James Franco, who’s in the area to film “In Dubious Battle,” was on the red carpet at the Atlanta Film Festival for another of his films. JENNIFER BRETT / JBRETT@AJC.COM

Best spring festival in Atlanta | Best of Atlanta

Atlanta comes alive in the spring with culture, color and creativity. The Best of Atlanta winner this week encompasses all of these characteristics equally. In its 40th year, the Atlanta Film Festival tops the Best of Atlanta poll as your favorite springtime festival. If you love cinema and those who create it,  this intimate experience was made just for you. Filmmakers from all over the world accompany their movies and answer questions from the audiences after screenings. There are also a plethora of special events featuring food, drink and unique social encounters. You might even bump shoulders with a celebrity or two. 

Tied for second place are the Atlanta Dogwood Festival and the Inman Park Festival. In its 80th year, the Atlanta Dogwood Festival has something for everyone. From music to street food, the whole family will enjoy an action-packed day. The Inman Park Festival takes place in one of the oldest Atlanta neighborhoods. Charm seeps through every corner as you explore and mingle with the locals. Be sure to check out the parade too as some of the biggest brands in Atlanta create colorful floats.

If you like your outdoor fests to keep their focus on the tunes, then the Shaky Knees Music Fest and Sweetwater 420 Fest are your jam. Headliners for Shaky Knees Music Fest this year are Florence + the Machine, My Morning Jacket and Jane's Addiction. Sweetwater 420 keeps the game strong bringing the likes of Kid Rock, Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals and Ludacris for 2016. 

Smyrna Spring Jonquil Festival (Cobb), Decatur Arts Festival (DeKalb), Alpharetta Arts Streetfest (North Fulton) and Barefoot in the Park Arts Festival (Gwinnett) held their own in community support. If you live in any of these areas, these festivals are must-dos for the spring of 2016.

It's also the season to devote to some serious patio time with your favorite friends and warm weather beverage in-hand. Here are some of Atlanta's best options for al fresco dining. Can you keep a secret? These under the radar patios will rock your world. 

Flowers aren't the only thing in bloom this time of year. Spark some romance with these 11 springtime date ideas

The list of exceptional spring festivals extends far beyond this list, so get out there and enjoy some sunshine. 

Don't miss our roundup of the 11 can't-miss spring festivals in Atlanta.

Read about our other Best of Atlanta winners and nominees here. 

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