We’re back with another rendition of our Top 10. This time around, there’s plenty of beer, biking, chocolate, and fun as May is set to come in with a bang. And hey, April showers bring May flowers right? I don’t know about you, but we’re ready for the sunny weather to (finally) warm us up over here. Let’s throw April on the backburner and welcome May with open arms as we celebrate what’s happening this month. Here are your Top 10 Events for May 2015.
10) Long Grove Chocolate Fest
May 15-17th at 307 Old McHenry Road
Mama always told me you could never start a list off on the wrong foot by opening with chocolate (or something like that). Long Grove Chocolate Fest is basically a mix of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory and a small festival, which is as brilliant as it sounds. There’s also a chocolate scavenger hunt, and tasting tickets are only $5!
May 9th at Lincoln Park Zoo
Two things everyone loves: getting things for free and animals. Lincoln Park Zoo regularly provides both of these to its smiling patrons, and they annually hold a huge fundraising event to help keep the zoo free year-round. Zoo-ologie is more than just a fundraiser though, it’s an excuse to get dressed up, dance, eat, and drink to your heart’s desire. The event is held at the zoo itself, so you can check out the animals while you’re there too! And really, it’s good for your soul.
May 28-31st in Lincoln Square
Maifest celebrates German heritage over a three-day period and brings together everything you want in a festival: music, food, performances, and dancing! The first day offers an event I’d personally love to attend, the traditional keg tapping. Ah, to relive the ol’ college days…
7) Cinco De Mayo Festival
May 1-3rd in Little Village
Prepare your piñatas! This three-day festival provides mind-blowing Mexican food, kid-friendly entertainment, and Mexican cultural festivities that make it the ultimate Cinco de Mayo party. The best part? It takes place on the weekend, so you won’t even have to miss your other May 5th plans! Not good enough for you? Here are cinco more reasons to attend!
6) American Beer Classic
May 9th at Soldier Field
Beer. Beer. Beer. Beer. Beer! The American Beer Classic is all about tasting and sampling the greatest craft brews around, with over 200 to choose from. This fest is the largest of it’s kind in the Midwest, and it’s hosted at the iconic Soldier Field. Sound too good to be true? We thought so too.
5) Chicago Craft Beer Week
What could possibly be better than a huge beer event? A whole week of huge beer events! Chicago Craft Beer Week brings together all of the beer lovers, crafters, and providers from all over the city for one of the most refreshing events of the year. I would imagine that the creators of the event had a few beers beforehand since it actually takes place over a 9-day period, but hey, we’re not complaining. They’re expecting over 400 venues to participate this year, offering $4 tastings of rare beers and other special events.
4) Memorial Day Parade
May 23rd State Street, from Lake to Van Buren
Chicago has been a host to a Memorial Day parade since 1870. Today, Chicago’s parade is generally considered one of the largest and greatest Memorial Day parades in the nation. We all love to have a day off of work, but oftentimes the meaning behind the day is lost. The Memorial Day parade is a great way to bring out your inner patriot by honoring and showing remembrance for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. This is something that everyone should witness at least once in their lifetimes.
3) Bike the Drive
May 24th on Lake Shore Drive
It’s pretty surreal to ride your bike in the city without having to worry about cars or traffic getting in the way, which is why it’s no surprise that this event is huge! More than 20,000 people usually attend Bike the Drive, making it one of the most popular organized bike rides in the nation. A few other reasons to check it out: you’ll get to ride around without having to worry about Lake Shore Drive traffic, get some exercise, and enjoy the post-ride fest with food and music. You get a shirt too!
2) NFL Draft Town
April 30-May 2nd at Grant Park
We’ve pretty much included this one in everywhere on our site by now, but seriously, this never happens! NFL Draft Town is a huge (and completely free) fest that takes place along with the draft. I mean, it’s going to be BIG. The NFL is expecting around 15,000 visitors per day. Proponents are already convinced that this event will shape the way all of the future drafts are held, and who knows when it will return to Chicago? Convince your wife to let you see it with these easy tips or check out our all-inclusive map/guide here (or both if you’re as excited as we are!)
I thought about ranking this lower since it isn’t actually a Chicago-based event, but what would our poor mothers think if we didn’t show them some love? As always, Mother’s Day is going to be huge around Chicago, and there are limitless options that your dearest mother is sure to enjoy. A few of our recommendations? One of the more popular options will undeniably be the Navy Pier brunch and dinner cruises throughout the day. There are also some very elegant setups for afternoon tea at hotels around the city. See our complete guide on Mother’s Day recommendations here. Your mom will thank you!