31 of the Best Things to Do in Chicago and the Suburbs in May 2022

It’s that time of year again when Chicagoans finally leave behind their cold-weather blues and hit the streets for some early summer amusement. Throughout the month of May you can find an array of indoor and outdoor activities to check out, whether you’re looking for family fun or an evening out with friends. Be it in the suburbs or in the heart of the city, your next summer adventure is sure to be found on our list!

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Disclaimer: The events listed below vary in their COVID-19 requirements. If interested in an event, please visit their webpage to see their vaccine and mask regulations.

All Month

The Queen’s Ball: A Bridgerton Experience

31 things Bridgerton Exp.
Photo by Federico Imperiale

For all you Regency-era lovers or fans of Netflix’s captivating series “Bridgerton,” the biggest event of the London social season is right here in Chicago. “The Queen’s Ball: A Bridgerton Experience” will immerse guests in an interactive night of music, costume and elegance — all based closely on the series. The chance to mingle as a member of high society will run through June 12; ticket prices begin at $56. 

5336 S. State St, Chicago

Stories of Survival

31 things Stories of Survival, Navy Pier
Photo courtesy of Illinois Holocaust Museum

“Stories of Survival: Object. Image. Memory.” is the latest installment at Navy Pier’s Polk Bros Park, in partnership with the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center. The insightful, humbling exhibit displays 50 personal artifacts from families who came to America seeking peace during ongoing war and genoicide at home — each piece begging the question, “What would you take with you?” The showcase is open to the public through June 30; admission is free.

600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago


31 Things Athena
Courtesy of Writers Theatre

A production about two driven teenage girls who are simultaneously rivals and allies? Sign us up! Beginning May 5, “Athena” will be at the Writers Theatre with various showtimes throughout the week. Don’t miss this show, sure to be favored by anyone who enjoys coming-of-age tales.

Tickets and additional information can be found on the theatre’s website.

325 Tudor Court, Glencoe

Walk and Talk Challenge

In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, Under the Same Sky is hosting its second annual “Walk and Talk Challenge.” Participants can join in by simply going for a walk anywhere, at any time; bring a friend or family member to connect with; take a picture and post it to social media to keep the mental health conversation going; tag @utsscharity; and nominate a friend by using #WalkandTalkChallenge. No sign-up, no fees, just fresh air for your mental wellbeing.

Intimate Apparel

31 Things Intimate Apparel
Photo by Liz Lauren

Lost love and the fight for a full life are showcased in Northlight Theatre’s latest play, “Intimate Apparel.” Running through May 15, this tale about a determined Black seamstress in the early 1900s is sure to resonate with viewers who appreciate authentic period pieces.

Tickets and more information can be found here.

9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie

May 1: Evanston Made Maker’s Market

31 things Evanston Made Maker's Market

Cut out the middleman and come shop directly from local artists, artisans and makers in the Chicago area. Hundreds of unique gifts and crafts are available for purchase during this five-hour exhibition. There is a small suggested donation for entry to the market. More information can be found on their website.

12p.m. – 5p.m., 1800 Maple Ave. Parking Garage, 5th Floor, Evanston

May 4: Mom’s Night Out

Calling all moms to a special night out on the town leading up to Mother’s Day. From 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. local stores will stay open late while you peruse special promotions, prizes, discounts and pop-up vendors. Don’t limit your celebration to just one day, come down to Lakeview and treat yourself!

May 5: Thresholds 2022 Gala: A Celebration of Hope

This year’s Threshold Gala will raise funds to continually provide life-affirming services to those who experience mental health and substance use conditions. The event will be held at The Geraghty at 5 p.m., tickets can be reserved here.

5:00 p.m. – 9 p.m. 2520 S. Hoyne Ave., Chicago

May 7: Demonstration Cooking: All About Salt

31 things Chicago Botanic Gardens: salt

For any cook at any level, striking a balance with seasoning is crucial. At Chicago Botanic Gardens, cookbook author Emily Paster is harnessing her skills to answer all your burning questions about the cornerstone of cooking: salt. The how, what and why of cooking with salt will be addressed May 7 at 10 a.m., ticket prices begin at $69.

10 a.m. – noon 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe

May 7: Annual Mother’s Day House Walk-By

A tradition 47 years in the making returns once again to marvel at the historic homes of Evanston. This year’s “Mother’s Day House Walk-By” can be enjoyed both virtually or in-person. The week-long event offers the chance for attendees to learn local history about the homes, the district and the CTA. 

