Top Los Angeles Things to Do in May

Food Bowl photo by Ann Fishbein
The L.A. Times Food Bowl celebrates the L.A. culinary scene with tastings, panels, chef collabs and more.

From ground-breaking exhibitions to tasting your way across L.A. at fun food and drink events, check out 30+ top Los Angeles things to do in May.

Edited by Christina Wiese.

L.A. Times Food Bowl
May 1-31. All month long, the Los Angeles Times’ citywide food festival celebrates L.A.’s food scene and promotes awareness about food waste and hunger. Food Bowl brings together L.A.’s best bars, cafés, hotels, markets, restaurants and the world’s top chefs for more than 200 dining events, panel discussions, chef collaborations and other happenings. Highlights include Night Market, from May 16-20 at Grand Park, where an estimated 45,000+ attendees will enjoy 50 food vendors, outdoor dining areas and entertainment.


Rooftop Cinema Club 
May 1-31. The U.K.’s “Number One Outdoor Cinema Series” returns to the rooftops of the historic Montalban Theatre and Level Downtown Los Angeles. Enjoy street food and drinks while you take in views and watch acclaimed films, including recent Oscar winners (I, Tonya; Dunkirk; Get Out) and classics (The Godfather). See website for full lineup and schedule. Ages 18+; select screenings 21+. $17-$28. 1615 Vine St., L.A.; 888 S. Olive St., downtown.


“Soft Power”
Opening May 3. Having its world premiere here, this East-meets-West musical comedy from Tony winners David Henry Hwang (M. Butterfly) and Jeanine Tesori (Fun Home) follows a Chinese executive who falls in love with a good-hearted U.S. leader after the 2016 election. See website for showtimes and ticket prices. Ahmanson Theatre, 135 N. Grand Ave., downtown, 213.628.2772.


May 3-5. This celebration of Champagnes and sparkling wines—the first of its kind in the U.S.—features master classes led by world-renowned experts at the Kimpton La Peer Hotel in West Hollywood, gourmet pairings at acclaimed L.A. restaurants (Viale dei Romani, Kali, République) and bubbly tastings at the historic Avalon Hollywood. Dom Pérignon, Krug and Moët & Chandon are among more than 50 participating producers. A portion of the proceeds benefits the T.J. Martell Foundation and Heal the Bay. 21+. $125+.


Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF)
May 3-12. The 34th annual fest will showcase the best in Asian Pacific American and international cinema. Expect screenings, conversations with artists, educational talks, special events and more across various L.A. venues. See website for complete lineup.


"School of Rock" photo by ©Tristram Kenton
See the Tony-nominated musical “School of Rock” at Hollywood Pantages this May.

“School of Rock”
May 3-27. Based on the Jack Black-starring comedy, this Tony-nominated musical features all the original songs from the movie, 14 new songs from Andrew Lloyd Webber and musical theater’s first-ever kids rock band. See website for showtimes and ticket prices. Hollywood Pantages Theatre, 6233 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, 323.468.1770.


VRLA 2018
May 4-5. Step into a new universe at the the largest immersive technology festival in the world. Learn from VR, AR and MR experts through a variety of formats: keynotes, workshops, presentations, panels and more. $30-$299. Los Angeles Convention Center, 1201 S. Figueroa St., downtown.


Cinco de Mayan Gigante!
May 4-5. L.A.’s longest running, action-packed variety show returns this year to The Mayan Theater. Expect huge heapings of Mexican masked wrestling, tequila, tamales, mariachi, aerial dancers, folkloricos, low riders, comedy and much more. 21+. Doors 7 p.m., show 8-10:30 p.m. $48.50+. The Mayan Theater, 1038 S. Hill St., downtown.


The Abbey Food & Bar
May 5. Always a hot spot for Cinco de Mayo festivities in West Hollywood, find Coronas, Modelos and Hornitos Tequila alongside specialty cocktails and a robust food menu. The all-day celebration also includes a live Drag Show performance and a performance by the world’s first LGBTQ mariachi band, Arcoiris de Los Angeles. 9 a.m.-2 a.m. 692 N. Robertson Blvd., West Hollywood.


