Georgia’s largest city may not pop for its tourist attractions but Atlantans sure know how to throw a party. For every form of art and each of the five senses, our full calendar of events in the 404 will help guide your next visit to Atlanta.
Undecided where to stay for one of these festivals in Atlanta? Have a look at our hand-picked neighborhood hotel suggestions that will place you right by the action and waking up ready to take on more!
Atlanta Film Festival
April 1 – 10, 2016[caption id="attachment_39171" align="aligncenter" width="2048"] The Plaza Theatre serves as a hub for the Festival. Photo captured by Lee Coursey CC BY[/caption]
As an “intersection of art, culture and commerce”, the Atlanta Film Festival is now in its 40th year of welcoming world-class films from the States and around the world. This year’s listing includes 51 feature-length films and 100 short films screened in theaters around Poncey-Highland and the greater Midtown area. Catch films like Irving Franco’s Cheerleader and Elisa Paloschi’s Driving With Selvi.
☀ Festival Bunk: Highland Inn
Place yourself around the corner from the Plaza Theatre, informally acting as the heart of the festival. The Highland Inn’s comfortable rooms are striding distance to their well-regarded Ballroom Lounge in the basement (titled as being “one part speakeasy, one part Art Nouveau, and a dash of Studio 54”). Start your day with the Inn’s complimentary continental breakfast or grab weekend brunch next door at Café Highlands where you can crunch into a choice of three distinctly different homemade granola parfaits or chomp into their lemon & ricotta pancakes.
Atlanta Dogwood Festival
April 8 – 10, 2016[caption id="attachment_39179" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Dogwoods abloom in Piedmont Park. Photo courtesy of the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau[/caption]
For the past 80 years, the Atlanta Dogwood Festival has been a regular feature on Atlanta’s local event roster. A celebration of all forms of fine and material arts, the Festival’s exhibitors take over Piedmont Park for a three-day weekend. Bring the whole family to peruse the Artist Market, take in the live music, go about sampling at Backyard Barbecue & Brews and cheer on the runners Saturday morning at the Mimosa 5k.
☀ Festival Bunk: Stonehurst Place
This tastefully elegant B&B not only wins for its location across the street from Piedmont Park but has also earned bragging rights as the top rated 4-star property in Atlanta according to trivago users! Stonehurst Place’s six rooms breathe a new sophisticated air into the bed & breakfast experience thanks to heated bathroom floors, crisp luxury linens, and just wait until you lay your eyes on their breakfast menu.
Sweetwater 420 Fest
April 22 – 24, 2016[caption id="attachment_39184" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Atlanta’s most rocking Earth Day party. Photo courtesy of the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau[/caption]
Toast to Mother Earth at Sweetwater 420 Fest held in sprawling Centennial Olympic Park in Downtown Atlanta. Soak up the spring sun with the music stylings of Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals, The Roots, Atmosphere and other big name artists on this year’s line-up. Synth-loving audiophiles will need to check out the 420 Disco held at Aisle 5 in Little Five Points. And it goes without saying that there is also no leaving the music festival without having sampled some of Sweetwater’s own craft beers.
☀ Festival Bunk: The Ellis
After a day partying in Centennial Olympic Park, The Ellis Hotel is perfect to recharge in style and with environmental stewardship. As a Green Seal Silver recipient, the hotel is making efforts to conserve water, electricity and has pledged to use biodegradable housekeeping products. Additionally, the hotel’s soap bars and small plastic bottles get recycled through Clean the World. A number of floors of the 16-story building are designated Women’s Only, Fresh Air, Wellness and Pets.
May 13 – 15, 2016[caption id="attachment_39186" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] A sunset performance at the Peachtree Stage. Photo courtesy of the Shaky Knees Facebook page[/caption]
Atlanta sure knows how to make the most of good weather. Shaky Knees has grown exponentially since its first edition in 2013 and continues to bring in crowds from further and further afield. Its 2016 lineup similarly reflects a widening appeal with scheduled appearances by The 1975, Walk The Moon and Florence + The Machine. Photo booths and a wicked rally of Southern food trucks promise plenty of fun between sets.
