Things to Do in Boulder in May

by Rachel Daly
Published: Last Updated on
things to do in boulder in May

It’s time to get outside, Boulder! In May, there are tons of fun events to attend including the Firefly Handmade Spring Market, Erie Balloon Festival, Boulder Creek Festival, BolderBoulder, Upslope Get Down as well as Leftapalooza. If you enjoy classical music, MahlerFest and Boulder Bach Festival Week are back. But there’s more! Duck races, magic shows, comedy shows, fun runs, musicals, and art events. Here are 30+ things to do in Boulder in May.

Firefly Handmade Spring Market

Photo Courtesy Firefly Handmade

When: April 30 & May 1, 2022

Firefly Handmade Spring Market is back at Twenty Ninth Street with 80+ artisans and live music. Firefly Handmade is Colorado’s premier handmade artisan market. We are a COMMUNITY of makers, entrepreneurs, and artists who are passionate about sharing craft and supporting local business. Discover unique handmade home goods, jewelry & accessories, adult & children’s fashion, skin care, ceramics, art, artisanal food, paper goods, pet goods, and more. Family-friendly, dogs welcome. Another FREE event on our big list of things to do in Boulder in May.

Gala Performance featuring Don Quixote

Photo Courtesy Centennial State Ballet

When: April 30, 2022, at 2 PM & May 1, 2022 at 1 PM

“All things human are finite.” – Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote. Don Quixote dreams of adventure. He takes Sancho Panza on a quest in search of Dulcinea, a woman Don Quixote believes to be so lovely and noble that she must be divinity. Join Centennial State Ballet for classical ballet’s favorite rom-com, live in the theater or in the comfort of your home through a livestream ticket! Special thanks to pianist Alaina DeBellevue for live accompaniment. This performance will be held at Niwot High School, 8989 Niwot Rd, Niwot, CO 80503. Tickets $25, available here.

Tulip Fairy and Elf Festival

things to do in boulder in 2019
Photo: All Things Boulder

When: POSTPONED TO SUNDAY, MAY 1, 2022 from 1 PM – 5 PM

Spring officially arrives in Downtown Boulder with the Tulip Fairy and Elf Festival. Festival-goers can witness the vibrant Tulip Fairy, along with pint-sized fairies and elves, parade around the Pearl Street Mall, welcoming the tulips. This beloved springtime tradition in Boulder features special events and activities for girls and boys and celebrates the more than 15,000 tulips that adorn the world-renowned Pearl Street Mall throughout the spring season. The event includes live stage performances, face painting, free activities for children, and more! Another FREE event on our big list of things to do in Boulder in May.

First Sip: Celebrating Boulder’s Beverage Scene

Photo Courtesy First Bite

When: April 28 – May 1, 2022

First Sip is a four-day celebration of Boulder’s incredible and diverse beverage scene. In the last decade, restaurant cocktail lists have gotten exponentially more inventive and now include a wide variety of spirits along with non-alcoholic options. In Boulder particularly, there is also a myriad of breweries, distilleries, wine bars, coffee roasters, and underground mixer companies serving thirsty patrons alike. First Sip will showcase what makes each participant one-of-a-kind through a variety of cocktail classes, drink specials, complimentary tastings, and more. With 33 businesses partcipating, First Sip will see many of the featured restaurants that participate in First Bite such as Cafe AionT/ACO, Dagabi Tapas Bar, Fringe: A Well Tapped EateryOAK at FourteenthBoulder Dushanbe Teahouse, and The Greenbriar Inn along with newcomers like FarowMojo TaqueriaR Gallery + Wine BarSanitas BrewingAvanti, GeminiRayback Collective and Cocktail Caravan among others. 

Rise Against Suicide Emerge 5K

things to do in Boulder in May
Photo Courtesy Emerge 5K

When: Sunday, May 1, 2022, at 9 AM

Rise Against Suicide’s 10th Annual Emerge 5K will be in person at the Boulder Reservoir on May 1st AND there is also a virtual component for our friends and supporters from afar. And this year IT IS FREE! This free family fun run/walk includes a morning of community, live music, fun, prizes, and more. Donations are appreciated. Another FREE event on our big list of things to do in Boulder in May.

