5 Things to Do in May in Minnesota

photo by jeremy Nelson

Minnesota Public Radio host Tom Weber has written the new book 100 Things to do in the Twin Cities Before You Die, a bucket-list itinerary for the TC experience. We (spoon and) cherry-pick five of his recommendations for this month.  

1. MayDay

It could be said that MayDay is a throwback to its 1970s roots, but that would be denying its singular shaggy weirdness: the throngs around Powderhorn Park, the tall bikes, the lurching giant marionettes, the drum lines, the Polyamory Society booth. As Weber writes, “Puppets and humanoids unite!”

2. Franconia Sculpture Park

Free weekly tours of this ever-changing outdoor art landscape in the St. Croix River Valley—it feels like a mystic Brigadoon emerging from the mists of fervid creativity—start this month and take place Sundays through October. Describing the sculptures, Weber writes: “Some defy explanation; others make you want to write poetry.”

3. Cinco de Mayo

“You should consider entering jalapeño-eating contests (go for it!),” Weber dares attendees of the annual St. Paul West Side celebration. (After interviewing the world hot-pepper competitive-eating champion a few years ago about the aftermath of winning, I’ll pass, thanks.) But Cinco de Mayo kicks off the warm months with a vibe as laid-back as the low-rider cars on parade.

4. Art-A-Whirl

Weber rightly cites Northeast Minneapolis as an “artists’ haven,” and this weekend fest has become an indispensible experience—for the people-watching, the beer, and the kaleidoscope of original work (there’s a space on all our walls waiting for just the right piece of art).

5. Steamboat Minnehaha

Weber’s 100 Things recounts an oft-forgotten history: The original “streetcar boat” once transported people across Lake Minnetonka. After it was scuttled in 1926 and eventually dredged from the bottom of the lake, it was restored in the 1990s and now serves as a “floating museum” for weekend cruises.