For more information on ticket pricing and event line-ups, visit the Evanston History Center website.

May 7: Art & Wine Night

31 Things Art & Wine Night

Three floors of artwork, 150 pieces to marvel at and plenty of beverages to go around — the Creative Coworking Art & Wine Night is the perfect dose of culture for the evening. So leave the kids at home and come take in the work of over 40+ local artists. The event is free; RSVP is not required, however, it is recommended.

4 – 6 p.m. 922 Davis St., Evanston

May 7 & 8: Mother Earth Market

Nothing ushers in the warm weather like an outdoor market! With two days packed with events such as yoga, live music and, of course, an array of artists and vendors — all of whom support a future of sustainability — the Mother Earth Market is the perfect way to leave cold weather behind and shop local.

A virtual pre-sale is available until May 6 for those unable to physically attend. Admission to the in-person market is free.

21850 N. Riverwoods Rd., Riverwoods

May 8 & 9: The Brothers Haydn

Get ready to be sent back to the Baroque era with an evening of Haydn brothers music. Conducted by Damn Jane Glover, the concert will lead listeners through the work and rivalry between Michael and Joseph Haydn.

Tickets can be reserved here.

25 E. Washington St., Suite 823, Chicago

May 9: RUSH Woman’s Board Spring Luncheon

The 27th annual Spring Luncheon, hosted by the RUSH Woman’s Board, will raise funds to support a number of projects that service both RUSH and their community. The afternoon will also feature actor and comedian Ali Wentworth.

Additional information on the event and tickets can be found here.

11 a.m. 160 E. Pearson St., Chicago

May 11: Heroes Breakfast

31 things Red Cross, Heros Breakfast

Celebrating its 20th anniversary of the program, the American Red Cross will once again host the “Heroes Breakfast.” Join them as they thank the dedicated people who serve our community. The event will be hosted both virtually and in person.

Ticket pricing and more information can be found here.

7:30 – 9:30 a.m. 720 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago

May 12: All Season Gardening with Native Plants

With the mission to diversify Chicagoland gardens, native plant specialists Charlotte Adelman and Monica Buckley will be hosting an all-season gardening, native plants presentation at the Wilmette Public Library. Putting an emphasis on color, variety and longevity, the presenters will walk the audience through the science behind and application of native gardening that promotes a healthy environment for all creatures, big and small. The event will be held at 2 p.m. and admission is free.

1242 Wilmette Ave., Wilmette

May 13: Flourish: The Garden at 50

For five decades the Chicago Botanic Garden has been an institution that centers on gardening and education in the Chicagoland area. Now, join them in celebrating their 50th anniversary with activities around the garden, such as nature-inspired art; interactive stories; and pop-up events through September. Don’t miss this momentous occasion for a historic institution!

May 13: The Great Penguin Party

31 things Penguin Party, Shedd Aqu.

The folks at the Shedd Aquarium certainly know how to throw a party! Join them for an evening of mingling and dancing as you wind through the exhibits of our aquatic friends. With period-perfect music, food and drink rest assured the penguins won’t be the only ones enjoying themselves.

Information on the event and ticket purchasing can be found here.

6:30 – 11 p.m. 1200 S. DuSable Lake Shore Dr., Chicago

May 14: Young People’s Poetry Day Featuring Pat Mora

31 things Pat Mora, Poetry Found.
Photo courtesy of Poetry Foundation, by Shannon Steinacker

This in-person event at the Poetry Foundation encourages young people, and their caregivers, to spend an afternoon exploring poetry. Beginning at 1 p.m., the three-hour experience will incorporate workshops, crafts and a number of activities to boost participants’ understanding of poetry. The event is free to the public.

1:00 – 4:00 p.m. 61 W. Superior St., Chicago

May 14 & 15: Free Admission Day at the Field Museum

31 things Field Museum Free Admission
Photo by Lucy Hewett, © 2018 Field Museum

Dinosaurs, artifacts and fossils — oh my! If you’ve been holding out for museum free admission days, now is your chance. Admission is free for Illinois residents on these days. Bring the family or even just yourself, but don’t miss out on this sweet deal.

9 a.m. – 5 p.m. 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago

May 14 & 15: Bonsai Show in Burnstein Hall

31 things Chicago Botanic Gardens: Bonsai

It’s all about the bonsai all weekend long at the Chicago Botanic Gardens. Stop in and be blown away by the hundreds of bonsai specimen that will be both on display and for sale. Additionally, demonstrations and workshops will be held for beginning bonsai enthusiasts or anyone curious to learn more. 

