Tacos, block parties and indie rock royalty. That’s what May is made of (and much more).
1. DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon: May 3-5
The Pittsburgh Marathon is not just for runners. Okay, 35,000 athletes from 23 countries will compete, but there’s tons of fun to be had for the throngs of high-fiving masses. From the North Side to Homewood, 14 neighborhoods along the route will host festivals with 40 bands and 20 “cheerathon” groups keeping the adrenaline pumping to the finish line. From the Handcycle Division to the Pet Walk, there’s a way for everyone to pound the pavement. For the best places to watch the action, and grab cups of java, go here.
2. Cultured Cocktails at the Benedum: May 4, 8 p.m.
Pittsburgh has become a cutting-edge techie town, but it’s cultural and cuisine scenes are just as impressive. Believing that “every drink has a story,” the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust invites cocktail connoisseurs to sip their way through history with signature drinks and spirits from different decades. Joined by favorite Burgh bartenders, mixologist maestros Mikey Mills and Stevie P of Liquid Flair will shake and stir the night away infusing libations with a fresh new twist. The spirited soiree will include performances by DJ Soy Sos, Mia Z and the Con Alma Quintent and a Drag Queen photo booth hosted by Miss Thea Trix. Buy tickets.
3. Taco Takeover at Millvale Riverfront Park: May 5, 1-8 p.m.
Any event that calls itself a taco takeover has the right idea. This free celebration of everyone’s favorite street food brings together 20 Pittsburgh eateries — from Cousins Maine Lobster to Curbside Cocina — who will concoct their top takes on tacos along the scenic Allegheny. Taco-tasters can check out live music, play lawn games and buy beer. Taste the mouth-watering results when trucks specializing in sandwiches, ice cream and even mac and cheese get in on the action. Afterward, pop over to satellite celebrations at Strange Roots and Grist House. Held on Cinco De Mayo, the food truck fiesta is free and family-friendly. We’ll eat to that.
4. Art For Change at Westin Convention Center: May 6, 5-11 p.m.
What other art gala gives you the chance to go home with David Bowie’s guitar, a painting of Barack Obama or a photograph of Pablo Picasso? These are just a few of the 234 stellar pieces showcased in Pittsburgh’s hottest art auction during PERSAD Center’s signature benefit. If funky home decor is your jam, you’ll love the reclaimed wood sculpture made from part of Kennywood’s iconic Jack Rabbit roller coaster, while textile art fans will fawn over the crocheted unicorn. Maybe you’ll add Shepard Fairey’s silkscreen of Keith Haring or Burton Morris’ pop art heart to your growing collection? Gala-goers will also enjoy food from dozens of top local restaurants. Buy tickets.
5. NEXTpittsburgh’s 5th birthday party at Kingfly Spirits: May 7, 5:30-8 p.m.
Join NEXTpittsburgh for our 5th birthday party at Kingfly Spirits as we celebrate five fabulous years of reporting on the people and ideas advancing Pittsburgh. Enjoy handcrafted cocktails from the newest distillery in town and a tantalizing array of Italian food — we’re talking meatballs, pecan-crusted chicken skewers and heaping plates of antipasta from Sprezzatura — as we toast the last five years and what’s next for Pittsburgh. Beverly’s Birthdays (a portion of the party proceeds will support them) will be on hand with lots of candy for you to make treat bags — one for the kids they benefit and one for you. Buy your tickets now — this could be the networking event of the year and will soon sell out. Thanks to Comcast Business for sponsoring!
6. May Market at Phipps: May 10 & 11, various times
In the Burgh, gardening season officially kicks off at Phipps, where they take the old adage, “don’t plant until after Mother’s Day” to heart. Bring mom along for a Mother’s Day outing steeped in nature. With 73 vendors, including horticulturists, nurseries, farms and much more, there’s a plant for every green thumb — from tropical wonders and trendy succulents to rain garden varieties. Stock up on seasonal favorites, gardening accessories and vegetable seedlings — basically everything under the sun. You can even find lawn décor, natural body products and organic herbs. Master gardeners will be on hand offering expert tips.
7. May 11: Pittonkatonk at Schenley Park’s Vietnam Veteran’s Pavilion, 12 p.m.-11 p.m.
March, stomp and cheer your way into summer at one of Pittsburgh’s most vibrant extravaganzas. With the vibe of a communal potluck or epic family reunion, this beloved celebration embodies an unbridled passion for music. Removing stages, velvet ropes and ticket fees, Pittonkatonk takes the music straight to the people and into the parklands with a musical lineup of 17 acts you won’t find elsewhere. Don’t miss the once-in-a-lifetime chance to see Peru’s Los Mirlos — pioneers of psychedelic Amazonian Cumbia — Cuba’s Hugo Cruz & Caminos and the Dzambo Agusevi Orchestra from Macedonia. New this year is the Artivist Greenhouse program featuring commissioned world premieres.
8. Neighborhood Flea in the Strip District: May 12, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
The time for living life al fresco is here, bringing a new season of hunting at the Neighborhood Flea. Unveiling an expanded footprint at 26th and Railroad streets, the urban market is open the second Sunday of the month through October. Shoppers can stroll throughout street-level spaces at 3 Crossings, where 71 artisans, service providers and food purveyors are set up. On tap for May are carnival-themed entertainers, music by Elias Khouri and artist demonstrations. Shoppers can also make DIY succulent planters and necklaces during workshops. Grab mom and head to the Mother’s Day season opener. Bonus: All-day garage parking is $3 at the nearby Hub.