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Top 10 Things To Do in May 2022

Happy May, Lake County! Warming weather is giving way to activities throughout our area for May.

With ever-improving weather comes multiple chances to get out and experience local opportunities throughout Lake County, Il. Ravinia Music Festival is getting ready to open the gates for a large variety of musical performances. Shop around the downtown areas while at a food truck frenzy or one of the multiple car shows. Activities are starting up on the water, such as the boat races at Blarney Island and the River Canoe & Kayak Marathon. Go out and experience the nature and trails of the Lake County Forest Preserves.

No matter the hobbies and endeavors you enjoy, there will be something for all to enjoy.

Find delicious food, support local business, and be a part of the continuing efforts to revitalize Lake County, Il.

Take advantage of Lake County with these top ten things to do in May.

1. National Travel and Tourism Week (May 1-7)

Illinois and the rest of the country continue in recovery phase due to the public health crisis, the industry is ready to celebrate the #FutureofTravel. Visit Lake County and its partners participate in National Travel & Tourism (NTTW) to facilitate our recovery, rebuild America’s workforce, become more sustainable, create greater mobility, develop our global competitiveness, prioritize inclusiveness and transition back to a seamless, secure and in-person destination. The U.S travel industry suffered unparalleled losses during the height of the pandemic. Join along as we celebrate the unique tourism opportunities here in our own state. The #FutureofTravel is driven by all of us –in every sector of our industry. A brighter future starts today in our own backyards. Keep an eye on our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and TikTok handles to see how you can join in the NTTW festivities.

2. Live Entertainment in Lake County (All May)

 

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Lake County showcases premier live music, theatre, stand-up comedy and more throughout the year. With the weather warming up and event spaces hosting concerts and performances again, there is no better time to get out and boogie-woogie for the spring weather. See below and what might catch your interest to get there and move those feet.

  • “The Sound of Music” at the Marriott Theatre (now through June 5) INFO»
  • “Picasso at the Lapin Agile” at Citadel Theatre (Select Days Through May 22) INFO»
  • CLC Wind Ensemble Spring Concert at the James Lumber Center (May 1) INFO»
  • Air Supply at Genesee Theatre (May 5) INFO»
  • “White Material” Movie at CLC (May 6) INFO»
  • Jazz Ensemble Spring Concert at the James Lumber Center (May 6) INFO»
  • 1964: The Tribute at Genesee Theatre (May 7) INFO»
  • Mother’s Day Weekend Grand Premier of “Dear Carol Ann” at Dandelion Gallery (May 7) INFO»
  • Spring Music Festival with LCSO at Buffalo Creek Brewing (May 7) INFO»
  • Chicago Monster Truck Wars at the Lake County Fairgrounds and Event Center (May 7) INFO»
  • Miss Myra and the Moonshiners at the Orlin Trapp Auditorium (May 7) INFO»
  • Special Mother’s Day Show Feat. Eileen Ivers at James Lumber Center for the Performing Arts (May 8) INFO»
  • CLC Concert Band Performance at the James Lumber Center (May 11) INFO»
  • Soul Asylum with Dishwalla at Genesee Theatre (May 12) INFO»
  • Drill or Die 2K22: Drill, Dance, and Drumline Competition at Zion-Benton Township Highschool (May 14) INFO»
  • The Fray at Genese Theatre (May 14) INFO»
  • Waukegan Symphony Orchestra Presents “Russian Gems” at the Orlin Trapp Auditorium (May 15) INFO»
  • Night One of Bitter Jester Music Festival (May 20 & 27) INFO»
  • Eddie Griffin at Genesee Theatre (May 20) INFO»
  • Ruth Page Civic Ballet at Ravinia Festival (May 20) INFO»
  • Ruth Page Civic Ballet and Special Guest’s Festival of Dance at Ravinia Festival’s Bennet Gordon Hall (May 21) INFO»
  • ArtWauk in Waukegan (May 21) INFO»
  • Peter The Pianist at Oaken (Every Friday in May) INFO»
  • Free Concerts in the Park Series in Mundelein (Sundays, May 29-Aug. 29) INFO»

3. Mother’s Day Events in Lake County (Now-May 8)

 

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With Mother’s Day right around the corner, there is still plenty of time to plan a special occasion for mom. You could make her breakfast in bed, or take her out into one of the many fine Lake County establishments hosting various offerings and events.

