Spring has sprung in New Orleans, and May is chock full of festivals and events that are worth coming into town for. The month kicks off with Jazz Fest, with artists like The Who and Stevie Nicks taking the stage. The party on the bayou known as Bayou Boogaloo returns, as well as New Orleans Greek Fest over Memorial Day weekend. Here’s our top picks for things to do this May.
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.
Jazz Fest returns after two long years with an all star lineup of performers, including The Who, Stevie Nicks, Jimmy Buffet & the Coral Reefer Band, Luke Combs, Lionel Richie, The Black Crowes, Willie Nelson, Billy Strings, Erykah Badu, Busta Rhymes, and more. It all kicks off on April 29 and wraps up on May 8 at the Fairgrounds Race Course. Check out our Ultimate Guide to Jazz Fest here.
This year Cinco de Mayo falls on a Thursday, even more of a reason to indulge in mid-week tacos and margaritas. Plenty of spots around town offer delicious, authentic Mexican cuisine. Check out our top spots for outdoor tacos and margaritas here.
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, like a balm for your midweek blues. The 2022 spring series wraps up on May 25. The lineup for May shows includes Shamarr Allen + Margie Perez (May 4), Andrew Duhon + Alexis and the Samurai (May 11), Big Sam's Funky Nation + Erica Falls (May 18), and Mia Borders + The Quickening (May 25).
Support the Audubon Nature Institute through Zoo-To-Do on Friday, May 6. The annual fundraiser features music by The Phunky Monkeys, Where Y’acht, and more, plus food, a silent auction, signature cocktails, and a luxury car raffle. The 44th annual Hancock Whitney Zoo-To-Do will celebrate Audubon's conservation efforts for pollinators, the group of insects, mammals, and birds on which the future of all life on Earth depends.
Whether you’re celebrating your mom, grandma, aunt, or friend, honor the special mom in your life on Mother’s Day, May 8. 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.
Enjoy a breathtaking ballet performance (or two)
American Ballet Theatre returns to New Orleans for the first time in nearly half a century bringing its masterpiece Don Quixote, accompanied by the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, to the Mahalia Jackson Theater to close out the New Orleans Ballet Association’s blockbuster season. Catch the performance May 14 and 15, and purchase tickets here.
Tina Fey’s smash hit and instant cult movie classic “Mean Girls” is indeed now a musical, and said musical is coming to New Orleans May 17-22. Watch as Cady Heron confronts Regina George and squad through song and dance. Catch it at the Saenger Theater, tickets start at $32.
Bayou Boogaloo returns to the banks of Bayou St. John this May 20-22. 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 Ani DiFranco, Squirrel Nut Zippers, the Soul Rebels ft. Big Freedia, and more. Tickets start at $10.
Top Taco, New Orleans’ signature taco and cocktails event, will host the inaugural Food Fight presented by Stella Artois, 6-10 p.m. on Thursday, May 26. The all-inclusive food and cocktail competition will take place at Crescent Park and feature 30 spirits and over 40 restaurants, including Emeril’s, Boucherie, Palm & Pine, and Gris-Gris. Chefs and bartenders compete in five 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. Tickets are $60 in advance and $75 at the door.
The largest collegiate rugby 7s national championship tournament comes to New Orleans May 28-30. Rugby 7s is an abbreviated form of rugby, featuring two teams of seven players. The tournament will feature over 100 men’s and women's collegiate rugby 7s teams at the Shrine on Airline, where NOLA Gold Rugby plays. A fan festival will be held on the grounds, featuring music, food trucks, and more. Buy tickets here.
New Orleans Greek Festival returns for its fest on Memorial Day weekend, May 27-29. The sounds of Greek music fill the air, as does the wonderful aroma of Greek food during this indoor and outdoor fete. 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 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 unofficial kickoff to summer, so pack the sunscreen and head out for a sno-ball, or enjoy a delicious meal outdoors in NOLA.
Crawfish season peaks in April, and New Orleans is full of seafood shops and restaurants that’ll satisfy all your cravings. Grab ‘em boiled, sauteed, baked or fried, or get them raw for a crawfish boil of your own. Then, head outdoors to City Park, Woldenberg Park, or The Fly for a feast in the glorious spring weather.