The Best Things to Do in L.A. in May

Movies in the cemetery, free comic books, a strawberry fest, and more

The jacarandas are nearly in bloom and so is a new month full of fun stuff to do. From a live musical sketch show at the Wallis to a strawberry fest in Garden Grove, here are our picks for the best things to do in L.A. in May.

Free Comic Book Day

May 4

You know it as Star Wars day (May the fourth be with you), but the first Saturday in May is also a chance to visit your local comics purveyor and walk away one title richer. Free has a list of participating shops in your hood.

World of Light

May 4-31

Even if you think you have pop-up museum fatigue, give this one a shot: Artists from across the globe showcase a series of interactive light and audiovisual installations—a 16-foot-tall LED sculpture and a 114-foot-long tunnel of lights among them—at this trippy exhibition at Exchange L.A. Tickets are a little steep at $30, but take solace in the fact that a portion of your dough is going to educational nonprofit Inner-City Arts.

Les Misérables

May 7–June 2

Once Fiddler on the Roof finishes its run at the Pantages on May 5, the theater swaps imperial Russia for 19th century France with an upgraded production of Les Mis. Between staging and scenery glow ups, plus a slew of hit ballads, we’d say there are 24,601 reasons to catch it (see what we did there?).

Story Pirates

May 13

The Story Pirates—aptly described as Monty Python meets Schoolhouse Rock!—anchor at the Wallis, where comedians from the Groundlings, UCB, and elsewhere spin your kids’ suggestions into live musical sketches.


May 11, 18, 25 & 26

Spring in L.A. wouldn’t be spring in L.A. without the kickoff of outdoor movie season. Cinespia returns to its hallowed stomping grounds on the 11th with a screening of the 1988 classic Beetlejuice; The Matrix, Legally Blonde, and Rear Window round out the month. As usual, costumes and BYO picnics are highly encouraged.

Lang Lang & Beethoven

May 17 & 19

He’s still rebounding from tendonitis, but superstar pianist Lang Lang joins the L.A. Phil for two performances of Beethoven’s first-written (but second-published) concerto. Completists can catch concertos Nos. 1 and 3 on May 18, while Nos. 4 and 5 get some love on the 23 and 24, each with different piano virtuosos on the bill.

Museums of The Arroyo Day

May 19

The good news: It’s the 30th anniversary of this event celebrating Arroyo culture. (Yay, history!) The bad news: You’ve only got four hours to visit six museums—the Gamble House, Heritage Square, L.A. Police Museum, Lummis Home, Pasadena Museum of History, and the Autry’s Historic Southwest Museum—free of charge. Godspeed.

K.A.M.P. Family Fundraiser

May 19

Stoke your kids’ creativity at this inventive to-do at the Hammer Museum, where architects, musicians, and painters lead hands-on workshops. A-listers like Sofia Vergara and Armie Hammer are on tap for story time, too.

Love Heals All Wounds

May 23

Dance phenoms Jon Boogz and Lil Buck bring their mix of choreography and spoken-word poetry to Royce Hall. You might need to debrief over Diddy Riese after experiencing the pair’s opus on mass incarceration, immigration, and environmental ruin.

Garden Grove Strawberry Festival

May 24-27

In the mood for a Memorial Day weekend road trip? Grab the kids, set your Google Maps for Garden Grove, and cruise to the 61st annual strawberry fest for slices of free strawberry cake (yum!), carnival rides (woohoo!), and at least one punny attraction (the Berry, Berry Beautiful Baby Pageant).

L.A. Zine Fest

May 26

Let’s hear it for the little indie publishers that could, many of which you can catch during this fest at Culver City’s Helms Bakery. All of the bookish festivites wrap up at 6 p.m.; finish your night right by grabbing Sichuan dumplings at nearby Lukshon or one of Father’s Office’s famous burgers.

Hola Mexico Film Festival

May 31-June 8

HMFF returns to the Montalbán Theatre, Regal Cinemas L.A. Live, and La Plaza de Cultura y Artes to celebrate the best in Mexican cinema, from Alejandra Márquez Abella’s drama Las Niñas Bien to the first Mexican movie about Afro-Mexicans, La Negrada.

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