If April has been a bit rainy, fear not. You know what they say about April showers — they bring a bevy of great May festivals and events. Here are just a few of the springtime crop to plan your next outing around.
May 27 – September 2
As a prime example of examining history through art, this exhibition opening in late May at New York‘s The Metropolitan Museum of Art features around 60 paintings and 18 photographs created between 1852 and 1877. The works together act as a timeline of the conflict by visually contextualizing the feelings of the American people at the moment — the realization that war was a certainty, the grim acceptance of prolonged battle, the excitement and apprehension of emancipation and more. These works were not traditional historical paintings, however. Landscapes and genre scenes came to the forefront of the artistic commentary, birthing beautiful pieces such as Frederic Edwin Church’s “Our Banner in the Sky,” depicting a blazing sunset sky, its clouds breaking to form the stars and stripes that, after many long years and bloody battles, came to represent the unified nation.
Why settle for a single weekend of festival fun when a month is available? Memphis’ month-long festival consists of five unique events, kicking off in musical fashion with the Beale Street Music Festival on May 3-5. Major acts spanning many genres of music such as Alice In Chains, The Black Keys, Bassnectar, Deftones and Public Enemy will be rocking out in Tom Lee Park. But even when your ears stop ringing, Memphis In May is just getting started. “Salute To Sweden” is a month-long celebration of the Nordic cuisine, art, customs and more featuring exhibits around town on Swedish glass making, an Icehotel photo exhibit, Nobel Prize Exhibit and more; World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest (May 16-18) is exactly what it sounds like as hundreds of teams BBQ battle for more than $110,000 in prizes; the Sunset Symphony is a family day of entertainment by the Mississippi River with local music, an air show from the Commemorative Air Force (with vintage WWII aircrafts), the titular Memphis Symphony Orchestra (performing at sunset, naturally) and a fireworks display. Looking for a luxury location for an extended Memphis stay? The Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star The Peabody Memphis is just a little more than a mile from all the action at Tom Lee Park.
May 30 – June 2
Sneaking in during the last few days of May, this southern festival of all things food and drink in Atlanta’s Midtown features a roster of culinary events worth planning your weekend (and, of course, meals) around. Thursday brings the festival’s flagship party, PIG OUT, but with a parking lot twist. PIG OUT: Tailgate Style Party takes high-end cuisine to the asphalt with talent such as Ford Fry, Kelly English, Chris Shepherd and more. In addition to the foodie heaven of a weekend the event brings, festivalgoers can opt for the Connoisseur Experience, a VIP package of sorts with access to a wine and spirits program featuring unique products, close-up demonstrations with the festival chefs, a festival concierge to help with any needs and more. Of course, your cuisine doesn’t have to be the only luxury element of your Atlanta experience. Be sure to check out the full Forbes Travel Guide Star-Rated roster of hotels including the Four-Star The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead, Four-Star Mandarin Oriental, Atlanta, Four-Star The St. Regis Atlanta and others.
May 17 – 21
A tough animal to pin down, this festival/conference/party/cocktail overload spans a Friday through Tuesday — no one will blame you if you call it a long weekend — filled to the brim with spiritual (the liquid kind) goodness. It all begins with The Gala, a kickoff event held at The New York Public Library and although the venue might indicate a laid-back affair, it will be anything but. Music, food and, get ready, 25,000 cocktails will take over the four floors and two city blocks of the NYC institution. Once you’ve composed yourself the next morning, the cocktail celebration is just getting started. Many of the popular events are already and unfortunately sold out, but others such as “Mandarine Napoleon’s Double Buzz: Coffee and Cocktails” (May 18, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.) and “A Deliciously Decadent Afternoon of Chocolate and Cocktails” still easily justify a trip into the city. Check out the full lineup of events and don’t forget to check in to one of New York City’s Forbes Travel Guide Star-Rated hotels such as the Five-Star Four Seasons Hotel New York, Five-Star Trump International Hotel & Tower New York and more.
May 24 – March 2014
Starting this month, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum shines a light on one of the most influential bands of all time: The Rolling Stones. Wild horses won’t be able to keep die-hard fans away from Cleveland for the exhibit’s opening day, but even casual fans will find themselves entranced by the personal artifacts, photos, film and texts that document the band’s story from its humble start in small London clubs and on through its meteoric rise to global notoriety. Spanning more than 50 years of history and occupying two and a half floors of the Museum, this is an exhibit that explores the many ways Keith, Mick and company have influenced not only music, but also modern pop culture and the very definition of rock ’n’ roll. The Museum plans to host several free special events to complement the exhibit throughout its run, including interviews, films and lectures; check the Museum’s website for updates.
Photos Courtesy of Atlanta Food & Wine Festival/Rafterman, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Belathée Photography, Lush Life Productions and Mark Seliger