  • Inaugural Mother Earth Market at the Brushwood Center (now-May 8) INFO»
  • Mommy, Me and Tea at Susanna Farms (May 1) INFO»
  • Picnic & Paint at Mundelein Park District (May 7) INFO»
  • Mom and Me Craft Day in Fox Lake (May 7) INFO»
  • Mother’s Day Weekend Grand Premier of “Dear Carol Ann” at Dandelion Gallery (May 7) INFO»
  • Native Plant Sale at Independence Grove (May 7-8) INFO»
  • Mother’s Day Flower Sale at Reclaimed Artisans Inc. (May 8) INFO»
  • Mother’s Day Brunch in the Mickey Finn’s Brewery (May 8) INFO»
  • Mother’s Day Your Way at Side Lot Brewery (May 8) INFO»
  • Mother’s Day Brunch at Lambs Farm (May 8) INFO»
  • Mother’s Day at The Chocolate Sanctuary (May 8) INFO»
  • Special Mother’s Day Show Feat. Eileen Ivers at James Lumber Center for the Performing Arts (May 8) INFO»
  • Mother’s Day Brunch at White Deer Run (May 8) INFO»
  • Barrington Mother’s Day 5K (May 8) INFO»
  • Mother’s Day Buffet Luncheon at CAP Catering (May 8) INFO»

4. Lake County Festivals (All of May)

With the weather starting to warm back up, so are everybody’s motivations to get out there and experience activities full of food, beer, art and music. Listed below are May festivals ranging from family-friendly parties to small niche interests. There are opportunities to taste fanciful treats, imbibe on delicious cold brews, take in eye-catching art pieces, dance your shoes off and more.

  • Tulip Festival at Richardson Farm (TBD) INFO»
  • Cinco de Mayo Celebration at Round Lake Beach Cultural & Civic Center (May 6) INFO»
  • First Fridays on MainStreet Libertyville (May 6) INFO»
  • Spring Music Festival with LCSO at Buffalo Creek Brewing (May 7) INFO»
  • MayFest at the Grayslake Heritage Center and Museum (May 7) INFO»
  • Riverside Foundations Hearts of Gold Gala Kentucky Derby Celebration at Lincolnshire Marriott Resort (May 7) INFO»
  • Lake County Food Truck Frenzy (May 10) INFO»
  • Illinois Craft Beer Week in Lake County (May 13-20) INFO»
  • Long Grove Chocolate Festival (May 20-22) INFO»
  • Bitter Jester Music Festival (Fridays, May 20-June 10) INFO»
  • Blarney Island Opens (May 21) INFO»
  • Food Truck Frenzy & More in Antioch (May 21) INFO»
  • ArtWauk in Waukegan (May 21) INFO»
  • Eighth annual Craft Beer Tasting in Vernon Hills (May 21) INFO»
  • Deer Park Food Truck Series (Select Saturdays, May 21-October 15) INFO»

5. Lake County Car Shows (All May)

Calling all gear heads, car buffs and tire-burners: May is chock-full of car meets and gatherings. VLC showcases the top car shows in the area.