☀ Festival Bunk: Aloft Atlanta Downtown
Traveling with friends to Shaky Knees? The Queen Rooms at Aloft Atlanta Downtown comfortably sleep four concertgoers with a 24-hour grab & go eatery in the lobby for late night hunger pangs. The hotel recommends capping off a day at the Park with a drink in the hotel’s W XYZ bar or a round of pool in the Re:mix lounge. Best of all, Aloft is just a block and a half walk to the top of the Park.
May 20 – 22, 2016[caption id="attachment_39189" align="alignleft" width="1200"] Be that someone that MØ needs to lean on at Shaky Beats. Photo courtesy of the Shaky Beats Facebook page[/caption]
The weekend following Shaky Knees will see the debut of its electronic and hip-hop sister festival, Shaky Beats. Headliners for the inaugural edition include Major Lazer on the Friday, Odesza on the Saturday and Big Gigantic on the Sunday. Cut through the heat with a large sweet tea or honor Hotlanta’s roots with its soda par excellence, Coca-Cola (after all, its museum sits just north of the event grounds).
☀ Festival Bunk: The Glenn Hotel
Cap your concert days off with a drink at The Glenn’s SkyLounge at the lower tip of Centennial Olympic Park. Up on the boutique hotel’s 11th floor, take in panoramic views of the Downtown including the iconic Westin Peachtree Plaza. The Glenn’s guestrooms have an understated elegance with pillow-top mattresses to collapse into after a day of moshing in the sun.
Atlanta Food & Wine Festival
June 2 – 5, 2016[caption id="attachment_39190" align="aligncenter" width="960"] Southern classics like Shrimps & Grits get their time in the spotlight. Photo courtesy of the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival Facebook page[/caption]
Atlanta’s most anticipated gastronomic event is back this year to the delight of the city’s discerning foodies. The Atlanta Food & Wine Festival will once again take over the Midtown area with new tasting tents erected along the Greensward Promenade in Piedmont Park and a pop-up vineyard. Bring your palate and appetite to the full schedule of dinners, tasting events and chef- and connoisseur-led classes. An emphasis is placed on Southern and local talent as well as regionally-focused drinks.
☀ Festival Bunk: Four Seasons Atlanta
For the length of the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival, guests at the Four Seasons will be entertained by urban vineyard views with higher floor rooms overlooking the festival’s wine-focused site (including a bocce court!) Don’t pass up on the chance to eat at the luxury hotel’s Park 75 restaurant with hydroponically-grown lettuce and radishes from the roof. Coquettish Bar Margot will surely sidetrack a festival goer or two with its house cocktails and shareable small plates.
August 26 – 28, 2016[caption id="attachment_39194" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] A treat for the senses. Photo courtesy of the Imagine Festival Facebook page[/caption]
With the upsetting news of TomorrowWorld’s cancellation this year, Imagine Festival presents a veritable successor for EDM fans in the Southeast. Precedence has already been set by last year’s 26,000 attendees for this year’s festival to be an Atlanta concert calendar mainstay. Ethereal vibes abound, Imagine’s 2016 experience is promising to deliver on chart-toping artists in addition to circus troupes, dancers and workshops.
☀ Festival Bunk: Hotel Indigo Midtown
With no festival site announced yet, Imagine Festival attendees might play it safe with a booking at Hotel Indigo Midtown. Using the facing Fox Theatre as its muse, the hotel lobby and lounge throw together an energizing mix of fuchsia armchairs and theatrical blackboard illustrations. The midtown hotel’s proximity to the North Avenue Marta station makes it a well-connected choice.
September 2 -5, 2016[caption id="attachment_39199" align="aligncenter" width="700"] Character clashes guaranteed. Photo courtesy of the Dragon Con Facebook page[/caption]
Otaku, geeks, gamers and hobbyists in the know already have Dragon Con marked in their datebooks. The largest multimedia, pop culture con of its kind takes over Peachtree Center and the surrounding hotels for the four-day convention. Expect unbelievably intricate cosplay costumes, gaming demos and tournaments and actor autograph sessions. The Annual Dragon Con Parade on the Saturday morning is quite something to behold with Stormtroopers, Marvel characters and anime fanatics marching through Atlanta’s business core.
☀ Festival Bunk: Hyatt Regency Atlanta
As one of the Con’s host hotels, the Hyatt Regency Atlanta may have you second guessing it for Star Wars’ Galactic Senate with its soaring atrium and original glass elevators. After undergoing a modern refresh, the Hyatt Regency is back with sleek contemporary furnishings in its 1260 guestrooms and a retro refinish to its Polaris rotating restaurant.
