Taste of Atlanta, the city’s 18th annual food and drink festival, is only days away.

It will take place Oct. 18 through 20 at Historic Fourth Ward Park and will feature tents with more than 100 of metro Atlanta’s restaurants. The Taste will also have live, on-stage cooking demonstrations, hands-on group classes from top chefs, Food Districts, a Saturday Night concert with Yacht Rock Revue and more.

Here’s what you need to know to make the most of this year’s festival:

Opening Night Party: Taste of Atlanta kicks off Oct. 18 with the Opening Night Party hosted by chef Nick Leahy of Aix and Tin Tin. From 7:30 to 11 p.m., the evening will bring together a roster of well-regarded local restaurants, including Tiny Lous, KR Steakbar, Table & Main and dozens more. Focusing on sourcing local and seasonal ingredients, the chefs will serve tastings alongside wine, beer and cocktails. Plus, the celebration will feature live music from Moontower and a portion of the night’s proceeds will support Georgia Grown's restaurant partnership program. The full list of participating restaurants can be viewed here, and tickets ($75) can be purchased here.

Can’t-miss bites and bevs: The festival will feature bites from restaurants across Atlanta neighborhoods, offering a variety of dishes to explore. Check out Barcelona Wine Bar’s Salvaje Paella with pork belly, sausage and a fried egg, Northern China Eatery’s Pork & Chive Dumplings, Joella’s Hot Chicken’s Signature Jumbo Tenders and more. Craving something sweet? Batter Cookie Dough Counter, Tiff’s Treats, Sweet Spot, Changemaker Chocolates and Amélie’s French Bakery & Café will be your best bets.

Explore what’s new at the festival: This year’s event will feature categorized Food Districts, giving you a taste of Buford Highway’s and Hartsfield-Jackson’s offerings and tailgating and brunch bites. Plus, an expanded VIP Experience will be all-inclusive this year, and the Georgia Grown Pavilion will showcase Georgia Grown products and ingredients through food conversations, mini culinary demos and, of course, recipe tastings. To top it all off, Taste of Atlanta will be rocking after dark Saturday during festival weekend with a concert from Rock Revue. Oct. 19, the famed seven-man band will be crooning classic hits and Halloween tunes the crowd loves to sing along to. Gates open at 7 p.m.

Pick up a cooking tip or two: Throughout the day Oct. 19 and 20, you can learn cooking skills at cooking classes and demos hosted by local chefs (schedule here). The Kitchen Workshop will offer hands-on classes where participants can learn to cook at individual stations. Sign up onsite for a spot in these workshops. Spaces are first-come, first-served and classes fill up quickly. You will also get an inside view into the Atlanta culinary world at The Chef’s Table Stage, where chefs including Jonathan Waxman and Andrew Cacioppo of Brezza Cucina, Todd Richards of Chicken+Beer, “MasterChef” winner Dorian Hunter and more, will demo how to prepare delicious recipes from their kitchens. At Home Plate Stage, you can gather ’round and learn recipes to make at home. Led by Atlanta and Georgia Grown chefs, each recipe demonstration will feature ingredients sourced from the state, making every dish perfect for celebrating Georgia's bounty during a meal at home.

Activate your wristband: Tickets to the Oct. 18 Opening Night Party, the weekend’s main events Oct. 19 and 20 and the Saturday Night Concert with Yacht Rock Revue are available for purchase online here. If you purchased your tickets online before Sept. 29, you will receive your wristband in the mail. If you ordered your ticket Sept. 30 or later, you will pick up your wristband at any festival entrance gate. Activating your wristband before the festival or at one of the Taste Point banks onsite is strongly encouraged. Activated wristbands track tastes sampled and provide you with a post-event tasting list, serving as a customized roundup of restaurant recommendations for future dining out. Additional Taste Points can be added to wristbands online before the event or at Taste Point Banks located throughout the festival. Following this year’s festival, guests who have leftover Taste Points above the initial ticket balance can choose to easily donate them to Giving Kitchen ($1=1 Taste point) or request a refund. To register a wristband and for more information, check out handy registration information here.

Be a VIP: Upgrade to the VIP Experience, which provides all-inclusive tastings and sips from select restaurants and pours from craft beer, wine and cocktail makers Oct. 19 and 20 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Among the restaurants in VIP Experience are 9 Mile Station, Golden Eagle, STK, Casi Cielo and 5Church. Plus, this year’s Best Bartender Competition culminates at the festival with finalists sampling their creations in VIP Tasting Experience as well as presenting alongside chefs leading cooking demos and classes.

Walk, pedal or ride to the festival: Located at Historic Fourth Ward Park adjacent to the Atlanta BeltLine, Taste of Atlanta is a convenient and walkable in-town destination. Travel to the festival by car, bike, rideshare service or MARTA, with complimentary Taste of Atlanta shuttles from the Civic Center MARTA station on West Peachtree Street (beginning at 9 a.m.). Lyft is the preferred rideshare partner for Taste of Atlanta, offering 20% off one ride (up to $5) with code TASTEOFATL19. For every Lyft ride taken to or from the festival, the rideshare company will donate six pounds of food to Second Helpings Atlanta. Please see here for additional car and bike parking details and more on riding MARTA.

Enter the festival here: Entry gates for general admission ticket holders are located on North Avenue and at Garden Park Drive and Rankin Street. VIP ticket holders can enter at general admission gates or at the VIP entrances at Garden Park Drive and Ralph McGill Boulevard NE (VIP Gate No. 1) and Garden Park Drive and Angier Avenue NE (VIP Gate No. 2).

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.tasteofatlanta.com.

Recommended for you