This post covers the best things to do in LA in May and has been updated for 2023, 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 as well.
Disclosure: While our recommendations are always unbiased, we may receive a small share of sales through some of the links below at no cost to you. See the full text.
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.
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 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 of 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.
In fact, there are also multiple music festivals being held in the LA area this month, and we'll list the best of them below!
LA Area Concerts In May
I Love RNB Festival | May 27th
- ABBA: The Concert | May 6th, 26th
- Crowded House | May 8th, 9th
- Dermot Kennedy | May 12th
- Lil Wayne | May 13th
- Death Grips | May 17th, 21st
- Dead and Company | May 19th, 20th
- Shania Twain | May 28th
- Ja Rule
- Keyshia Cole
Cruel World Fest | May 20th
- Iggy Pop
- Billy Idol
- The Human League
- Echo and the Bunnymen
- Adam Ant
- Gary Numan
- Modern English
- and more
Beachlife Music Festival | May 5th
- The Black Keys
- Modest Mouse
- Gwen Stefani
- Black Crowes
- John Fogerty
- Mavis Staples
- Sugar Ray
- and more
If you're a Game of Thrones fan, there will be a Live Concert Experience at the Hollywood Bowl on May 13th.
Although this is certainly a lot of concerts to parse through, there are actually even more musical performances taking place in LA this month.
Make sure to check this list of concerts in Los Angeles if you're looking for another type of artist.
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.
If the NHL and NBA teams of Los Angeles are still playing, they will be hosting some of their semifinal games at home.
Hockey | season: October - June
Baseball | season: April - September
Soccer | season: March-October
Seeing a big game is a great way to spend your afternoon or evening! Check out all games in May here.
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 in the LA area during May.
- Hairspray | May 2nd - 21st | LA
- Hits the Musical | May 6th | LA
- Six The Musical | May 9th - 30th | LA
- Chicago the Musical | May 16th - 21st | Costa Mesa
- Cats | May 11th - 14th | Thousand Oaks
- Tootsie | May 30th | Thousand Oaks
There are also some family-friendly performances:
- Stars on Ice | May 20th | Anaheim
- Pops! Dance Party to Symphonic Rock | May 20th | Long Beach
For even more opportunities to visit the theater, check out this list of theatrical events in Los Angeles during the month of May.
5. Run the Orange County Marathon
Calling all runners! For those who love marathons, the OC Marathon and its related activities are a fun and scenic events.
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.
Races run from May 6th - 7th, 2023.
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. Enjoy the Opera
One of the most successful opera singers in the world, Andrea Bocelli, is coming to LA in May.
Hear this Grammy Award-winning tenor for two nights, May 9th and 10th, at the Hollywood Bowl.
Tickets can be purchased here.
The Los Angeles Opera, one of the largest opera companies in the US, is known for its high-quality performances.
They will have four showings of Otello in May at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.
Tickets can be purchased here.
8. Go to a Stand-up Comedy Show
If you're looking for a good opportunity to laugh, this is the perfect month to visit the City of Angels!
There will be several well-known comedians performing stand-up in Los Angeles this May.
Most of these shows will be tied to the Netflix is a Joke Festival taking place from May 1st - 8th.
Here are some of the more notable comedians you can see in LA this month:
- Ricky Gervais | May 6th
- Mike Epps | May 7th
- DL Hughley | May 7th
- Cedric the Entertainer | May 7th
- Stavros Halkias | May 11th, 12th, 13th
Farther afield are some other big names:
- Jeffrey Ross | May 12th, 13th | Irvine
- Dave Attell | May 19th, 20th, 21st, 23rd, 24th | Irvine
Check this list of stand-up comedy shows in Los Angeles to see everyone else that will be performing during the month of May.
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 runs on Saturdays and Sundays, April 8th through May 21st, 10 am - 7 pm.
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 upfront 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.
Or, if you know which pass you'd like to purchase you can buy one here: All-Inclusive - Go City Los Angeles | Explorer - Go City Los Angeles | Flex Pass - Los Angeles Sightseeing | CityPass Southern California
For more ideas for any time of year, be sure to read our master post on Things to do in LA.
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.
Dance at the Wallis on May 10
Head to the Wallis for Dance Sunday with Debbie Allen and Friends! It is a free and family-friendly dance class!
On May 14th there will be a live band at 11:00 AM, Mostly Josher, and at noon is dance instruction.
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. Click here for more information about the event.
Smorgasburg in L.A.
Smorgasburg is the largest open-air weekly food market in America!
Stop by every Sunday between 10:00 am - 4:00 pm.
The market is free, as is parking, but you will definitely be tempted to spend a few bucks on a meal or two or three.
TIP: Our Guide to Free Things to do in LA lists a number of activities and events that won't cost you a dime!
Beverly Hills Art Show
Between May 20th - 21st, 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 – 5 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.
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 is available here.
While you’re there, read about the other things to do in Pasadena.
NOTE: Dates for May 2023 have yet to be confirmed, but this event did take place in 2022, so it's likely it will happen once again this year.
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.
Go for a Hike in 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!
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 8 am - 5 pm 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!
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.
Public Star Party at Griffith Park Observatory
One Saturday every month the Observatory hosts a Star Party. This is a night where guests can try amazing telescopes between 2 pm - 9:45 pm 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.
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.
These take place at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, a unique venue designed to produce some of the richest sounds possible.
The Los Angeles Philharmonic will be performed here multiple times throughout the month.
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.
See a Movie at the Historic Egyptian Theatre
The historic Egyptian Theatre built in 1922 is the home of the 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!
Head to the Wallis Center
The Wallis Center in Beverly Hills has amazing performances year-round.
In May 2023, we can look forward to several fantastic events including the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and the Blue13 Dance Company.
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 in advance.
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!
For more outdoor movie screenings, see our Los Angeles Summer Guide.
FAMILY-FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES IN MAY
Los Angeles is full of family-friendly things to do in May 2023 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.
Celebrate Mother’s Day
During the weekend of May 8th, 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.
Have Fun at Greek Fest
From May 19th - 21st 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 at numerous vendor booths filled with souvenirs, paintings, jewelry, and clothing among other items.
Kids will love the “Kidz Zone” with carnival rides, 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 21st, 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. Click here for more information about the festival
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.
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.