The U.S.A. is home to some of the world’s most famous culture and music festivals, which offer star-studded lineups and unique experiences. When planning you summer and fall travels, you may want to add one of these unique festivals to your must-see list for 2023.
1. Downtown Aspen Arts Festival (Aspen, CO. July 15-16)
The Downtown Aspen Arts Festival is celebrating its 20th year this July, displaying a small number of works from national and local artists including paintings, sculpture, photography, ceramics and more.Throughout the year, Aspen hosts many cultural festivals in their downtown area, which is surrounded by gorgeous views.
2. Pitchfork Music Festival (Chicago, IL. July 21-23)
The Pitchfork Music festival in Chicago is known for having a stellar lineup every year, complete with upcoming artists, big names, and trendy groups. This fest takes place in July and features Chicago’s favorite restaurants, musician interviews, an on-site vinyl shop, craft fair, and more. Pitchfork also offers “Next Level Perks” which provide access to exclusive lounges, curated food and cocktails, a private bar. and an elevated viewing platform.
3. Stargaze Festival (Tolland, MA. August 25-27)
For three days and two nights, the Stargaze Festival in Massachusetts invites women, lesbians, and non-binary and trans folk to “live free without judgment, expectations or limitations.” Not only is this a celebration of music, but those who attend are invited to spend the night camping on the festival grounds. Events include, an opening night lantern lighting, indoor and outdoor nightclub parties, and workshops and activities, along with musical performances. Learn more about the festival here.
4. OUTLOUD Music Festival (Nashville, TN. Sept. 16)
This festival was founded in 2017 to provide a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community to celebrate queer musicians and performers in a festival all their own. Attendees are invited to come as they are and enjoy a stellar lineup that in previous years has included: Todrick Hall, Kim Petras, Betty Who and Japanese Breakfast.
5. San Francisco Chinatown Autumn Moon Festival (San Francisco, CA. Sept. 23-24)
This cultural festival celebrates the Autumn Moon with performances, costumes, dances, and traditional mooncakes for attendees to enjoy. This event honors the tradition of the moon festival in Chinese culture which pays respect to the moon in association with water and fertility of soil, which in turn produces a successful harvest. This generations-old tradition continues in many Chinese communities and makes for an extremely colorful and vibrant festival in San Francisco.
6. Austin City Limits Music Festival (Austin, TX. Oct. 6-8 and Oct. 13-15)
Austin is a city bursting with life and known for its growing live music scene. Just as the weather cools down, Austin will host its 22nd annual music festival. Over the years, this festival has hosted acts including Paul McCartney, Metallica, Guns N’ Roses, The Cure, Billie Eilish, Radiohead, and plenty of other big names. This year there will be over 100 performances across nine stages along with plenty of food from Austin’s culinary community including: tacos, beer, and vegan options. For an upgraded experience, attendees can purchase a premium pass which offers access to bars, VIP lounges and viewing decks, and complimentary all-day dining. You can also bring your kids to enjoy a mini-festival of their own.
7. Fantasy Fest (Key West, FL. Oct. 20-29)
Every year in Key West, Florida, a 10 day long party ensues with imaginative costumes, parades, food, drink and fun. The Fantasy Fest has been around since 1979 and over the years it has continued to offer the best in creativity. Cabarets, drag shows, body painting, karaoke, pool parties, music, and 5k runs, just to mention a few of the exciting activities available to visitors.
Featured Image: San Francisco Chinatown Autumn Moon Festival (Photo by Michael Warwick)