Experience ATL’s Black Cultural Events
Atlanta’s Top Events Celebrating Black Culture
Atlanta’s rich heritage is deep, progressive and continuously evolving. ATL Unguided invites everyone to experience homecoming at Atlanta’s HBCUs, the largest collection of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, dine at popular restaurants during Black Restaurant Week, watch trendy films at BronzeLens Film Festival and view legendary art at the National Black Arts Festival.
Plan to attend Atlanta’s largest and most popular Black travel events or search our Atlanta events calendar for a complete lineup of events and festivals happening throughout the year.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day
January 16, 2023
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a pioneer for civil rights. In Atlanta, we celebrate his fight for freedom, accomplishments for equality and contributions to societal progress. From annual marches and parades to tours of his birth home and the King Center, there are several ways to celebrate Dr. King in Atlanta’s historic Sweet Auburn District and surrounding downtown Atlanta neighborhoods.
HBCU Culture Battle of the Bands and HBCU All-Star Battle of the Bands
January 2023 and February 2023
Has there ever been a more epic gathering of the top historically Black colleges and universities? The Battle of the Bands have been a longstanding tradition for families, friends and groups to meet in Atlanta for the love of precision drills and the unmistakable sound of marching bands. With the HBCU Culture Battle of the Bands and HBCU All-Star Battle of the Bands, there are more shows you won’t want to miss. You’ll see iconic splits and dance moves from drum majors and majorettes in tandem with fantastic formations and classic arrangements.
Black History Month
February 1-28, 2023
Black History Month is nationally acknowledged for 28 days each February. Atlanta’s museums and attractions make it possible to learn Black history 365 days a year. Visit the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, Atlanta History Center, Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park, APEX Museum and Auburn Avenue Research Library for exhibits, simulations and artifacts.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre
February 16-19, 2023
Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre, for more than 60 years, has brought iconic sound, rhythmic movements and passion to audiences of all ages at Midtown Atlanta’s Fox Theatre. A perennial highlight is the soulful closing act, “Revelations,” a poignant and joyful tribute to the struggle for civil rights.
Bronner Bros. International Beauty Show
April 1-3, 2023
For 75 years and counting, Bronner Bros. family-owned and operated business haa worked to diversify the beauty industry. Globally impacting beauticians, salon owners, industry professionals, stylists and spectators, Bronner Bros. welcomes everyone to take part in the largest multicultural beauty show. From hair competitions to fashion shows, this international show offers endless entertainment and education.
Newsweek called the UniverSoul Circus the coolest show on earth. In addition to animal acts, dancers in colorful costumes and acrobats who risk it all on a tightrope, the circus adds an extra element of soul and a message of inclusion. Founder Cedric Walker launched his circus in 1994 at Atlanta’s old Fulton County Stadium. Fittingly, the Atlanta Journal Constitution dubbed it “Cirque du Soul.”
April 4, 2023
All hail the 4-0-4! One of metro Atlanta’s first and most popular area codes is 404. On April 4 each year, we pay tribute to the city that raised, accepted and cultivated us. 404 Day is celebrated throughout Downtown, Midtown and Buckhead with community service, events and block parties, creative ads from Atlanta-based companies and organizations, all while ATLiens generate a frenzy of online engagement via social media. Stay in the mix with @DiscoverAtlanta, and partners @Butter.ATL and @AtlantaInfluencesEverything.
Sweet Auburn Springfest
May 13-14, 2013
Sweet Auburn Springfest is all about bringing awareness to Atlanta’s historic Sweet Auburn District. The festival bills itself as the largest annual worldwide family reunion for 35 years and counting. It features comedy, family-friendly activities, music, an international food court, dance competitions and prizes.
Atlanta Caribbean Carnival
May 27, 2023
The highlight of the Atlanta Caribbean Carnival is a parade This celebration of Caribbean culture brings live music, food and all the trappings of a festival to the streets of downtown Atlanta over Memorial Day weekend. Revelers can gather with a group of friends and participate in “band mas” (masquerade band), attend ethnic events and experience a West-Indian style carnival.
Atlanta Jazz Festival
During the entire month of May, more than 100 of the best jazz performers showcase their talents in venues throughout the metro area before coming together in a huge weekend celebration at Piedmont Park. The festival showcases local and national jazz greats, a neighborhood jazz series, youth jazz band competition, a kid’s zone and other family-friendly activities. Explore Piedmont Park and visit vendors displaying some of the city’s finest arts and crafts, food and drinks, and merchandise.
June 19, 2023
Emancipation Day (or Freedom Day) is celebrated on June 19 in the United States to commemorate the day Union Gen. Gordon Granger and Union soldiers told enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, that they were free. In Atlanta, businesses and communities honor the cultural and historical importance of Juneteenth with education, parades and holidays. As the heartbeat of the American civil rights movement and home of many civil rights activists including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Coretta Scott King and U.S. Rep. John Lewis, Atlanta honors Black history through several events.
