Annual events in Atlanta for January include the Atlanta Boat Show, a field-day for boating enthusiasts which takes place at the Georgia World Congress Center, and Martin Luther King Jr. week, featuring a variety of MLK-related events in the city.
The Black History Month Parade in Atlanta, kicking off in the city’s historic Sweet Auburn district and running all the way from Downtown to Underground Atlanta had it’s first year in 2012, and looks like it is here to stay. Craft beer enthusiasts might want to check out the Winter Beer Carnival held annually in February at popular ATL staple Atlantic Station.
March in Atlanta is an exciting month for food-lovers as one of the biggest food events in Atlanta, Best of Atlanta takes place in March each year at the Cobb Galleria Centre. This is a really special event in which the top Atlanta restaurants serve up the best signature dishes they have to offer to upwards of 2000 patrons each year.
When the weather starts to get warm, Atlanta really picks up when it comes to festivals and special events. Atlanta’s most successful Brewery, Sweetwater, hold their annual 420 Fest in Candler Park, featuring live music and craft beer. The Inman Park Festival, featuring live music, a parade, and plenty of vendors, and the Dogwood Festival, an annual arts fest, are other popular Springtime affairs held in Atlanta each year.
In May, you will find the Atlanta Jazz Festival, a free annual event held in Piedmont Park over Memorial Day weekend featuring top-level national and local jazz artists you do not often get to enjoy at no cost. The Sweet Auburn Festival, a sprawling street festival held in Atlanta’s historic Sweet Auburn neighborhood is another popular ATL festival staple, particularly in the African-American community.
Although June is a slow month in Atlanta for festival/event activity, the Salsa Festival, held each year at Atlantic Station is sure to delight lovers of salsa-dancing and Latin and Caribbean food and culture.
In July, Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park hosts the National Black Arts Festival, one of the largest African-American cultural events in the US. Featuring top-notch local and national entertainment and a wide variety of artists and vendors of various kinds, theNational Black Arts Festival is one of the most exciting yearly events in the city, and best of all, it is free. Atlanta also hosts a wide variety of Fourth of July-centered events, including the Peachtree Road Race (which is considered the largest 10K in the world), the Salute 2 America Parade, and major fireworks displays at Centennial Olympic Park, Lenox Square, and Turner Field.
August in Atlanta is jam-packed with fun festivities, including the Latino Festival in Underground Atlanta and the world-famous Science Fiction/Fantasy conference DragonCon held over Labor Day Weekend. If you love ice cream, and who doesn’t, you might want to hit up Piedmont Park and cool off for a spell at the annual Atlanta Ice Cream Festival.
One of the top arts and crafts festivals in the country, the award-winning Yellow Daisy Festival in Stone Mountain Park is definitely worth checking out if you happen to be in the Atlanta area during September. Music Midtown is another major September event well worth checking out, having featured big-name national acts of the likes of The Foo Fighters and Pearl Jam in past years.
October is an excellent month to visit Atlanta, featuring major happenings such as Taste of Atlanta, one of the better food festivals in the country (Oprah Magazine named it “Top Food Festival Worth the Trip” in the US), and the annual Atlanta Gay Pride event in Piedmont Park. For lovers of great beer, Hotoberfest is another top event in October you should be sure to hit up if you are in town.
In November, the Cabbagetown neighborhood of Atlanta hosts the annual Chomp and Stomp chili cook-off, featuring some of the best chili you’ll ever have the pleasure to enjoy set to live music and an all-around positive community atmosphere. The Atlanta Marathon and Half-Marathon also take place each year in November over Thanksgiving.
December in Atlanta sees most of its special festivities occurring at the end of the month during the New Year’s Eve fanfare. Such events include the Chick-fil-A Bowl (formerly the Peach Bowl), an NCAA institution which takes place at the Georgia Dome each year. Preceding the bowl are related events such as the Chick-fil-A Bowl Parade and the Chick-fil-A Bowl FanFest. Then there is of course the annual NYE celebration in Atlanta featuring the “peach drop,” the Peach State’s answer to NYC’s famed “ball drop.”