Bookended by the big cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco, the Central Coast may be known for its mellow pace, but the closeness of those major gateways bring big names to relatively small towns for world-class events. Since 1958, the Monterey Jazz Festival has featured crooners like Billie Holiday and Diana Krall. Hollywood A-listers including Leonardo DiCaprio and Angelina Jolie have made the short hop from Tinsletown to “The American Riviera” for the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. Not surprisingly, this multi-day celebration of cinema is held shortly before the Academy Awards, when the brightest stars are out. And Pebble Beach Food & Wine Festival offer culinary bites from local chefs and an opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the state’s top winemakers, brewmasters, and artisans.
Central Coast Tourism Council