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Beer Under Glass, held at the Garfield Park Conservatory, kicked off 2015 Chicago Craft Beer Week.
Photograph: Max Herman

54 exciting openings in Chicago in May

Written by
Grace Perry

The weather’s warming up, the sidewalks are getting crowded and we’re itching to get to the beach: It’s almost May in Chicago. We’ve been #blessed with a delightfully warm April, filled with patio drinking and peddling down the city’s best bike routes, but we can always use more warm-weather fun. With a fantastic concert lineup, new restaurants sprouting up and street festival season in sight, we’re bound to have another awesome month. With 54 exciting openings on the horizon, you have no excuse to be bored this May.

RECOMMENDED: Our complete May events calendar


May 5: The Queer Film Society kicks off CinemaQVI, a weekly film series celebrating queer movies and filmmakers at the Center on Halsted.

May 6: One of Chicago’s most popular farmer’s markets, Green City Market, is throwing a party to kick off its 2017 season, complete with chef demos and kids activities.

May 6: Celebrate Poland’s 226th birthday at the Polish Constitution Day Parade, which winds through the Loop.

May 6: It may not be football season, but you can still drink at Soldier Field. Sample dozens of local and national brews inside the stadium at the Chicago Beer Classic.

May 7: Celebrate the Mexico’s 19th-century victory over French forces at Little Village’s Cinco de Mayo Parade, the most authentic celebration in the city.

May 11: Taco Tuesdays are old news. It’s all about Taco Thursday presented by Time Out Chicago, where you can sample dishes from Chicago’s best taquerias under one roof.

May 13–14: Peruse handmade arts and wares made by crafters nationwide at the hugely popular spring edition of the Renegade Craft Fair in Pilsen.

May 14: It’s officially springtime on the Blue Line when the Logan Square Farmers Market makes its outdoor 2017 debut.

May 12–18: Get a sneak peak at the hottest films of the year at the Chicago Critics Film Festival at the Music Box Theatre.

May 18: One of the best craft beer events of the year is Beer Under Glass, making its annual return to Garfield Park Conservatory ahead of Chicago Craft Beer Week.

May 18–25: Chicago Craft Beer Week is heaven on Earth for many Chicagoans. Bounce from event to event trying all the newest (and most delicious) craft beers.

May 19–21: Kick off street festival season at Lakeview’s Mayfest, complete with live music, craft beer and a giant heated tent (it is May in Chicago, after all).

May 19–21: C2E2 may have passed, but Japanese pop culture lovers can nerd out at Anime Central, the Midwest’s largest anime convention.

May 20, 21: Sample more than 100 wines from all over the world while listening to classical music at the first-ever Lincoln Park Wine Fest.

May 20, 21: Tour the world at the Skokie Festival of Cultures, which features global music, food, an international beer tasting competition and plenty of kid-friendly events.

May 20: Put the kids to bed and enjoy a grown-up night at Zoo-ologie, the Lincoln Park Zoo’s annual fundraiser with cocktails, live music, and close-up animal encounters.

May 21: Take your pup out to Bark In The Park, an Anti-Cruelty Society event complete with agility training courses, a marketplace, a doggie spa and more.

May 21: Dig into the best mac and cheese in Chicago at the Mac N Cheese Smackdown presented by Time Out Chicago.

May 25–29: International Mr. Leather Weekend returns to the Loop for five days of the Leather Market, the Mr. Leather contest, the Black and Blue Ball and more.

May 26: Celebrate the delicious, traditional Mexican sauce at Pilsen’s annual Mole de Mayo.

May 26–28: Spend Memorial Day in the city at the Belmont-Sheffield Music Festival in Lakeview, with a lineup of regional tribute bands.

May 26–28: It may not be St. Patrick’s Day, but you can still soak up Irish music, dance and, yes, beer at the Gaelic Park Irish Fest.

May 27: Close out the month of May with a personal record at the Soldier Field 10-Mile, which boasts one of the most beautiful race courses in the country.

May 28: Take advantage of the best way to see Chicago: at sunrise, zipping down an empty Lake Shore Drive at perennial favorite Bike the Drive.


May 1: British indie pop trio the xx expands its palette without loosing the intimacy of the sparse R&B that populates its new record, I See You.

May 4,5: Mouse-eared EDM mascot Deadmau5 hops behind a gargantuan, LED-screen covered DJ  booth for two night at the Aragon.

