Things to Do in May

While you wait for summer’s official arrival, there are still plenty of things heating up in May. Don’t miss May’s must-dos like the Kentucky Derby, National Bike Month, Cinco de Mayo and more.

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"To go back to Australia. Went as a teenager, but want to return to Sydney and the Great Barrier Reef." -- Iryna H. 960 1280

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"My bucket list is to visit every theme park (Six Flags, Cedar Point) in the world." -- Justin E. 960 1280

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"'Wunderhiking' in the Black Forest of Germany. You hike from hotel to hotel, you have dinner and sleep at your destination, have breakfast in the morning and down the road. The hotel staff move your belongings/purchases from hotel to hotel each day for you (rental car too if required to end destination). There are museums, waterfalls and of course it is Germany, local breweries in every burg! Something like 18 hotels participate, that means you could hike for 17 days!" -- Jon B. 960 1280

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"Riding a camel through the moroccan desert! Hot Air Ballon ride over No.Cal vineyards." -- Leighann W. 960 1280

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"Tokyo, see the sights, eat the outrageous seafood, make new friends, and perform stand up comedy at the Tokyo comedy store." -- Dustin M. 960 1280

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"Fiji, New Zealand, and France. Ok, I mostly just want to eat and drink my way through France ..." --Tim F. 960 1280

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"I have been to Maui eighteen times and never got tired of it. I am 69 years old and can't make places to leave this earth until I have been to Italy!!! Have visited the carribean many times US Virgin Islands, Mexico, all the islands, Florida many times. But still don't feel that I'm finished until I see Italy." -- Peggy H. 960 1280

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"Peru. I would give anything to visit Machu Pichu!" -- Beth H. 960 1280

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"A month in the South Pacific, The Orient Express from Paris to Istanbul, are very high in my list." -- Kerry D. 960 1280

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"I'd love to visit the lands of my ancestors, Ireland, Germany and Denmark, Top 3 spots on my list" -- James F. 960 1280

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"Just checked two off the list! Grand Canyon and Tanque Verde Ranch, Tucson ... :)" -- Cherylene S. 960 1280

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"So far, Istanbul, Hong Kong and Tuscany have been my favorites. Would love to be on a houseboat in Kerala or Vietnam. Looking forward to Oktoberfest in Munchen this year!" -- Mary A. 960 1280

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"Mine was cooking steak & marshmallows on flowing Lava in Hawaii! Anyone going to Hawaii give it a go!!" -- The Naked Traveler 960 1280

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Kentucky Derby

Kentucky Derby

On your mark, get set … it’s off to Louisville for the granddaddy of all horse races. In time-honored tradition, the 140th annual Kentucky Derby -- the first leg of the Triple Crown -- kicks off the first Saturday in May. Settle into your seat at Churchill Downs racetrack on Central Avenue, sip a mint julep and enjoy the "Most Exciting 2 Minutes in Sports." 960 1280

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Mother’s Day Tea at The Plaza

Mother’s Day Tea at The Plaza

Mom is always fussing over you, now’s your chance to turn the tables -- in style. Treat Mom to afternoon tea at The Plaza’s Tea Room. A tradition since the hotel opened in 1907, tea at this NYC landmark has inspired scenes in popular films and novels, including Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Mom can enjoy a selection of sandwiches and savories from the Fitzgerald Tea for the Ages and The New Yorker menus. 960 1280

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Cannes Film Festival

Cannes Film Festival

La lumière, la caméra, l'action! Slip on some shades, and head to the French Riviera for the largest annual showcase of cinema in the world. Don’t have a ticket to events inside the Palais des Festivals et des Congres building where the festival is held? Pas de probleme! Enjoy open-air shows at the Cinema de la Plage, and for celebrity sightings show up extra-early outside the Palais. You may just spot Ang Lee, Nicole Kidman or Steven Spielberg on this year’s red carpet. 960 1280

