Festivals, markets and more: 20+ things to do this spring in Atlanta

Festivalgoers walk by the artist section during the 87th annual Atlanta Dogwood Festival on Sunday, April 16, 2023, in Piedmont Park. Miguel Martinez /miguel.martinezjimenez@ajc.com

The red buds are blooming, the robins are out in force: It’s officially spring in the South. Here are our recommendations for making the most of warm weather and a beautiful city and its surrounding metro.

Decatur Farmers Market

This longstanding market is the place to be for the freshest fruits, veggies and prepared foods. And you can catch cooking demos! It’s part of the Atlanta-based Community Farmers Markets, which champions the local food movement. You’ll find everything you need here for seasonally appropriate meals!

Location: First Baptist Church Decatur grounds; Website: cfmatl.org/decatur; Dates: Wednesdays beginning March 27; Times: 4-7 p.m.; Admission: Free

Sandy Springs Artsapalooza

Art floods the streets of Sandy Springs on Easter weekend. Looking for that perfect piece to spruce up your home this spring? Now’s the time. Bring the whole family out for the egg hunt Sunday, at 2 p.m., too!

Location: Sandy Springs; Website: sandyspringsartsapalooza.com; Dates: March 30-31; Times: Saturday - 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday - 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Admission: Free

404 Day in Atlanta

Centered in Piedmont Park, 404 Day is an opportunity to observe how creativity influences Atlanta. It’s a time of celebration with live music and art installations that embody the artistic heart of the city. And it’s a time for attendees to acknowledge the culture that makes Atlanta truly distinctive. Here are the 404 Day events you need to know about!

Location: Multiple locations around Atlanta; Website: accessatlanta.com; Dates: April 3-6

Georgia Bird Fest

It’ll be birds galore in Atlanta come April! From birding on Pole Bridge Creek to raptors at the Chattahoochee Nature Center, Birds Georgia patrons will enjoy a slew of exclusive events. And an all-access webinar pass will let you access many more subjects centered around your favorite feathered friends.

Location: Varied - see website; Website: birdsgeorgia.org; Dates: April 6-May 4; Admission: $35-$280 per event; webinar all-access pass - $40 per device; some events are free

Atlanta Dogwood Festival

What would spring be without this festival and fine arts celebration? It’s the city’s longest-running festival, and music lovers won’t be disappointed with main stage headliners like Zach Person and Bird City Revolutionaries. Nearly two dozen international stage performers will include SALSAtlanta and Lithuanian dance group Jievaras. Put your best foot forward in the Mimosa 5K, and let your children experience Kids Village, presented by Dollywood. And, of course, the artist market, with jewelry, clay, glass and more, is not to be missed!

Location: Piedmont Park; Website: dogwood.org; Dates: April 12-14; Times: Friday - noon to 9 p.m.; Saturday - 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday - 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Admission: $5 (suggested donation)

Spring to Life Family Festival

This is truly a celebration of new life - in an unusual, albeit beautiful, location. Come on out for a plant sale, garden tour, mushroom walk, two fun runs and more! Also, learn about butterflies, bees, forests and more from area organizations.

Location: Oakland Cemetery; Website: oaklandcemetery.com; Dates: April 13; Times: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Admission: Free

Georgia Renaissance Festival

If you haven’t been in a while, there’s no better time to check out the iconic Georgia Renaissance Festival! Thirty-two acres in Fairburn transform into a six-week Renaissance celebration with costumed actors, jousting exhibitions, artisan demonstrations and much more! Browse the village vendors and take home treasures like calligraphy artwork or a coin you design. Or catch a show like the carillon bells, or an epic horseback joust.

Location: Fairburn, Georgia; Website: garenfest.com; Dates: April 13-June 2; Times: 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Admission: kids (5 and under) - free; (6-12) - $13.95-$16.56; adults - $26.95-$30.55

Lemonade Days Festival

Sky-high rides, great food and drinks, and fabulous on-stage entertainment! What could be better for a day out in Dunwoody? And you’ll be contributing to the community - this is the Dunwoody Preservation Trust’s biggest fundraiser of the year for historic preservation, community education and celebrations.

Location: Brook Run Park; Website: dunwoodypreservationtrust.org; Dates: April 17-21; Times: Wednesday-Friday - 4-10 p.m.; Saturday - 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday - noon to 6 p.m.; Admission: General - free; Unlimited ride wristbands - Wednesday-Thursday - $20, Friday-Sunday - $30

Glow in the Park

The International Night Market Atlanta presents, for the third time in Suwannee, one of the Southeast’s largest international festivals. With retail and food vendors and lots of performances, it’s a chance to experience numerous cultures in one place!

Location: Atlanta International Night Market; Website: atlnightmarket.org; Dates: April 19-20; Times: Friday - 5-10 p.m.; Saturday - 2-10 p.m.; Admission: Free

Sweetwater 420Fest

This annual ode to music and great brews will bring out heavy-hitting entertainers like Beck, Grace Potter and Larkin Poe this year. Purchase a beverage fast pass and get your fill of the best beverages around the festival as you take in an unforgettable lineup of performers on the venue’s three stages.

