Top Festivals in North America Worth Traveling For
If you’re excited to make the most of your next vacation just for relaxing or sightseeing, why not do it at one of the many amazing festivals around the world? At Enchanting Travels, we are about defending cultural experiences that allow you to explore the identity of a destination a little deeper. In addition to allowing you to connect on a more substantial level, participating in a festival is the ultimate thrilling travel experience that will make you celebrate with locals you would otherwise never meet.
North America is flooded with incredible vacation spots ideal for those who do not want to travel too far. In addition, it hosts various festivals to suit everyone’s tastes, from avid music fans to people who love winter activities. Not sure where to start? Our experts have compiled a list of some of the top festivals in the US, Canada and Mexico to give you some inspiration.
Top festivals in the USA
In addition to the picturesque countryside and beautiful coastlines, the United States is known for its cultural diversity. The wide range of different cultures that combine creates some exciting festivals. Why not start watching some of them?
JazzFest, New Orleans
New Orleans is a city that needs no introduction! The history is located in every corner of its colorful French quarter, while the whole metropolis is known for the melting of its cultures.
While many choose to visit in early spring to watch the legendary Mardi Gras, New Orleans JazzFest is just as atmospheric and easily one of the top US music festivals. Held in May each year, it celebrates the city’s jazz connections with a huge series of performances. JazzFest has been hosting the Fair Grounds Race Course on Gentilly Boulevard since 1972, with tickets giving you access to 14+ scenes with live music from both jazz legends and new talent.
Merrie Monarch Festival, Hawaii
This unique festival takes place in the city of Hilo in tropical Hawaii shortly after Easter and begins in 1963. The weekly event honors King Calacaua (nicknamed “Mary Monarch”), a local leader who lived in the late 1800s. dance and music and is famous for restoring much of the nation’s culture back to the islands, including the hula dance.
You will find that the Merrie Monarch Festival program is full of hula performances, cultural workshops, art exhibitions, crafts and a live parade.
Lummi Stommish Water Festival, Bellingham
After enjoying panoramic views from Space Needle and shopping for local delicacies at the huge Pike Place Market, why not head north to Seattle for the Lummi Stommish Water Festival? It is one of the many Powwows – festivals celebrating Native American culture – organized throughout the United States.
The Lummi Stommish Water Festival takes place just outside of Bellingham, Washington, every June and offers guests a more intimate experience than a Powwow. It takes its name from the local Lummi booking and pays homage to their history and way of life. Activities available include fun canoe racing, delicious food tastings (including fresh salmon and crab), traditional games and a parade in honor of Lummi war veterans.
Blouse Festival in Canada
Navigate further north and you will not only have the opportunity to explore some of the amazing scenery but also to attend some of the top festivals in Canada.
Feast of Light, Vancouver
If you like fireworks, Vancouver Celebration of Light is for you. Those who visit the city in the summer can have the opportunity to watch this spectacular event that is famous to be the largest fireworks competition on the planet!
Hosted over three nights in July or August, you will see the night sky illuminating fantastically. There is also a range of street food concerts and live music. The English Bay Beach in the West End is the best place for unparalleled views of the fireworks. You could also book a cruise at the port and enjoy the fireworks from the water itself.
Quebec Winter Carnival, Quebec
Holidays in Canada during the winter? Get out in Quebec and get ready to immerse yourself in a real Winter Wonderland at the Quebec Winter Carnival. In addition to being the largest winter festival on Earth, the Quebec Carnival is also one of the longest running, with the event starting in 1890. It’s in late January, giving you something to look forward to after the holiday season. Those lucky enough to attend will enjoy evening parades, delicious food benches, ice sculptures and an exciting canoe race, where contestants must cross the icy river Saint Lawrence! Watch out for Bonhomme too – she is the cheerful snowman mascot of the Quebec Winter Carnival.
First peoples of Montreal, Montreal
Another great event in Canada that celebrates the natives of the area is the Montreal First People Festival. The festival has been held in the Downtown area of Montreal for more than 30 years and offers a huge combination of art, film, history and cultural activities honoring Canada’s first people. There are a number of events to look forward to throughout August, including film screenings, workshops, talks and concerts.
Top festivals in Mexico
Just a short flight south of the US, it is no surprise that Mexico is such a popular choice for sunshine and culture. Make your vacation more memorable by planning them around the following festivals.
Day of the Dead, Mexico City
The ultimate festival in Mexico, Dia de Muertos is on many people’s bag lists. Best known as “Day of the Dead” takes place on November 1 (also known as Saints’ Day). The festival honors the long tradition of the Mexican people celebrating death rather than mourning it. While celebrations are held throughout the country, Mexico City is especially known for its costume parades and live street parties. Some Dia de Muertos events can be very busy, although it is possible to get away from the crowds and get involved in enjoying the pan de Muertos (Day of the Dead bread) or admiring the inrendas (memories) squares.
Cervantino Festival, Guanajuato
This Mexican festival has a long history and is a must for lovers of literature and art. It takes place every autumn in Guanajuato, a beautiful and relaxed city in the heart of Mexico. The Cervantino Festival (also known as El Cervantino) first started in the 1970s, when locals staged plays (known as entremeses) by Miguel de Cervantes – the famous Spanish writer Don Quixote. El Cervantino has since evolved and is now one of the largest international art and culture festivals in Latin America. Many activities and events take place throughout the city during the festival, from classical music concerts, movie screenings and book readings to acrobatic performances, folk dances and, of course, performances of some of Miguel de Cervantes’ most famous works.
Photo by Marisol Benitez at Unsplash
Those interested in learning more about Mexico’s indigenous cultures will take part in the annual Oaxaca Guelaguetza Festival. Hosted at the UNESCO World Heritage Center in Oaxaca in July, this Zapotec and Mixtec Folk Festival is a kaleidoscope of color thanks to vibrant traditional costumes. Many locals from the city and the surrounding countryside dress up to take part in a series of energetic traditional dances. One of the most unusual of these is called Turkish Dance where men dressed as birds stuffed into baskets pretend to fight each other! After each dance, the dancers throw gifts to the crowd, from small local handicrafts to fresh fruit.
Do you feel festive? Talk to our destination experts about the best ways to experience these wonderful events as part of your trip to North America.