Mayday! Mayday! Festival season’s peak is almost over… so how will you spend your May in New Orleans? No need for distress. We’ve collected 15 things to do this month, from tech conference to charitable events to concerts and more. (We also scoped out these hotel deals. You’re welcome!)
15 Things to Do in May
Get your peelin’ hands ready
On Monday, May 1, head to Central City BBQ for Crawfish Festival, a three-day affair designed to help you pass the time between Jazz Fest weekends. With live music and plenty of crawfish from 3 p.m. until 10 p.m. through Wednesday, May 3, this fest is a self-described “trifecta of Southeast Louisiana perfection — the absolute best crawfish, live music, and beer the city has to offer.” How can you say no to that? Tickets start at $45.
Check out Collision Conference
America’s “fastest growing tech conference” comes to New Orleans for the second consecutive year May 2-4. Speakers include Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, eBay CMO Suzy Deering, Facebook Messenger guru Stan Chudnovsky, and Ogilvy & Mather CMO Lauren Crampsie plus tech-celebs (…techlebs?) Wyclef Jean and Jessica Alba. Tickets available online.
Support a local cause on Give NOLA Day
Tuesday, May 2 is Give NOLA Day, where you can donate to a whole host of local charities including animal rescue groups, educational organizations, and many more. In true New Orleans form, there’s a concurrent festival at 919 St. Charles Ave from 4:30-8 p.m. — this free fest includes performances from Rebirth Brass Band, Big Sam’s Funky Nation, and Irma Thomas.
Finish Jazz Fest on a high note
From Thursday, May 4 through Sunday, May 7, Jazz Fest delights during its second weekend with acts like Wilco, Lorde, Stevie Wonder, Snoop Dogg, and many, many more. Not sure where to begin on tackling this epic fest? Check out our Insider’s Guide, or if you only have a minute to spare, watch this video.
Fiesta for Cinco de Mayo
Need a little May 5 inspiration? Try favorites like Casa Borrega, Felipe’s Taqueria, Araña, or Juan’s Flying Burrito. You can also head to Mizado Cocina for a lunchtime fiesta — margaritas cost only 10 cents.
Jam on Julia Street
On Saturday, May 6, Arts District of New Orleans hosts its annual Jammin’ on Julia event from 6-9 p.m. Browse works at 16 different contemporary art galleries along with museums, bars, and cafes all open late and serving refreshments. Live music on the street adds a festival-like feel. Free.
Party at Galatoire’s 33 Bar & Steak for the Kentucky Derby
The Kentucky Derby is Saturday, May 6, and the place to party is Galatoire’s 33 Bar & Steak. Their third-annual Kentucky Derby Party runs all day from noon to 10 p.m. Derby attire (complete with a fabulous hat!) is encouraged as you sip on special Race Day cocktails and sample complimentary tea sandwiches from executive chef Michael Sichel.
Rep the city’s independent bookstores
Technically, Independent Bookstore Day was April 30. But considering that it also coincided with International Jazz Day and the second weekend of Jazz Fest, our local stores decided to hold a belated version on May 13. Check out shops like Octavia Books, Faulkner House Books, Tubby & Coo’s, and Blue Cypress Books (plus many, many more).
Toast Mom on Mother’s Day
Sunday, May 14, is her day — make a reservation at these mom-approved restaurants for a meal she won’t soon forget.
Boogie at Bayou Boogaloo
This Mid-City fest takes over the bayou on May 20-22. It’s free and features tons of local music and fare.
See a tribute to Lady Day
New Orleans’ rich jazz history is an interesting backdrop to watch the dinner theater production of “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill,” chronicling Billie Holiday’s life and work. This performance runs Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 6 p.m. through May 21 at Pontchartrain Landing.
Pull on your boots for Bayou Country Superfest
Memorial Day Weekend is a doozy with several events taking place all over the city. One of the biggest is Bayou Country Superfest, happening May 26-28 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. See country superstars like Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert, Rascal Flatts, and more with single-day tickets available.
Join in on the Royal Street Stroll
On Friday, May 26, Royal Street turns into one big second line as part of New Orleans Wine & Food Experience. The Krewe of Cork leads the parade, so wine-inspired costumes are encouraged. A wine glass and wristband, included with ticket purchase, ensure you’ll sample the night away with ease.
Get a gyro at Greek Fest
Opa! New Orleans Greek Festival happens May 26-28. The Greek grocery and agora (market) features take-home goodies, but bring your appetite for dishes like dolmades (grape leaves), pastitsio, feta fries, souvlaki, and loukoumades (Greek beignets drizzled with honey and cinnamon).
Visit the National World War II Museum
Though any day during any time of the year is an apt time to visit this incredible museum, why not make the most of Memorial Day (May 29) by paying your respects?