10 Essential Atlanta Festivals You Can’t Miss This Summer

From Atlanta Jazz Festival to Atlanta Summer Beerfest, these upcoming seasonal events in the 404 have it all.

Along with peaches, red clay, and wings, Atlanta is known for its festivals throughout the year, and in the coming weeks, many of your favorite events are returning. It won’t matter if you’re a fan of food, film, entertainment, or fine art, Georgia’s capital will be able to accommodate your every need. Whether it’s the Jazz Festival at Piedmont Park, the immersive Arts Fest located on the streets of Alpharetta, or the wildly popular Atlanta Ice Cream Festival in June, each has its own unique vibe and can provide a special experience for everyone in attendance.

Take a look at the upcoming festivals during the hottest, funnest months in Atlanta. Be safe and stay cool, friends.

Alpharetta Arts Streetfest
Alpharetta Arts Streetfest

Where: The Grove at Willis Park
When: Saturday, May 28 - Sunday, May, 29
What: This event will highlight over 100 artists from across the country set to the backdrop of the beautiful city of Alpharetta. While strolling through the festival’s massive outdoor gallery located behind the Community Center, you can see new art, meet new people, and immerse yourself in an atmosphere filled with creativity. Food and drinks will be available for purchase from the many vendors on site. There will also be a Kidz Zone to entertain the little ones, so go ahead and bring the whole family.
Cost: Free

Atlanta Jazz Festival
Atlanta Jazz Festival | Christopher Octa/Flickr

Where: Piedmont Park
When: Saturday, May 28 - Monday, May, 30
What: Spend the weekend of Memorial Day listening to some amazing music at Piedmont Park. No purchase needed because this event comes at no charge. Known as one of the largest free jazz festivals in the US, the ATL Jazz Fest is a yearly celebration of culture and art in order to expose a larger audience to the history, heritage, and variety of the only true American artform. This event will feature artists from all over, so you will get a taste of just how eclectic this genre of music can be.
Who: Performers include Herbie Hancock, T.C. Carson, Kebbi Williams and the Wolfpack, Tia Fuller’s Intersections, Masego, Joe Alterman, The Baylor Project, Rhonda Thomas, Eddie Palmieri Afro Caribbean Jazz Septet, Julie Dexter, Naia Izumi, Makaya McCraven, Kathleen Bertrand, Kenny Barron Quartet, and Warren Wolf & The Pack.
Cost: Free

Candler Park Music Festival
Candler Park Music Festival

Where: Candler Park
When: Friday, June 3 - Saturday, June 4
What: Less than 9 months removed from last year’s celebration (the festivities were pushed back due to COVID-19 precautions) the Candler Park Music Festival is sure to leave a strong impact on 2022. For its 14th year, the festival will include some showstopping live performances, a market for artists and enthusiasts, full beer, wine & spirits bars, as well as some food trucks when hunger strikes.
Who: Performers include Grace Potter, Yonder Mountain String Band, Andy Frasco & The U.N., The Orange Constant, The Disco Biscuits, Trouble No More, Twiddle, Cha Wa, CBDB, and Webster.
Cost: $35 for one-day admission, $50 for a weekend pass. Buy tickets here.

Where: Chattahoochee Nature Center
When: Saturday, June 4 - Sunday, June 5
What: Take a trip to Roswell to see a beautiful display of butterflies for a day of fun with the whole family. During the festival meet with butterfly experts, learn migration, and enjoy tasty food and drinks with live entertainment. There will also be plants for sale including nectar plants and other pollinators. The featured vendors are the GA Department of Agriculture, Roswell Fine Arts, Georgia Audubon, Bee Wild, It Element Handicrafts, the Metro Atlanta Bee Keepers Association, and more.
Cost: $15 General Public and $12 CNC Members. Children ages 2 & under are free.

Virginia-Highland Summerfest
Virginia-Highland Summerfest

Where: Virginia Ave. between Barnett St. and Arcadia St. at John Howell Park
When: Saturday, June 11
What: After being canceled last year due to the pandemic, the Virginia-Highland Summerfest is back in a big way. The kick-off party ($25 fee) begins on Friday, June 10 at 6 pm at John Howell Park, and will have food trucks, drink options, raffles and performances by The Unmentionables and The Backyard Birds. Don’t have too much fun though – the 5K race ($35 entrance fee) starts at 8 am sharp on Saturday morning right before the festival. On the 11th you can experience live bands, buy some art, and stuff you face from the many food choices.
Who: Performances on Friday and Saturday include The Unmentionables, The Backyard Birds, and more.
Cost: $25 - $35

Where: Historic 4th Ward Park
When: Saturday, June 11
What: Featuring over 150 beers from local breweries in the ATL as well as companies across the country, the Atlanta Summer Beerfest has become one of the most anticipated events of the summer. On top of the long beer list, there will also be wine, ciders, hard seltzers, and more. There will also be food provided from places such as Calaveritas, Roti Rolls, Soul Pit, Azucar, and several others. After you’ve sipped the day away, be sure to check out the live music from DJ Qtip along with Davis and the Love.
Cost: $45 Advance, $50 after June 2, $60 at the gate. Purchase here.

Where: Georgia Freight Depot
When: Sunday, June 19
What: In celebration of Father’s Day and Juneteenth, pull up to the GA Freight Depot for the eighth edition of the Family Food Fest. You’ll see chefs, cooks, caterers, restaurateurs, fathers, and men putting their culinary skills on display. All attendees will be able to sample different types of food (including vegan/vegetarian options) and also enjoy live entertainment, a silent auction, health screenings, and more. Produced by the nonprofit Atlanta Culinary Charities, this event will run from 3 pm - 6 pm.
Cost: $25 (Adults) - $15 (Children 12 years & under). Buy tickets here.

Atlanta Ice Cream Festival
Atlanta Ice Cream Festival

Where: Piedmont Park
When: Saturday, June 23
What: Who doesn’t like ice cream? In fact, some people love ice cream so much that they decided to dedicate an entire festival to it. Piedmont Park’s Ice Cream Festival will have plenty of ice cream to try—which will be the perfect balance under Atlanta’s July heat. There’s also a health and wellness program being put together, so stay tuned. Entrance into the festival is free to the public, so bring your appetite, support some amazing ice cream vendors, and be ready for a memorable experience.
Cost: Free

Where: RoleCall Theater and various locations.
When: Friday, August 19 - Sunday, August 21
What: Film creation is a beautiful process, and the AUFF showcases artists that create underground projects that break the mold of conventional cinema. For three days attendees can see some of the best features and shorts from around the world. Some of the most talented filmmakers and actors will be in the building, so this is also a great place to build connections with the industry’s crème de la crème.
Cost: TBD

Summer Shade Festival
Summer Shade Festival

Where: Grant Park
When: Saturday, August 27 - Sunday, August, 28
What: The annual event at Atlanta’s oldest park is celebrating its 20th anniversary in August—the 2022 Summer Shade Festival is one you surely won’t want to miss. For all you fitness buffs out there, you can register for the Adams Realty 5k Run, which begins on the morning of the 27th. After getting your run—or walk—on, enjoy the music, artist market, and live entertainment for the duration of the weekend.
Cost: Free

Want more Thrillist? Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, TikTok, and Snapchat.

Okla Jones is an Atlanta-based journalist who writes about food, fine arts, and entertainment. His work also appears in ESSENCE, Creative Loafing Atlanta, and Consequence of Sound. Follow him on Instagram at @coolhandoak.