Birds & Bees
May 5. Accessed through a yellow door at the back of a parking lot, this not-so-secret mid-century cocktail bar is rolling out a special cocktail in honor of the holiday: the Nopalito Especial. The Mexican-inspired drink features mezcal, Repo tequila, nopalito syrup, vanilla oregat, lime, pineapple juice, all spice and a dash of housemade fire tincture, garnished with cactus and pineapple. $13. 207 S. Broadway, downtown, 213.537.0510.



May 5, 12, 19, 26. Traveling outdoor movie-event series, presented by Showtime, boasts the largest outdoor inflatable screen on the West Coast, as well as food trucks and live musical performances. Venues include the Autry Museum in Griffith Park and Los Angeles State Historic Park. See website for a full schedule. Doors 5:30 p.m.; band 7 p.m.; movie 8:30 p.m. $8-$21, under 5 free. 213.267.4393.


Street Food Cinema
May 5, 12, 19, 26. This outdoor summer film series hosts screenings every Saturday night at various locations across L.A., plus features live music and food from the city’s top trucks. See website for a full schedule. Doors 5:30 p.m.; band 6:30 p.m.; movie 8:30 p.m. $6-$22, under 6 free. 323.254.5068.


“In the Fields of Empty Days: The Intersection of Past and Present in Iranian Art”
Opens May 6. Explore more than 125 Iranian works of art in a variety of mediums at this ground-breaking exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Expect photography, paintings, sculptures, animation, political cartoons and more. See website for hours and ticket prices. LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., L.A.


Masters of Taste
Feast on the Rose Bowl field at the Masters of Taste in Pasadena.

Masters of Taste
May 6. Pasadena’s luxury food and drink festival lets you stroll the Rose Bowl’s field while feasting on fare from top L.A. chefs and restaurants (e.g., Redbird and Spring), sipping signature cocktails by the city’s master mixologists and tasting offerings from eclectic California wineries and local craft breweries. All proceeds benefit Union Station Homeless Services. 21+. 4-7 p.m.; VIP 3-7 p.m. $105-$165. 1001 Rose Bowl Drive, Pasadena, 626.791.6677.


“Significant Other”
Through May 6. After a successful Off-Broadway and Broadway run, playwright Joshua Harmon’s comedy about love and 20-something urban life arrives in L.A. See website for showtimes and ticket prices. Gil Cates Theater, Geffen Playhouse, 10886 Le Conte Ave., L.A., 310.208.5454.


Beyond the Streets
May 6-July 6. Beyond the Streets brings graffiti and street art inside, filling a Chinatown warehouse with exhibits of original works by artists such as Shepard Fairey, Guerrilla Girls and Takashi Murakami. Tu-Su noon-7 p.m. GA $25, 3 and under free. 1667 N. Main St., downtown.


I Create Music Expo
May 7-9. Today’s top charting artists and music creators gather for three unique days of panels, workshops, master classes, keynotes and one-on-one sessions. Artists Meghan Trainor, Jason Mraz, St. Vincent and JoJo are set to appear. $379+. Loews Hollywood Hotel, 1755 N. Highland Ave., L.A.


“Jurassic Park” 25th Anniversary
May 11-12. Dress up as your favorite character and celebrate the Spielberg classic with a private screening at Universal CityWalk’s all-new, state-of-the-art cinema. After the film, guests will receive exclusive after-hours access to all things Jurassic including the theme park ride, original props, costume displays, and live entertainment and themed food. $69. Universal Studios Hollywood, 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City.


Echo Park Craft Fair
May 11-13. Founded by artists/designers Beatrice Valenzuela and Rachel Craven in 2009, EPCF has evolved from a backyard event to a biannual extravaganza at the Mack Sennett Studios in Silver Lake. Some of the county’s coolest female artists and makers participate, including Block Shop, bag maker Agnes Baddoo and the collective of women behind boho-clothing brand Dôen, which supports Room to Read in its efforts to promote literacy and gender equality in developing countries. May 11 preview party $25-30, May 12-13 tickets $10-$16. 215 Bates Ave., L.A.


