If you’re an art lover, consider planning an April trip around visiting one of these five festivals. You’ll have the opportunity to vacation in a new place while experiencing the local art scene.
We’ve scouted out some of the best fairs to visit across the U.S., so you’ll know which ones might be worth the trip. And the location of the festivals provides more than just art to explore.
Join us as we discover five great festivals for you to visit this spring.
The History of Art Festivals
Art festivals have been around since the early 1700s. The oldest fair, the Three Choirs Festival, has been held in England annually since 1719. Over the years, festivals began popping up, concentrating on all kinds of artistic mediums.
Today, you can see diverse art at festivals, from music to photography. Many of these fairs feature several kinds of artwork. You can enjoy live music while perusing a local painter’s most recent pieces. These events might last a day or a weekend, but some big festivals last as long as a month.
Art festivals also play an important role in bringing communities together. They create an opportunity to celebrate local artisans and culture. Whether you stop by a fair in your own town this spring or travel to one of our recommended events, we know you’ll find something to love about art festivals.
#1 4 Bridges Arts Festival
This April, stop by Chattanooga, Tennessee, to check out the 4 Bridges Arts Festival. The event began 23 years ago and grows in popularity every year.
Named one of the nation’s top 30 art festivals, 4 Bridges showcases 145 artists focusing on a variety of visual mediums. You’ll see diverse art, including ceramics, watercolors, and jewelry, in the 50,000-square-foot pavilion.
The 4 Bridges Arts Festival supports artists by offering them an opportunity to sell their works to the public. This festival also has contests for artists to enter for a chance to win up to $15,000.
After you visit the festival, Chattanooga has no shortage of things to do. Plenty of hikes can be found in the area, including Ruby Falls or the Raccoon Mountain Caverns.
You may also want to visit one of Chattanooga’s several whiskey distilleries. Make sure you budget enough time for your trip to attend the arts festival and explore this beautiful city.
#2 The Woodlands Waterway Arts Festival
Over 200 artists from around the U.S. have the opportunity to showcase their work at The Woodlands Waterway Arts Festival. The event has been named one of the best arts festivals in the world.
The festival happens just north of Houston in a town called The Woodlands. It’s been happening at this location since 2005. You can explore all kinds of visual art at this festival while listening to live music and enjoying local food. Local beers and wines are also available to sip at the fair.
April is a great time of year to visit the area. Daytime temperatures typically range between 65 and 75 degrees. After the festival, you can take a stroll at the George Mitchell Nature Preserve or ride the Woodlands Waterway Trolley. You can even make the short drive down to Houston to visit NASA’s Johnson Space Center.
#3 Expo Chicago
If a trip to Chicago this April sounds fun, you can’t skip this contemporary arts festival. Expo Chicago has occurred on Navy Pier annually for the last ten years.
The event features local artists as well as many from around the country and the world. You can see artwork by artists from places like London, Barcelona, and Singapore. And featured exhibitions often include Chicago-based organizations, such as Hyde Park Art Center and the Center for Native Futures.
After you’ve browsed the 170 exhibitions from 36 counties, you’ll have an endless list of things to do in The Windy City. You can tour Wrigley Field, visit The Bean, or take a ride on a riverboat. If you’d like to see more art, consider visiting one of the city’s several famous museums like The Art Institute of Chicago or the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.
Pro Tip: Unsure if an adventure to Chicago is right for you? These are 5 Reasons to Avoid Chicago.
#4 Main Street Fort Worth Arts Festival
Everything’s bigger in Texas, even the arts festivals. The Main Street Fort Worth Arts Festival has over 300 live music performances, and 200 visual artist exhibits annually. And best of all, the event is free to attend.
This massive festival in Fort Worth, Texas, has four stages with live music and dancing. We recommend looking for the dance troupe Ballet Folklorico Azteca to enjoy their traditional show. Brave Combo, the Grammy-winning polka band, can usually be heard playing at this event.
Of course, the festival has plenty of local artists working in various mediums. While exploring the exhibits, you’ll see leather workers, jewelry makers, and woodworkers. The Main Street Festival even has arts and crafts tables for kids to make art.
If you have energy left after you visit the festival, Fort Worth can be an exciting place to explore. Head to the Stockyards for an authentic Texas experience or unwind at the Fort Worth Water Gardens.
#5 Old Florida Celebration of the Arts
The Old Florida Celebration of the Arts takes place in the small town of Cedar Key, Florida. The event began in 1964 and occurs every year in April. With just 800 residents, the city grows to over 15,000 when visitors arrive for the festival. If you want to head to this free event, be sure to book accommodations early. Hotels and other lodging tend to fill up quickly.
This art festival relies heavily on local artists and vendors. Only nonprofits from the nearby area can sell food at the event, so you’ll find lemonade made by the garden club and crab cakes by the Key Club. They also invite over 100 artists from all over the U.S. to exhibit their work. In addition, the small town offers a big grand prize of over $12,000 for artists.
Locals suggest eating seafood while in town especially clams. Tony’s Seafood Restaurant has won the Great Chowder Cookoff in New Port, Rhode Island, for its phenomenal clam chowder. You can also rent kayaks or spend some time on the beach to make the most of your trip after your visit to the festival.
Pro Tip: After enjoying some art in Florida, head to these 7 Underrated Florida Tourist Attractions.
Springtime is the Right Time for Art Festivals
This April, you can catch some of the country’s best art festivals while visiting cities with other great activities to enjoy. From fine contemporary art in Chicago to local craftsmanship in Fort Worth, you’ll find a little something for everyone.
Springtime is also a great time to visit these locations. You’ll enjoy pleasant weather while viewing beautiful artwork, visiting local parks, and enjoying delicious regional food.
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