Boulder Blues Dance Jam

Things to do in Boulder on Mondays

When: Monday nights from 7 PM – 10 PM, beginners lesson at 6 PM

The Boulder Blues Dance Jam is held every Monday night at The Speakeasy in Longmont. Open to the public, enjoy blues music and dancing with drinks available at the bar. Dance lesson at 6 PM for beginners. Another FREE event on our big list of things to do in Boulder in May.

2022 Dash & Dine 5k Run Series

things to do in boulder in may
Photo Courtesy Dash & Dine 5K

When: Tuesdays in May from 6 – 8 PM

The Dash & Dine 5K Run is Boulder’s favorite spring tune-up race series. This family-friendly race is a series of four races Tuesday nights in May 2022 held at the beautiful Boulder Reservoir in Boulder, CO. The Dash & Dine 5k is a great opportunity to sharpen your racing skills in the Spring and is perfectly timed to get you ready for the Bolder Boulder and placed into the best wave for you, as the race is an official Bolder Boulder qualifier. The Dash & Dine 5k is all about friends, fun, and a family atmosphere. Where else can you have a nice mix of veterans, beginners, and seasoned professionals all racing together?! After each race, you’ll have a chance to relax, kick back with friends and make a few more while enjoying the post-race dinner, awards ceremony, and raffle prizes from our sponsors.

Boulder Bike Night (Happy Thursday Cruiser Ride)

Photo Courtesy Happy Thursday Cruiser Ride

When: Thursday nights at 7:30 PM from April ’til Halloween

Join Boulder Bike Night every week for the traditionally held and ever-evolving Thursday night cruiser ride! Weekly themes can be found here. April themes include: 4/7 – Masquerade, 4/14 – Happy Un-Birthday, 4/21 – Earth Day, 4/28 – Rockin’ the 80s. Meet at Greenleaf Park.

NoBo Art District First Friday Art Walk

Photo Courtesy NoBo Art District

Where: Friday, May 6, 2022, from 6 PM – 9 PM

NoBo First Friday is a FREE self-guided tour of artists’ studios and creative businesses in the NoBo Art District. Meet painters, sculptors, photographers, designers and other artists along your stroll through the area. Featuring live music, demos and special activities in many locations. Located along Broadway from Pine Street to Highway 36. Follow the colorful flags to find surprises around every corner. First Friday runs from 6:00 to 9:00 pm on the first Friday of the month. Please be respectful of COVID precautions, wear a mask and keep your distance. Please note that many locations have other opening and closing times, see the map or list to check exact times. Details at NoBoArtDistrict.orgAnother FREE event on our big list of things to do in Boulder in May.

Friday Night Weird

things to do in Boulder on Friday night
Photo Courtesy Friday Night Weird

When: Every Friday night from 8:30 – 11:30 PM

Friday Night Weird is a weekly cult film series at the Boedecker Theater of the Dairy Arts Center and we’re here to make Boulder weird again by providing curated access to some the best new and classic genre films and a proper theater experience to enjoy them in. For this week’s Friday Night Weird pick, click here.

Friday Night Jazz at Hotel Boulderado

things to do in Boulder
Photo Courtesy Hotel Boulderado

When: Every Friday night, from 5 – 8 PM

Spend your Friday night listening to Jazz in the historic lobby of the Hotel Boulderado. Sip on refreshing cocktails and enjoy small bites with a special happy hour menu available for Jazz in the lobby.

Boulder Farmers Market

Photo Courtesy Boulder County Farmer’s Market

When: Saturdays, April 2 – November 19, 2022, 8 AM – 2 PM & Wednesdays, May 4 – October 5, 2022 4 PM – 8 PM

Offering fresh fruit, flowers, veggies and delicious edibles, the Boulder Farmers’ Market provides a place for locals to sell their products in a friendly, fun environment. Twice a week, residents and visitors can fill their bags with goodies. Boulder Farmers Market is held on 13th Street next to Central Park, Boulder, CO 80308Another FREE event on our big list of things to do in Boulder in May.

Boulder Comedy Show

Things to do in Boulder on Sunday

When: Every Sunday night at Rayback Collective from 7 – 9 PM

The Boulder Comedy Show is the longest-running weekly comedy show in Boulder, CO. The live stand-up show happens every Sunday at the Rayback Collective. Every weekend a different comedian will be performing, headliners having been seen on Netflix, Comedy Central, HBO, Showtime, Fallon, Colbert, Letterman, Kimmel, MTV and pretty much everything in between. Schedule and tickets here.