May 11-June 3. At Goya Studios in Hollywood, a “magical secret garden,” created by L.A.-based artist Greg Ito, awaits inside a customized cube. During two seatings per evening, up to 56 guests dine on a four-course meal prepared by chef Richard Blais (Top Chef All-Stars), which takes inspiration from the surrounding installation. The result is a synergistic art and culinary experience that promises to be both immersive and delicious. 21+. $189-$235. 7000 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood.


Cinespia Images: Cinespia Outdoor Movies at Hollywood Forever Cemetery – Photo Credit: Kelly Lee Barrett ©
Cinespia kicks off its outdoor series with “The Neverending Story.”

May 12, 19, 26, 27. Watch films projected on a mausoleum wall during this popular Amazon Studios-sponsored film series at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Also on hand are pre-movie DJs and themed photo booths. The Neverending Story kicks off this summer’s lineup; other May highlights include Casablanca. See website for full schedule. Doors 6:45 p.m., movie 8:30 p.m. $16, parking $15. 6000 Santa Monica Blvd., L.A., 877.435.9849.


May 12-June 3. Giuseppe Verdi’s tragic masterpiece of betrayal and revenge takes center stage in Los Angeles this month. Conducted by Matthew Aucoin and directed by Mark Lamos. See website for showtimes and ticket prices. Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, The Music Center, 135 N. Grand Ave., downtown.


Jasper Johns at The Broad
Through May 13. One of the most influential American artists of the 20th century, Jasper Johns (born 1930) rose to prominence in the 1950s with a new style of painting that rejected abstract expressionism and helped give rise to the pop, minimal and conceptual art movements. View the first full survey of the artist’s work in more than 20 years in the United States, opening at the Broad museum downtown—the exhibition’s exclusive U.S. venue. See website for ticket entry and pricing.


L.A. Comedy Fest 
May 17-20. Featuring film, live comedy acts and a screenplay competition, this showcase—which claims to be the largest comedy festival in the U.S.—attracts up-and-comers and established comics alike. Check website for schedule and ticket information. Let Live Theatre, 916 N. Formosa Ave., L.A.


30th Annual Garden Tour & Showcase Estate
May 19. Organized by the Friends of Robinson Gardens, the Beverly Hills garden party of the year returns with a tour, culinary tastings, luncheon, fashion show and much more. Guests will also have exclusive access to select private home gardens rarely on view to the public. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. See website for ticket pricing. Virginia Robinson Gardens, 1008 Elden Way, Beverly Hills.


May 19. Restaurant-discovery platform the Infatuation’s second-annual food festival, held at the Barker Hangar, plays off the company’s popular “#eeeeeats“ hashtag and features a highly curated group of local restaurants—along with exciting imports from across the country—including Loqui, Night + Market and Roberta’s. There’s also live music and panels from industry pioneers. Noon. $30, under 6 free. Early admission and lounge access for Amex card members. Food and drinks not included in ticket price. 3021 Airport Ave., Santa Monica.


Beverly Hills ArtShow 
May 19-20. This long-running outdoor art showcase displays artwork by 250 exhibitors twice a year. Browse paintings, sculptures, watercolors, photography, ceramics, jewelry, drawings and more. Wine and beer gardens and food trucks are also on-site. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Free. Beverly Gardens Park, along Santa Monica Boulevard from Rodeo to Rexford drives, Beverly Hills, 310.285.6830.


Long Beach Lesbian & Gay Pride Festival & Parade
May 19-20. Over 35 years, this fest has grown into the third-largest event of its kind in the country. More than 80,000 people participate in the two-day celebration of LGBT inclusion and pride, which features a parade with more than 200 marching groups and floats, as well as a festival with live music. The theme of this year’s event is “Remember the past, create the future.” Sheila E. brings her beats to the main stage on Sunday. There’s also a Teen Pride event on May 18, plus a Family Fun Zone and a Senior Fun Zone over the weekend. One-day admission $20-$25, under 12 and over 65 free. 11 a.m.-10 p.m; parade Su 10:30 a.m. Marina Green Park, 386 E. Shoreline Dr., Long Beach, 562.987.9191.


Flavor of L.A.
May 20. Enjoy sips and bites from some of L.A.’s best restaurants, as well as cool cars from the Television Motion Picture Car Club, at the second-annual edition of this event presented by the Studio City Chamber of Commerce. A portion of the proceeds supports local charity L.A. Kitchen. 1-5 p.m. $75. CBS Studio Center Back Lot, 4024 Radford Ave., Studio City, 818.655.5916.


