SB NOTE: These suggestions are all made with social distancing and safety precautions in mind, and each event is subject to change depending on COVID in each location. Please look at websites and social media for updates, and check the most up-to-date CDC guidelines for the latest safety recommendations.

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In Louisville, May always starts with a bang — or, more aptly, with the Kentucky Derby. The annual event takes place on the first Saturday of the month and is easily the most exciting two minutes in sports and the most anticipated day of the year in Louisville. After the race, Louisvillians coast through the rest of May, enjoying Mother’s Day, wildflower walks and exciting events in the warmer weather. Here’s a full look at what’s happening around town this month.

Wildflowers at Bernheim

Get rooted in nature and take a wildflower walk at Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest. Image: Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest

13 Louisville Events & Happenings: May 2021

Through May 1, 2021: Hats Off to the Kentucky Derby

Through Saturday, May 1, visit a three-day exhibit at The Galt House Hotel highlighting Kentucky Debry hat fashions throughout the years. The exhibit is self-guided and emphasizes the cultural significance of Derby hats from 1875 to the present day. The exhibit is free to attend. galthouse.com

Through May 9, 2021: Clue: The Musical

Help unravel a mystery. Through Sunday, May 9, see Clue: The Musical at the Derby Dinner Playhouse. The ever-popular board game is brought to life in this exciting and interactive performance. Tickets start at $34 and are not available online, so be sure to call the box office at (812) 288-8281 to make reservations. derbydinner.com

May 1, 2021: Birding: Spring Migrants

Join the folks at Louisville Nature Center for a guided birdwatching tour. On the hike, an experienced naturalist and birdwatcher gives lessons on how to properly identify some of Louisville’s spring birds. Binoculars are recommended for your journey, and the tour begins at 10 a.m. Admission is $15. louisvillenaturecenter.org

May 1, 2021: Saturday Wildflower Walk: Late Bloomers

Take part in the Saturday Wildflower Walk at Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest. The wildflower excursion is a fantastic opportunity to learn about spring wildflowers and their growth from bud to bloom. The outing includes delightful stories on wildflower adaptation, ecology, folklore and history. The walk begins at 1 p.m., and admission is $10 for Bernheim members and $12 for non-members. Registration and payment are due by 4 p.m. on Friday, April 30. bernheim.org

May 1, 2021: The Kentucky Derby

The first Saturday in May is sacred here in Kentucky. The Derby is an experience like no other and nicknamed “the fastest two minutes in sports.” Don’t miss a chance to be a part of the action on Saturday, May 1, and be sure to wear your best frock and hat. Check out our 2021 Guide to All Things Derby to find out how to do Derby right. General admission tickets start at $80. churchilldowns.com

RELATED: Serve Up THESE Delicious Derby Brunch Casseroles

May 2, 2021: Mom & Me Flower Crowns and Boutonnieres

Make memories this Mother’s Day by attending Waterfront Botanical Gardens’ flower crown and boutonniere workshop with your middle or high school student. Attendees also have a chance to snap some photos of Waterfront’s gorgeous spring gardens. The workshop begins at 2 p.m. at the Graeser Family Education Center and is $20 to attend. Moms are free with a paid child. waterfrontgardens.org

May 5, 2021: Tacos & Tequila

Experience Cinco de Mayo like never before at Work the Metal’s Tacos & Tequila Fiesta. From 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., guests can enjoy a signature cocktail, street taco, and an El Tesoro Tequila tasting and mixology experience. Tickets are $49 and include tequila flights, food, and a swag bag. eventbrite.com

May 9, 2021: Mother’s Day at Churchill Downs

Celebrate Mother’s Day as you watch live racing and enjoy a specialty Mother’s Day menu at one of Churchill Downs’ various dining rooms. Choose from delicious options like sliced glazed ham with bourbon peach chutney, classic macaroni and cheese, and spinach apple salad. Reserved dining tickets start at $45. churchilldowns.com

May 15, 2021: Preakness Watch Party

Observe the running of The Preakness Stakes — and American thoroughbred race held on Saturday, May 15 — at Churchill Downs. The watch party also includes live thoroughbred racing from the Louisville Stakes (III). Tickets begin at $7. churchilldowns.com

RELATED: Your 2021 Guide to Louisville Farmers’ Markets

May 15, 2021: Virtual Great Strides 5K

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Kentucky and West Virginia hosts the 2021 Great Strides 5K on Saturday, May 15. Though virtual this year, the event is still a great way for the community to get involved for a worthy cause. Walk a course of your choosing on the day of the event and be sure to post pictures on social media with the hashtag #GreatStrides. fightcf.cff.org

May 15, 2021: Virtual Walk MS Louisville 2021

Walk MS Louisville 2021 may look different this year, but the mission stays the same. Walk MS helps the National MS Society of Kentucky and Southeast Indiana team up with friends, loved ones and coworkers to change the world for those affected by multiple sclerosis. Ending multiple sclerosis for good is going to take a team effort, and this walk is one more step in the right direction. Registration for this event is free. main.nationalmssociety.org

May 22, 2021: Downs After Dark

Attend the inaugural Downs After Dark at Churchill Downs on Saturday, May 22. Enjoy a cocktail, listen to music, and watch horse racing under the lights. Tickets for this event start at $12. churchilldowns.com

May 29 & 30, 2021: Penny Lane at the Park

Celebrate the ’60s at Penny Lane at the Park, a two-day Beatles-inspired summer kick-off event. The event is held at the Big Four Station Park in Jeffersonville, IN, over Memorial Day weekend and features 10-12 bands including The Newbees, Hard Day’s Night, The Rigby’s, Louisville’s School of Rock, and the Jukebox Beatles. Tickets are $10 per person. arotr.com

Have a wonderful May, Louisville!

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