Chris Collins with Alex Mitchell: A Tribute to John Denver

Photo Courtesy BDT Stage

When: May 5 , 6 & 7, 2022 from 6 – 9 PM

The best John Denver tribute show on any side of the Rocky Mountains is bringing us all home to the place we belong. With similarities between Chris’ and John’s voices, award-winning singer-songwriter, Chris Collins brings the unmistakable energy and enthusiasm to the stage that was the hallmark of John Denver’s performance. Featuring Boulder Canyon musician Alex Mitchell on guitar, fiddle, and mandolin. Tickets here.

Boulder Magic Show Presents: Giancarlo Bernini

things to do in Boulder in May
Photo Courtesy Boulder Magic Show

When: May 6-7, 2022

The Boulder Magic Show is back and will astonish and amaze you with this month’s performers! Giancarlo Bernini has astounded international audiences with an incredible magic show experience, with multiple national television and radio appearances under his belt, including Penn & Teller: Fool Us and The Jennifer Fulwiler Show. As always, the Boulder Magic Show at the Dairy is hosted and curated by Braden Carlisle.

Open Studio at Boulder Public Library’s Markerspace

things to do in Boulder
Sewing Rebellion, Photo All Things Boulder

When: Every Tuesday & Wednesday from 1 PM – 7 PM

Boulder Public Library and Building 61 offer Open Studio every week, giving free access to: 3D Printers, Sewing Machines, Electronics bench, Design Laptops, Vinyl Cutter, Screen Printing Equipment and more are available for use at this time. More info hereAnother FREE event on our big list of things to do in Boulder in May.

Estes Park Rotary Duck Race Festival

things to do in Boulder in May
Photo Courtesy Estes Park Rotary Duck Race Festival

When: Saturday, May 7, 2022, from 9 AM – 4 PM

Ducks Away! Join the fun on Saturday, May 7, 2022 in Estes Park for the 34th annual Estes Park Rotary Duck Race Festival. “Adopt” a little yellow plastic swimmer and watch the flock “swim” to the finish line. The fun happens along the Fall River, beginning at Nicky’s Steakhouse where thousands of ducks will hit the water at 1 p.m. The finish line is in downtown Estes Park, in George Hix Memorial Riverside Plaza. More info here.

7th Annual Upslope Get Down

things to do in Boulder in May
Photo Courtesy Upslope Brewing Company

When: Saturday, May 7, 2022, from 2 – 10 PM

The 7th Annual Upslope Get Down is a FREE music fest with Upslope beer & Spiked Snowmelt craft hard seltzer, food trucks, games, art, vendors, and more on Saturday, May 7th from 2-10 pm at the Flatiron Park brewery! Presented by Flatirons Subaru. For more info, click here. Another FREE event on our big list of things to do in Boulder in May.

Happy Smackah 5K Fun Run/Walk

things to do in Boulder in May
Photo Courtesy Happy Smackah

When: Saturday, May 7, 2022, at 8 AM

The Happy Smackah 5k Fun Run / Walk is back! The Happy Smackah originated as a fundraising event for a St. Vrain Valley educator who became seriously ill. Now in its 9th year it continues to hold benefit events for community members facing adversity. Join this run/walk to support her as the 2022 Happy Smackah beneficiary. This event is held at Lake McIntosh, 1905 Harvard St #3.5, Longmont, CO 80503

Luvin’ Arms Mother’s Day Celebration

Photo Courtesy Luvin’ Arms

When: Sunday, May 8, 2022 at 2 – 4 PM

Celebrate Mother’s Day with an unforgettable experience at Luvin Arms Animal Sanctuary! Meet the beautiful mothers of Luvin Arms and hear their inspiring stories, create crafts surrounded by the lovely scenery, and enjoy special treats from Best One Yet! This unique event is a celebration of the love between all mothers and all children. Save your spot today – limited availability.

Boulder Bach Festival Week

things to do in Boulder in May
Photo Courtesy Boulder Bach Fest

When: May 12 – 15, 2022, schedule here.