Venice Family Clinic's Art Walk photo by David Crotty/PMC
Enjoy art, live music and libations at the Venice Family Clinic’s Art Walk.

Venice Family Clinic’s Art Walk & Auctions 
May 20. Google’s L.A. headquarters hosts the Venice Family Clinic’s annual fundraiser, where a silent art auction, live music and a craft beer and wine garden help raise funds to provide primary health care to people in need (ticketed artist-studio tours also are available for $50). See website for details. Noon-6 p.m. Google Los Angeles, 340 Main St., Venice, 310.664.7916.


Block Party 
Through May 20. This celebration of the L.A. theater scene spotlights three encore productions from outstanding local theater companies. Die, Mommie, Die! plays May 10-20. See website for showtimes and pricing. Kirk Douglas Theatre, 9820 Washington Blvd., Culver City, 213.628.2772.


“Blues in the Night”
Through May 20. Theater luminary Sheldon Epps’ Tony- and Olivier Award-nominated musical revue features 26 numbers by icons like Bessie Smith and Duke Ellington. See website for showtimes and ticket prices. Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills, 310.746.4000.


Topanga Banjo Fiddle Contest & Folk Festival
May 20. Bring your instruments and dancing shoes to this old-timey festival at Agoura Hills’ Paramount Ranch. Expect everything from clogging, square and contra dancing to bluegrass performances and folk art vendors. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. GA $13+, free parking. Paramount Ranch, 2903 Cornell Road, Agoura Hills.


“Fat Pig”
Opens May 23. Emmy Award and Golden Globe nominee Chrissy Metz (This is Us) makes her theatrical debut in Neil LaBute’s critically acclaimed Fat Pig. See website for showtimes and ticket prices. Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater at the Geffen Playhouse, 10886 Le Conte Ave., L.A.


Seed Food and Wine & Eat Drink Vegan
May 23-26. Miami-based Seed Food and Wine organized this event-filled week focused on plant-based living. On May 26, SFW hosts a 5K run at Brookside Golf Course, then teams up with Eat Drink Vegan at neighboring Rose Bowl Stadium, where you’ll find unlimited pours of more than 250 drinks, 100+ restaurants and a vegan marketplace. SFW $25+,; EDV noon-7 p.m., $45+, under 5 free,


Fiesta Hermosa 
May 26-28. This semiannual festival features over 300 artists and crafters, as well as food, live music, a “kiddie carnival,” a charity beer and wine garden and more. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Free. See website for free bike valet, parking and shuttle information. Hermosa and Pier avenues, Hermosa Beach, 310.376.0951.


Topanga Days 2018 
May 26-28. Enjoy concerts, a parade (May 28, 8:30 a.m.) and old-fashioned fun at this 45th annual fair. Spend Memorial Day weekend listening to live music and participating in games like sack races and horseshoes. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. $15-$25 per day; $40-$65 three-day pass, under 6 free; Fun Zone passes $20-$50. 1440 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga, 310.455.1980.


Museum of Selfies
Through May 31. Explore the history and pop culture phenomena of selfies at this new pop-up in Glendale. The interactive experience hosts 15 different exhibitions—highlighting categories such as ‘high-up selfie’ and ‘bathroom selfie’—and will feature the world’s longest selfie stick, clocking in at 90 feet, six inches long. W-F noon-8 p.m., Sa-Su noon-10 p.m. $25, kids under 3 free. 211 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale.


“KING TUT: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh”
All Month. The California Science Center welcomes the largest King Tut exhibition ever in celebration of the 100-year anniversary of the tomb discovery. Boasting more than 150 artifacts from the pharaoh’s tomb, 40 percent of the items will be traveling outside of Egypt for the first time, offering SoCal a rare cultural experience. See website for entry times. $19-$30. California Science Center, 700 Exposition Park Dr., L.A., 323.724.3623.


Food Bowl photo by Ann Fishbein. “School of Rock” photo by ©Tristram Kenton. Cinespia photo by Kelly Lee Barrett © Venice Family Clinic’s Art Walk photo by David Crotty/PMC.

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