May 7: You've heard her music in blockbusters like Fate of the Furious and Suicide Squad, but now you can see Kehlani at Concord Music Hall.

May 13: Progressive metal titans Mastodon headline a heavy bill at the Aragon, which also features Eagles of Death Metal and Russian Circles.

May 13, 14: After opening his debut art show in Chicago, garage rocker Ty Segall returns to the city behind his blistering new self-titled record.

May 15: Singer-songwriter Father John Misty comes to the Chicago Theatre with another collection of cynical yet beautiful new tracks.

May 18: British DJ Simon Greene augments turntables with a band as Bonobo, blending electronica with live instrumentation.

May 19: The "Queen Diva" of New Orleans bounce music, Big Freedia, will make hips shake at a special show celebrating the Empty Bottle's 25th anniversary.

May 20: Pretend you're at an alternate dimension version of Warped Tour at the 101 WKQX Piqinq, which features the 1975, Bleachers, Jimmy Eat World, Sum 41 and more.

May 23: Starboy and friend of Daft Punk Abel Tesfaye (a.k.a. the Weeknd) brings hazy, nihilistic slow jams to the United Center.

May 27: Chicago rock circuit mainstays Local H return to the Bottle with plenty of hooks and riffs from its latest album, Hey, Killer.


May 1–Aug 12: Curated by Dan Friedman before he passed away, "Radical Modernist” provides an intimate look at the life and work of a talented designer and teacher.

May 19–Aug 5: German artist Bettina Pousttchi creates a site-specific photo installation that explores the history of the Arts Club of Chicago in "Suspended Mies.”

May 14–July 30: London-based artist Corinna Button displays ceramics embedded with intricate designs in the Hyde Park Art Center's new exhibit, "Interfaces."


Until June 18: Coworkers Amalia and Georg quarrel in person but are unknowingly also each other’s romantic pen pals in the 1963 musical, She Loves Me.

May 11–Jun 11: Timothy Edward Kane plays Harvey’s eccentric friend, Elwood P. Dowd, in Court Theatre’s revival of Harvey.

May 11–Jun 18: Mike Nussbaum plays Albert Einstein in Relativity, which deals with the mystery of Einstein’s lost daughter.

May 19–Jun 18: Stacy Keach plays Ernest Hemingway in Pamplona, the world premiere of a new play by Jim McGrath about the novelist’s struggles in the last years of his life.

May 27–Jul 16: Griffin Theatre’s Scott Weinstein stages a new “chamber version” of the 1998 Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty musical, Ragtime, based on E.L. Doctorow’s novel about societal upheaval at the turn of the 20th century.


May 24: Ricky Gervais, the creator of The Office and Extras, hits the Chicago Theatre on his first stand-up tour in seven years.

May 27: Comedy legend Mel Brooks returns to the Chicago Theatre for another screening and storytelling session, this time featuring his 1974 monster-movie spoof Young Frankenstein.

May 31–Jun 4: Patton Oswalt, Christopher Guest, Mike Judge and a cast reunion of The Adventures of Pete & Pete are among the attractions on tap at the misleadingly named 26th Annual Comedy Festival.


May 6: Let curiosity fly high at the annual Kids and Kites Festival, where families can create their own kites or sit back and watch the pros.

May 6–7: Build edible pinatas and balls for animals to play with at Lincoln Park Zoo’s Cinco de Mayo Pinata Party.

May 13: Get the bikes out of the garage and over to the 606 Bike Rally for a free tune-up.

May 20–21: Traditional folk tales, a tea ceremony and crafts are on deck at the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Malott Japanese Garden Children’s Festival.


May 5: Apogee will open on the rooftop of the Dana Hotel with drinks from Benjamin Schiller (The Fifty/50 Group, The Sixth, Berkshire Room) with large-format cocktails.

May 22: The Conrad’s seasonal rooftop, Noyane, opens with food from Richard Sandoval and drinks from Baptiste & Bottle’s Michael Fawthrop.

May: Vegetable-focused restaurant Clever Rabbit (2015 W Division) comes to West Town with a patio, pizza and drinks.

May: Zoe Schor’s Split-Rail (2500 W Chicago Ave) comes to West Town with a menu built around homages to classic American cuisine.

Note: Restaurant and bar openings are subject to change and can be delayed; call ahead before setting out.

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