Location: Pullman Yards; Website: sweetwater420fest.com; Dates: April 20-21; Times: Saturday - noon-11 p.m.; Sunday - noon-11 p.m.; Admission: $77-$1,170

The Atlanta Film Festival

A total of 7,500 submissions; 142 final selections, 118 represented countries, 27 world premiers: This is the 48th annual Atlanta Film Festival. Among them: Ann Hathaway in “The Idea of You,” a supernatural TV world in “I Saw the TV Glow” and the story of icon Luther Vandross in “Luther: Never Too Much.” And catch educational programming with the festival’s Creative Conference.

Location: Plaza Theatre and Tara Theatre and virtual; Website: atlantafilmfestival.com; Dates: April 25-May 5; Time: Showtimes vary - see website; Admission: badges and passes - $75-$875

Inman Park Festival and Tour of Homes 2024

The Inman Park Festival and Tour of Homes returns in April! The festival is free to attend and highlights a street market, local art, food, live music and much more. The Tour of Homes starts at $35 where you can take in the beauty of stunning Victorian homes of the late 1800s.

Location: Atlanta’s historic Inman Park neighborhood; Website: festival.inmanpark.org; Dates and Times: 2024 Tour of Homes: April 26-28 from noon to 4 p.m.; Festival: April 27 & April 28 starting at 11 a.m.; Admission: Tour of homes starting at $35; Festival admission is free

Smyrna Jonquil Festival

Small flower/big event! This annual spring festival will bring out 150 arts and crafts vendors alongside food booth full of delicious festival food - think corn dogs, snow cones, BBQ. And there’s fun for all with kids’ activities and on-stage entertainment.

Location: The Village Green; Website: cobbcountyevents.com; Dates: April 27-28; Times: Saturday - 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday - noon to 5 p.m.; Admission: Free

Shaky Knees Music Festival

This is another classic you just shouldn’t miss if music is important to you. Wheezer, Foo Fighters, Billy Idol, Switchfoot - need we say more? These are just a few of dozens of bands and artists lined up to bring exceptional music to the ATL! And from barbecue to vegetarian food trucks, you’ll find something to satisfy your palette as you listen.

Location: Central Park; Website: shakykneesfestival.com; Dates: May 3-5; Times: Friday-Saturday - 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday - 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Admission: $165-$5,560

Sweet Auburn Springfest

According to its official website, this festival is “the largest family reunion in the world.” Bring family and friends out to enjoy the continuous entertainment at this event in a neighborhood tied intrinsically to the civil rights movement in Atlanta. You’ll find a fun zone for kids, a pop-up library, an escape room and lots of great food!

Location: Historic Sweet Auburn District; Website: sweetauburn.com; Dates: May 11-12; Times: Saturday - 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday - 1-8 p.m.; Admission: Free

Chastain Park Arts Festival

This two-day outdoor festival means the best in visual arts. There’s an emphasis on local artists, but you’ll find works from those with regional and national presences, too. From photography to sculpture and leather, there are numerous mediums to browse.

Location: Chastain Park; Website: chastainparkartsfestival.com; Dates: May 11-12; Times: Saturday - 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday - 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Admission: Free

VaHi Porchfest

VaHi Porchfest returns this spring on May 18! Prepare to rock Virginia Highland’s charming porches. Beginning at 11 a.m., Porchfest will feature a Rock n Run jog. Local bands will then perform live on porches for one-hour periods between noon and 6 p.m., culminating in a performance at John Howell Park from 6 to 7 p.m. A Kids Corner will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., along with a market showcasing the greatest food and art sellers in the area.

Location: Virgina Highland District; Website: virginiahighlanddistrict.com/porchfest; Dates: Saturday, May 18; Times: 11 a.m to 7 p.m.; Admission: Free

Atlanta Caribbean Carnival

Experience Caribbean culture - without leaving the ATL! Performers include Motto, Burning Flames, Skinny Fabulous, G’Eve and more! The carnival parade begins at Moore’s Mill Center and will run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Location: Westside Park; Website: atlantacarnival.org; Date: May 25; Time: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Admission: $35-$160

Atlanta Jazz Festival

Atlatna boasts one of the nation’s biggest free jazz festivals. Founded by former mayor Maynard Jackson in 1978, this event brings forth the latest in a truly Southern art form.

Location: Piedmont Park; Website: atljazzfest.com; Dates: May 25-27; Admission: Free

Virginia Highland SummerFest

An estimated 75,000 people will turn out for the Virginia Highland SummerFest’s 39th iteration. Live entertainment, fine art, a fun run and kids’ arts and crafts are just some of the not-to-be-missed offerings. You’ll also find a maker’s market with lotions, soaps, plants and more.

Location: Virginia Highland; Website: vahisummerfest.org; Dates: June 7-9; Times and Dates: Friday - 6-9 p.m.; Saturday - 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday - 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Admission: Free

Atlanta Summer Beer Festival

Wrap up spring with some of the best-tasting brews! Sample from over 150 offerings from across Atlanta and the country. Also find wine, mimosas, seltzers and more. This event is strictly 21 and over; there will be free water, and you’re welcome to bring a chair or blanket for sitting.

Location: Historic Fourth Ward Park; Website: atlantasummerbeerfestival.com; Dates: June 17; Times: 4-8 p.m.; Admission: advance - $45; after June 8 - $50; at gate - $60

Next:11 ways to celebrate 404 Day in Atlanta
Centered in Piedmont Park, 404 Day is an opportunity to observe how …