The solstice may still be a few weeks away, but it feels like summer has arrived in the Golden State. Theme parks have reopened, baseball games are being played, and festivals are starting to return, too. Some events remain virtual—like this year’s San Francisco Jazz Festival (June 3–25)—while others are offering a combination of in-person and online festivities. Whether you’re looking for music, wine tasting, or outdoor fun, here are a dozen great ways to start your summer in California:
All month: Pride events
While this June’s pride celebrations aren’t quite back to pre-pandemic normal—no parades are scheduled as of press time—there are still festive ways to celebrate. Fresno will have a drive-through Rainbow Pride Festival on June 5, while San Francisco’s San Francisco Pride will highlight movie screenings (June 11–12) at Oracle Field, including Lin-Manuel Miranda’s new film In the Heights. In Los Angeles, in-person, ticketed events include a Pride Night at Dodgers Stadium (June 11) and outdoor movie screenings at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery (June 26).
June 3: Museum of Contemporary Art reopens, Los Angeles
The downtown Los Angeles museum will welcome back art lovers with a “greatest hits” look at its deep holdings. The new exhibit Our House: Selections from MOCA’s Collection, features works from the 1950s to the present, including early forms of video art, depictions of a nation in turmoil, and a special gallery of Mark Rothko paintings. Admission is free but requires timed-entry reservations, which you can book online.
June 4: The Avengers Campus opens, Disneyland Resort
One of the most anticipated parts of Disneyland Resort’s reopening arrives this month: the new Marvel-themed area in Disney California Adventure Park. Beyond a few familiar spots (such as Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission BREAKOUT), the area includes the new ride Web Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure, live performances by a web-spinning Spider-Man, and distanced meet-and-greets with characters such as Black Panther, Captain Marvel, and Iron Man.
Also this month: Starting June 15, the Anaheim parks will welcome out-of-state visitors again; vaccinations are not required but strongly recommended, and face coverings will still be required. Plus, the Paradise Pier Hotel will reopen on June 15.
June 4: Redwood Sky Walk opens, Eureka
Admire majestic redwoods in a unique way at this new Humboldt County park located next to the Sequoia Park Zoo, where a network of suspended bridges connect a stand of the giant trees. Many of the spans are high above ground—one is 100 feet off the forest floor—but you’ll still be looking up because the redwoods themselves stand about 250 feet high.
June 4–20: Sunflowers, Bees & Brunch, Woodland
June is sunflower season in Yolo County and these privately owned farms are best seen through a tour. This family-friendly outing with food-tour operator SacTown Bites includes a farm tour; a hands-on visit to the California Agricultural Museum; brunch; and tastings of local honey, wine, and cheese. Available Fridays through Sundays.
June 8–13: International Red Ball Project, Santa Cruz
New York artist Kurt Perschke created this public art installation—a 250-pound, 15-foot-diameter red ball—which has shown up in cities around the world, from Barcelona to Abu Dhabi. In June it will spend a few days in Santa Cruz, appearing at spots that are fun to check out anyway—such as Santa Cruz Wharf, Cowell’s Beach, and the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History. Each day of its itinerary, the installation will be on view from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
June 12: Open Air Artisan Faire, San Jose
Browse local, sustainably made jewelry, art, home decor, candles, and more at the popular open-air market, which returns this month to Santana Row. The event affiliated with the store Makers Market has announced its monthly schedule through the end of 2021: Besides San Jose, the lineup also includes locations in Walnut Creek, Mill Valley, and Downtown Napa.
June 17–20: Healdsburg Jazz Festival
This year the famed Sonoma County jazz festival will be held outdoors—at spots such as the Mill District and the Montage Healdsburg—and will include some virtual concerts too. The centerpiece is a Juneteenth show (June 19) featuring The Dynamic Miss Faye Carol and Her Trio. On Sunday, a Father’s Day show will feature a live performance by Grammy-nominated singer Kenny Washington and his Trio.
June 19: Century Ride, Lake Almanor
Pedal around Upstate California’s Lake Almanor at this annual combination event that offers varying levels of challenge. The toughest is the 108-mile “Century” ride, which climbs 3,200 feet while circling the lake and winding through Indian Valley. Or take on the “Metric Century” ride (56 miles and 1,200 feet of elevation gain) or the more leisurely “Half Metric Century” (33 miles), which stays by the lake and demands just 600 feet of elevation gain.
June 19–27: Lavender Blue Harvest Days, El Dorado County
A certain red fruit abounds during fall in the Apple Hill area of El Dorado County, but this time of year it’s all about lavender, berries, and cherries. About 20 local farms and wineries offer their own takes on this season, like lavender-wreath-making at Bluestone Meadow Farm, lavender-infused cocktails at Boeger Winery, and lavender mini-donuts and lavender lemonade at Harris Family Apiaries.
June 26: Warner Bros. Studio Tour reopens, Burbank
If the Friends reunion got you homesick for Central Perk, you can see the famous coffeehouse again on the famed Burbank studio lot, home to classic sets and props from countless movies and television series. Check the Studio Tour’s website to get the latest information on booking days and times for tours.
June 26–27: North Sierra Wine Trail, Yuba, Sutter, and Butte counties
Explore this under-the-radar wine region north of Sacramento. Your $25 admission grants you tastings at 16 different wineries, including Live Vine and Spencer Shirey in Butte County, as well as Lucero Vineyards in Yuba Sutter.