Atlanta Life and Culture

The AJC Features Team spotlights arts previews, reviews, profiles, news features and breaking news on Atlanta's cultural and life scene.

10 of the biggest metro Atlanta events in 2016, according to readers

If you're looking for a city with a variety of entertainment options year-round, Atlanta should be at the top of your list. There are always plenty of things to do in metro Atlanta and 2016 was no different.

We've kept residents up to speed on Atlanta events every week with our regular roundups throughout the year and today we're looking back at all of the fun memories.

Before we head into 2017, here are 10 of the most popular event-related stories from this year:

Dragon Con

More than 77,000 people attended Dragon Con this year, the popular sci-fi convention held annually during Labor Day weekend in downtown Atlanta.

The AJC was in the mix throughout the festivities to capture all of the amazing costumes and celebrity appearances (William Shatner, Gillian Anderson and more).

Little Five Points Halloween Festival and Parade

The 16th annual Little Five Points Halloween Parade was featured on our list of can’t-miss fall festivals.

The gallery of costumes from the day-long festival and two-hour parade was one of our top event-related posts this year. Take a look back at the parade and get a head start on planning for Halloween in 2017.


This event was ultimately cancelled, but not before it caught readers’ attention.

Despite it's name, the event was never intended to be a rehashing of the popular 90s festival. Instead, it was supposed to be a pool party at the Atrium.

“In light of the year that Black Lives Matter, we don’t think Freaknik does,” Terry Brantley, Atrium owner, told the AJC.

SweetWater 420 Fest

One of the “most eclectic Atlanta offerings,” aka SweetWater 420 Fest, featured sets from Bastille, The Roots, Kid Rock, Ludacris and more in Centennial Olympic Park.

Although attendance this year was about 45,000 as opposed to about 80,000 in 2015, the music festival was still among our top event-related content for the year.

Gregg Allman’s Laid Back Festival

Despite a setback, Gregg Allman’s Laid Back Festival, featuring ZZ Top, Blackberry Smoke and others at Lakewood Amphitheatre was also popular among readers this year.

Chihuly in the Garden

Dale Chihuly’s 2004 outdoor art exhibit helped the Atlanta Botanical Garden attract 375,000 visitors, so it’s not surprising the Atlanta attraction teamed up with the Seattle-based glass artist once again this year.

Readers were no-doubt interested in news that Chihuly in the Garden, a 20-installation art exhibit, was opening at the Atlanta Botanical Garden in April. The exhibit stayed open through October.

Mac & Cheese Fest

Atlanta residents really like macaroni and cheese, apparently. The Atlanta Mac and Cheese festival was highly-anticipated from the time it was first announced over the summer until it actually occurred in October.

Bad Boy Family Reunion Tour

Diddy’s “Bad Boy Family Reunion Tour” was a nearly three-hour-long celebration of the record mogul and the artists he made popular. From Faith Evans, Lil Kim and Total to Atlanta artists 112, Young Joc and Boyz in da Hood (yes, even Young Jeezy), the set list was packed with stars and hit songs.

Atlanta Pride Parade

Photos from the Atlanta Pride Parade was one of the AJC's top event-related stories this year, proving that, at least for metro Atlanta residents, love really does conquer all.

Music Midtown

Despite being temporarily evacuated due to weather, Music Midtown was still one of the biggest annual events in metro Atlanta in 2016. The music festival featured Beck, Twenty One Pilots, The Killers, Corrine Bailey Rae, Big Boi and more.

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About the Author

Jewel Wicker is an Atlanta native, Georgia State University graduate and entertainment reporter. She typically covers local events.