Top 10 Things To Do in May 2021

Let’s go, Lake County, and peruse the top 10 things to do in May.

In May, we celebrate the full swing of spring, since April showers bring May flowers (no, not the boat).

Month number five also hosts National Travel & Tourism Week. Stay tuned to our website from May 2-9 (pretty much year-round, too). After dealing with an unprecedented 2020, music lovers can rejoice as the eldest outdoor music fest in North America makes its triumphant return. Ravinia Festival in Highland Park will release its 2021 schedule on May 6, so bookmark our blog to see what legendary musicians are punching their ticket to the land of lakes.

Also, Lake County’s farmers markets are beginning to open for the season. Click here to learn more about the freshest and locally-grown ripe fruits and veggies of the season.


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It’s time to toss your galoshes and winter coats and celebrate the finest box socials, performances, exhibits and scenic views the land of lakes has to offer. Here are your top 10 things to do in May.

1. Lake County Beer Gardens (All May)


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The land of lakes is known for its suds. With the weather getting warmer, there’s nothing better than having a scenic view while sipping down a few unique brews fitting for every palate. From the sights of Lake Michigan to the woodsy atmosphere in southern Lake County, say cheers to the tasty libations alfresco-style.

  • Buffalo Creek Brewing Co. Biergarten in Long Grove INFO»
  • Harbor Brewing Co. Lakefront Biergarten in Winthrop Harbor INFO»
  • Green Town on the Rocks in Waukegan INFO»

2. Camping Season in Lake County (All May)

“My wish is to stay always like this, living quietly in a corner of nature” – Claude Monet. Camping season is officially opened starting in May. Lake County may have few spots to camp, but boy, are they mighty. Visit these two locations in the land of lakes where the deer and the antelope. The two campsites remain open through October.

  • Illinois Beach State Park in Zion INFO»
  • Fish Lake Beach in Volo INFO»

3. Lake County Festivals in May (Now through May 30)

It’s festival season in Lake County. We missed out on most of our favorite fests due to COVID-19 cancellations in 2020, but many are returning this year. The sun is out, and humans are hunting for a party to cut a rug to live Spotify, exploring their palate for a bite of enchanting eats and drinks, seeking the thrills of a lifetime on all of the carnival rides and so much more.

  • Tulip Fest at Richardson Adventure Farm in Spring Grove (now through May 15) INFO»
  • Third Anniversary Pig Roast & Live Music at Harbor Brewing Co. (May 1) INFO»
  • Derby Hat Day with After Party in Antioch (May 1) INFO»
  • First Fridays on MainStreet Libertyville (May 7) INFO»
  • Barrington Spring Wine Walk (May 8) INFO»
  • Taste of Six Flags Food Festival in Gurnee (Select days May 8-23) INFO»
  • For the Love of Chocolate: Long Grove’s Bite-Size Chocolate Celebration (May 14-16) INFO»
  • Lake County Restaurant Week: Ten Days to Savor 2021 (May 14-23) INFO»
  • ArtWauk in Waukegan (May 15) INFO»
  • Food Truck Frenzy in Lake Villa (May 16) INFO»
  • Thunder on the Chain Drag Boat Races (Starting May 27) INFO»
  • Splash into Summer at Barefoot Bay (May 28) INFO»
  • Barrington Art Festival (May 29-30) INFO»

4. Mother’s Day in Lake County (May 1-9)

Mothers are the backbone of our lives. Mothers provide unconditional love, among the millions or billions of other things they do as our biggest superhero and supporter. Here are a few ways you can make a memorable celebration for mom.

