Atlanta is an amazing place to be all year-round but especially during the spring and summer. The weather is perfect, and it is a great time to get outdoors. I can hardly keep up with all the Atlanta outdoor festivals and events that take place both in the city and surrounding neighborhoods. Whether you live in Atlanta or are visiting the area, make sure to take in a few of these Atlanta outdoor festivals!
80th Annual Atlanta Dogwood Festival:
April 8 -10, 2016
Think live music, dog shows, art exhibits and a big fun crowd hanging out in Piedmont Park. The park is filled with families enjoying events such as the “Disc Dog Southern Nationals.” This event brings competitors from around the world and it is amazing to watch! It should be noted only dogs that are part of the festival are allowed to enter the park. No other pets are allowed. The festival kicks off with “Family Friday” which includes rides such as a merry-go-round, bounce houses, and slides. On Saturday and Sunday, there is the “Backyard Barbecue & Brews.” Tickets for this event sold out last year so be sure to buy them in advance. On Saturday, there is also the “Atlanta Dogwood Festival 5K” which welcomes runners and walkers. For this and all events at Piedmont Park, parking will be a challenge. There is limited parking available at the parking garages at the park, and you must arrive early. Look for street parking in the surrounding areas but pay attention to residential permit signs. I also suggest bringing cash for ease of transactions, although most vendors accept credit and debit cards.
Atlanta Jazz Festival:
May 27 – 29, 2016 (Memorial Day Weekend)
This is one of the largest free Jazz Festivals! There are events celebrating jazz all month long throughout the city ending with the outdoor jazz festival in Piedmont Park. Bring your lawn chairs and picnic baskets and relax to the sounds of smooth jazz, traditional jazz, Latin jazz, contemporary jazz and funky jazz! This will be my third year in a row attending this event and I cannot wait! There are two stages with the headliners performing on the main stage. Although the crowd consists mostly of adults, there are many families in attendance with kids running around or dancing to the music. Food vendors are stationed within the park with a variety of eats including fried fish, hamburgers, Chinese food, and funnel cakes. However, most people bring their own picnic baskets with food and “drinks.” As noted above for Piedmont Park, you will spend time looking for parking. One of the things I love about this event is the camaraderie between people of all ages and ethnicities enjoying good music.
Atlanta Food & Wine Festival:
June 2 – 5, 2016
This event takes place in Midtown Atlanta at various locations. Activities include chef demonstrations, food workshops, wine and spirits, private dinners at local restaurants and the highlight for me; the outdoor weekend tasting tents! Pay one price and eat and drink all you want for hours! I suggest taking a look at the map of the tasting tent area to make sure you cover all basis. There are several distinct areas including barbecue, farm to table, desserts and international foods. There will be vendors in the tents serving wine, craft beers and specialty cocktails. Some of my favorites that you should look out for include; Grand Champion BBQ, Revolution Doughnuts, and the Indian restaurant Chai Pani. It is a good idea to take Uber or a cab to the tasting tent events! If you do drive, there are designated parking areas close by so you can walk to the tasting tents.
Piedmont Park Arts Festival:
August 13 – 14, 2016
I love attending this event every year. You can take your time strolling through as much as 250 art booths! There is everything from custom jewelry to paintings to photographs to sculptures. I enjoy speaking to the actual artists about their creations and I find most items to be at a reasonable cost. Most of these vendors do take debit or credit cards, but I did come across a few last year that only took cash. If possible, I suggest tackling one area at a time each day. August is very hot and humid in Atlanta and walking through the park can be exhausting. This is also a great family event and it is also great for couples or groups looking for a relaxing outdoor event in the city.
House in the Park:
September 4, 2016 (Labor Day Weekend)
I finally made it to this annual Labor Day event last year. People actually fly into Atlanta just to go to House in the Park. If you are a “house head” this is the place to be! House DJs from all over the country including Chicago and New York City make appearances. There are people of all ages gathered in the pavilion to dance the day and night away. If you would like to be near the main pavilion, go the park early, as in 7 or 8AM and set up your tent. You can leave the tent and come back later once the event starts. People not only set up large tents, but grilling is allowed in the park. We brought picnic baskets, but they do have a few food vendors located around the park selling Jamaican food, Southern food, and desserts. Parking will be an issue here as well so be patient driving around the neighborhood to find a space. This is a great event to gather with friends, each bringing something to eat and drink under your tent while enjoying house tunes.