Summer Street Festivals You Won't Want to Miss

In cities across the nation, residents are invited to spend time in the sun at one of the countless summer street festivals held almost every weekend. What better way to spend a warm afternoon than walking the streets of your favorite city decked out with food, music, and art? These are some of my personal favorites from cities big and small.

1. Chicago Blues Festival

Where: Chicago, IL

When: June 8-10, 2018

What: This is the nation's largest free blues festival, and with four stages over three days, it's sure not to disappoint. Local artists perform in the daytime before the nightly headliners, so spend the day wandering around to discover new music!

Why: Known as the "Blues Capital of the World," Chicago honors its heritage through this annual festival.

2. Alberta Street Fair

Where: Portland, OR

When: August 11, 2018

What: Local vendors set up shop in one of the city's biggest festivals complete with kid-friendly activities and entertainment stages. And what kind of Portland festival would it be without a craft beer garden?

Why: Alberta Main Street is one of Portland's most eclectic and beloved areas, built up into a cultural hub since 1997. This festival is a celebration all the neighborhood's artists, designers, jewelers, craftspeople and more.

3. National Cherry Festival

Where: Traverse City, MI

When: June 30-July 7, 2018

What: This festival takes honoring the cherry to a new level. Each year, you can find music, art, parades and more at the week-long event. One lucky woman will even be crowned Cherry Queen.

Why: Michigan is one of the largest cherry producers in the world, its first crop planted in Traverse City in 1852. The festival began as a simple "blessing of the cherry blossoms" in 1910, now drawing visitors from across the globe to the tiny Michigan town.

  Image via @ cherryfestival

Image via @cherryfestival

4. Satchmo SummerFest

Where: New Orleans, LA

When: August 3-5, 2018

What: Mardi Gras crowds too daunting for you? This is a jazz festival on a smaller scale that will give you a taste of the city's rich musical history without getting too overhwelming

Why: This is a tribute to the famed New Orleans native Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong, first held in 2001 on what would have been his 100th birthday. It has since expanded into one of NOLA's many jazz fests, but stays true to its roots with "Satchmo Seminars;" opportunities to listen to biographers and musicians inspired by him.

5. San Francisco Pride

Where: San Francisco, CA

When: June 23-24, 2018

What: San Francisco's annual Pride festival is, in my opinion, the Bay's biggest and best party. Expect a parade, live performances, and plenty of wild rainbow costumes.

Why: This is an annual celebration of San Francisco's LGBT+ community, but as one of the nation's oldest Pride festivals, it draws people from across the country to celebrate love in all its forms.

  Image via Carlos Avila Gonzalez,  SFGate

Image via Carlos Avila Gonzalez, SFGate