Are you traveling out of state and looking for the biggest party you can find? Whether it’s one of the hottest music fests in the country or a legendary street fest with cold brews and smoked meats, we’ve got you covered. These are the biggest, wildest, most talked-about outdoor parties in America!
If you’re planning on going to an outdoor party, odds are it’ll be in June (across our 50 states, that’s the most popular month for the biggest events). A majority of the parties in June see crowds of at least several hundred thousand people.
The three biggest shindigs on our list are the Pride parade in San Francisco (1.5 to 2 million), Mardi Gras in New Orleans (1.4 million), and St. Patrick’s Day in Boston (1 million). If you like smaller crowds, check out the tiniest outdoor event — 24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell, in Arkansas. It’s a 24-hour rock-climbing party and competition, with just a few hundred attendees. Also, cheers to the Big Easy for hosting the oldest outdoor event, Mardi Gras. For 236 years, people from all over the world have escaped to Bourbon Street for several nights (or weeks) of debauchery.
The Midwest has some of the biggest music festivals on our list with Chicago, Milwaukee, and Detroit bringing out insane crowds. It turns out music festivals are the most popular outdoor events (19 total). Sporting events are popular too, with six that involve participation and four that are spectator-only, and a fair number of the parties on our list simply defied categorization. Take Maine’s Redneck Blank Pig Roast and Music Festival. This party features unusual competitions, like bobbing for pigs’ feet and a wife hauling race.
The newest events to crack our list of top outdoor parties in America are Snoop Dogg’s Augusta Jam Masters Party, in Georgia, and the High Water Fest, in South Carolina. Both events are just one year old.
We weren’t too surprised to find out that North Carolina hosts a Barbecue Festival or that Alaska has an event called Arctic Man. But one thing that caught our attention was a festival in Montana—it’s called Pirate Party. In late July, several thousand people come together inside the Lolo National Forest for a pirate-themed party with disc golf, fire dancers, and jam bands.
Last but not least: how about a shout-out to Kansas for the best pun for a festival name: OZtoberfest.