirball Cultural Center

More information here.

10. DTLA MURDER MYSTERY GHOST TOUR (EVERY SATURDAY NIGHT)

Join us on a Saturday night in May to go on a noir exploration of the dark underbelly of the city of Angels, while popping into one or two haunted bars. Think of it as crime and cocktails.

During the tour we check in on some legendary locations including: the Barclay Hotel, The Alexandria Hotel, the Hotel Cecil of course, and the Biltmore Hotel. Each one a key true crime scene.

Over the course of the evening we try to answer the big questions, such as: why do horrible crimes such as those of the Night Stalker happen? What do they tell us about the pointlessness of human existence? And exactly which spirits go into a Black Dahlia cocktail? By the end of the tour we’ve hopefully learned the answer to at least one of those questions!

More information here.

One minute video about the DTLA Murder Mystery Ghost Tour

If you have any feedback on The 10 Best Things to Do in LA in May please email us or reach out on social media, we’d love to hear from you.

– By Damien Blackshaw (Twitter)

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