Late summer events are great for experiencing communal spirit and diversity. Our list focuses on prominent festivals in Canada and the USA, ranging from music concerts to cultural celebrations. This means there’s something for pretty much everyone to enjoy.

    There’s no better time to enjoy a social gathering than late summer. People love to be outdoors, making the most of the summer sun and long evenings while they still can. This has resulted in some truly unique festivals, which can be found right across the country. We’ve included the dates and locations to help you plan your trip accordingly.

    1

    Carifest

    Calgary, Alberta: 12 August–13 August, 2022

    Carifest is a celebration of Caribbean culture in Calgary. The Shaw Millennium Park becomes a massive outdoor party venue, with performances by local and international artists and DJs. You can expect a steel drum concert, a street parade, and hundreds of attendees in flamboyant costumes.

    It’s a great time to support entrepreneurs, artists and restaurateurs, as dozens of stalls are set around the park. Caribbean arts and crafts, as well as food and drinks, are just some of the must-buys while you're here. To ensure everyone can join in the fun, all events at Carifest are free.

    Location: 1220 9 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2P 2C4, Canada

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    photo by Robert Thivierge (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    2

    Art in the Open

    Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island: 27 August, 2022

    Art in the Open is a free annual event that takes place in late August. It’s actually a 2-week festival that culminates in the main event on Saturday, 27 August. Charlottetown’s historic downtown turns into a massive outdoor art gallery. You can check out plenty of visual artworks, from video projections to contemporary dance performances.

    Participating venues include Victoria Park, Rockford Square, Victoria Row, and Connaught Square. The event is from 4 pm to midnight, giving you plenty of time to explore the many art spaces and engage with local artists.

    Location: Various venues in Charlottetown

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    3

    The Ex (Canadian National Exhibition)

    Toronto, Ontario: 19 August–5 September, 2022

    The Ex (or Canadian National Exhibition) is one of the oldest summer fairs in Toronto. Over the course of 18 days, you can enjoy a wide range of activities and events in Exhibition Place. Several buildings host local vendors, competitions, exhibits, live entertainment, sports events, and a large carnival midway with rides for the whole family.

    A must-see is the Canadian Forces Snowbirds, with 9 Canadian pilots performing extraordinary aerial manoeuvres. Other popular events include a robotics competition at the CNE Gaming Garage, the Rising Star Talent Competition, and the CNE Girls U17 Fastball Tournament.

    Location: 210 Princes' Blvd, Toronto, ON M6K 3C3, Canada

    Phone: +1 416-263-3330

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    photo by Kotsy (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    4

    US Open Tennis Championships

    New York, USA: 19 August–11 September, 2022

    The US Open Tennis Championships take place at the Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens. Even non-tennis fans will be enthused by the cheering crowds that descend on the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. The 2-week event is held at the end of August/beginning of September. Labor Day Weekend also happens to fall in the middle of the tournament, calling for a much-loved mixture of sunshine, booze, and tennis. The hard-court tournament sees the world’s best male and female tennis players battle it out for the final Grand Slam title of the season.

    The finals take place on the central court, named Arthur Ashe Stadium after the American tennis legend, but tickets are like gold dust. For your best chance to see the tennis stars, book matches early in the tournament when matches are played on the smaller outside courts.

    Location: Flushing Meadow Corona Park, Flushing, NY 11368, USA

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    photo by Steven Pisano (CC BY 2.0) modified

    5

    PNE (Pacific National Exhibition)

    Vancouver, British Columbia: 20 August–5 September, 2022

    PNE (Pacific National Exhibition) is a 15-day summer festival in Vancouver, with plenty of fun activities and music concerts for families and friends to enjoy. The event takes place at Hastings Park, one of the city’s largest recreational spaces. Families can enjoy gravity-defying manoeuvres by The Stars of the Peking Acrobats and The Flying Fools High Dive Show. For something more laidback, check out Dinosaurs Around the World, an outdoor exhibition dedicated to the extinct reptiles.

