We locals know that May is when Asheville really hits its stride. Warmer weather (that’s not too hot) makes it perfect timing for festivals, outdoor art markets, + patio hangs. And that beautiful weather puts an extra spring in our step (see what we did there?) which makes us excited for late nights spent listening to live music.
So to celebrate full-on spring, we rounded up 10 events this month you should have on your radar. And of course there’s a lot more going on, so be sure to check out our #PlanAhead guides which come out every Monday + Friday.
If you love yelling “Goalllll!”
Asheville City Soccer Club kickoff matches | May 4 & 5 | 7 p.m. kickoff | Memorial Stadium | $10 single game tickets | Celebrate Opening Weekend of the 2018 season with the men’s match against Myrtle Beach Mutiny and the women’s game against Chattanooga FC. ⚽
If you want to explore new worlds
Free Comic Book Day | May 5 | Various locations | Stop by a local comics shop and pick up a free comic to celebrate the genre. Comic Envy (333A Merrimon Ave.), Haywood Comics and Games (600 Haywood Rd.) + Pastimes (175 Weaverville Rd.) are participating with special events, sales, games + more.
If you love exploring Asheville’s nooks + crannies
Creative Intervention Event | May 5 | 3 – 9 p.m. | Downtown Asheville | Free | Chicken Alley, Carolina Lane and a section of Walnut St. downtown will be “activated” by local artists, who will create interactive installations + performances to fill hidden corners of the city as part of Asheville’s Broadway Cultural Gateway Project. 🎨
If you’re a fiend for carbs
Asheville Bread Festival | May 5 – 6 | 9 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. | New Belgium Brewing + other locations | $25 workshops | Learn bread-making secrets, join tastings + more at the 14th Artisan Bread Festival, which features bakers and teachers including Tara Jensen Green of Smoke Signals. 🥖
If you’re looking for the perfect Mother’s Day gift
Spring Pop Up Shop @ Asheville Social Hall | May 10 – 20 | 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. | Asheville Social Hall | 75 vendors of handmade + vintage goods bring you a curated shopping experience. Bonus: Perfect timing for Mother’s Day.
If you’re a trailblazer
Spring LEAF Festival | May 10 – 13 | Lake Eden, Black Mountain | This year’s festival theme is Trailblazing. Headliners Snarky Puppy, Ani DiFranco + Rising Appalachia. Plus local arts + crafts, food and camping by the lake.
If you love dancin’ in the streets
Downtown After 5 | May 18 | Asheville All Stars | North Lexington Ave. | Free | The kickoff for the 30th Annual Downtown After 5 features local Asheville musicians playing songs from 1988 in homage to the festival’s first year. 🎸
If you want the best in family-friendly fun
Montford Music and Arts Festival | Saturday, May 19 | 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. | Montford Ave. | Free | Artists, craftspeople + food trucks line Montford Ave. for this fall-day, family-friendly fest with music from David Holt, Billy Strings and Cat Dragons.
If you want to raise a glass to local beer
Asheville Beer Week | May 25 – June 2 | various locations | Don’t miss: Just Brew It homebrew competition at the Wedge on May 26 from 1 – 5 p.m. + the Gaining Ground Farm Dinner (with Chef John Fleer of Rhubarb + Chef Gene Ettison of Green Opportunities with the graduates of the GO Kitchen Ready Training Program) on May 30 from 6 – 9 p.m.. 🍺
If you love outdoor sports
Mountain Sports Festival | May 25 – 27 | Carrier Park | 220 Amboy Rd. | prices vary | 5K + Bellyak races, gear demos, an Urban Assault mountain bike ride, + more, with live music from
Josh Phillips Big Band and Eufórquestra. 🚴
If you want to hear musical virtuosity
Off With Your Radiohead Presents: In Rainbows and Ok Computer | May 26 | Asheville Music Hall | 31 Patton Ave. | $10 | Asheville musician Jeff Thompson heads up this Radiohead tribute band, which will perform these two albums in their entirety.
May is my favorite month in Asheville for several reasons: 1) the amount of fun things to do really picks up with consistent warm weather, 2) the humidity of summer is still a few weeks out, making it prime time for hiking + camping, and, of course, 3) it’s my birthday month, so it’s always felt like a celebration to me.