What to do in Los Angeles in May (2020)

This post covers the best things to do in LA in May and has been updated for 2020, including a top 10 list, nighttime activities, free, as well as family-friendly things to do. Be sure to read our master post on things to do in Los Angeles.

 

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TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN LOS ANGELES IN MAY

In this section, we will cover the ten best things to do in Los Angeles this May.

For tips on the most popular activities in LA, check out our posts on top things to do in Los Angeles and bus tours.

Several of the items in the Top 10 are already included for free with the purchase of a tourist discount pass.

 

City Passes Los Angeles


1. Go Sightseeing in LA

We offer pay-what-you-like walking tours or you can try our self-guided walking tours.  Check out our calendar to book a guided walking tour.

If you’re looking for a bus tour, we have a great comparison of L.A.’s best. From hop-on-hop-off buses to nonstop our nighttime tours, you’ll find one to suit you

Another option is to check out a studio tour.  See what it is like to be a working Hollywood actor or a gaffer. Or find out what a gaffer does!  Check out our post about Studio Tour options.

 

 

If you’re looking to save some money, consider taking one of our GPS enabled audio tours or self-guided tours the following neighborhoods of LA. 


2. Attend a Concert

Los Angeles tends to attract a lot of great musicians throughout the year. As a result, it’s not too surprising to see that there are a lot of notable artists performing in the area this May.

 

 

3. See a Sporting Event

Join the locals and catch a game while in the City of Angels. Check the information below for game specifics.

Seeing a big game is a great way to spend your afternoon or evening! For more things to do at night, check the section down below.

 

 

Seeing a big game is a great way to spend your afternoon or evening! For more things to do at night, check the section down below.


4. Go to the Theatre

Live theatre is a wonderful thing to enjoy while traveling. And of course, Los Angeles loves to entertain!  Here are just a few of the many plays and musicals during April.

 

 

 


5. Run the Orange County Marathon

Calling all runners! For those who love marathons, the OC Marathon and its related activities from May 3-5, 2019, are a fun and scenic event. Beginning in Newport and ending at the OC Fair and Event Center, runners will make their way through a number of coastal towns on the route.

 

 

Even if you don’t feel like running, this could be an excellent activity to attend if only to cheer on the participants.

Other activities include a half-marathon, 5k, and kids race that takes place on May 4th. Check the website for more information and registration.


6. Celebrate Cinco de Mayo at Historic Olvera Street

Celebrate Mexico’s victory over French forces in Puebla, Mexico in 1862 with music, dancing, and food!  

 

 

Olvera Street is considered to be “the birthplace of Los Angeles”.  Visit the Mexican Marketplace that recreates  “Old Los Angeles” with a block-long narrow, tree-shaded, brick-lined market full of old structures, street vendors, restaurants and shops. 

Click here for more information


7. The Drag Convention

RuPaul’s Drag convention is May 1-3, 2020.  This event will be epic- it is the biggest drag event in the world.  Many of the queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race will perform! The cast from season 12 will be there to represent! 

 

There will be shows, activities, and even a Kid Zone with a bouncy house. Be sure to get your tickets before they sell out.


8. Go to Shark Lagoon Nights at the Aquarium

While the Aquarium of the Pacific usually closes at 6 pm, it will actually stay open until 9 pm on Shark Lagoon Nights. This event will take place on the first three Fridays in May, and it will include live musical performances.

 

 

The best part about this activity is that it’s entirely free to attend. Guests will have a chance to touch bamboo sharks and see other aquatic life in the Shark Lagoon. There will also be refreshments available for purchase.

This is one of the best after dark activities to enjoy during the month of May. If you’re looking for more ideas, check our things to do at night section.

TIP: Tickets for the Aquarium of the Pacific are included with the Go Los Angeles Card.


9. Attend the Renaissance Faire

The Renfaire will be coming to Pasadena this spring, giving you the opportunity to experience a recreation of renaissance times.

 

 

The Faire starts in April and runs through May on Saturdays and Sundays. This means you’ll have three weekends in May to attend.

With all kinds of games, food, live performances, rides, and even a marketplace to shop at, this is an excellent event for families and children.

The only catch is that you’ll probably want to dress in period-appropriate attire. While some people don’t follow this rule, it is one of the most common requirements for Renaissance faires around the world.

If you’re looking for more things to do with your family, please read our family-friendly activities section.


