Taco Festival
Photo by Christina Siracusa.

7. Pittsburgh Taco Festival at Highmark Stadium: May 19, 12 – 3 p.m. & 4 – 7 p.m.

Whether it’s your favorite food or your favorite emoji, you’ve got no excuse to miss the highly anticipated Pittsburgh Taco Festival. Showcasing a wide variety of taco gurus — from established restaurants to street vendors to food trucks — the second annual fest is dedicated to one of the world’s favorite things to eat with your hands. The mouth-watering roster of taco purveyors includes everyone from Condado and Casa Reyna, to Doce Taqueria and La Palapa. What’s a taco without some tequila, right? While noshing on all of the tacos, festival-goers can wash it all down with tequila tastings and strolling beer vendors, peruse taco-themed merch and shop for spicy salsas and sauces. This year, the festival is teaming up with the Latin American Cultural Union to present live music and entertainment by Gavas Beat. For the youngest taco loves, there will be a Kids Zone with games and activities. Buy tickets.

Cat Crawl
Courtesy Animal Friends.

8. Lawrenceville Cat Crawl: May 19, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

In February, Lawrenceville’s hipness rating got a lot higher with the much-anticipated opening of the neighborhood’s first cat café. Residents and visitors can now cat crawl their way along the bustling Butler St. corridor. Shop, eat, people-watch — and bring home your newest family member — at this feline-forward event benefiting Animal Friends. While spotlighting the mission of the North Hills-based nonprofit, the Cat Crawl will also provide a boost to the local economy. More than 20 locally-owned businesses will offer specials at each cat crawl stop — from restaurants and coffee shops to galleries, boutiques and bookstores — including Eleventh Hour Brewing, Engine House 25 Wines, Love Bikes, Nine Stories, Una Biologicals and Wildcard. The real bonus is that shoppers can visit adorable adoptable cats and kittens who are spending the day at participating establishments. Buy your shopping pass now.

Ira Flatow
Photograph by Science Friday, courtesy of 90.5 WESA.

9. Science Friday Live at Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall: May 19, 7:30 p.m.

Can a human enzyme recycle plastic bottles? What happens when you give hundreds of puppies one bowl of food? If there’s one radio show that fuels our curiosity and gets our neurons firing, it’s PRI’s wildly popular Science Friday. Winding down each workweek, the award-winning science journalist Ira Flatow leads listeners along every imaginable path — and down many a rabbit hole — to explore nature, science, technology, and other cool stuff. From studying the “nomadic sea people” of Southeast Asia to explaining life on Mars, it’s the world’s source for entertaining and educational stories. Don’t miss this chance to meet the brain behind that animated and inimitable voice when Science Friday Live rolls into town. Flatow and the SciFri crew — who will be joined by local computer scientists, artists and roboticists — will report on the extraordinary science stories happening right here in Pittsburgh. There will even be an appearance by a self-playing guitar. Featuring live music by Townsppl, the event will be recorded for future broadcast. Buy tickets.

Silver Eye
Stephen Milanowski, Portrait of Al Green, c. 1980.

10. Benefit Auction at Silver Eye Center for Photography: May 19, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Don’t fret if you missed Silver Eye’s Auction Preview Party, because the main event is where you can score a new photograph for your collection and help support this local cultural gem. The first auction to take place at the center’s new Penn Ave. facility, this year’s selection boasts work by famed photographers Paul Strand, Esther Bubley and Duane Michals. Alongside these pioneering American artists are works by Pittsburgh’s established lens illuminati as well as gifted rising stars like Noah Addis and KaMan Tse. Works span a range of media — from chromogenic, archival inkjet and silver gelatin prints to hand-pulled dust-grain photogravure images, found cut photos and Polaroids. Included are exceptional vintage and historical photographs and cutting-edge contemporary artworks. Before the bidding begins, attendees will enjoy a brunch with mimosas catered by Black Radish Kitchen. Honorary chair is actor and Homestead native Tamara Tunie, and the auctioneer is Concept Art Gallery Director Alison Oehler. Buy tickets.

Photo by Murphy Moschetta.

11. OpenStreetsPGH: May 27, June 24, July 28, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.    

There are three magical days each year when Pittsburgh’s streets become your open-air playground — and you don’t have to worry about dodging traffic, inhaling exhaust and searching for quarters. Bike, stroll, skateboard and even balance your chakras along the city’s scenic roadways — while reimagining our streets as places for people instead of cars. Pittsburgh’s fastest-growing free event is rolling out an extended route plus a brand new route on a new day. Nearly 100 businesses and organizations will offer workshops, family activities, community arts events, and shopping and brunch specials. Don’t miss the rare chance to walk through Pittsburgh’s storied Armstrong Tunnel during the May 27th kick-off. Spanning Market Square, Uptown and the South Side, the four-mile Tunnel to Town Route will feature event hubs with free YMCA classes. On Saturday, July 28, OpenStreets will traverse through Pittsburgh’s eclectic East End to debut its longest route ever.

Check out more terrific events coming up in May in NEXTpittsburgh.

For family events, read Top 10 events for kids in Pittsburgh this May.

Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator of Handmade Arcade. Musically, she is in a band called The Garment District and is a founding member of Brooklyn's The Ladybug Transistor.