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February 2023 Events in California

February 2023 Events in California

Love is in the air with a statewide passion for wine, theme parks, and flowering orchards

Posted 5 months agoby Katrina Hunt

February in California offers its own form of early spring: Wildflowers start blooming in the desert, fruit and nut trees are blossoming all over the Central Valley, and a mysterious “firefall” lights up Yosemite’s El Capitan.

The shortest month of the year is action-packed in the Golden State. This month, you can enjoy wine-and-chocolate pairings in Lodi, watch future Olympians compete at Mammoth Mountain, and see Oscar contenders in Santa Barbara. Here are more than 20 reasons to plan a Golden State getaway in February.

All Month: Black History Month

Plan a trip around the museums, monuments, and events that celebrate African-American history this month. In Los Angeles, check out the current exhibits at the California African American Museum or hear the speakers at the Los Angeles Black History Month Festival (Feb. 19) at Baldwin Hills’ Michelle and Barack Obama Sports Complex. In San Francisco, explore the city’s African-American Freedom Trail, which includes stops at the Museum of the African Diaspora, The MLK Memorial, and a statue of Willie Mays, as well as many great Black-owned restaurants, bakeries, and shops. Support these great Black-owned businesses across California, too.

All Month: San Diego Museum Month

The Southern California city has a treasure trove of museums— from the Fleet Science Center to the floating Maritime Museum of San Diego. Throughout February, pick up the museum pass (available at San Diego city and county libraries) to get half off entry at more than 60 museums—including the Comic-Con Museum, the Mingei International Museum, and the San Diego Model Railroad Museum.

Feb. 1–­4: Toyota U.S. Grand Prix of Snowboard & Freeski, Mammoth

Watch top-tier skiers and snowboarders compete at Mammoth Mountain’s Unbound Main Park for the Slopestyle and Halfpipe World Cups. The competitions are held near the resort’s Main Lodge, so you might easily catch a glimpse of Olympic champions and Mammoth regulars such as Chloe Kim, Maddie Mastro, and Julia Marino.

Through Feb. 5: AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, Pebble Beach

Watch as an all-star lineup of top golfers and A-list celebrities take to the manicured, ocean-hugging greens of Spyglass Hill and other classic courses along the Central Coast’s Monterey Peninsula. This year’s roster of celebrities includes Jason Bateman, Darius Rucker, and chef Thomas Keller.

Feb. 4: Southwest Airlines Chinese New Year Festival & Parade, San Francisco

San Francisco’s Chinatown throws the biggest Chinese New Year party outside of China. This year’s festivities include the Rabbit on Parade project—five giant bunny statues created by local artists and scattered around the city to celebrate the Year of the Rabbit.

Starting early February: Almond Blossom Cruise, Modesto

Embark on your own self-guided drive to see Modesto’s flowering almond orchards which start blooming in February, with stops (to name just a few) at Oakdale Cheese & Specialties, Rodin Farms and Rodin Ranch, plus shops where you can peruse all things almond, including milkshakes, brittle, and chocolate-covered. You’ll also have the chance to snap a selfie in front of California’s oldest walnut tree. Play the audio tour to enhance your drive.


A post shared by Visit Lodi! (@visitlodi)

Feb. 3–5: Lodi Wine & Chocolate Weekend, Lodi

Celebrate your love—or just your love of wine and chocolate—at this annual weekend that pairs sweets with Lodi’s big, bold Zinfandels. Choose from three days of activities: Friday’s standalone winery events, a Saturday of self-guided tastings and treats at more than 30 participating wineries, or a Sunday Winemaker’s Toast Brunch at Wine & Roses Hotel, Restaurant and Spa. Participants include Heritage Oak Winery, St. Amant Winery, and Good Mills Family Winery.

Feb. 4–5: Temecula Valley Wines Barrel Tasting Weekend, Temecula

Sample newly released wines along with the unfinished barrel and tank wines from 34 wineries at this annual event in the Temecula Valley wine country. Your ticket includes a one-time visit to each participating winery, and tastings typically include light bites as well.

Feb. 5: Surf City USA Marathon & Half Marathon, Huntington Beach

Choose from the marathon, half marathon, or the 5K at this event along the Pacific Coast Highway in Huntington Beach. The marathon is a qualifier for the Boston Marathon, but you can also draw motivation from the scenic and flat route that passes by the Huntington Beach Pier and is typically dotted with surf bands. To warm up, do the one-mile soft-sand Beach Mile run on Saturday, Feb. 4.

Feb. 8–18: Santa Barbara International Film Festival, Santa Barbara

Hollywood A-listers love getaways to Santa Barbara, and this 11-day festival with 200-plus films, tributes, and panels gives anyone extra incentive. This year’s honorees include Cate Blanchett, Angela Bassett, and Brendan Fraser. Choose from different levels of tickets and passes to attend various screenings and special events.

