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67 exciting things opening in Chicago in May

Zach Long
Written by
Zach Long

The unseasonably chilly days of spring seem to be behind us, Chicago's summer festival season is kicking off and there has never been a better time to rediscover your favorite rooftop bar. We've gathered some of the best May events to help you stay occupied as you acclimate to long weekends filled with music, food and sunny fun. See your favorite band, eat at a new restaurant or take in a show with with the help of our guide to the most exciting things opening in Chicago in May.


May 2: Shamble through the streets of Andersonville during the annual Chicago Zombie Pub Crawl.
May 5:
Eat tacos, sip a margarita or attend a parade at some of Chicago's best Cinco de Mayo celebrations.
May 10:
Show mom that you care with our guide to Mother's Day brunches, gifts and more.
May 16: Explore the wet and wild world of frogs, salamanders and more at the Shedd Aquarium's new "Amphibians" exhibit.
May 23–25:
Commemorate the men and women who died protecting our country with our guide to Memorial Day weekend festivities.
May 24:
 Get up early and take a two-wheeled spin down Lake Shore Drive during Bike the Drive.
May 25: Grab your swimsuit and head for the coast—it's opening day at Chicago's beaches.
May 30: Don oversized glasses and run through Grant Park at the Harry Caray 5K.


May 1–3: Little Village's Cinco de Mayo Festival begins the celebration early with three days of food, carnival rides and music.
May 2: 
Go fly a kite with some help from your family at the Kids and Kites Festival on Cricket Hill in Lincoln Park.
May 8, 9: Flip through homemade magazines and publications at the Chicago Zine Fest.
May 9: More than 200 different craft beers will be on tap at the American Beer Classic, a gigantic beer festival at Soldier Field.
May 14–24: Celebrate with local brewers and sample some suds during Chicago Craft Beer Week.
May 15–17: Ring in the beginning of street festival season in a gigantic tent in Lakeview at Mayfest.
May 23: Close out Chicago Craft Beer Week in Lincoln Square at the new Welles Park Craft Beer Fest.
May 29, 30: Enjoy two days of rare beer tastings, food truck fare and entertainment at Fischman Liquors's annual Kegs for Kidneys event.
May 28–31: It's Oktoberfest in May, as the traditionally German neighborhood of Lincoln Square throws down with all the beers, cheers, oompah, Lederhosen and pretzels at Maifest.


May 2: The group behind Siena Tavern and Public House opens a new steakhouse called Prime & Provisions.
Early May: Dylan’s Candy Bar will be opening a café and bar, where candy cocktails (!) will be served.
Early May: New chocolate shop Cocoa + Co. will open in Old Town with treats from Gale Gand, Malika Ameen and others.
Mid-May: Bom Bolla, a Spanish wine bar from the Pops for Champagne team, brings tapas to Wicker Park.
May 20: Nando’s Peri Peri, the grilled chicken chain, will open its first Chicago outpost in the West Loop. Hallelujah.
May TBD: Baltimore’s Barcocina, a taco spot, is opening in Lakeview.
May TBD: Expat, a seasonal sidewalk café from Element Collective, opens in the West Loop.
May TBD: Luke’s Lobster, a chain that sells Maine lobster and other seafood rolls, will open in the Loop.
May TBD: Remington’s, a new spot with chef Todd Stein, opens right across from Millennium Park.


May 1: Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and the rest of the gang team up to fight a robot voiced by James Spader in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
May 1–7: The Chicago Critics Film Festival returns to the Music Box Theatre, featuring screenings of Batkid Begins, The End of the Tour and more overlooked movies.
May 15: Tom Hardy takes the place of Mel Gibson and gets caught in an explosive apocalyptic car chase in Mad Max: Fury Road.
May 15: Anna Kendrick's crew enters an international a cappella competition in Pitch Perfect 2.
May 22: George Clooney stars as an eccentric inventor in Disney's latest film adaptation of an amusement park ride, Tomorrowland
May 22: Director Paul Feig's latest comedy, Spy, stars Melissa McCarthy as a CIA analyst turned undercover operative.


May 4, 5: Stoner comic Doug Benson hits Zanies Chicago for a stand-up set and then records an episode of his podcast in Rosemont.
May 7: Husband and wife duo Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally team up for a touring variety show, featuring songs, comedy and more.
May 13: Whose Line Is It Anyway? star Greg Proops returns to UP Comedy Club to sign his new book and tape an episode of the "Proopcast."
May 14: 
Cult Canadian sketch-comedy group Kids in the Hall continues its reunion tour with a stop at the Vic Theatre.
May 26–30: The Onion and A.V. Club team up to present the Second Annual 26th Annual Comedy Festival, featuring appearances by John Mulaney, Vanessa Bayer, Ellie Kemper and more funny folks.