  • Chicago Monster Truck Wars at Lake County Fairgrounds (May 7) INFO»
  • Park on Park Cruise Night in Mundelein (May 11) INFO»
  • Culver’s Fox Lake Benefit Car Show (May 14) INFO»
  • Car Fun on 21 in Libertyville (May 18) INFO»
  • Jeeps 4 Vets: Remember the 22 in Grayslake (May 22) INFO»

6. Des Plaines Canoe & Kayak Marathon (May 22)

For those who appreciate endurance and boating, this is an event with smooth sailing. The 65-year-old Lake County Forest Preserve river contest runs 18.5 miles, beginning in Libertyville at the Oak Spring Road Canoe Launch in Libertyville, and ends in Mt. Prospect at North River Road. The race also hosts a mini-marathon that spans 5.25 miles starting in Wheeling and ending at the aforementioned Mount Prospect finish line. With 22 different classes, heats, distances and intervals of competition, to accommodate all ages and skill level paddlers. The first paddles slap the water at 8 a.m. Canoes, kayaks and standup paddle boarding (SUPs) are all acceptable racing vessels. Registration runs between $30-$40 and interested racers can visit CanoeMarathon.com to sign up. Competitors are encouraged to take advantage of the complimentary and shuttle parking.

7. Blarney Island and Thursday Night Boat Races (Select day from May 26- Sept. 1)

 

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Fast boats, delicious food and socializing on the docks. Blarney Island opens their doors on May 21. The Antioch Island rests in the Chain O’Lakes and is one of Lake County’s marquee parties on the waters. The Irish-themed, Florida party hosts myriad themed events, live music and DJs, a plethora of dance parties and serves up delectable eats and drinks. The annual Thunder on the Chain boat racing series begins the following Thursday. The high-octane event celebrates 39 seasons of drag boat racing on Grass Lake. Blarney Island maintains a front row seat to the racecourse. Visitors can also park their own boats at Blarney Island to view the speedboat spectacle. For those without vessels, Blarney Island runs two shuttle boats on the half hour at $10 per person for guests to get back and from Port of Blarney to the Chan O’Lakes isle. It’s called Key West of the Midwest for a reason. Treat yourself to a day-cation.

8. Hurricane Harbor Opens for the Season (May 28)


With summer on its way and the temperatures sure to start rising soon, what better time to have a splash than at Hurricane Harbor Chicago. Located on the Six Flags Great America campus, the Gurnee waterpark has 25 rides and attractions that will keep the kids busy all day long like Tsunami Surge, the world’s tallest water coaster, Surf Rider, Monsoon Lagoon, Buccaneer Bay and more. For hungry tummies, the theme park provides plenty of spots to grab a bite, or you can bring your own food for the day and make use of the picnic tables and benches inside the park. Tickets for all-day admission start at $29.99. Hurricane Harbor Chicago is open through Labor Day weekend.

9. Ravinia Festival in Highland Park Opens for the Season (Select days from May 20 through September 9)

 

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No matter the taste in music or preferred venue, the Ravinia Festival has something for everybody. This year’s lineup is jam-packed with some of music’s iconic and brightest stars. This year is the first return to a full schedule since the pandemic and includes such as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Pitbull, Diana Ross, Sheryl Crow, Ramsey Lewis, Little Big Town, Sting, Stevie Nicks, Erykah Badu, Bonnie Raitt and more. Whether it is classical, rock, r&B, hip hop, country or jazz, the Highland park staple has something for you. Various stages throughout the festival grounds will give you the opportunity to hang out on the grass, chill out and relax in seating, or dance your shoes off for the more traditional venue layout. Pack a picnic, crack open a bottle of wine complemented by various cheeses, and experience a Lake County summer staple at North America’s eldest outdoor music fest.

10. Chicago Botanic Garden Celebrates 50 Years

“The Garden at 50.” The Glencoe sanctuary wears a half century well. Chicago Botanic Garden celebrates its five-decade born day and it invites members, visitors and program participants to join the party. “Flourish: The Garden at 50” exhibit is highlighted by 10 nature-inspired art installation from local, national and international artists, interactive stories of Chicago Bo’s yesteryear, gold-hued plants incorporated in display gardens, pop-up events throughout the four month event and more.


For more things to do in May, continue here. To view all of the spring festivals in the land of lakes, click here.

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