National Geographic Travel published an article featuring the U.S.’s top 20 free festivals this year and a few of the best happen to have made their names in favorite Best Weekends’ destinations…

Philadelphia Book Festival
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
This spring fling for bibliophiles is one of the mid-Atlantic's largest literary street fairs—and admission to the April event is free. Nearly a hundred authors and other literary exhibitors are on hand to celebrate the written word while the streets buzz with performances and interactive exhibits organized by the Free Library of Philadelphia.

Smithsonian Folklife Festival Washington, D.C.
In June and July the National Mall is home to a celebration of the world's living folklife traditions. The annually changing lineup of artisans, craftspeople, performers, scholars, and others creates an interactive immersion in cultures. Themes have ranged from Colombia to American rhythm and blues, the Mekong River to mid-Atlantic waterways.

River to River Festival Manhattan, New York
In June and July, Lower Manhattan is a playground of free film, music, dance, theater, and visual art during this vibrant festival. R2R was born of a desire to revitalize the area after the terrorist attacks of September 2001. The creative events, genres, and world-class artists of the month-long event are far too numerous to mention—find your favorites online and plan ahead.

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival Mount Vernon, Washington
Only Mother Nature can say exactly when her tulips will bloom, so the folks in Skagit Valley set aside all of April each year to celebrate this colorful rite of spring. Millions of flowers are on display during a month of street fairs, art shows, art walks and tours, plant fairs, concerts, and other events
Staying in Philadelphia, PA? Check out the best places to stay
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Ellen Studer

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