May in Vancouver is full of decadent food and drink events, fine entertainment, and multicultural festivals. From the annual BC Spot Prawn Festival to sudsy Vancouver Craft Beer Week, titillating Vancouver International Burlesque Festival and the launch of the revitalized Vancouver Chinatown Night Market, we’ve got your must-attend May events below.
Don’t forget, all this sunshine cues the launch of annual Vancouver outdoor summer traditions, including opening day for the outdoor swimming pools at Kitsilano and Second Beach, as well as the start of the Vancouver Farmers Markets. And now for the list:
15 Cool Things To Do in Vancouver in May 2013
1) Lounge on one of Vancouver’s best new patios
The sun is in town for a little while. Help launch patio season 2013 by hanging out at the the best new patios including The Fish Shack on Granville, the roof at Black + Blue, Cactus Club in Coal Harbour, and Tap & Barrel in Olympic Village–the roof is for wine buffs, ground level is for craft beer lovers. Both have a sea view.
2) Try out lululemon’s new, free Om Finder app for iOS
Think of it as a PA who will find the best yoga and fitness classes for your schedule/needs. You can also use it to invite friends.
3) Drop in on ShwāyShwāy Cafe pop-up restaurant at The Chinatown Experiment, May 3-5
A phrase heard in the Near-East, “shwāyshwāy” means slow it down. Visit this event at Vancouver’s only revolving pop-up store from 11am – 6pm each day for lunch, ice cream, Moroccan mint iced tea, hookah and backgammon and more at 424 Columbia St. in Chinatown.
4) Catch a glimpse at Vancouver Burlesque Festival, May 2-4
The VIBF is the premiere burlesque event held annually in Vancouver, drawing some of the world’s best artists. The titillating, saucy line-up includes performances and classes. Find tix here.
5) Get smarter at a DOXA Film Fest screening, May 3-12
74 documentary screenings at 5 venues throughout Vancouver guaranteed to pique your interest and possibly make you smarter. Highlights include Google and the World Brain by Ben Lewis, Critical Mass on overpopulation by Mike Freedman and and Slow Food Story— on the origins of the movement.
6) Hear some fine folk music at Mariachi Festival, May 5
The performances go down at Vogue Theatre (918 Granville St.) Imagine picturesque musicians clad in Charro suits and hats playing guitars, violins, bass and trumpets–a nice way to get some culture without heading south of the border(s).
7) Bird watch on World Migratory Bird Day, May 11
Fun fact for ornithology geeks: Vancouver is a leader in celebrating World Migratory Bird Day. In fall, winter and spring, our area is used by thousands of waterfowl, shorebirds, and wading birds. In the summer, it’s all about breeding songbirds. There are 276 species that visit Vancouver annually. Find them by attending Stanley Park Ecology Society’s week of birdy events.
8) Shuck shellfish at the BC Spot Prawn Boil, May 11
There are two kinds of giant prawns. The scary, walking and talking kind – featured in District 9 – and BC’s own sweet, succulent spot prawns caught off the coast in May. Spot prawn season kicks off with a foodie festival with fresh-off-the boat prawns, live music and celebrity chefs. Tickets always sell out, so act fast.
9) Make mom happy with a Mother’s Day Brunch, May 12
Vancouver has no shortage of brunch options. Go lavish at Diva at the Met, Hawksworth or Cafe Pacifica in the Pan Pacific Hotel. Find Canadian comfort food with an elegant twist at Oakwood Canadian Bistro. Or make a day trip out of it by brunching at Teahouse in Stanley Park.
10) Shop for your supper at Vancouver Farmers Markets spring launch, May 11-12
At long last, the markets are back. Let it inspire your supper. Trout Lake opens May 11 from 9am to 2pm. Kitsilano Farmers Market opens May 12, from 10am to 2pm.
11) Stay up late for the Vancouver Chinatown Night Market, May 17
This hotly-anticipated Vancouver Chinatown Night Market makeover launches this year, with input from Bao Bei owner Tannis Ling and Ken Tsui, a well-known Vancouver creative force. Expect live music, storytelling, and Mahjong, new vendors, more food, and some other stuff that wasn’t there last year, like outdoor classic movie screenings and epic ping pong tournaments, alongside the favourites of yore. It goes down 6pm to 11pm on Keefer St. between Main and Columbia in historic Chinatown, until Sept. 8.
12) Take a dip in Vancouver’s outdoor swimming pools, May 18
A sure sign of summer, Vancouver’s outdoor swimming pools, including the massive Kitsilano Pool and the pool at Second Beach, are open to the public May 18.
13) Enjoy an extra day off on Victoria Day Long Weekend, May 18-20
Monday, May 20th is a holiday. Plan an outdoor adventure.
14) Shake it at the Vancouver International Bhangra Festival, May 30-June 8
A vibrant multicultural delight full of rhythm and shimmering glory. The festival includes hundreds of performers and international artists from the U.K., New York and India.
15) Raise a pint glass at Vancouver Craft Beer Week, May 31-June 5
Some of us wait for this all year, reminiscing about Craft Beer Weeks past over pints of local brew at the Alibi room. As Vancouver’s craft beer scene explodes, this is your chance to get a rowdy overview of all the local fermentation rockstars (pictured above).
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