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CityPASS Home  »  City Traveler Blog  »  Let's Get Festive: Five Fun & Funky US Fests

City Traveler Blog

Let's Get Festive: Five Fun & Funky US Fests

Chicago Pride Fest. Photo credit: Adam Dixon.

Spring has sprung and summer is not far behind. With the arrival of better weather, now is the time to start letting you know about all the sunny fun that’s available to you at the many festivals taking place in your favorite CityPASS destinations. Here are five fun and funky festivals to enjoy. We will share more as the season heats up!


If Robert DeNiro created it, you know it has to be cool. “Bob” created the Tribeca Film Festival in 2002 with some friends in response to the devastating events of Sept. 11, 2001. It was his way of giving back to the city he loves. And boy has he ever. The festival, now in its 13th year and currently taking place in Lower Manhattan until April 27th, attracts over 3 million people to the Tribeca neighborhood to celebrate independent film and thinking. Pssst…it’s also a great place to run into elusive celebrities. Now through April 27. Buy tickets.


Chicago’s Pride Fest, which celebrates June's Pride Month, returns for its 12th fabulous year in 2014. It's held on the first day of summer and the weekend before Chicago's iconic annual Pride Parade (which this year takes place on Sunday, June 29). 

Highlights include non-stop entertainment for gay/lesbian Chicagoans as well as for out-of-town visitors. Pride Fest features top dance and pop/rock music acts on two stages, food and drink and more than 60 vendors offering arts, crafts and unique merchandise tailored to the LGBT community. 
Saturday-Sunday, June 21-22. Buy tickets.

Death cab for cutie, Bumbershoot 2013. Photo credit: David Lee.


There’s one festival that takes place each summer that has something for everyone. Perhaps that’s why people in Seattle call it “Bumbershoot.” The arts festival known originally as Festival ’71 was dubbed Bumbershoot in 1973. According to the powers that be, the name was chosen to describe the festival as an umbrella for all of the various arts and performers it encompasses. North America’s largest urban arts festival, Bumbershoot takes place in the heart of the city at the 74-acre Seattle Center, which is in close proximity to other Seattle attractions. Now in its 43rd year, Bumbershoot has consistently drawn artists representing the best in music, film, comedy, spoken word, dance, theatre, performance, and visual arts to Seattle every Labor Day weekend. Bumbershoot also features a variety of food, merchandise, and urban craft vendors throughout Bumbershoot grounds—there’s plenty to eat, see, and do all weekend long. Saturday-Monday, August 30-Sept 1. Buy tickets

Fillmore Jazz Festival performer. Photo credit: star5112.


Before rock and roll transformed San Francisco into the city of summertime “love,” jazz was the most popular form of entertainment, especially on the always bopping Fillmore Street. And it still is. Every summer this city welcomes more than 100,000 music lovers to the largest (free!) jazz festival on the West Coast. The Fillmore Jazz Festival, held July 5-6 on Fillmore Street (between Jackson and Eddy Streets), is a chance to see the best and the brightest jazz musicians in that beautiful city by the bay. From sunup to sundown, visitors can groove to the sounds of live music from multiple stages, browse the offerings of over 12 blocks of fine art and crafts and enjoy gourmet food and beverages. Saturday-Sunday, July 5-6. Free!


Just around the time that the Tribeca Film Fest is wrapping up in New York, is when one of our favorite cities in Texas spreads its wings for the Houston International Festival. This annual downtown event, affectionately known as “IFest,” celebrates music, dance and cultures from around the world, and this year’s theme revolves around the “down under” culture of Australia. The big draw at IFest is the vendors selling local and international foods and crafts as well as the half-dozen or more arts markets with more than 400 artists. April 26-May 4.

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