7 Essential Summer Festivals in Atlanta

Navigate Atlanta's summer festival frenzy with Where Atlanta's guide to some of the city’s best outdoor events.

Update: The Atlanta Margarita Festival originally included in this article and covered in our June issue has been cancelled. 

Summer is here, which means festivals take over Atlanta’s social calendar. In fact, you could stumble upon a festival in nearly every large park almost every weekend of the season. Navigate the frenzy with our guide to some of the city’s best outdoor events.

Atlanta Fringe Festival

This celebration of the performing arts includes an eclectic lineup with everything from aerial theater to spoken word to modern dance. From June 3-7, performers of every kind will take over intimate venues throughout the city to enthrall audiences with their eclectic talents. Tickets: $10-$99. Check website for schedule and venues.

Virginia-Highland Summerfest

Virginia-Highland Summerfest

This annual festival is one of Atlanta’s most popular. In its 32nd year, the Virginia-Highland Summerfest knows how to throw an all-out neighborhood bash, and this year’s incarnation will be no exception. Taking place June 6 from 10 am to 11 pm and June 7 from 10 am to 6 pm, the festival will include an artist market, 5K Road Race and Tot Trot, Kidsfest, food and beverage vendors and two live music stages. Free admission. Between North Highland Ave. and Park Drive, Virginia-Highland, Atlanta, GA

Atlanta Summer Beer Fest

Atlanta Summer Beer Fest

Keep cool in the summer heat by sampling over 200 beers, including a variety of local brews, at the Atlanta Summer Beer Fest on June 20 from 4-9 pm. Sip on your samples while listening to live music or head to the DJ dance party to let the “Dancing Queen” within you shine. Don’t like dancing in public? Just sample another beer and you’ll be dancing in no time! 21 and up. Tickets: advance $40, after June 11 $45, day of $55; includes entry, a souvenir cup and unlimited beer samples. Masquerade Music Park, 695 North Ave. NE, Midtown, Atlanta, GA

Atlanta Ice Cream Festival

Atlanta Ice Cream Festival

No, you’re not dreaming— there IS an entire day dedicated to America’s favorite frozen treat and it does not disappoint. On July 25, the Atlanta Ice Cream Festival will bring together a wide variety of ice-cream vendors, family-friendly activities, and health and fitness programs. Free admission. Piedmont Park, 10th St. and Charles Allen Drive, Midtown, Atlanta, GA

Decatur BBQ, Blues & Bluegrass Festival

Decatur BBQ, Blues & Bluegrass Festival

No napkins? No problem. At this awesome neighborhood festival, the dirtier your hands, the more fun you’re having. Decatur’s 15th annual BBQ, Blues & Bluegrass Festival is a day-long extravaganza filled with delicious ’cue, booze and tunes. And for those who’d rather not make a mess of themselves, no worries—napkins are included free with your $10 ticket. Aug. 15 from noon to 8 pm. 630 East Lake Drive & Harmony Park, Oakhurst, Atlanta, GA

Piedmont Park Arts Festival

Piedmont Park Arts Festival

Art takes over Atlanta’s centerpiece park with the Piedmont Park Arts Festival Aug. 15-16. The sixth annual event features nearly 250 painters, photographers, sculptors, leather and metalwork, glass blowers, jewelers and crafters. This artful wonderland also offers artist demos, live music and kids play area and, of course, plenty of food vendors. Free admission. Piedmont Park, 10 St. and Piedmont Ave., Midtown, Atlanta, GA

Grant Park Summer Shade Festival

Grant Park Summer Shade Festival

This small festival is a perfect reflection of its host neighborhood—charming, artistic and eclectic. Taking place Aug. 29-30, Grant Park’s Summer Shade Festival is another excellent showcase of the city’s local artistic and musical talent. Enjoy live music, food trucks and a kid’s zone in addition to the juried artist market. Free admission. Grant Park, 840 Cherokee Ave. SE, Atlanta, GA