The summer months host some of the largest music festivals in the Northern Hemisphere. But if multiple late nights of loud music aren’t really your jam, you can still enjoy the camaraderie and community of a festival atmosphere. From history buffs to foodies to cosplay fans, there’s a festival for everyone to enjoy in 2016.
Smithsonian Folklife Festival: June 29th-July 4th, July 7th-10th
Got a hankering for worldly travel? Held at the National Mall in Washington DC, this festival is curated by the Smithsonian Institute to put on a free display of cultural and traditional history of close to 100 countries. Activities range from dance performances to cooking demonstrations to language lessons.
Taste of Chicago: July 6th-10th
Perhaps the kindest thing you could do for your taste buds, Taste of Chicago is an outdoor food festival showcasing the best eats the city has to offer. Considering it’s widely regarded as the best food festival the country has to offer and that admission is free, this place is foodie utopia.
San Diego Comic-Con: July 21st-24th
Likely the most widely-known festival on our list, Comic Con International: San Diego has steadily grown over the years. It consistently draws some of the biggest names the industry has to offer. Be sure to say hi to Jon Snow for us.
Maine Lobster Festival: August 3rd-7th
When you think of Maine, if the image of a steaming red crustacean doesn’t enter your brain, you’re doing it wrong. But The Maine Lobster Fest has more to offer than just the perfect dinner- hit the carnival, stop by the art tent or listen to some live music while you digest.
Minnesota Renaissance Festival: Weekends August 20th- October 2nd
Come for the jousting, stay for the 6-course meal. This 7-week-long time warping festival will bring out your inner lord or lady with unique shopping, delicious cuisine and incredible stage acts, whose alumni include the likes of Jason Mraz and Penn & Teller.
Toronto International Film Festival: September 8th-18th
The festival, which is nicknamed ‘TIFF’ refers to itself as “a charitable cultural organization with a mission to transform the way people see the world, through film.” Movie stars, producers and directors from all over gather in TO for the event, so keep an eye on the red carpet.
Texas State Fair: September 30th- October 23rd
Everything’s bigger in Texas, so it couldn’t be more fitting that TX puts on the country’s largest state fair. Last year’s award-winning food selections included deep-fried carrot cake and a smoky bacon margarita. Need we say more?
Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta: October 1st- 9th
A photography junkie’s heaven, this fiesta is a work of art in itself. In fact, the hundreds of balloons participating make it the largest ballooning event on Earth. No wonder they call it the desert kaleidoscope.
Smorgasburg: Weekends April-November
Lovingly referred to as “a Brooklyn flea food market,” Smorgasburg might be the loosest interpretation of ‘festival’ on our list. But it’s gained some serious popularity in an equally serious short amount of time. With a menu as diverse as the people of NYC, the ‘Burg is sure to please.
Art Basel: December 1st- 4th
Rounding out the year in festivals, this Swiss-born event puts some of the world’s most talented artists in front of some of the world’s biggest art adorers. Read: fashion week for galleries.