May Culture Travel Guide

Monaco Government Tourist Office
Monaco hosts the best Formula 1 Grand Prix around. (courtesy, Monaco Government Tourist Office)

Kentucky Derby
The running of America's most famous horse race, the Kentucky Derby takes place in May. Sit back and watch the field of horses run for the roses at Churchill Downs while sipping your mint julep. Also spend time at the Kentucky Derby Museum to learn about all the great horses who've won the two-minute race.

Sevierville, Tennessee
Sevierville, Tennessee celebrates the beginning of spring with Bloomin' Barbeque & Bluegrass. Come visit the Smoky Mountains over the weekend, usually mid to late May, to sample the award winning BBQ and listen to the sounds of world-class bluegrass. Kids enjoy the arts and crafts and children's games at the family-oriented event.

Indianapolis Speedway
Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines, and get ready to enjoy the biggest single sporting event in the world. More than 500,000 spectators jam the Indianapolis Speedway to watch the cars whiz around the track at speeds of up to 235 miles per hour. This year's event takes place on May 27, and for the first time in its history, all cars will use 100 percent fuel grade ethanol, a source of renewable energy.

Seattle International Film Festival
The Seattle International Film Festival caters to a city that craves intelligent fare from around the globe. Half Nelson, starring the Academy-Award nominated Ryan Gosling, screened here first. The three-week long event runs from May to June, in wonderful theaters across the city like the large-screen Cinerama.

Washington Wine Country
Wine lovers know that the vineyards of southeastern Washington flourish with more than 350 vineyards. The brick-lined streets of Walla Walla home dozens of wineries selling award-winning syrahs and chardonnays. Spend the night at the Cave B Inn at Sagecliffe, on a bluff overlooking the Columbia River, and listen to live music. Also set to debut in Yakima is the Walter Clore Wine & Culinary Center, a showcase for Washington's wealth of wine and indigenous food.

Shaw Festival, Ontario
George Bernard Shaw's Saint Joan, the acclaimed play that delves into hero worship, nationalism, and religious zeal, opens the 2007 Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. Other plays on view from April 3 through October 28th include Somerset Maugham's The Circle and Tennessee Williams' Summer and Smoke.

Holland, Michigan
Holland, Michigan, and its eight miles of tulip lanes are in full bloom in early May, the idyllic setting for the town's annual Tulip Time Festival. Join in the Dutch festivities and watch the Klompen Dancers in full dress, partake in one of three parades, try Dutch chocolates and breads at the marketplace, and listen to the Town Crier Competition.

Akron Art Museum
A three-story glass lobby called “The Crystal," and a 300-foot long cantilevered roof extending over the old and new buildings compose part of the Akron Art Museum expansion. The Austrian firm of Coop Himmelb(l)au, known for their innovative reuse of historic buildings, is designing the renovation to Akron, Ohio's celebrated museum. The existing 19th-century structure will more than triple in size to create much needed space for the Museum's permanent collection and new acquisitions in photography and sculpture.

South Carolina's Spoleto Festival
Since its inception in 1977, the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina, has proven itself to be one of the premier arts festivals in the world. Over the years, they've previewed over 100 productions including plays by Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams, and Laurie Anderson. The 17-day event, held in May and June, features theater, jazz, classical music, opera, and dance at historic venues across town.

Monaco, playground of the stars and those wealthy enough to hang with the stars, hosts the most stylish Formula 1 race on the circuit. Try to steal a spot near the first corner of the Grand Prix where the pile-ups often occur. Be forewarned that your ticket price pales in comparison to the cost of lunch.

Boston-based writer Stephen Jermanok has authored or contributed to 11 books on the outdoors, including Outside Magazine's Adventure Guide to New England , Discovery Channel's Backcountry Treks , Discovery Channel's Paddlesports , Outside Magazine's Guide to Family Vacations and Men's Journal's The Great Life . His latest book is New England Seacoast Adventures . His many adventures appear in National Geographic Adventure , Outside , Men's Journal , Forbes FYI , Travel + Leisure , Hooked on the Outdoors , and Backpacker . He can be reached at

Published: 6 Mar 2007 | Last Updated: 20 Sep 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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