  • Make Your Own Glass Pendant for Mother’s Day at Peter Patterson Glassworks (May 1-2) INFO»
  • Splurge Retail Week in Lake Zurich (May 1-8) INFO»
  • Mother’s Day Ladies Night out at Reclaimed Artisans in Libertyville (May 7) INFO»
  • Mother’s Day Craft Fair at Gurnee Mills (May 7-9) INFO»
  • Muffins with Mom at Mundelein Park District (May 8) INFO»
  • Potting Party at Lambs Farm (May 8) INFO»
  • Deer Park Town Center Mother’s Day 5K (May 9) INFO»
  • Mother’s Day at Beelow’s Steakhouse (May 9) INFO»

5. Chicagoland Virtual Wedding Fair (May 4)

As normalcy approaches from the effects of the pandemic, couples are preparing up for their in-person weddings. This unique showcase will provide grooms and brides-to-be products, dresses, venues, catering and so much more that goes with planning your big day. Before jumping broom, make a stop by the Chicagoland Virtual Wedding Fair.

6. Volo Auto Museum Reopens (May 14)


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Volo Auto Museum is a place like no other. Since early 2020, the planes, trains, automobiles, tanks, movie cars, old cars, and hip-car facilities were closed due to updates and, obviously, the pandemic. The place houses over 300 classic, antique and muscle cars complemented by automobiles made famous on the big screen and the boob tube. For example, you can see authentic versions of the DeLorean owned by Doc Brown, the cop car (enormous speaker included) of Jake and Elwood’s cop car, KIT from KnightRider, Batman’s Batmobile and a collection of others. An additional exhibit Volo Auto Museum added is their new Jurassic Gardens Dinosaur Park, unveiled upon reopening.

7. Lake County Restaurant Week: Ten Days to Savor (May 14-23)


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It’s Ten Days to Savor! Discover delectable dining all across Lake County. Lake County Restaurant Week is the perfect opportunity to explore new places to dine or enjoy old favorites. Each participating restaurant will be offering either a pre-fixe menu or an exclusive restaurant week dining offer. This 10-day event featuring over a ton of land of lakes restaurants only happens once a year, so make your reservations early. Visit Lake County shifted the festivities to mid-spring to allow for more expansive outdoor dining, vaccination-driven confidence, and fully-serviced operations that were more available for diners to enjoy with greater freedom and incentives. Don’t miss out. Stay tuned for the website.

8. Blarney Island Opens for the Season (May 15)


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Blarney Island is the premier summer party located a mile offshore on the Chain O’Lakes. The unique Antioch bar hosts events, fests, live entertainment, Thunder on the Chain and many others. Take the Blarney shuttle boat out from Port of Blarney, and in just a few minutes, you will be living on island time. Blarney Island is open from May through September. The Antioch island isn’t just a weekend destination. Thursday’s Thunder on the Chain Drag Races is a must-see event! Blarney Island remains open through Labor Day.

9. Butterflies & Blooms at Chicago Botanic Garden (Opens May 29)

Witness the majesty and beauty of the Swallowtail, Lycaenidae, Nymphalidae, Skipperling and as many as 500 other colorful butterflies and blooms at Chicago Botanic Garden. The Butterflies & Blooms exhibition highlights species that are native to Africa, Asia, North America and South America. The butterflies are housed in a 2,800-square-foot mesh enclosure on the Regenstein Learning Campus. Visitors can view the cocooned caterpillars make their transformation into butterflies through a window located inside the pupa emergence room. The exhibit is open daily through September 6 (weather permitting). Face coverings are required for anyone ages two years and older, and six-foot social distancing is encouraged. The exhibit runs through September 6.

10. Hurricane Harbor Chicago Opens for the Season (Open Select Days Starting May 29)

Take a dip in the drink, recline, relax and experience all the thrills at Hurricane Harbor. The Gurnee waterpark opened for the general public at the start of August. The H2O haven is equipped with numerous waterslides, the main swimming area called Monsoon Lagoon, a kid zone play area that utterly soaks attendees, an interactive surf area and so much more. Have a splashing good time this year. To enter Hurricane Harbor, you must make a reservation and ticket purchases before arriving due to the public health crisis. This summer, they will reveal their water coaster to the park called Tsunami Surge. Hurricane Harbor Chicago is open through Labor Day.

For a more extensive list, including our top 10 things to do in May, continue here. Stay tuned for our Lake County Restaurant Week: Ten Days to Savor website launch.



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