Registration is required along with an admission fee. Find out more here.

1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe

May 15: Navy Pier 5K 

31 things Navy Pier 5k
Photo by Heidi Zeiger Photogrophy

Check out the stellar views of Lake Michigan as you weave through the Navy Pier 5K trail. And if Chicago scenery isn’t enough, the run ends with prizes and a reception at the Beer Garden. Additionally, there is a Kids Dash for ages 2 – 12. Proceeds from the event support Navy Pier’s nonprofit mission. 

More information and registration can be found on their website.

8 a.m. – 4 p.m. 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago

May 15: Andersonville Wine Walk

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A post shared by Andersonville Chamber (@avillechamber

Wine tasting on a summer day, how can you beat that? Stroll through historic Andersonville as you sample wine at a number of participating local businesses. Tickets are on sale now for this boozy event, held 3 – 6 p.m. 

May 17: Discovering Mental Health In Nature 

31 things discovering mental health in nature

It’s proven that taking time away from everyday stressors and spending it with nature can help improve overall mental health. In support of Mental Health Awareness month, head on down to Big Marsh Park for a morning of outdoor, invigorating activities — such as bird watching, walking meditation and biking, as well as presentations and discussions on the topic of mental health. 

Information and registration for the event can be found here.

8 a.m. – 1 p.m.11559 S. Stony Island Ave., Chicago

May 17 – 29: To Kill A Mockingbird 

31 things To Kill a Mockingbird

Broadway in Chicago presents the latest rendition of Harper Lee’s gothic novel “To Kill A Mockingbird.” Adapted by Academy Award winner Aaron Sorkin, this take on the classic American story has critics raving. Don’t miss this show’s limited run!

Visit here for more information or for ticket prices.

17 N. State St., Suite 810, Chicago

May 19: Evanston Arts & Craft Beverage Crawl 

31 things Evanston Arts and Craft Beverage Crawl

The perfect harmony of local artists, unique boozy beverages and live entertainment has come together at the Evanston Arts & Beverage Crawl. Spend some time sampling from an incredible list of beverages in the heart of Evanston — and don’t forget your goody bag on the way out. Tickets start at $30 and can be purchased here, as well as on the day of the event from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

900 Chicago Ave., Suite 104, Evanston

May 19: Spirit of Design

31 things Spirit of Design
Photo by ©Eva Ho Photography, 2019

Design 4 Dignity’s annual fundraiser, Spirit of Design, has come around once again with the promise of a night full of cuisine, cocktails and “funktastic” music!

Tickets can be reserved here.

6 – 10 p.m. 2401 N. Lake Shore Dr., Chicago

May 21: Make-A-Wish Ball

31 things Make-a-Wish Ball

Between musical entertainment, auctions and an appearance by comedian Martin Short, the 2022 Wish Ball is sure to spread joy amongst attendees — hosted this year at Navy Pier.

Additional information about the evening and tickets can be found here.

6 p.m. 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago

May 21 & 22: Renegade Craft Fair

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A post shared by Renegade Craft (@renegadecraft)

Andersonville will be abuzz with the lively Renegade Craft Fair, bringing a curated  collection of artists to Chicago’s streets. Entry to the fair ranges from $0 – $12, a portion of which goes to The Nature Conservancy.

Additional information can be found here.

Clark St. between W. Bryn Mawr Ave. + W. Edgewater Ave., Andersonville

May 21 & 22: Skokie Festival of Cultures 

31 things Skokie Fest. of Cultures
Photo courtesy of Skokie Festival of Cultures

Immerse yourself in the melting pot of the Midwest. Enjoy food, interactive booths, performances and the festival’s annual flag display — celebrating the cultures of its participants. Going on its 30th year, the Skokie Festival of Cultures will surely be a hit with friends and family!

More information about the event is available on their website.

May 29: Coffee & Classics 

31 things coffee & classics
Photos courtesy of Fuelfed

Motorheads in the Chicagoland area may want to race over to Winnetka for the Coffee & Classics car show. Historic and rare cars will be on display by owners eager to talk shop with curious viewers.

Admission is free, more information about the show can be found here.

9:00 – 11:00a.m., Elm & Lincoln Ave. downtown Winnetka

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Margaret Smith is a Chicago-based writer and editor with a passion for socio-political storytelling about their community. They are a graduate of Columbia College Chicago.