Boulder Bach Festival Week is a celebration of J.S. Bach’s music alongside contemporaries and later composers. The venue is Boulder’s historic First Congregational Church. The wood floors and tiered stage offer a warm and clear acoustic to experience Bach’s complex counterpoint. Principal players and soloists include top prize winners from Boulder International Chamber Music Competition—ART OF DUO, artists hailing from the stages of Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Amsterdam, and London. During the four days of the festival there will be daily lectures covering the repertoire for each program, two masterclasses (vocal and instrumental), an art exhibit, restaurant discounts, wine in the lobby, and four distinct programs that explore virtually every genre in which J.S. Bach composed, in addition to fascinating and beautiful works by Händel, Telemann, Corelli, Isabella Leonarda, Legrenzi, Castello, Clara Schumann, W.A. Mozart, and Lili Boulanger.

The Art of Food Fest

things to do in Boulder in May
Photo Courtesy Longmont Downtown Development Authority

When: Saturday, May 14, 2022, from 3 – 7 PM

May’s Art of Food Festival is the kickoff to Longmont’s summer events. Join Downtown Longmont on 4th Avenue, between Main and Coffman, for an afternoon of fun, art, music, and farm to table fare. Shop local artists, meet with local farms, sip, savor and participate in a community-painted street mural. This free event will be fun for all. Come celebrate Longmont’s local agriculture and creative community! Another FREE event on our big list of things to do in Boulder in May.

Louisville Farmers Market

things to do in Boulder in May
Photo Courtesy Louisville Farmer’s Market

When: Saturdays, May 14 – October 15, 2022, from 9 AM – 1 PM

Get fresh every Saturday at the Louisville Farmers Market! Proudly supporting Colorado farms and small businesses creating homemade and handmade artisan foods. Enjoy live music weekly in this family-friendly, dog-friendly venue. SNAP/EBT accepted! Another FREE event on our big list of things to do in Boulder in May.

Colorado MahlerFest 

Photo Courtesy Colorado MahlerFest

When: May 17 – 22, 2022, full schedule here.

MahlerFest XXXV investigates “what Mahler tells me” by looking to the boundaries between the interior and exterior in a festival week that features Mahler’s Symphony No. 3. The schedule of events also includes the world premiere of Symphony No. 10 by British symphonist and film composer Christopher Gunning, a chamber orchestra arrangement of Bartók’s haunting Bluebeard’s Castle, “Mahler and the Movies” (a FREE outdoor celebration of the music of the silver screen), a thought-provoking symposium, two chamber music concerts, a film, and more. We are excited to welcome a group of acclaimed Festival Artists this year, including our concertmaster Zachary DePue, former concertmaster of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, and Parry Karp of the Pro Arte String Quartet, as well as favorite local pianists David Korevaar, Jeremy Reger and Jennifer Hayghe. Visit https://mahlerfest.org/mf35/ for a full schedule of events.

Salmon Mountain String Band at Rayback

Photo Courtesy Rayback Collective

When: Wednesday, May 18, 2022, from 4 – 9 PM

The Bluebird Supper Club returns to Boulder, Colorado on May 18th with a special debut of the Salmon Mountain String Band featuring Adam Aijala (Yonder Mountain String Band), Andy Thorn (Leftover Salmon), Greg Garrison (Leftover Salmon), and Nick Piccininni (Yonder Mountain String Band). All-inclusive VIP Supper Club as well as Concert Only. Tickets are available at www.bluebirdsupperclub.com. Doors at 4:00. Music from 7:00-9:00. 

2022 Leftapalooza

things to do in Boulder in May
Photo Courtesy Left Hand Brewing Company

When: May 21, 2022, from 11 AM – 9 PM

Join the Left Hand Brewing Foundation and Left Hand Brewing Company for Leftapalooza, the raddest tribute band competition around! Vote via QR code for your favorite performance at the event – the crowd has the power! The tribute band with the most votes will be awarded a cash prize at the end of the event. Of course there will also be cold beer, tasty eats, and on-site presence from our amazing sponsors. Due to limited capacity in the event venue, all tickets will be sold at the door on event day, May 21. This event will sell out fast, so guests are encouraged to arrive early in the day to secure event tickets. For just $15, concertgoers can enjoy a full day’s worth of great music as these bands go to head-to-head for the top title, a cash prize, and the right to return as Leftapalooza headliner in 2023.