10. Save Money with a Tourist Attraction Discount Pass

To make the most out of your time in LA, and save a lot of money while seeing the sights, consider purchasing a tourist attraction discount pass.

You’ll pay one fee up front and receive free or highly discounted entry into many of the city’s most popular attractions and activities.

 

Tourist discount passes work by bundling multiple tickets into one price, usually between 20%-50% the retail price.   

Read our post comparing the different LA tourist discount passes. Several bus tour companies, including hop-on-hop-off buses, also offer discounts and deals.

For more ideas for any time of year, be sure to read our master post on Things to do in LA.

 


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FREE THINGS TO DO

Free things to do aren’t terribly hard to come by in Los Angeles if you plan accordingly.

We’ve mentioned some free things to do in LA in the month of May already!  Check out some ideas for free activities below. For even more free activities, see our Guide to Free Things to Do in LA.

 

 

 


31st Annual Los Angeles High School Choir Festival

The Walt Disney Concert Hall will be open,  free-of-charge for its annual Los Angeles Master Chorale High School Choir Festival. This is one of the largest high school choir festivals in the nation. 

You’ll get to hear remarkable vocal talents of more than 900 high school students from twenty-five Los Angeles schools in a massive choir conducted by Grant Gershon. Date: May 1, 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Click here for more details about the event.


Dance at the Wallis on May 10

Head to the Wallis for Dance Sunday with Debbie Allen and Friends!  It is a free & family-friendly dance class!  May 10 will be VOGUE.


The Downtown LA Art Walk

This is a monthly self-guided tour of the art exhibition venues in Downtown Los Angeles.  You’ll see commercial art galleries, public museums, nonprofit spaces, and even grassroots arts venues.

The event gives you an insight into the ever-evolving Downtown Los Angeles. Date: May 14, 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. Click here for more information about the event.


Long Beach Pride Parade

Venture down to Long Beach for the 2020 pride parade and festival on May 15-17.  The parade is on Sunday and is free!  Some of the events have a ticket- so be sure to plan ahead.


Beverly Hills Art Show

Between May 16-17, you can browse various pieces of sculpture, painting, drawing, photography, ceramics, and jewelry among other items at this spring’s Beverly Hills Art Show.

In addition to the nearly 250 artists who will be featured at the show, there will be a number of food trucks available and a beer garden for visitors.

The art show will be held each day from 10 am – 6 pm; check the website for more information!


Museums of the Arroyo Day

For one day a year, six different museums in LA and Pasadena open their doors to the public for free. In 2020, the day is May 17.

Take the family to explore what places like The Gamble House, The LA Police Museum, and Autry’s Historic Southwest Museum have to offer.

Expect crowds that are larger than normal; more information available here.  

While you’re there, read about the other things to do in Pasadena.


The Pulitzer Prize Winners Event

Interact Theatre Company will be hosting a free event throughout the year.  Dramatic readings celebrating Pulitzer Prize-winning dramas will be presented on the last Sunday of each month.

The May read is “Dinner with Friends” by Donald Margulies on May 31 at 1:30pm at the North Hollywood Library. For more information, click here.


Public Star Party at Griffith Park Observatory 

One Saturday every month (May 30) the Observatory hosts a night where guests can try amazing telescopes between 2pm-9:45pm on the lawn.  You can also check out the free museum while you are there!

Or bring your flashlight for an evening hike!  Be sure to stay safe and stay on the wide paths, of course.

 

View from Griffith Park’s Mount Hollywood at night taken by our L.A. Guides


Wine Tastings at the Hollyhock House -Fridays in August

May 31st is the kick-off to Wine Tastings at the Hollyhock House! Head to the Barnsdall Art Park Hollyhock location to enjoy wine tastings with Silver Lake Wine! 

There will be food options for purchase as well as nighttime tours of the house for $15.  The house is a historic Frank Lloyd Wright – architecture lovers are welcome!


Perform in Hollywood

Let yourself be heard at VOX Hollywood.  It is an open mic night held every Thursday at 6pm at the Frances Howard Goldwyn – Hollywood Regional Library


Smorgasburg in L.A.

Smorgasburg is the largest open-air weekly food market in America!  Stop by every Sunday between 10am-4pm. The market is free but you will definitely be tempted to spend a few bucks on a meal or two or three.

Smorgasbord L.A. Vendor Wanderlust Creamery- How perfect for the travel-lovers!

 

The bar at Smorgasburg taken by an L.A. Tour Guide


Attend a Live Taping

There is nothing more Hollywood than attending a live taping and it is free! 

