Things to do

Mark your calendars: 16 Charlotte festivals you don’t want to miss 2017-2018

If you like craft beers, food trucks, live music, shopping local vendors and other fun outdoor activities, then the city of Charlotte is right for you.

Throughout the course of an entire year, Charlotte hosts dozens of festivals. Here’s a selection that you need add to your Queen City Bucket List:

Charlotte Pride Festival

S. Tryon St.

Charlotte Pride
Crowds filled Tryon St. from the very beginning of the Charlotte Pride Festival Saturday. The official opening of the Charlotte Pride Festival and Parade weekend began with the presentation of the colors, national anthem, interfaith moment, a tribute to Pulse Orlando victims, and special guests including Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts and North Carolina House Rep. Chris Sgro. Diedra Laird

This two-day cultural festival honors Pride Week by featuring live music and entertainers on the Wells Fargo Stage, food and a parade. Join hundreds of people decked out in their rainbow-best. Aug. 26-27, 2017.

Yiasou Greek Festival

600 East Blvd.

The next Greek Festival, one of Charlotte’s largest cultural events, will be held Sept. 7-10, 2017. Experience authentic Greek cuisine and try your first bite of souvlaki on a stick, sit back and watch live music and dancing, wander around the Hellenic cultural exhibits and, best of all, shop for belly dancing skirts.


4400 Sharon Road.

Grab your pretzel necklaces and head to Symphony Park Sept. 9, 2017 for The Charlotte Oktoberfest. Enjoy a great premium craft beer selection and take advantage of the amazing food and fun activities offered at the festival.

Charlotte Film Festival

Visit for the updated event location.

Charlotte’s only week-long film festival is set to take place Sept. 22-Oct. 1, 2017. The Charlotte Film Festival allows emerging filmmakers to showcase their works to other independent film enthusiasts. If you are a huge lover of film festivals, be sure to also check out Joedance Film Festival (Aug. 4-5, 2017) a festival dedicated to works by Charlotte film producers, writers and directors, and 100 Words Film Festival Nov. 3-4, 2017, a festival challenging filmmakers to create films that deliver compelling yet concise stories using exactly 100 words.

Festival in the Park

Freedom Park.

Courtesy of Festival in the Park unknown

Charlotte’s oldest (and free) arts festival, to be held Sept. 22-24, 2017, features fine and traditional arts and crafts. You can also enjoy live music during your weekend spent this festival in Freedom Park.

Carolina Renaissance Festival

16445 Poplar Tent Road, Huntersville

Hear ye, hear ye! The Carolina Renaissance Festival is back on Saturdays and Sundays Sept. 30-Nov. 19, 2017. Watch knights joust on horseback, ride Da Vinci’s Flying Machine, experience the art of falconry and sink your teeth into a juicy turkey leg at this year’s festival.

South End Wine Fest

308 W Carson Blvd. at the corner of Mint St.

Are you a lover of red, white and rosé? The South End Wine Fest, to be held on Oct. 21, 2017, features live music, Charlotte’s favorite food trucks (Papi Queso…Tin Kitchen…) and wine galore, with tastings of wine from around the world.

Queen City Brewers Festival

1000 NC Music Factory Blvd.

This popular local beer fest brings together Charlotte breweries, brewpubs, craft-beer-focused restaurants and sponsors to support their mission: To help those in the area affected by autism spectrum disorders. Join the fun in this annual winter fundraiser Feb. 3, 2018.

Moo & Brew Festival

1000 NC Music Factory Blvd.

If you love all things involving beer and burgers, then this is the festival for you. In April 2018, you can taste some of Charlotte’s best burgers from local restaurants and then wash them down with samplings from various breweries while listening to live music. Keep an eye on the website for finalized dates.

BOOM Festival

Scattered around Plaza Midwood; mostly on Commonwealth Ave. and Central Ave.

The Plaza Midwood festival in April 2018 is an artist-led festival featuring works in musical theatre, spoken word, performance art, dance and contemporary visual art. Check the website for finalized dates.

Charlotte Jazz Festival

430 S Tryon St.

Expect jazz morning, afternoon and night. The festival features a main jazz show at the Knight Theater and smaller jazz concerts throughout the entire day, from before brunch through late-night. The free lunchtime concerts begin April 9, 2018, but the other activities run April 1215.

Tuck Fest

5000 Whitewater Center Parkway

At this three-day outdoor festival April 20-22, 2018, listen to daily live music, participate in (or watch) land and water competitions like trail runs, mountain biking, kayaking and whitewater stand-up paddle boarding. And of course, there is plenty of craft beer to be enjoyed. U.S. National Whitewater Center hosts a lot of other festivals throughout the year, too, like Brew Stash Bash June 2018 — a festival including a 6K, live music and craft beer samplings with purchase of ticket.

N.C. Brewers and Music Festival 

4431 Neck Road, Huntersville

Come drink North Carolina beer, grab food from local food trucks and enjoy live music at the North Carolina Brewers and Music Festival, held May 11-12, 2018 at the beautiful Historic Rural Hill (15 minutes from uptown Charlotte in Huntersville). The only required item you are asked to bring? A state-issued I.D. But also feel free to bring blankets, lawn chairs and pop-up tents to make the most of your festival experience.

South End Hops Festival

308 W Carson Blvd. 

Head on down to South End to enjoy local craft beer, live music and your favorite food trucks. This annual festival to be held on May 19, 2018 will take place at the corner of Carson Boulevard and Mint Street and is dog-friendly (bonus).

600 Festival

Tryon St., between Trade and Stonewall streets; Levine Avenue of the Arts, between Church and Tryon streets; and MLK Jr Blvd., between Church and College streets.

Speed Street_005.JPG
Speed Street transform the streets of uptown Charlotte into one of the largest events during the Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR race, with live musical entertainment and family fun activities. CharlotteFive archives T. Ortega Gaines

Better known as Speed Street, this festival (not limited to race lovers) shuts down uptown Charlotte as the whole city floods the streets (these events have had 8 million guests). With live music from big names like Jake Owen and food and drinks, there is no surprise that this festival is a big hit. Join the 2018 festival May 24-26, 2018.

Taste of Charlotte

Tryon St., from Stonewall St. and 5th St.

A Sampling of Fun
Thousands walked down S. Tryon St. on Friday for the 19th annual Taste of Charlotte event where patrons can sample from dozens of local restaurants as well as do some shopping from local vendors. Pictures were made on S. Tryon Street on June 9, 2017. Alex Kormann

Choose from over 100 samples from local restaurants at this three-day uptown festival June 8-10, 2018. You can also enjoy live music, street performances and shopping. It is free to attend the festival and coins are available for purchase to use for the food and beverage samples.

Photos: Alex Kormann/Charlotte Observer, T. Ortega Gaines/Charlotte Observer, Diedra Laird/Charlotte Observer