Feb. 10–12: 55th California International Antiquarian Book Fair, Pasadena

Pasadena hosts one of the world’s largest antiquarian book fairs at the Pasadena Convention Center, with nearly 200 booksellers offering up manuscripts, children's books, ephemera, and even “incunabula” literature (meaning books printed before 1501). Buy tickets to the opening night festivities and get $10 off admission during the month of February to the nearby Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens. Note: Students with a valid ID get free admission to the book fair.

Feb. 10–19: SF Beer Week, San Francisco

Beer nerds will delight in these events at breweries around San Francisco and the surrounding Bay Area, including Silicon Valley and the East Bay. Choose from activities that typically include release parties, trivia nights, and food pairings.

Feb. 10–27: Yosemite Firefall, Yosemite National Park

For about two weeks every February, the setting sun reflects off the waters of Yosemite National Park’s Horsetail Falls, creating the twilight illusion of fire cascading down El Capitan. This year, the national park’s experts are predicting a date range from Feb. 10–27.

This phenomenon always draws crowds, so if you want to go, please do so responsibly. The closest parking is in the Yosemite Falls Parking Area near the Yosemite Valley Lodge. Or, park at Yosemite Village or Curry Village and use the free shuttle to reach the Yosemite Falls parking lot. Note that you’ll need reservations to enter Yosemite 24 hours a day on weekends between Feb. 10–28, as well as reservations to stay during February at the Wawona, Camp 4, and Hodgdon Meadow campgrounds, which are usually first-come, first-served.

Feb. 12: Almond Blossom Run, Durham

See the almond blossoms in Butte County on this fun run through blooming orchards. Choose from a 5K or 10K, as well as virtual runs that begin on Feb. 3. Afterward, taste another local crop—grapes—at the Durham Wine District.

Feb. 16–26: Palm Springs Modernism Week, Palm Springs

The desert city celebrates its mid-century modern architecture during this annual festival of tours, films, exhibits, and cocktail parties. This year’s home tours include the recently renovated Alexander Estate, aka the House of Tomorrow, where Elvis and Priscilla Presley spent their honeymoon in 1967.

Starting mid-February: Fresno Blossom Trail, Fresno County

From mid-February until late March, Fresno County’s miles of fruit and nut orchards pop with a blaze of pink and white blossoms. Drive the 60-mile route yourself, or take part in festivities, such as March weekend rides on the Blossom Trail Train.

Feb 17–20: Cloverdale Citrus Fair, Cloverdale

In the 19th century, the little Sonoma County town of Cloverdale used to be lined with sawmills and citrus groves. Today, it hosts a nostalgic fair that offers plenty of classic rides and food along with citrus-based treats, orange-juicing contests, and a Citrus Art contest that requires that competitors use at least 90 dozen citrus fruits in their creations.

Feb. 17­–26: Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival, Indio

Fair cuisine is accented with local dates at this Coachella Valley fair that kicks off with the annual blessing of the beloved local crop. Entertainment also includes midway rides and competitions, from monster trucks to camel races. Check the fair’s entertainment page for the latest on this year’s music headliners.

Feb. 18–19: White Wine Weekend, Anderson Valley

Taste the Anderson Valley white wines that put this Mendocino County wine region on the map: Alsace-style varietals such as Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, and Riesling. The weekend includes panel discussions, cellar tours, library tastings, and cheese pairings featuring a long list of wineries and producers such as Domaine Anderson, Navarro Vineyards, and Pennyroyal Farm. Buy a festival passport, then book your experiences throughout the weekend—you can visit up to four wineries per day.

Feb. 19: Mardi Gras Parade and Street Faire, Nevada City

The charming Gold Rush town that excels at Christmas festivities also knows how to throw a good party for Fat Tuesday. There’s a parade and street fair with floats, bright costumes, and lots of beads.

Feb. 25–26: NASCAR Race Weekend, Fontana

This boisterous two-day event at Fontana’s Auto Club Speedway is the only NASCAR race in Southern California. The action kicks off Saturday with the NASCAR Xfinity Series—where cars have a shorter wheelbase and reach “only” 180 mph—followed by the NASCAR Cup Series on Sunday.  Upgrade your experience by adding a pre-race Pit Pass, where you can see the crews up close before races, or by buying passes to either the Busch Block Party, with music and a buffet, or the VIP-style Busch Lounge.

Feb. 25–26: Riverside Dickens Festival, Riverside

The Inland Empire town channels Victorian London with this annual lovefest for the British author as well as steampunk culture. Don your cosplay gear and feast on meat pies, scones, and plenty of tea. There are readings, discussions, fashion shows, and events such as Dickens After Dark, a music and comedy show that promises “unsavory characters” and the kinds of bawdy jokes Dickens himself might have enjoyed.

Feb. 25–26: Capay Valley Almond Parade & Festival, Yolo County

This almond-themed festival in Yolo County dates back to 1915. Check out the pink blossoms covering the local almond groves, watch the parade, then check out the goodies at the almond-themed bake-off.

California Winery

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