The top events in Atlanta in 2016

By: Kelly Skinner

December 2, 2015

Georgia’s capital city loves to host festivals, events, and openings year round. And in 2016, the cultural calendar is looking more promising than ever. For those travelling to Atlanta (or looking for an excuse to visit), we’ve selected the top 10 events in Atlanta in 2016, with everything from film festivals to football games included. This year, go ahead and set another resolution: See Atlanta like a local.

Civil Rights

In January 2016, celebrate Martin Luther King Day with a weekend visit to the icon’s neighbourhood. Participate in a 5K walk/run on 16th January, and then see exhibits and events at both the King Center and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. On 18th January, attend the MLK Day commemorative service at Ebenezer Baptist Church (where King once preached).


Movie buffs can find rich cinematic experiences at the city’s preeminent film festivals: the Atlanta Film Festival (1st – 10th April) and the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival (26th January – 17th February). Both festivals showcase standout movie shorts, feature films, and documentaries, as well as related events during the festival including workshops, parties, and conversations with actors and directors.

The top events in Atlanta in 2016
Sample dozens of area restaurants during Taste of Atlanta © Taste of Atlanta

Food of the South


Indulge in cuisine cooked by the South’s top chefs at the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival (2nd – 5th June, in Midtown). You’ll experience cooking demos by renowned chefs, exclusive dinners (held at private residences and locations), and food and beverage samplings from dozens of tasting tents.




Get your fashion fix at Iris van Herpen’s “Transforming Fashion” exhibition (through 15th May) at the High Museum of Art. Then, check out the city’s first fashion museum (opened in 2015), SCAD FASH, at SCAD-Atlanta. Inside, admire fashion and film exhibits within the modern 10,000-square-foot space.

The top events in Atlanta in 2016
Iris van Herpen, Refinery Smoke, Dress, July 2008. Untreated woven metal gauze, cow leather, cotton. Groninger Museum, 2012.0196. Photo by Bart Oomes, No 6 Studios. © Iris van Herpen



View Jim Henson’s definitive puppet collection and admire puppets from around the globe at the just-opened Worlds of Puppetry Museum. In addition to exhibits and a puppet-making workshop, be sure to check out a show on site at the Center for Puppetry Arts (they have programming for all ages).




Droves of comic book fans descend on the city at Dragon Con (2nd – 5th September), the world’s largest sci-fi and fantasy convention. Attendees take their costumes seriously, so dress accordingly. Go for autographs, performances, live-action gaming, a parade, workshops, and more.

The top events in Atlanta in 2016
A comprehensive collection of Jim Henson’s Muppets is one of the highlights at the Worlds of Puppetry Museum © Sara Hanna Photography



Enjoy Atlanta’s idyllic autumn weather on East Lake Golf Course during the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola (22nd – 25th September). When you’re not watching world-calibre golfers face off, visit surrounding in-town neighbourhoods like Kirkwood, Decatur, and Inman Park.




Hop into the driver’s seat at the new Porsche Experience Center near Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Get extra track time at the endurance car race, Petit Le Mans from 28th September – 1st October at Road Atlanta.

The top events in Atlanta in 2016
Put your skills to the test at the College Football Hall of Fame and Chick-fil-A Fan Experience © College Football Hall of Fame

Atlanta Restaurants


Partake in a robust sampling of Atlanta’s restaurant scene at October’s Taste of Atlanta. Held in the heart of Tech Square, the fest features tasting tents, cooking workshops and demos, a kids’ area, and more. Do it right and buy the VIP ticket for Friday night’s kick-off party – it gets you unlimited food and drinks plus a live concert.




On 3rd December, head to the SEC Football Championship at the Georgia Dome, then venture to the recently opened College Football Hall of Fame and Chick-fil-A Fan Experience. There, you can view films, read about players inducted into the hall of fame, and even practice your moves on the indoor football field.


Virgin Atlantic operates direct flights to Atlanta from London Heathrow, bringing all these 2016 events well within reach.


What are some of your favourite events in Atlanta? Tell us about them in the comments section below.


Written by Kelly Skinner


Kelly Skinner

Kelly Skinner is a lifestyle writer whose articles have appeared in a number of regional and national outlets, including Paste Magazine, Redbook,, Modern Luxury,, Atlanta Magazine, and others. When she isn't writing, she loves exploring Atlanta and traveling to far-flung places (most recently, Iceland). To learn more about Kelly, follow her at @_kellyskinner or visit

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