New Orleans in May is a mix of spring and summer, crawfish and sno-balls, and some of the year’s best festivals. Enjoy the second weekend of Jazz Fest, plus Mother’s Day, Bayou Boogaloo, and Memorial Day weekend. May is also Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, and we’ve got a few ideas on how to celebrate. Here are our top picks for things to do in May.
Celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in NOLA
May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in the U.S. Celebrate the contributions of Asian Americans by supporting local Asian-owned businesses. New Orleans is known for its traditional Creole and Cajun dishes, but locals know that the city is also home to many great, authentic Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, and Thai restaurants, and that’s just scratching the surface. Browse the restaurants and businesses here and enjoy supporting them all month long. Enjoy celebrations throughout the month, including the French Market’s Asian Pacific American Heritage Festival on May 13.
Head to the fairgrounds for the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
Jazz Fest returns from April 29-30 and May 4-7 with an all-star lineup of performers. The second weekend features Dead and Company, Jon Batiste, The Lumineers, H.E.R., Santana, Kane Brown, Mumford & Sons, and many, many more. Enjoy “Jazz Fest food” such as crawfish bread and mango freeze, stop by one of the art vendor tents, or compile your list of post-Jazz Fest shows around the city. Check out our Ultimate Jazz Fest Guide here and start planning your trip.
Come to Jazz Fest early for Daze Between festival
Daze Between is a two-day event taking place on the “Daze Between” New Orleans Jazz Fest weekends at Faubourg Brewery. Enjoy performances from Goose, Tank and the Bangas, David Shaw, The Quickening, Honey Island Swamp Band, and more. Enjoy the spacious campus of the brewery as well as an art village during the fest. Daze Between will be held from Tuesday, May 2-Wednesday, May 3, and is the perfect excuse to come down to New Orleans midweek or extend your Jazz Fest trip.
Eat tacos and drink margaritas on Cinco de Mayo
This year Cinco de Mayo falls on a Friday, so you know it’ll be a party in NOLA. You could go to Jazz Fest and enjoy tacos and music there. But plenty of restaurants around town offer delicious, authentic Mexican cuisine. Check out our top spots for outdoor tacos and margaritas here. And keep an eye out for any block parties that may be announced, such as last year’s celebrations at Felipe’s.
Celebrate the women in your life on Mother’s Day
Whether you’re celebrating your mom, grandma, aunt, or friend, honor the special mom (or mother figure) in your life on Mother’s Day, May 14. Take mom out to a Sunday jazz brunch at one of these spots, and enjoy the beautiful spring weather afterwards with a walk in the park. Better yet, let mom have the day to herself to relax at the spa. Check out our guide to Mother's Day in New Orleans here.
Jam out at Wednesday at the Square
We love Wednesday at the Square for many reasons: it’s a fundraiser for the Young Leadership Council, it features great local musicians and vendors, it’s free to attend, and it’s held every hump day throughout the height of spring, like a balm for your midweek blues. The 2022 series wraps up on May 17. The schedule for May includes The Soul Rebels + Tonya Boyd-Cannon (May 3), Nigel Hall + Miss Mojo (May 10), and glbl wrmng + LeTrainiump (May 17).
Soak up the sun at Bayou Boogaloo
Bayou Boogaloo returns to the banks of Bayou St. John this May 19-21. This fun-filled music fest has great food, great music, and a decent amount of sun exposure, so bring sunscreen, a hat, and a refillable water bottle. The lineup includes Juvenile with Partners N Crime & DJ Jubilee + The Big Easy Bounce Band, Rebirth Brass Band, Boyfriend, and The Iceman Special…plus more, including a comedy stage. Get your land ticket (or water ticket if arriving by boat) for $25 (early bird price).
Mark your calendars for NOLA Food Fight
NOLA Food Fight returns on Thursday, May 25 at Spanish Plaza at Riverwalk. The all-inclusive food and cocktail competition will feature dozens of restaurants and spirits vying for top prize in several different categories: Top Traditional Dish, Top Creative Dish, Top Vegetarian Dish, Top Classic Cocktail, and Top Creative Cocktail. The one-night-only event will benefit the PLEASE Foundation, a Louisiana non-profit dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty in New Orleans through education.
Spend Memorial Day Weekend in NOLA
Enjoy the city on Memorial Day weekend. There’s plenty to do in tribute to our troops, including visits to the National WWII Museum, where WWII veterans receive free admission and visitors with military ID receive discounted admission. Additionally, Memorial Day weekend is seen as the kickoff to summer, so pack the sunscreen and head out for a sno-ball, or enjoy a delicious meal outdoors in NOLA.
Say opa! at New Orleans Greek Festival
New Orleans Greek Festival returns on Memorial Day weekend, May 26-28. The sounds of Greek music fill the air, as does the wonderful aroma of Greek food during this indoor and outdoor fête. Music, cathedral tours, and Hellenic dancing are all on the schedule, as well as a 5K to kick off the fest, kids’ activities, and arts and crafts for sale. Tickets are $10.
Enjoy a trip to the theater
May wraps up several seasons in the theatrical arts, from the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra to Broadway in New Orleans. A few shows we’re looking forward to include A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo & Juliet (ballet), The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, and Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. Check out our spring theater guide here for more information on the performing arts.
Sample a sno-ball
We’re just getting started with sno-ball season in New Orleans. This icy treat is perfect for the springtime and summer weather. Pick your flavor - be it nectar cream, tiger’s blood, or rainbow - and enjoy the outdoors as the days get longer.
Eat lots of crawfish
Enjoy crawfish season this May in New Orleans by stopping in at one of these restaurants or visiting a brewery hosting a boil. Or get them raw for a crawfish boil of your own. Then, head outdoors to City Park, Woldenberg Park, Pontchartrain Park, or The Fly for a feast in the glorious spring weather.
Laugh at a comedy event in New Orleans
May is a great month to check out a comedy show in New Orleans. Several touring comedians stop into the Saenger Theater, including Trevor Noah, Joe Gatto, and Leanna Morgan. Support local comedians by visiting Comedy House NOLA, a great spot for catching shows almost every night.
Visit a New Orleans attraction
Make sure to visit a New Orleans attraction or museum this month. Learn about New Orleans’ food history and culture at the Southern Food & Beverage Museum, visit the flamingos and monkeys at the Audubon Zoo, check out Black art at Studio BE, and visit an off-the-beaten-path attraction. Check out our attractions guide to find your perfect outing.