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Indianapolis 500

Indianapolis 500

Rev up for the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” Part of the Triple Crown of Motorsports (with the Monaco Grand Prix and 24 Hours of Le Mans right behind) this annual race is quite possibly the largest single-day sporting event in the entire world, attracting roughly 400,000 spectators. Head to Indianapolis the last weekend in May, and prepare for a high-speed show around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s 2.5-mile oval circuit. 960 1280

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Brighton Festival, England

Brighton Festival, England

Enjoy a 3-week celebration of music, theater, dance, art and film at the 47th annual Brighton Festival. Held each May in the southeastern English city of Brighton and Hove, the gathering is the largest multi-art form festival in all of England: More than 370 performances from artists such as Sinead O’Connor and 3-time Grammy winner Lucinda Williams, are slated for 2013. 960 1280

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Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival

Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival

Take in the small-town charm of Winchester, VA, in this 6-day celebration of spring. First held in 1924, the annual festival packs a wallop of more than 30 events into its lineup: band competitions, dances, parades, carnival, a 10K race, the coronation of Queen Shenandoah and so much more, attracting crowds in excess of 250,000. 960 1280

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Whale Watching, Stellwagen Bank

Whale Watching, Stellwagen Bank

Did winter come and go without you getting a chance to see whales? There’s still time: Between May and September, more than 400 orcas swim in the waters around Canada’s Vancouver Island. Or head to the Azores, the Portuguese archipelago about 1,000 miles from Lisbon, where sperm whales gather from May to October. Closer to home, Stellwagen Bank, a submerged sandbank between Cape Cod and Cape Ann in Massachusetts, attracts the endangered North Atlantic right whale to its waters. 960 1280

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Atlanta Food & Wine Festival

Atlanta Food & Wine Festival

When chef Mark Abernathy of Arkansas restaurants Red Door and Loca Luna kicks the bucket, he wants to skip heaven and head straight for this food extravaganza. Such is the praise heaped on this annual fest by critically acclaimed chefs. Now in its third year, the gathering celebrates the best of Southern cuisine’s past and future, with cooking and cocktail demos, tasting tents and seminars on everything from the history of the Southern cocktail to Southern beer culture. 960 1280

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National Bike Month

National Bike Month

Dust off that old bike, or buy a new one: It’s National Bike Month. Cities nationwide, including Austin, Boston, Santa Barbara, and Portland (pictured), are among the cities actively participating in the event. In San Francisco, you’ll find “energizer stations” this month, with food, drinks, red blinky lights and reflective leg bands available for bikers participating in the month-long public awareness campaign. Sounds like a great way to get free stuff -- and get in shape! 960 1280

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Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo (meaning "fifth of May" in Spanish) right here in the United States. Nationwide, there are more than 120 official US celebrations, spanning 21 states, in cities such as Cleveland, Los Angeles, Dallas and Atlanta. The holiday stretches back to the first few years of the American Civil War, when Mexican-American communities sought to commemorate the causes of freedom and democracy. Head to downtown Denver for one such celebration: Here, members of a Mexican folkloric dance academy perform at the city’s Civic Center Park. 
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Vesak (Buddha Day)

Vesak (Buddha Day)

Seeking enlightenment? Celebrate Buddha’s birthday this May. Or take in the festivities as Buddhist devotees mark the occasion in Southeast Asian countries from Nepal to the Indonesian island of Java (pictured). Here, Buddhist monks pray at Borobudur, a 9th-century temple (and UNESCO World Heritage Site) that is Indonesia’s single most visited tourist attraction. 960 1280

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Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Head to this amphitheater at Carlsbad Caverns National Park for a grand show: Each May Mexican free-tailed bats emerge from a large, rocky passage within Carlsbad Cavern in search of a tasty mix of insects for dinner. In case you’ve happened on this wondrous sight in southeastern New Mexico with your family (and your kids have questions), a park ranger gives an informative talk as visitors wait for the bats to come out. 960 1280

