This April, California is enjoying a special kind of spring bloom: Several annual events that have been dormant for two years have been revived—including iconic Coachella and Stagecoach in Greater Palm Springs. Across the state it’s prime time for enjoying the state flower, a unique fruit harvest, and pop-culture festivals. Here are more than 20 events worth their own getaway in April:
All month: Pixie Tangerine Month, Ojai
April is peak season for the small, super-sweet pixie tangerine, produced by 40 growers in the Ventura County town of Ojai. Pick up the fresh fruit at Westridge Markets, Friend’s Ranch Packing House, and Rainbow Bridge Natural Foods Market, or enjoy pixie-infused margaritas, frozen yogurt, lotions, and more at participating businesses around town.
A specimen of the rare, deep-sea creature known as the Pacific footballfish washed up on the beach near Encinitas this past December—one of only 31 ever known to be collected. This month, the preserved fish will be on display at the La Jolla aquarium as part of its Oddities: Hidden Heroes of the Scripps Collections exhibit. If the underbite-with-fangs fish looks familiar, it’s perhaps because one was depicted as a villain in Finding Nemo.
Through April 29: Glow in the Park, Palm Desert
Who says light displays are just for the holiday season? Stroll the Living Desert at this after-dark, ticketed event that features animal- and nature-themed light installations, giant lanterns, themed pathways, and colorful photo ops. This month is also a good opportunity to check out the Palm Desert zoo’s new Rhino Savanna, a four-acre habitat for black rhinos, antelope, and subterranean creatures such as the naked mole rat.
April 1–3: Winter WonderGrass Tahoe, Palisades Tahoe
The annual bluegrass festival returns to Palisades Tahoe after a two-year absence, with more than 20 bands and 20 local breweries joining forces in Olympic Valley. Almost every act that had been scheduled for 2020 will appear, including crowd-favorite Billy Strings, and 2020 tickets will still be honored. Come back to the North Lake Tahoe area later in month for the 36th Annual Snow Golf Tournament (April 16), a free nine-hole course on the slopes that you play with an issued golf club and two tennis balls.
April 1–3: WonderCon, Anaheim
Get your cosplay out of the closet: This sister event of Comic-Con International returns to Anaheim this month, celebrating comics, movies, TV, and animation. Featured artists and panelists at the Anaheim Convention Center will include filmmaker Kevin Smith of the Clerks movies and Sarah Kuhn, author of the popular Heroine Complex novels and the acclaimed DC Comics graphic novel Shadow of the Batgirl. As of press time, badges are still available.
April 2: Wildflower & Nature Festival, Oroville
April 2–3: Ayee Esse Happening, Big Bear Lake
Come to the Big Bear Lake area to enjoy April’s sweet spot between winter and spring. At Big Bear Mountain, this family-friendly celebration of snowboarding and its culture includes a mini-pipe competition, vendors, and live music. At Big Bear Lake itself, the annual Polar Plunge on April 2 dares you to take a dip (preferably in costume) for a good cause—to raise funds for the Special Olympics.
April 2–3, 20–24 Clovis Big Hat Days & Clovis Rodeo
Each spring, the Fresno County town of Clovis shows off its cowboy heritage, starting with an 83-year-old street fair in Old Town Clovis known as Big Hat Days (April 2–3). Explore the food and craft vendors, a beer garden, and live music (wearing a 10-gallon hat is optional). From April 20–24, come for the classic Clovis Rodeo, which goes back even further (108 years), and includes a lineup of bull riding, roping events, and concerts.
April 2–10: PaleyFest, Hollywood
Go to the Dolby Theatre—which hosted the Academy Awards in March—to celebrate the best in television. This festival hosted by Los Angeles’ Paley Center for Media features screenings of new shows and meet-and-greets with big stars. This year’s lineup includes the casts of This Is Us, Black-ish, Emily in Paris, and Better Call Saul.
April 7–10: Monterey Sea Otter Classic
This Monterey County event is considered the kickoff of the North American bicycling season, attracting more than 10,000 athletes—including pros and national, world, and Olympic champions. Watch athletes compete in mountain bike, cross-country, dual slalom, road, and cyclocross events, then join in the fun at the festival and the all-ages non-competitive rides.
April 9: Battle of the Brews Sonoma, Santa Rosa
The one-day festival at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa celebrates both global and California craft beers. Check out the juried competition, The Craft Cup, then cast your own vote at the main event, where craft-beer fans pick their favorites among more than 40 breweries.