Erie Balloon Launch and Town Fair

things to do in Boulder in May
Photo Courtesy Erie Chamber

When: May 21 – 22, 2022

The Erie Town Fair and Balloon Festival feature over 200 craft and food vendors; performances on stage at Coal Creek Ball Park offer a variety of entertainment by local groups, carnival games, and hot air balloons. Hot air balloons launch at 6 AM on the East Side of Collier’s Hill. Saturday, May 21, the Town Fair will host vendors from 10:00 am – 4:00 PM at Coal Creek Park. Garage Rats Car Club will be hosting the Car Show. Another FREE event on our big list of things to do in Boulder in May.

Strawberry Festival Vintage & Antique Market

things to do in Boulder in May
Photo Courtesy Strawberry Festival

When: May 21, 2022 from 10 AM – 5 PM, May 22, 2022 11 AM – 4 PM

The Strawberry Vintage & Antique Market features dealers from all around Colorado and out of state showcasing jewelry (fine & costume), furniture, home décor, toys, collectibles, rustic, shabby chic, art, vintage, clothing, primitives–plus much, much more. After a morning/afternoon of shopping, stop by the SVHS café and enjoy lunch–and some strawberry shortcake. Admissions and café sales support The St. Vrain Historical Society, a local nonprofit, mission of historic preservation and education in the community. The Strawberry Festival will be held at the Boulder County Fairgrounds, 9595 Nelson Rd, Longmont, CO 80501. Admission is $5.00 per/person with children under 12 free.

Walk MS: Boulder

things to do in Boulder in May
Photo Courtesy Walk MS

When: Saturday, May 21, 2022, at 7:30 AM

Together Again at Walk MS 2022! Every step you take at Walk MS leads to something greater. With accessible routes that are stroller- and mobility device-friendly, there’s nothing quite like looking around you at a sea of orange-clad people who want to support you and the MS community. Build your team in your community and join the movement. For additional information and to register, please visit: https://ntlms.org/walkMS22fbe

The SpongeBob Musical at BDT Stage

things to do in Boulder in May
Photo Courtesy BDT Stage

When: May 27 – August 21, 2022, full schedule here.

SpongeBob is coming to BDT Stage! The stakes are higher than ever in this dynamic stage musical, as SpongeBob and all of Bikini Bottom face the total annihilation of their undersea world. Chaos erupts. Lives hang in the balance. And just when all hope seems lost, a most unexpected hero rises up and takes center stage. The power of optimism really can save the world! Tickets and more info here.

Boulder Creek Festival

reasons to love Boulder in the fall
Photo Courtesy Boulder Creek Events

When: May 28 – 30, 2022, full schedule here.

For over thirty years, the Boulder Creek Festival® has been the unofficial kickoff to summer in Boulder. The Memorial Day weekend festival includes three days of festivities featuring a large variety of events, activities, food, and entertainment unique to the Boulder community. Featuring nine separate event areas with 500 vendors showcasing everything from community arts and crafts to healthier alternatives and technology while a spectrum of music and dance is performed on three performance stages. The festival also features carnival rides and food and beverage vendors. The festival will be held along the Boulder Creek corridor, extending from Broadway to 14th Street (west to east), between Canyon Blvd. and Arapahoe Ave. (north and south) Click here for a detailed map. Another FREE event on our big list of things to do in Boulder in May.

BolderBOULDER

things to do in boulder in May
Photo Courtesy BolderBOULDER

When: Monday, May 30, 2022, from 8 AM – 2 PM

BolderBOULDER is one of the largest and most highly acclaimed 10Ks in the world. Whether you want to run or enjoy watching, BolderBOULDER is a ton of fun! Almost 1.2 million runners, joggers, walkers, and spectators of all ages have gathered over the years to create a spectacle that defies description. Olympic medal winners and hopefuls, grandmothers and kids, running enthusiasts, and one-race-a-year guests from all over the world come together at the foot of the Rocky Mountains to form one of the sport’s truly unique events. Each year BolderBOULDER hosts 50,000+ participants and 100,000+ spectators throughout the course for what we like to call the biggest and best Memorial Day celebration on earth.

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