May 9–Oct 4: Explore four immersive sculptures of varying sizes in the Museum of Contemporary Art in "S, M, L, XL."
May 9–Aug 9: "The Last Supper: 600 Plates Illustrating Final Meals of U.S. Death Row Inmates" brings together Julie Green's images of death row inmates' last meal requests, painted on plates as part of an ongoing project. 
May 14–Aug 9: "Liminal Infrastructure" showcases photographs taken with the Liminal Camera, a massive portable camera fashioned from a shipping container.
May 14–Aug 9: Explore  the ephemeral qualities of light in the DePaul Art Museum's new exhibition, "Sonja Thomsen: Glowing Wavelengths In Between."
May 15–Oct 4: "Charles Ray: Sculpture, 1997–2014" assembles several of the Chicago-born sculptor's life-sized works on the second floor of the Modern Wing.
May 21–Aug 30: Get an intimate glimpse at the non-working life of an artist through the iPhone photographs, videos and PowerPoint presentations included in "Frances Stark: Intimism."
May 22–Aug 23: French photographer Jean-Luc Mylayne composes beautiful shots of birds interacting with nature in "Jean-Luc Mylayne: Mutual Regard."


Apr 30–Jun 7: Theater Wit stages the Chicago premiere of Joshua Harmon's 2012 comedy, Bad Jews, about two cousins squabbling over a family heirloom in the aftermath of their grandfather's funeral.
Apr 30–May 24: American Theater Company artistic director PJ Paparelli and writer-musician Joshua Jaeger collaborated to pen The Project(s), a percussive documentary-theater piece about public housing.
May 1–Jun 13: Strawdog stages the U.S. premiere of Scottish playwright Rob Drummond's twisty Quiz Show, about the dark truth behind lighthearted game show False!.
May 2–Jun 7: The greedy, ruthless members of the Hubbard clan lie, cheat and steal to increase their personal wealth in Lillian Hellman’s avaricious 1939 drama, The Little Foxes.
May 6–Jul 26: In Michele Lowe's award-winning 2009 play, an Iraqi museum curator and his young bride risks his life to preserve an ancient statue of the titular goddess, Inana.
May 8–Jun 14: Beth Henley's first play, Crimes of the Heart, is a warmly comic portrait of three Mississippi sisters gathered to hold vigil for their dying grandpa
May 14–Jul 10: Sex columnist, gay activist and Chicago native Dan Savage penned Miracle!, which turns Helen Keller into blind and deaf drag queen Helen Stellar.
May 24–Jun 28: Two women who survived the apocalypse face off in Sideshow Theatre Company ensemble member Walt McGough's sci-fi two-hander Chalk.


May 7–9: The Scottish Ballet presents a contemporary dance adaptation of Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire.
May 8–10:
The Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg returns to the Auditorium Theatre to present the American premiere of Up and Down, set to the jazz of Alban Berg, Franz Schubert, and George Gershwin.
May 13: Chicago’s finest tap and percussive dance companies for an evening of noisy footwork at the Chicago Rhythm Fest.
May 20–30: 
The Inconvenience kicks off its 2015 programming slate with an atmospheric collection of short dance pieces, collectively entitled The Salts.


May 5: The Jesus & Mary Chain toasts the 30th birthday of its masterpiece Psychocandy with loads of feedback at the Riv.
May 9: "Tuesday" hitmaker ILoveMakonnen has the club going up on a, er, Saturday at Metro.
May 12: Icelandic folk-pop darling Of Monsters & Men brings that sweet Eyjafjallajökull soul to the Riv
May 13, 14: Passion Pit gets giddy with a two night stand at Thalia Hall and DJ set at the Mid.
May 13: The Who are talking about three generations at this point. The icons hit Allstate Arena.
May 15: Recent Playboy cover model Azealia Banks brings her brash, colorful rap to Concord.
May 15: Get a heavy taste of the new Tame Impala jams at the Riv.
May 29: Drake serenades the ladies and gentlemen while jealously staring at Bulls banners in the United Center.
May 29: Oasis man Noel Gallagher  brings his big choruses and Britpop hooks to the Riv.
May 30: Moody chanteuse Lana Del Rey brings along bestie Grimes to FMBA. 
May 29–31:  The summer festival season kicks off when Temples, Tobacco, Nick Waterhouse and more headline Do Division Street Fest.

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