April 9–17: Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival, San Francisco
This celebration amidst an explosion of pink blossoms is said to be the largest festival of its kind in the U.S. outside of Washington, D.C. The two weekends in San Francisco’s Japantown also feature food, music, and bonsai exhibits.
Another nice spot to see cherry blossoms this time of year is Filoli in nearby San Mateo County. The estate’s garden and orchard have weeping cherry blossom trees that are more than a century old, as well as blossoming crabapple, pear, peach, nectarine, and plum trees.
April 10: Santa Barbara Kite Festival
April is National Kite Month, but the Central Coast city of Santa Barbara offers a particularly lovely setting for this one-day kite-flying festival, located on the west campus of Santa Barbara City College. This year’s theme is “Up,” and activities include the traditional children’s kite-tail chase and contests for Most Beautiful Kite, Funniest Kite, and Most Unflyable Kite.
April 15–22: Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, Indio
Coachella is back this year in Greater Palm Springs, taking place on the grounds of the Empire Polo Club. Headliners on both weekends are Harry Styles, Billie Eilish, the Weeknd, and Swedish House Mafia, with supporting acts ranging from Phoebe Bridgers to Danny Elfman. Passes are technically sold out, but you can still get on the waitlist.
April 16–24: National Park Week
Celebrate Earth Day (April 22) by visiting one of the nine national parks that call California home. Admission fees are waived on April 16, and there are special themes each day, with opportunities to pitch in at parks. Or celebrate Earth Day all month long by signing up for one of the 11 different volunteer days at California State Parks.
April 21–24: Cloverdale Citrus Fair
During the 19th century, the Sonoma County town of Cloverdale was lined with sawmills and citrus groves. This classic fair celebrates that history with a parade, rides, and fair foods, along with contests like orange-juicing competitions.
April 22–24: Lancaster Poppy Festival, Los Angeles County
See the state flower at its peak this month at Antelope Valley State Poppy Reserve in Lancaster, then celebrate at the nearby AV Fair and Events Center. Activities include live music, a beer garden, and live animal exhibits.
April 22-24: La Jolla Concours d’Elegance, La Jolla
Ogle 125 rare and restored vehicles—horseless carriages, European marques, and American classics—displayed on grassy oceanfront lawns in La Jolla. The weekend also features live music and a Champagne and Honey Tasting Garden.
April 22–May 1: San Francisco International Film Festival
Founded in 1957, this San Francisco festival is the longest-running film fest in the nation, offering a mix of international and domestic crowd-pleasers. Tickets for screenings go on sale April 1; for the most value, buy 6-packs or 10-packs of tickets.
April 23: Boonville Beer Festival, Boonville
This Mendocino County beer festival returns for its 24th year, held at the Anderson Valley Brewing Company. Sample beers at the Mardi Gras–themed celebration, and pick up a few words of Boontling—the local language that goes back to the early 1900s and is comprised of about 1,600 very useful words (like “hairymouth,“ which means dog).
April 23: U.C. Davis Picnic Day
This annual event started as an open house for a new dairy barn in 1909, but now is a big party showcasing the esteemed state school in Yolo County. It’s great for prospective students or anyone nostalgic for their own college days, with its parade, picnicking, and quirky activities like the Doxie Derby and the Battle of the Marching Bands.
April 23–24: Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, Los Angeles
This two-day event on the University of Southern California campus features book sales, readings, signings, and musical performances. This year's author appearances include Amanda Gorman, Ziggy Marley, and David Duchovny.
April 27–May 1: Days of 49 Wagon Train, Amador County
Celebrate the Gold Rush era at this living-history tribute to frontiersman Kit Carson—a caravan of covered wagons helmed by mountain men dressed in buckskins and fur hats. Watch the parade-style route through Amador County that includes Plymouth, Amador City, and Jackson.
April 29–May 1: Stagecoach Festival, Indio
After the rock fans have dispersed from Coachella, the Empire Polo Club in Indio welcomes country-music fans for this three-day weekend. Headliners include Thomas Rhett, Carrie Underwood, and Luke Combs, supported by genre-crossers such as the Black Crowes, Brandi Carlisle, and Smoky Robinson.
April 30: California Duck Days, Davis
This family-friendly annual event is an excellent excuse to explore the 25-square-mile Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area in Davis, home to almost 200 species of birds. Look at the exhibits, let the kids do wetland-themed arts and crafts, or attend workshops on duck-calling and Know Your Waterfowl.