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Turkey Day Travel

Turkey Day Travel

Notoriously long lines and long waits: The day before Thanksgiving ranks as the busiest travel day of the year. Drive, fly or take the train -- we don’t care how you get here, just as long as you arrive in notorious aplomb and style (no fugly Thanksgiving sweaters, please). 960 1280

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San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival

San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival

Notoriously passionate wine and food lovers descend on Southern California each November for the region’s largest festival of its kind. How notorious are we talking? Well, let’s just say any festival that lures some of the best national chefs, local culinary stars, and celebrated winemakers and brewmasters means serious gastronomic pleasure is in order. 960 1280

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Day of the Dead

Day of the Dead

Families decorate the graves of loved ones throughout Mexico as part of this annual national holiday. A blend of pre-Columbian and Catholic traditions, Day of the Dead may sound notoriously spooky to outsiders. But to those who celebrate it, the day offers a way to reflect and share in treasured memories of loved ones through acts of commemoration, including making altars like this. 960 1280

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Fun Fun Fun Fest

Fun Fun Fun Fest

The darling of independent festivals for music lovers and music-makers alike, Fun Fun Fun Fest has some notoriously serious creds. Ever since its launch in 2006, this annual festival has skyrocketed beyond its downtown Austin roots to world-renowned status, attracting artists and their fans from around the globe. 960 1280

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Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

A few notorious mishaps aside (like last year’s tipsy Kool-Aid Man), this annual parade signals the official start of the holiday season. A tradition since 1924, the 3-hour extravaganza starts at 9 a.m., stretching 6 miles through NYC, while offering up a whimsical feast of sights and sounds -- including Pokemon’s yellow mouse mascot, Pikachu, pictured here. 960 1280

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Deer Hunting Season

Deer Hunting Season

Notorious to some, delectably yummy to others, deer-hunting season begins with a bang -- sorry, Bambi -- come November. That’s because the month is prime deer-mating season: Male bucks are often so distracted by the urge to mate they may not detect the sound of Grandpa Earl’s carbine locking and loading off in the distance. Head to states like Kentucky, New Hampshire and Minnesota for the hunt. 960 1280

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JFK Assassination

JFK Assassination

On a sunny autumn day in November 1963, America’s love affair with Camelot came to a shattering end. Just weeks before his assassination, JFK visited Arlington National Cemetery and, standing atop a hill, said he could spend eternity there. Today, he is one of 2 presidents buried on the 600-acre grounds, an eternal flame placed by his widow Jackie to outshine one of the most notorious moments in US history. 960 1280

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Chicago’s Food Film Festival

Chicago’s Food Film Festival

Food in the theater?! The sight may be a notorious no-no to crabby old docents, but at this annual festival, the paired enjoyment of food and film -- from the comfort of a theater seat -- is a must. The annual event, now in its third year, invites audience members to actually taste some of the dishes they see before them on the big screen. 960 1280

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Thanksgiving Meal

Thanksgiving Meal

Mmm, mmm, good! Notoriously succulent (when baked right), the turkey takes center stage at many holiday tables. America cooks up more than 45 million turkeys for Thanksgiving, plus another 22 million come Christmastime, which adds up to a whole lotta post-meal sleepiness. 960 1280

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Native American Heritage Month

Native American Heritage Month

Heroic resolve in the midst of often notorious treatment defines Native American Heritage Month. Kick off this special month of commemoration -- and appreciation -- with a visit to this dazzling waterfall, tucked in a land in the heart of the Grand Canyon that’s been home to the Havasupai American Indian tribe for nearly 1,000 years. 960 1280

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The Rockettes

The Rockettes

Let’s go girls! Those sky-high kicks, those naughty smiles -- oh, it certainly wouldn’t be a notoriously fun November without the Rockettes. During the holiday season, the legendary dance company kicks it into high gear with 5 shows a day, 7 days a week. See the grand show unfold in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, presented at Radio City Music Hall. 960 1280

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