Many T.V. shows and game shows tape in LA, of course. Including, The Jimmy Kimmel Show, The Kelly Clarkson Show, and the Price is Right!

Looking for tips and tricks to getting free tickets? Check out our live taping blog here.


Long Beach Pride Parade

Venture down to Long Beach for the 2020 pride parade and festival on May 15-17.  The parade is on Sunday and is free!  Some of the events have a ticket- so be sure to plan ahead.


Go for a Hike during L.A. 

For a popular hiking option, check out Runyon Canyon Park where you’ll have 360-degree views of downtown L.A., the Hollywood Sign & Griffith Observatory, and even the ocean on clear days. It’s free to hike in the park! 

Tip: Check out our post on Things to do in Griffith Park for even more hiking options! 

 

View from Mount Lee during a hike in part of Griffith Park taken by a tour guide


See Los Angeles from Above 

Catch the (free!) views from above on the observation deck at LA’s City Hall downtown. The observation deck is open on weekdays from 8am-5pm and provides spectacular views of the city. 

If you plan to see the view for yourself note that you’ll enter the building through the doors on Main Street.  You’ll be passing through a metal detector upon entering the building and you’ll need a valid photo ID card with you. 

After that, all that separates you from the view is a couple of elevator rides and one set of stairs up to the 27th floor!

 


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NIGHTTIME ACTIVITIES 

Below is just a short sampling of the many things to do at night in May.

We’ve also covered several additional ideas in our other sections. Make sure to look around this post for evening attractions such as Shark Lagoon Night at the Aquarium, going to the theatre, seeing a sporting event, attending a concert and more.

For suggestions on other nighttime activities, see our post Things to do at Night in LA.


Celebrate Star Wars Day at Scum and Villainy Cantina

May the 4th be with you!  On May 4th, head to LA’s friendly neighborhood geek bar.  You’ll have a great time hanging out with fellow Star Wars fans and are sure to spot a Wookie or two.

Click here to learn more about the cantina


See a Performance at the Walt Disney Concert Hall

The Los Angeles Philharmonic will be performing several shows throughout the month of May at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. This unique venue was designed to produce some of the richest sound possible, ensuring a great experience for every audience member.

May 7-15, the Los Angeles Philharmonic presents music from Stephen Sondheim’s “Sunday in the Park With George.”  If you are a musical theatre lover, experiencing music in the Walt Disney Concert Hall will be incredible!  This is also the starting location of our Downtown L.A. Tour.

For many more ideas, be sure to take a look at our post about things to do at night in LA.

A unique view of the Walt Disney Concert Hall in DTLA taken by an L.A. tour guide


Chinatown After Dark

May 7, 6:00 – 10:00 p.m.  This monthly event features innovative chefs who test out new menu items and pop-up concepts.  The event features musical acts from vocalists, DJs, and instrumentals. Far East Plaza, 727 N. Broadway, Los Angeles


The 626 Night Market

If you love fun food and buying local goods- check out the 626 Night Market. Imagine a cotton candy/ice cream taco or a burger with a ramen noodle bun!

The Night Market happens on various dates and locations throughout the summer, including May 8-10, May 15-17, May 23-35.


See a movie at the historic Egyptian Theatre

The historic Egyptian Theatre built in 1922 is the home American Cinematheque!  It is a great place to see a screening and catch a flick, while also appreciating the incredible architecture.  Join our Hollywood Tour for more fun facts about this theatre!


Evening Events at Smorgasburg

On May 3 at 7:30pm, head to the Smorgasburg Beer Garden for a free event with photographers from L.A. Times.   

May 4 at 7:30pm, attend an event that celebrates ESPN’s body issue.

Bring your picnic blanket and get cozy under the L.A. night sky!


Head to the Wallis Center

The Wallis Center in Beverly Hills has amazing performances year-round.  In May 2020, we can look forward to several fantastic events and entertainers including a dance and acrobatic show called Diavolo!  

Buy tickets for May 14 for a post-show talkback with champagne.


Attend an Outdoor Movie Screening

Could anything be more LA than spending time in front of the silver screen? It’s even better when you can watch them outside on a nice summer night! Dates in April are all TBD.

Movies at Hollywood Forever Cemetery

The resting place of the most famous Hollywood stars hosts outdoor movies in the summer.  You can pay tribute to Judy Garland and then catch a flick!

Tickets must be purchased. You can do so here.