September 2016[caption id="attachment_39202" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Yes — you can count on confetti cannons. Photo courtesy of the Music Midtown Facebook page[/caption]
Promoting major sing-along potential, last year’s Music Midtown welcomed Elton John, Van Halen, Lenny Kravitz and Hall & Oates to its stages. As one of the city’s most inclusive music events, anticipate the hordes and remember to stay hydrated. Enclaved by the greenery of Midtown’s Piedmont Park, the early September festival is a perfect send-off to the dog days of summer. Make sure to snatch your two-day festival passes before they run out!
☀ Festival Bunk: Loews Atlanta
Two blocks away from Piedmont Park’s south end, the Loews Atlanta is optimal for a midday recharge or siesta during Music Midtown. Score an east-facing room for views of Piedmont Park though higher floor rooms also compete for best views with encompassing vistas of The A. Zebrawood vanities, Egyptian cotton sheets and the exhale Spa will spit you out the next day rejuvenated.
October 8 – 9, 2016[caption id="attachment_39206" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Loud and proud in Atlanta. Photo courtesy of TC Moore CC BY[/caption]
With the aim to promote unity, visibility and self-esteem for LGBTQ people, Atlanta Pride has hitting its goals with full flamboyance. Attendees can count on the second weekend of October to be filled with comedy, live music, drag, fundraising and loads of memorable parties. Of course that is in addition to Pride’s foci: Saturday’s Annual Trans and Dyke Marches and Sunday’s culminating Pride Parade.
☀ Festival Bunk: W Atlanta Midtown
Considered an epicenter of Atlanta Pride, the W Atlanta Midtown is a favorite spot for out-of-towners and locals over the festival’s weekend. As last year’s official host hotel, the 14th Street address donated a portion of proceeds from hotel bookings back to the Atlanta Pride Committee. Elect your level of décor amazement with room names like Wonderful Room to Fabulous Park & City View to the Extreme Wow Suite.
Atlanta Arts Festival
September/October 2016[caption id="attachment_39208" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Atlanta’s got talent! Photo courtesy of the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau[/caption]
Typical held over the second weekend following Labor Day, the Atlanta Arts Festival is certainly worth a visit for art collectors. The Festival still maintains its grassroots nature with a strong presence of local talent in visual and material arts. Feeling inspired? Canvas by U and the Creation Station allows visitors to get their hands dirty over the Festival’s weekend. Live music and a food court are also on hand to feed your soul and body.
☀ Festival Bunk: Hyatt House Atlanta Cobb Galleria
The very comfortable Hyatt House Atlanta Cobb Galleria was last year’s official festival hotel. As the number one budget choice in Atlanta per trivago users, the Hyatt House presents mega value for art aficionados. Complimentary full buffet breakfast with omelet bar and a courtyard pool will be appreciated by weekend visitors while extended stay lodgers will favor their larger suites with fully-equipped kitchens and complimentary grocery pickup. If you don’t find yourself shopped out from the Festival, the Cumberland/Galleria offers ample shopping mall enticement.
A3C Festival & Conference
October 5- 9, 2016[caption id="attachment_39210" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] A panel dishes on the status of Hip-Hop. Photo courtesy of the A3C Festival & Conference Facebook page[/caption]
Hosted by the city’s historic Old Fourth Ward neighborhood, A3C marries musical performances with critical perspectives and insights around Hip-Hop in America. With 500+ performances last year along the Atlanta Streetcar Corridor, A3C is getting people talking and humming about its turnout of well-known artists and emerging talent. On the conference side, hip-hop’s influencers and tastemakers talk the direction of the industry as well as its intersections with technology, academia, fashion and social responsibility.
☀ Festival Bunk: Westin Peachtree Plaza
Four stops away from the festival grounds, the Atlanta Streetcar will whizz you from A3C to the Westin Peachtree Plaza in minutes. The landmark Downtown hotel appears like a shimmering baton between the downtown core’s office buildings. Deluxe rooms offer unobstructed views of the city from the 38th to the 56th floor. Up on the 72nd floor, The Sundial Restaurant and Bar is the spot to be at sunset.