For foodies, warmer weather means one thing: a host of new food festivals to attend where you can eat, drink and socialize with culinary greats from across the country. Get ready to hobnob with and taste the best that celebrity chefs, mixologists, sommeliers and grill masters have to offer. Here are seven food festivals to put on your travel list this spring.
Any food fest with a gourmet taco showdown captures our attention. The Rock Your Taco competition is just one of the culinary happenings during this two-day epicurean extravaganza that feels (and tastes) like cool, quirky Austin.
From April 26 to 28, attendees also can experience pit masters cooking over open flames, a Sunday gospel brunch, live music, bites from prized local restaurants and myriad wine, beer and cocktail tastings.
The weekend event takes place at waterfront park Auditorium Shores, about a 15-minute walk along the Colorado River from Four Seasons Hotel Austin. The lakefront Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star property serves as a rustic-luxe respite from the ruckus of the popular festival. Book a recently renovated mid-century modern room and check out the indoor/outdoor Live Oak lounge for more cocktails and eats.
Is there a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon in Orange County than savoring bites by regional chefs, drinking from a margarita bar and listening to live tunes with a gorgeous Pacific Ocean panorama as the backdrop?
This May 5 gathering is part of a national tour of food festivals that benefit nonprofit Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign. The Laguna Beach edition will feature a stellar lineup of culinary talent (including celebrity chef Curtis Stone) on the grounds of picturesque Five-Star Montage Laguna Beach.
The locale is simply stunning, and you can soak up more of the scenery by booking a Bungalow Suite (the closest guest rooms to the ocean) and relaxing on your balcony or patio facing the Pacific. Or hit the mosaic pool and while away the day in a cabana overlooking the California coast.
Las Vegas does not disappoint with its 13th annual star-studded food and wine festival. This four-day extravaganza (May 9 through 12) is packed with meet-and-greets with famous chefs (Gordon Ramsay, Masaharu Morimoto), wine dinners, cooking classes and tastings.
The tantalizing event lets you hotel hop, with various highlights held at prestigious properties along the Strip, including The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Four-Star ARIA Resort & Casino, Four-Star The Venetian Resort Las Vegas and Four-Star Wynn Las Vegas.
The signature soiree is The Grand Tasting at Caesars Palace on May 10. The five-acre Garden of the Gods Pool Oasis complex transforms into a Sin City-sized food and wine festival where 2,500 hungry guests can sample their way through offerings from 50 chefs and more than 100 wines and spirits.
Stay close to the action and reserve a room at Four-Star Octavius Tower by Caesars Palace and Augustus Tower by Caesars Palace. Tucked within the massive Caesars Palace property, these swanky towers provide a serene escape from the crowds. Here, you can collapse on a bed made up of Anichini linens and sink deep into a two-person spa tub in the marble-clad bathroom.
Get your fill of fine Southern food at this May 30 to June 2 showcase of the region’s classic cuisine.
There are a slew of lunches and dinners, cooking and mixology classes, and insightful panel discussions, but the main attraction is the Tasting Tents. This year, the popular booths will be at the trendy Old 4th Ward Park, where you can easily spend all day perusing fare from top toques like Nashville-based Food Network personality Maneet Chauhan, Colin Bedford of Durham, North Carolina’s Four-Star The Fearrington House Restaurant and charcuterie master Kevin Ouzts of Atlanta’s The Spotted Trotter.
If you’re looking for something a little more hands-on, Loews Atlanta Hotel (about a 10-minute drive from the tents) plays host to all of the festival’s classes, including cooking lessons, cocktail-mixing demonstrations and wine-pairing expos. Book a room at the Four-Star skyscraper to stay close to the action and enjoy floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Midtown.
Experience it all at Montana’s The Resort at Paws Up, where from April 19 to 21 you can savor gourmet delights with a side of adventure. This unique gathering of female culinary stars turns out an array of mouthwatering meals (included in your stay) and outdoor excursions led by the talented toques. Featured chefs include confectioner Valerie Gordon, Southern chef Kelly Fields and competitor on Netflix series The Final Table Amninder Sandhu.
The Four-Star retreat’s springtime wilderness adventures include ATV tours, mountain biking, canoeing, horseback riding and hiking, among others. Hit the hay in one of the property’s luxury homes done up in high-end Western motifs and outfitted with amenities like outdoor hot tubs and full kitchens.
Another weekend, another sensational Southern food festival to attend. Held April 24 through 27, this one puts an emphasis on vino, with wine seminars on April 27 and a big (already sold-out) wine dinner that night.
But the highlight is the April 26 Grand Tasting & Silent Auction at the Atrium at Two Wells Fargo Center. Here, tasters can work their way through 100 wines and bid on more than 50 lots ranging from rare bottles to exciting experiences.
For a more intimate tasting opportunity, sign up for one of the April 25 vintner-hosted dinners. Forbes Travel Guide Recommended BLT Steak (inside Four-Star The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte) will serve up a multi-course meal paired with sips from Chile-based Lapostolle Wines.
After all that wining and dining, head upstairs to your recently renovated room for a nightcap — thanks to a partnership with Charlotte’s own Great Wagon Road Distillery, you’ll find an exclusive bottle of Rua single-malt whiskey in your honor bar.
This May 11 epicurean extravaganza is a one-day drinking and eating blowout where you can start imbibing before noon. Held at waterfront Harbor Point, the fourth annual event will spotlight 150 wines, beers and spirits from all over the world. There will be food to taste (and to buy) from local vendors, but we suggest springing for the VIP Area Experience, where you can opt for tastings and pairings from local restaurants.
Stick with the waterfront theme and book a room at the nearby Sagamore Pendry Baltimore, a new hotel with historic atmosphere to spare. The 1914 building on Recreation Pier was transformed into a stylish boutique property in 2017 with a buzzy outdoor pool scene and a cavernous American whiskey bar.
For the best vistas, book a Deluxe Harbor King room that looks out over Inner Harbor from a private balcony and boasts luxe amenities like Italian linens, a curated mini-bar (try the local whiskey) and a marble bath.