Street Food Cinema is a series of summer movies that partner with food trucks!  Each date is at a different location in Los Angeles. Be sure to buy your tickets in advance!  

You can also watch a movie poolside in Beverly Hills with Poolside Cinema.  There are prix fixe menus that you can pre-order, you can have an adult beverage, and lounge by the pool!  

For more outdoor movie screenings, see our Los Angeles Summer Guide.

 


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FAMILY-FRIENDLY THINGS TO DO 

Los Angeles is full of family-friendly things to do in May 2020 and many that will be sure to appeal to everyone’s interests!

There are also some activities we’ve mentioned in other sections like the Renaissance Faire, sporting events, or outdoor movies that are family-friendly.


Mother’s Day

During the weekend of May 10, show Mom how much you appreciate everything she’s done over the years by celebrating her this weekend!

Check to see what Mother’s Day brunch options and special menus LA restaurants are offering, or perhaps take Mom on a special Mother’s Day Cruise or whale watching excursion.

Reservations for any Mother’s Day weekend activity are strongly encouraged.

NOTE: Don’t forget about the Mother’s Day Love Jam featuring artists like Keith Sweat, Bell Biv DeVoe, and Ginuwine.


Have Fun at Greek Fest

From May 17-19, 2019, celebrate Greek culture with a weekend of food, music, and dancing! Indulge in a variety of authentic Greek fare and homemade pastries including souvlaki, moussaka, spanakopita, and baklava at Greek Fest.

Also enjoy shopping numerous vendor booths filled with souvenirs, paintings, jewelry, and clothing among other items.

Kids will love the “Kidz Zone” with carnival ride, games, and much more!

Although general admission isn’t technically free, it’s only $3 at most and $2 with their flyer. Senior citizens, Children under 12, Military, Police and Fire personnel will all receive free admission.


Topanga Banjo Fiddle Contest and Folk Festivals

This festival will feature four stages and over 100 instrumental and singing contestants from singing and playing on outdoor Western movie sets. The event will also include folk arts booths, National Parks booths, food, and children’s activities.

Located up at Paramount Ranch on May 17, 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Click here for more information about the festival


Take the Family to the Israel Festival

This is the largest Jewish festival in Los Angeles, and it’s the perfect event for any family and is held on May 17, 2019.

In addition to plenty of great music and amusement rides, there will also be a kids’ space with entertainment for children.

One of the biggest activities will be the Mega Challah Bake, where you and the family can learn how to make the dough and braid your own Challah. There will also be several kosher foods stands on hand if you get hungry!

Whether you’re Jewish or you just want to show some support for the culture, the Israel Festival is an excellent activity.

NOTE: Even if you can’t make it to this event, there are quite a few food festivals and music festivals taking place this month that your family might enjoy.


Celebrate Memorial Day!

What better way to celebrate Memorial Day than at a parade!  Canoga Park is hosting its 29th annual parade this year on May 27 at 8am.  Grab your coffee and your red, white & blue to cheer on the bands, dancers, and veterans!


See a movie at the el Capitan Theatre

There is nothing for L.A. than watching movies!  The el Capitan Theatre is a gorgeous movie palace in the heart of Hollywood.  The architecture is breathtaking!  

If you are a Disney-lover, this is a great theatre to visit because it is owned by Disney and only plays Disney movies!  The best part is that there is often a pre-show event or performance on stage. Check their website for the updated movie schedule.

El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood- Snapped by an L.A. Tour Guide during the Hollywood Tour!


Visit the California Science Center!

A science museum for all ages, the California Science Center has many interactive and hands-on exhibits that explore innovations, human inventions, and more.

The center is also home to the Space Shuttle Endeavor (tickets required) and rotating special exhibits.

The museum is open daily from 10 am – 5 pm and entrance to the permanent exhibits is free!

TIP: Tickets to the California Science Center IMAX Theater are included with the Go Los Angeles Card.


Enjoy the Aquarium of the Pacific

Take the family for a fun day under the sea! Spend a day among the marine life at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach.

Sea life on display includes sea otters, turtles, jellyfish, numerous tropical fish, and a shark lagoon among other exhibits.

The aquarium is open daily from 9 am – 6 pm. Admission prices vary.

TIP: Don’t forget that the Shark Lagoon Nights at the Aquarium of the Pacific are entirely free to attend every Friday.

For more ideas of things to do with kids in LA, see our post Things to do in LA with Kids.

 


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