City Life

Madison Musts: 10 things to do in May

Check out our staff's monthly picks

It’s spring—finally. The Terrace chairs are out at Memorial Union and the snow shovels are in storage. We’re finally breaking out of hibernation and getting ready to enjoy those May flowers after all of those April (snow) showers.

This month is full of fun happenings and new things to try in Madison. Check out our staff’s picks for what you need to do in May.

1. Shop at a local pop-up market.

There are lots of local makers markets in May. Get your fill of shopping while enjoying Madison food vendors and local brews. Some include: 

2. Try a drink from Merchant's Spirits in the Sky menu.

When a drink menu looks like a record sleeve, you know it’s going to be a good time. Merchant introduced a new drink menu at the beginning of April featuring drinks named after 1970s rock and roll tunes like “Moonage Daydream,” with Wollersheim Presshouse brandy, pisco, passionfruit, white chocolate, lime juice, Jamaican No. 2 bitters and seltzer. Regardless of whether you choose drinks on the A Side or the B Side, the 10 new drinks are worth “hitting with your best shot.”

3. Attend Madison Gallery Night.

Enjoy all of the arts the city has to offer during Gallery Night. Visit not one, not two, but 69 different spots all around Madison on May 4. Some great stops include Table Wine to see Emily Meredith Lewis’ illustrations, VSA Wisconsin for more than 200 works by Wisconsin artists with disabilities and Gallery 800 UBD where Russell Panczenko, the retired Director of the Chazen Museum of Art, displays his photography. For a full list of stops, click here.

4. Get in line at a food cart.

Give a warm welcome to the return of the food carts. Almost every day of the week find food carts on Library Mall and around the square. Pro tip: Capitol Square is a hotbed for food carts during the Dane County Farmers' Market so it's a great chance to pick up a few things before finding a cart to grab a bite to eat. Click here for a list of our top food cart picks.

5. Try out Mijo for the first time.

Speaking of food carts—from the men who brought El Grito and its tasty tacos to Madison, comes Mijo, a brand new ice cream food cart that’s rolling out on May 8. Mijo will start out offering starting with eight flavors: horchata, dark chocolate, cardamom, coffee with chocolate bits, blueberry vanilla, maple walnut, honey toffee and salted caramel.

6. Take man's best friend to the dog park.

Dog lovers: It’s time to get your puppies outside. Most of the dog parks throughout the city are now open and there are plenty to enjoy throughout Dane County. Click here to see a list of area dog parks.

7. Jam out to the new Wisconsin Vinyl Collective Volume Two album.

Artists with strong Wisconsin connections join forces for the Wisconsin Vinyl Collective Volume Two album. The album, which was released on April 21 (record store day), features Phox, Violent Femmes and the Zach Pietrini Band from Milwaukee. One notable song is by Tundra Blood, a collaboration between four award-winning Madison singer/songwriters.

8. Drink a few new seasonal beers.

With Madison Craft Beer Week coming up May 4-13, many local breweries are releasing brand new seasonal spring beers. A few we can’t wait to try them include this year’s Campus Craft Brewery collaboration, RE: Fresh Radler and Funk Factory Geuzeria’s two new beers using fruits from the University of Wisconsin–Madison Arboretum. New Glarus Brewing Co. also reintroduces its widely popular wild fruit ale, strawberry rhubarb. 

9. Treat yourself to a pair of Melissa Jenkins Designs’ painter tassel earrings.


We can’t stop looking at these adorable earrings from Melissa Jenkins Designs. These earrings are a combination of gold hand distressed/hammered brass pieces and fiber tassels. They come in eight different colors—good luck only buying one pair. Click here to buy.

10. Pick up a pie taco.


A few weeks ago, these local pie tacos went viral. And now, pie tacos are officially available daily at Hubbard Avenue Diner and Bakery. The tacos stay nice and intact when eating, so don’t worry about making a mess.

Maija Inveiss is digital content editor of Madison Magazine. Follow her on Instagram @maija.inveiss.

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