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JIm Bahn/Flickr

Must-See Festivals & Events

Californians know how to throw a party—especially outdoors. That’s the mood at these premier festivals, fairs, and celebrations statewide. While some might include dress-up affairs indoors, such as gala dinners pairing celebrity chefs with top winemakers, most are casual affairs out in the sun, where you can relax California-style, and really get a taste of what it’s like to live, work, and play in the Golden State. 

Love food? Time your visit to include a top food, wine, or craft beer event, such as Pebble Beach Food & Wine along the Central Coast. Music fan? Head for the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival near Palm Springs, or rollicking (and free) Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. Or target an event that is 100-percent California, such as the U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach, the iconic Gilroy Garlic Festival, jumping frogs in the Gold Country, or San Diego’s new arts and entertainment phenom, Comic-Con. 

This San Diego music festival combines A-list acts with local flavor and upscale beach culture

You don’t need a high tolerance for open fields, concession-stand dining, or possibly mud to enjoy K...

KAABOO Del Mar
C Flanigan/Getty Images
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July

Vampires beware: this is one garlic-infused weekend that creatures of the night may want to miss. Everyone else—go, at least once, to this unforgettably odiferous and one-of-a-kind event. See how...

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Bill Strange Photography
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Apr 20 - Apr 23
April

Get ready for the Central Coast’s ultimate gathering of the culinary world. Now in its ninth year, this luxurious event is one of those star- and spectacle-studded experiences you simply have to...

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Gina Sinotte
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March

Get into the checkered-flag spirit at this big and loud NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event. Cheer for your favourite drivers as they zoom for the front in this 5-wide race event. The action kicks off...

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Courtesy of Auto Club Speedway
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February

Home to one of the largest concentrations of mid-century modern architecture in the country, the Palm Springs region is a natural setting for this citywide event. Join thousands of design buffs...

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David A. Lee
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