Art Festivals

Top 10 Summer Art Festivals in the USA

Experience the pinnacle of artistic expression and cultural immersion at these top 10 summer art festivals across the USA. Each event promises a unique blend of creativity, community, and culinary delights, from the vibrant Santa Fe International Folk Art Market in New Mexico to the Chicago Blues Festival in Illinois. Discover masterpieces spanning painting, art prints, sculpture, jewelry, and more amidst breathtaking landscapes, complemented by local dining favorites and nearby vacation spots that enrich the cultural experience. Whether you’re drawn to contemporary art in Des Moines or traditional crafts in Sausalito, these festivals offer an enriching summer escape for art enthusiasts and travelers alike.

Santa Fe International Folk Art Market

In July, the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market celebrates global folk art set against New Mexico’s rich cultural heritage. It offers a unique immersion into diverse traditions, featuring crafts, textiles, and performances from artisans worldwide. Nearby, Santa Fe boasts culinary delights such as Cafe Pasqual’s for New Mexican cuisine and The Shed for traditional chile dishes. Vacationers can explore Santa Fe’s historic adobe architecture, visit nearby Taos for art galleries and Taos Pueblo, or hike in the scenic Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

Aspen Art Festival

In July, the Aspen Art Festival transforms this picturesque mountain town into a hub of artistic expression amidst the Rockies. Showcasing painting, sculpture, jewelry, and photography, it blends high-quality art with natural beauty. Matsuhisa Aspen and Ajax Tavern are popular dining spots offering Japanese cuisine with mountain views and upscale American dishes. Visitors can indulge in outdoor activities like hiking and biking, explore the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness, or enjoy Aspen’s luxury shopping and cultural amenities.

Ann Arbor Art Fair

The Ann Arbor Art Fair, held in July, spans several downtown blocks and is one of the largest juried art fairs in the US. Featuring over 1,000 artists across various mediums, it attracts art enthusiasts with its diverse offerings. Nearby, Zingerman’s Delicatessen serves iconic sandwiches, while The Gandy Dancer offers fine dining in a historic train station setting. Vacationers can explore the University of Michigan campus, visit museums, or drive to Detroit for cultural attractions and sporting events.

Des Moines Arts Festival

The Des Moines Arts Festival in June celebrates contemporary art and culture, featuring over 180 artists, live music, and interactive art experiences. It’s a vibrant event in Iowa’s capital city, complemented by dining options like Centro for Latin-inspired cuisine or Django for French-inspired dishes. Vacationers can explore downtown Des Moines, visit the Pappajohn Sculpture Park, or enjoy outdoor activities along the Des Moines River.

Smithsonian Folklife Festival (Washington, D.C.)

The Smithsonian Folklife Festival, held in June/July on the National Mall, celebrates global cultural heritage through music, dance, crafts, and food traditions. Nearby dining includes Old Ebbitt Grill for classic American fare and Founding Farmers for farm-to-table dining near iconic landmarks. Vacationers can explore Smithsonian museums, visit historic sites like the Lincoln Memorial, or take a short trip to Alexandria, Virginia.

Chicago Blues Festival

The Chicago Blues Festival in June is the world’s largest free blues festival, held in Millennium Park, with top musicians celebrating the genre’s rich history. Nearby, The Gage offers upscale American cuisine, and Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria serves deep-dish pizza. Vacationers can explore the Art Institute of Chicago, take an architecture river cruise, or enjoy shopping along the Magnificent Mile and beaches along Lake Michigan.

Sausalito Art Festival

Held over Labor Day Weekend, the Sausalito Art Festival showcases over 260 artists on the waterfront with live music and gourmet food against the backdrop of San Francisco Bay. Dining options include waterfront views at Scoma’s or Italian cuisine at Poggio Trattoria. Vacationers can explore Sausalito’s galleries and shops, visit nearby Muir Woods, or take a ferry to San Francisco for iconic attractions like Alcatraz and Golden Gate Park.

Newport Art Festival

The Newport Art Festival in July features over 200 artists amidst Newport’s seaside charm and Gilded Age mansions. Dining options include waterfront dining at The Mooring Seafood Kitchen & Bar or French cuisine at Bouchard Restaurant & Inn. Vacationers can tour Vanderbilt mansions like The Breakers, stroll Cliff Walk for ocean views, or relax on Newport’s beaches and enjoy sailing and harbor cruises.

Breckenridge International Festival of Arts

In August, the Breckenridge International Festival of Arts combines outdoor adventure with installations, performances, and exhibitions throughout Breckenridge, Colorado. Dining spots like The Blue River Bistro offer American cuisine, while Modis provides globally inspired dishes. Vacationers can enjoy hiking, biking, and fishing in the Rocky Mountains, exploring historic mining sites, or attending other summer festivals.

Utah Arts Festival (Salt Lake City)

The Utah Arts Festival in June showcases visual arts, music, dance, and film in downtown Salt Lake City, highlighting local and national talent. Nearby dining includes Red Iguana for Mexican cuisine and The Copper Onion for contemporary American dishes. Vacationers can explore Temple Square, the Utah State Capitol, or Park City for outdoor activities, art galleries, and dining.