May 2018 in Austin: Arts, Crafts and BBQ

Even after you’ve made plans for Mother’s Day and picked an outing for Memorial Day, you’ll find plenty of interesting opportunities in the Austin area this May.

The Hot Luck Festival returns, bringing in some of the nation’s top chefs and most interesting jazz, zydeco and blues acts. Meanwhile, on Cinco de Mayo, you’ll find plenty of reasons to dance and sample salsas at a variety of bars or at cultural festivals around town.

Art lovers will also find reasons to get out and about in the beautiful spring weather. The Pecan Street Festival, a long-time favorite among art fans, and a tour of artist studios in West Austin provide two of the best art-oriented opportunities of the year.

Now, pull up your calendar and pencil in a few fun things to check out this month.

May 2-6

Austin is perhaps influenced more by Latin America than any other external culture, but many of us miss out on Latin American documentaries that don’t have big box office releases. You can view many of them, hear from producers and actors and much more during the Cine Las Americas International Film Festival

When: Each day
Where: Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center
More information:

May 5

You’ll find dozens of Cinco de Mayo events at restaurants, bars and clubs throughout the city. But the main event is Fiestas Patrias, a party that benefits a nonprofit and is full of cultural experiences.

When: Noon to 10 pm
Where: Fiesta Gardens Park, 2101 Jesse E. Segovia St.
More information:

May 5-6

Austin’s 6th Street is known for its clubs and partying these days. But in Austin’s formative days, it was more about traditional commerce of everything from groceries to arts and crafts. The city brings that spirit back from a couple weekends a year, filling the street with vendors selling art, crafts, snacks and more. You’ll also find live music and plenty of things to do along the way.

When: All weekend
Where: 6th Street downtown
More information:

May 13-14 and 20-21

Discover how artistic Austin really is during a wide-ranging tour of some of the city’s most interesting design and creative spaces. Big Medium’s West Austin Studio Tour is a free, self-guided exploration of dozens of studies that are typically closed to the public.

When: Check schedules for each location
Where: Throughout Austin
More information:

May 23

Zilker Park is truly one of Austin’s gems. And what better way to enjoy it than while hanging out on a blanket in the grass taking in some of Austin’s best local musicians. Blues on the Green is an Austin favorite, and it runs on Wednesdays in the middle of the month all summer long. And it’s free.

When: Sunset
Where: Zilker Park
More information:

May 24-27

Aaron Franklin has become a household name — at least among anyone who loves barbeque. Now, Franklin is putting his name behind a music and food festival called Hot Luck. You’ll find music by big acts like Galactic and DJ Questlove, as well as food from some of the top chefs in the country.

When: Each day
Where: Various locations in downtown Austin
More information: