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Shaky Knees returns to Old Fourth Ward in May.
Curbed Atlanta

10 best bets for Atlanta spring festivals and events, mapped

From street parties to massive multi-day concerts, there’s no shortage of springtime hullabaloo in the ATL

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Shaky Knees returns to Old Fourth Ward in May.
| Curbed Atlanta

Welcome to Atlanta, home of innumerable springtime gatherings!

With spring now officially upon the city, it’s time to count our 10 top picks for festivals and events that, like Atlanta itself, are eclectic in form, style, and function.

For 2019, these include an alternate lantern parade, street-closure party of record proportions, musical blowouts in the shadow of downtown, and longstanding traditions that most Atlantans don’t feel right missing.

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Inman Park Festival & Home Tour

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A tradition of more than 40 years, once voted by Curbed Atlanta readers the city’s very best neighborhood fiesta, the Inman Park Festival and Home Tour will happen, as usual, the last full weekend in April.

Expect a zany parade on Saturday, music on multiple stages, and a massive artists’ market throughout the neighborhood. This year, the home tour falls on the 26th, followed by the general extravaganza the 27th and 28th.

Shaky Knees Music Festival

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The seventh installment of Shaky Knees returns to its home of several past years, Old Fourth Ward’s Central Park (and adjacent areas), from May 3 to 5. Expect the same four-stage setup as last year for headliners that include Beck, Cage the Elephant, bluesman Gary Clark Jr., Tears for Fears, Atlanta’s own Deerhunter, and Tame Impala, purveyors of spaced-out, hippie-funk love jams.

Single-day tickets start at $99 now, but prices increase as the calendar flips to May. (EDM blowout Shaky Beats happens in the same place across two days the following weekend.)

O4W’s Central Park.
Curbed Atlanta

Decatur Lantern Parade

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It might lack the clout and massive attendance of its Atlanta Beltline counterpart, but the Decatur Lantern Parade serves as an ample kickoff for both Arts Month and summertime social gatherings.

The parade steps off at 9 p.m. Friday, May 10, beginning at Color Wheel Studio (508 East Howard Avenue) and wending through the downtown square. All battery-powered lanterns crafted at home or pre-parade workshops are permitted. Anything with open flames—or that takes flight—is not.

Photo: Beate Sass, via Decatur Arts Alliance

Sweet Auburn Springfest

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Billed as the “largest free outdoor festival in the Southeast,” Sweet Auburn Springfest will celebrate its 35th year May 11 and 12—aka, Mother’s Day Weekend.

The annual shindig in the shadow of downtown takes over John Wesley Dobbs Avenue between Piedmont Avenue and Hilliard Street with wall-to-wall live music, food and merchandise vendors, and a kids zone with games and rides.

Curbed Atlanta

Chastain Park Arts Festival

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Come May 11 and 12, this biannual festival will overtake Atlanta’s northernmost (and largest) park with bountiful art displays. Featuring hundreds of local, regional, and national artisans, the two-day event also provides a children’s area and local food and beverage concessions.

Kirkwood Spring Fling

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Celebrating its 17th year in 2019, this lively neighborhood festival centered around Bessie Branham Park highlights historic Kirkwood east of downtown.

With a barbecue competition, 5K, artists market, live music all day long, and local vendors galore, expect plenty to do from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. May 18. Additionally, a Kirkwood Tour of Homes happens all weekend.

Decatur Arts Festival

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Seeking a more curated art festival experience?

Held this year from May 24 to 26 (Memorial Day Weekend), the longstanding Decatur Arts Festival will feature more than 150 artists rigorously picked through a jury process, bolstering the event’s reputation as a showcase for top-shelf work from around the Southeast and beyond. Expect live music, food trucks, and easy MARTA access.

Atlanta Jazz Festival

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Like early April’s Dogwood Festival, the two-day Atlanta Jazz Festival (May 25 and 26) promises to fill Piedmont Park with one of the country’s largest and longest-running free jazz concerts. The annual event marks 42 years of performances in 2019 with an eclectic, international lineup.

The contemporary stage in 2018.
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Candler Park Music & Food Festival

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Last but never least, the Candler Park Music & Food Festival will ably round out Atlanta’s schedule of large-scale events through May.

Advance general admission tickets for the weekend ($40) get access to a food court, artist market, the Terrapin Brew Lounge, and performances by the likes of Dispatch, Dr. Dog, Stephen Marley, Greensky Bluegrass, and Trampled by Turtles.

It’s rain or shine, and music begins at 4 p.m. Friday, May 31, and noon on Saturday. Tunes conclude at 11 p.m. both nights.

Photo by CPMFF

Atlanta Streets Alive’s 10-mile route

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Fresh off a Peachtree Street turnout of 120,000 strong in early April, the largest-ever Atlanta Streets Alive route is slated to take riders and walkers fully across the city on Sunday, June 9—from Decatur to Buckhead—combining the Eastside and Westside routes of years past. Should be one for the ages.

The Peachtree Street ASA event April 7.
Curbed Atlanta

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Inman Park Festival & Home Tour

A tradition of more than 40 years, once voted by Curbed Atlanta readers the city’s very best neighborhood fiesta, the Inman Park Festival and Home Tour will happen, as usual, the last full weekend in April.

Expect a zany parade on Saturday, music on multiple stages, and a massive artists’ market throughout the neighborhood. This year, the home tour falls on the 26th, followed by the general extravaganza the 27th and 28th.

Shaky Knees Music Festival

O4W’s Central Park.
Curbed Atlanta

The seventh installment of Shaky Knees returns to its home of several past years, Old Fourth Ward’s Central Park (and adjacent areas), from May 3 to 5. Expect the same four-stage setup as last year for headliners that include Beck, Cage the Elephant, bluesman Gary Clark Jr., Tears for Fears, Atlanta’s own Deerhunter, and Tame Impala, purveyors of spaced-out, hippie-funk love jams.

Single-day tickets start at $99 now, but prices increase as the calendar flips to May. (EDM blowout Shaky Beats happens in the same place across two days the following weekend.)

O4W’s Central Park.
Curbed Atlanta

Decatur Lantern Parade

Photo: Beate Sass, via Decatur Arts Alliance

It might lack the clout and massive attendance of its Atlanta Beltline counterpart, but the Decatur Lantern Parade serves as an ample kickoff for both Arts Month and summertime social gatherings.

The parade steps off at 9 p.m. Friday, May 10, beginning at Color Wheel Studio (508 East Howard Avenue) and wending through the downtown square. All battery-powered lanterns crafted at home or pre-parade workshops are permitted. Anything with open flames—or that takes flight—is not.

Photo: Beate Sass, via Decatur Arts Alliance

Sweet Auburn Springfest

Curbed Atlanta

Billed as the “largest free outdoor festival in the Southeast,” Sweet Auburn Springfest will celebrate its 35th year May 11 and 12—aka, Mother’s Day Weekend.

The annual shindig in the shadow of downtown takes over John Wesley Dobbs Avenue between Piedmont Avenue and Hilliard Street with wall-to-wall live music, food and merchandise vendors, and a kids zone with games and rides.

Curbed Atlanta

Chastain Park Arts Festival

Come May 11 and 12, this biannual festival will overtake Atlanta’s northernmost (and largest) park with bountiful art displays. Featuring hundreds of local, regional, and national artisans, the two-day event also provides a children’s area and local food and beverage concessions.

Kirkwood Spring Fling

Celebrating its 17th year in 2019, this lively neighborhood festival centered around Bessie Branham Park highlights historic Kirkwood east of downtown.

With a barbecue competition, 5K, artists market, live music all day long, and local vendors galore, expect plenty to do from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. May 18. Additionally, a Kirkwood Tour of Homes happens all weekend.

Decatur Arts Festival

Seeking a more curated art festival experience?

Held this year from May 24 to 26 (Memorial Day Weekend), the longstanding Decatur Arts Festival will feature more than 150 artists rigorously picked through a jury process, bolstering the event’s reputation as a showcase for top-shelf work from around the Southeast and beyond. Expect live music, food trucks, and easy MARTA access.

Atlanta Jazz Festival

The contemporary stage in 2018.
Getty Images

Like early April’s Dogwood Festival, the two-day Atlanta Jazz Festival (May 25 and 26) promises to fill Piedmont Park with one of the country’s largest and longest-running free jazz concerts. The annual event marks 42 years of performances in 2019 with an eclectic, international lineup.

The contemporary stage in 2018.
Getty Images

Candler Park Music & Food Festival

Photo by CPMFF

Last but never least, the Candler Park Music & Food Festival will ably round out Atlanta’s schedule of large-scale events through May.

Advance general admission tickets for the weekend ($40) get access to a food court, artist market, the Terrapin Brew Lounge, and performances by the likes of Dispatch, Dr. Dog, Stephen Marley, Greensky Bluegrass, and Trampled by Turtles.

It’s rain or shine, and music begins at 4 p.m. Friday, May 31, and noon on Saturday. Tunes conclude at 11 p.m. both nights.

Photo by CPMFF

Atlanta Streets Alive’s 10-mile route

The Peachtree Street ASA event April 7.
Curbed Atlanta

Fresh off a Peachtree Street turnout of 120,000 strong in early April, the largest-ever Atlanta Streets Alive route is slated to take riders and walkers fully across the city on Sunday, June 9—from Decatur to Buckhead—combining the Eastside and Westside routes of years past. Should be one for the ages.

The Peachtree Street ASA event April 7.
Curbed Atlanta