    The Summer Night Concerts take place at the PNE Amphitheatre, hosting performances by The B52s, Blue Rodeo, Bachman Cummings, Nelly, Brothers Osborne, and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.

    Location: 2901 E Hastings St, Vancouver, BC V5K 5J1, Canada

    Phone: +1 604-253-2311

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    photo by GoToVan (CC BY 2.0) modified

    6

    Burning Man

    Reno, Nevada: 29 August–5 September, 2022

    Burning Man has very rapidly become one of the most iconic festivals in the world. Only founded in 1986, it now attracts nearly 80,000 people to the temporary town of Black Rock City in the spectacular Black Rock Desert every year over the 9 days leading up to Labor Day.

    More than just a music event, Burning Man is a festival of art, community, and self-expression. It’s equally famous for the weird and wonderful outfits people wear (or, in some cases, the complete lack of an outfit) and the namesake wooden effigy that is burned on the penultimate night of the festival.

    Location: Black Rock City, Black Rock Desert, Gerlach, NV 89412, USA

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    photo by Steve Jurvetson (CC BY 2.0) modified

    7

    Made in America Festival

    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 3 September–4 September, 2022

    The Made in America Festival is a music event spanning the Labor Day weekend and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia. The road that leads up to the famous Philadelphia Museum of Art annually hosts up to 60,000 people a day. Since 2014, a couple of years after the first festival, there’s been an edition in Los Angeles, meaning the festival also spans the whole country.

    The Made in America Festival was founded by none other than Jay-Z, but it doesn’t focus specifically on rap. Instead, you can expect a line-up of both established and up-and-coming musicians playing hip hop, R&B, EDM, pop, Latin, and rock. This year’s headliners include Bad Bunny, Lil Uzi Vert, and Tyler, The Creator.

    Location: Benjamin Franklin Pkwy, Philadelphia, PA 19103, USA

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    photo by Mike Barry (CC BY 2.0) modified

    8

    Toronto International Film Festival

    Toronto Ontario: 8 September–18 September, 2022

    The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is one of the world’s largest film festivals. Throughout the 11-day event, you can discover hundreds of new films by international and Canadian production companies. World-class actors, directors and producers offer their perspectives during lectures, discussions, and workshops.

    Venues include TIFF Bell Lightbox, the Royal Alexandra Theatre, Roy Thomson Hall, Scotiabank Theatre, and the Visa Screening Room at the Princess of Wales Theatre. This year, Festival Street takes place at the closed-off King Street, hosting live performances and screenings for free.

    Location: Various venues in Toronto

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    photo by Lee Chu (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    9

    Life Is Beautiful Music & Art Festival

    Las Vegas, Nevada: 16 September–18 September, 2022

    The Life Is Beautiful Music & Art Festival is a 3-day celebration of…well, the beautiful things in life – music, food, art, comedy, learning, and more. The festival covers an 18-block area of Las Vegas, in some cases even covering the streets with sod to provide attendees with a cool place to lay on the grass in the shade, right in the middle of the city.

    Music is a big part of the festival, which can include hip hop, indie rock, EDM, pop, and more. Headliners for the 2022 Life Is Beautiful Music & Art Festival include Arctic Monkeys, Gorillaz, Lorde, Kygo, and Migos.

    Location: Downtown Las Vegas, NV, USA

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    10

    Oktoberfest

    Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario: 25 September–11 October, 2022

    Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest brings Bavaria to Ontario over the course of 3 summer weekends. There are plenty of outdoor community events to enjoy throughout the city, including a Thanksgiving Day parade on 10 October.

    Participating restaurants and bars across Downtown Kitchener transform into micro-festhallen (mini festival halls), where you can enjoy live Oktoberfest music and dancing, keg tappings, food, and beer pairings. Keep an eye out for WunderWagen, a 4-wheel mobile stage that travels around the city’s neighbourhoods and community centres. Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest also has many activities for families, including art programmes, interactive storytelling, and even yodelling lessons.

    Location: Various venues in Kitchener-Waterloo

    Map

    photo by Peter K Burian (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    Penny Wong | Compulsive Traveller

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