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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. 

May 11 - May 20
May

America's largest and most prestigious cycling event brings many of the world’s top riders to the Golden State. The 8-stage race changes it up every year, with new courses connecting cities and...

Amgen Tour of California
Amgen Tour of California
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July

Vampires beware: this is one garlic-infused weekend that you’ll want to miss. Everyone else—go, at least once, to this unforgettably odiferous and one-of-a-kind event. See how creative chefs can...

A garlic wreath at the Gilroy Garlic Festival
Bill Strange Photography
Central Coast region of California
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...

NASCAR's Auto Club 400 in Fontana, California
Courtesy of Auto Club Speedway
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November

Local and international talent gathers at the gustatory tribute to all that’s good about wine & food (and there’s beer too); the San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival is San Diego’s largest ...

San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival attendees toasting with beers
San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival by Kevin Hulett
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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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Photo by David A. Lee
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