Atlanta Greek Picnic
June 8-12, 2023
Atlanta’s annual summer Greek Picnic is prime time for more than 350,000 Divine Nine members on the Atlanta University Center campus. Fraternity and sorority members come from all over the world to reunite for a weekend of networking, strolling and step show competitions plus barbecues. Ultimately, these alumni look forward to creating lifelong memories through brother and sisterly love.
BronzeLens Film Festival
Many actors, actresses and filmmakers kickstarted their careers in Atlanta. Coined Hollywood of the South, Atlanta launched BronzeLens Film Festival, an annual weekend of celebration for Black artists and creators making strides throughout the entertainment industry. Along with showcasing short films, documentary screenings and videos, BronzeLens also brings celebrities and honorees together for brunch and a red carpet awards show.
Cricket MEAC/SWAC Challenge
August 26, 2023
Watch as teams representing the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) kickoff the HBCU college football season at Center Parc Stadium. ESPN hosts a four-day weekend full of events for college students, alumni and family members of all ages. Plan to take part in the kickoff reception, College Gameday, Coca-Cola Fan Experience plus the pre- and post-game battle of the bands performances.
Atlanta Black Pride
Atlanta Black Pride is a national event that works to unite the LGBTQIA+ community. The week-long event focuses on cultural differences, concerns, ideas and the overall health and welfare of the LGBTQIA+ community. Atlanta Black Pride kicks off with the Mayor’s Black Pride reception, followed by pop-up shops, day parties, a festival, the White Party and plenty more.
Atlanta Black Restaurant Week
August 5-14, 2023
Sweet and savory, soulful and rich, dense and diverse are a few ways to describe a plethora of restaurants featured during Atlanta’s Black Restaurant Week. From world-renowned chefs to local mom and pop start-ups, Black Restaurant Week features a variety of foods to satisfy taste buds with breakfast, lunch and dinner menus.
Taste of Soul
September 2-3, 2023
Taste of Soul is a free festival held in Vine City, known in Atlanta as the neighborhood where civil rights leaders tackled issues of the day while dining on soul food. In addition to Southern comfort and soul foods, Taste of Soul features R&B indie music, cocktails and wine, art and a kids’ zone.
House in the Park
Atlanta’s music scene reached a peak in 2005 when Ramon Rawsoul, DJ Kemit and a small group put together the first house music festival. House in the Park is now an annual gathering of Atlanta’s best DJs who bring the heat with a mix of Afro beats, Caribbean vibes and house music for all ages.
The week-long Afropunk Festival is all about the music with fashion playing a starring role. Midtown Atlanta sets the stage for fans to enjoy a lineup featuring artists including KP The Great, Yung Baby Tate, Wale, Tems, Smino, VanJess and more live acts.
ATL Hip-Hop Day Festival
October 1-2, 2023
Legendary DJs and ATL’s homegrown hip-hop artists gather in Downtown’s Woodruff Park every year to celebrate Atlanta’s contribution to the genre. Thanks to this annual festival, music lovers can enjoy the greatest ATL lyrics year after year.
ONE Musicfest stays true to its name by bringing together a diverse range of artists hailing from music genres such as old school, hip-hop, R&B, house, trap, soul and more. With past performers including Cee-Lo Green, The Roots, Andra Day, Kendrick Lamar and even a Dungeon Family reunion, it’s no wonder the annual event has been recognized by Billboard, Rolling Stone and MTV as a “Can’t Miss Festival.”
Atlanta University Center (AUC) Homecoming
Atlanta University Center (AUC) schools Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College and Spelman College draw large crowds (HBCU alum, current students and non-alumni) during AUC homecoming for a week full of memorable events. Homecoming in the nation’s largest collection of HBCUs is a tradition and a high time to stomp the yard, tent-hop for free food and make new memories with friends at concerts, tailgates, football games and after parties.
A3C Festival & Conference
Atlanta’s popular music, tech and culture festival annually showcases artists, producers and DJs from around the world and connects up-and-coming artists with influential hip-hop artists and innovators. Aspiring artists can learn at technology panels and get involved with social justice programming. Come for the concerts, stay for the cultural movement.
National Black Arts Festival
Throughout the year, the National Black Arts Festival (NBAF) in Atlanta showcases performing arts, literature and visual arts produced by creative artists of African descent. Although no longer a festival, NBAF produces year-round educational programming and fundraising for the arts while collaborating with partners in and around the Atlanta area. The National Black Arts Festival was first held in Atlanta in 1988 and continues to be part of a long-lasting African American tradition in support of Black artists.
Cricket Celebration Bowl
Get in on the action during Celebration Bowl as college football season comes to a close. Fans gather at Mercedes-Benz Stadium as the top two HBCU conference finalists go head-to-head for the championship title. Participate in community service projects, team press conferences, Coca-Cola Fan Experience and Celebration Bowl’s Kickoff.
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