Must-See Summer Events in Atlanta

Have some summer fun in Atlanta
  • Imaginary Worlds has taken over Atlanta Botanical Garden.
    Imaginary Worlds has taken over Atlanta Botanical Garden.
  • See Winnie the Pooh at the High Museum. (line block print hand colored by E.H. Shepard)
    See Winnie the Pooh at the High Museum. (line block print hand colored by E.H. Shepard)
  • World of Coca-Cola is a world of fun.
    World of Coca-Cola is a world of fun.

Whet your appetite for festivals, exhibitions and events dedicated to some of life’s simple and most rewarding pleasures: music, art and food.

"Winnie-the-Pooh: Exploring a Classic" makes its U.S. debut at the High Museum of Art, June 3 -- Sept. 2. The exhibition, organized by London’s Victoria & Albert Museum, celebrates one of the world’s most beloved literary characters and showcases the real people, relationships and inspirations behind author A. A. Milne’s and illustrator E. H. Shepard’s tales of friendship and simple joys. Key works in the exhibition include Shepard’s first Winnie-the-Pooh character portraits, more than 80 original drawings for the four Pooh books, replicas of Milne’s son Christopher Robin’s stuffed animals that inspired story characters, memorabilia from more than 90 years of Pooh history and more. “Exploring a Classic” is the latest in a series of special exhibitions celebrating children’s book art and offers an opportunity for the museum to spark the imagination and engage young visitors in the arts. In conjunction with the exhibition, the Alliance Theatre will present “Winnie-the-Pooh,” a musical based on Milne’s stories June 7-July 8.

Fourteen larger-than-life plant sculptures take over the Atlanta Botanical Garden in Imaginary Worlds, May 5 -- Oct. 28. These whimsical, storybook-themed installations made of steel forms covered in soil-and-sphagnum moss and planted with thousands of meticulously groomed plants are back by popular demand following a blockbuster show in the garden five years ago. At the Midtown location, guests will be wowed by a giant colorful phoenix looming over the Alston Overlook, a dragon and sleeping princess adjacent to the Great Lawn, a mermaid by the Howell Fountain, a peacock prancing inside the Fuqua Orchid Center and more – all much larger than the sculptures in the original exhibition. On Thursday evenings, visitors can meander through the garden and witness the sculptures illuminated during Cocktails in the Garden.

Dig into the eighth annual Atlanta Food & Wine Festival where more than 150 of the South’s best chefs, sommeliers, mixologists and pit masters convene for a mouthwatering weekend of food, drink and immersive learning experiences, May 31 -- June 3. A vast menu of learning experiences satisfies everyone from kitchen novices to more sophisticated foodies with technique labs, pairing sessions, panel discussions and tasting seminars. New in 2018 are a series of immersive, two-hour Master Studios that engage with hands-on learning. Tasting Tents spread across Piedmont Park’s Greensward Promenade and take guests on a culinary journey through the South’s unique food and drink regions. Take a tasting break to peruse the new Southern Marketplace for housewares and Southern artisan goods. Destination Delicious kicks off the weekend’s themed dinners with a journey through 13 of the top food and drink destinations in the South. Year after year, Atlanta Food & Wine Festival satisfies appetites for the South’s rich food and beverage traditions – from Texas to the District of Columbia.

Come rock with your music-loving buddies at the sixth annual Shaky Knees Music Festival taking over Central Park, May 4 -- 6. Boasting a rock-lover’s dream with music and lots of it, the festival lineup of more than 60 legendary bands and up-and-coming artists includes Queens of the Stone Age, The National, Jack White, David Byrne, Fleet Foxes, Tenacious D, The War on Drugs, Cake and more. Food trucks from Atlanta and throughout the Southeast satisfy hungry appetites while photo booths, official festival merchandise and other activities add to the fun.

Join the party at the Shaky Beats Music Festival, May 11 -- 13, in Central Park. More than 50 electronic, indie and hip-hop acts crank their unique sounds on four stages while energetic music fans hoop and dance the day and night away. Lineup highlights include Marshmello, Kygo, Zedd, Dillon Francis, Ludacris, Seven Lions, Excision, Playboi Carti, Louis the Child and more. Food truck fare from vegan to Indian to Belgian-style street fries offers something delicious for everyone.

Kick off summer at one of Atlanta’s exhilarating attractions. Mountains of adventure await at Stone Mountain Park where guests can ascend 825 feet above the park on Summit Skyride, ride the rails on the Scenic Railway, splash about in Ride the Ducks, trek through the treetops on SkyHike and cap the day with the not-to-be missed Lasershow Spectacular. For thrills galore, venture to Six Flags Over Georgia where the new Twisted Cyclone turns guests head over heels in a new wood and steel hybrid coaster. In addition to other adrenaline-pumping roller coasters, guests can partake in family rides, live entertainment and cool off at the Hurricane Harbor water park, opening May 25. Get in the swim of things at Georgia Aquarium and explore amazing galleries and exhibits and get up close and personal with the facility’s abundant aquatic life. All that summer fun can work up a thirst. Take a pause and refresh at the World of Coca-Cola, a shrine of history, memorabilia and interactive exhibits chronicling the world’s best-known beverage brand.

Karen Lopez writes for Atlanta Now magazine.

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