May is the time of year to be outside, and these fantastic events showcase Charleston’s lush parks, shady plazas, and scenic cobblestone streets, where you’ll encounter music, art, and entertainment of just about every stripe (and pedigree). May is the time of year to get out and experience the best that Charleston has to offer!

French Quarter Art Walk

In a city as rich in arts and culture as Charleston, why limit yourself to just one gallery? Explore the galleries of the French Quarter on Meeting, Church, State, East Bay, Broad, Cumberland, Queen, Chalmers and Tradd Streets and discover the works of more than 500 artists. Walk along cobbled streets as you tour a diverse display of styles and mediums ranging from traditional to contemporary, stopping at participating galleries to meet artists or indulge in complimentary refreshments. French Quarter, between S. Market and Tradd sts. May 4 | 5 – 8pm

Charleston Dog Show

Welcoming dogs of all breeds and pedigrees, the Charleston Dog Show promises all of the fun and none of the fuss of a traditional dog show, with canines of all shapes, sizes, talents, and tails invited to show off style, form, personality and showmanship in fourteen different classes. Marion Square, downtown Charleston. May 7 | 9am – 2pm

Charleston Greek Festival

Never been to a big fat Greek wedding? Experience the Greek culture and revel in its spirit at Charleston’s 2012 Greek Fest. Eat authentic Greek foods like gyro and mousaka as you enjoy live Greek music from the church’s Byzantine Choir. Watch a folk dancing demonstration or explore the church’s ecclesiastical history through a guided tour of its music, art and prayer. A kids’ area complete with jump castle, ponies and face painting makes this a cultural experience for the whole family. All proceeds benefit the Greek Orthodox Church and its charities. Eat, drink and be Greek at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, 30 Race St. May 11 – 13

First Flush Festival

The Charleston Tea Plantation on picturesque Wadmalaw Island presents the sixth annual First Flush Festival, celebrating the first tea harvest (known as the first flush) of the season. The event promises an abundant supply of American Classic Iced tea, live acoustic music, barbecue, children’s activities, and tea factory tours. May 20 | Gates open at 11:00am

Spoleto Festival USA

Charleston’s biggest cultural event of the year, Spoleto Festival USA fills Charleston’s historic theaters, churches, and outdoor spaces with seventeen days and nights of performances in opera, theater, dance, and chamber, symphonic, choral, and jazz music. Founded in 1977, the Spoleto Festival garners critical acclaim year after year and attracts audiences from across the nation. With dozens of performances to choose from, it can be hard to decide what to see: See Charleston Magazine’s top ten Spoleto picks here. May 25 – June 10

Piccolo Spoleto Festival

Focusing primarily on artists of the Southeast region, Piccolo Spoleto is the perfect complement to the international scope of its parent Spoleto Festival USA. With some 700 events, Piccolo Spoleto transforms Charleston into an exhilarating celebration of the arts, with offerings that include visual arts exhibits, classical music, jazz, dance, theatre, poetry readings, children’s activities, choral music, ethnic cultural presentations, crafts and film. May 25 – June 9

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