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March 2022 Events in California

March 2022 Events in California

Kick off the start of spring with whale watching, theme park festivals, and lots of good beer and wine

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Posted 3 months agoby Katrina Hunt

Spring has arrived early in California. Of course, that means plenty of wildflowers across the state as well as a festive stretch of ski season in the mountains. It’s also a prime time of year for whale sightings along the coast, and a variety of other festivals blossoming all over the state—with foodie events, craft beer releases, and even a citywide Yarn Crawl. Here are 20+ ways to usher in spring around California.

Begins March 1: Carlsbad Flower Fields

Walk through a rainbow-striped field of ranunculus flowers at this photo-op magnet in Carlsbad, just a few blocks from LEGOLAND California. Before these members of the buttercup family are harvested, the field peaks at 70 million flowers. Make an afternoon of it and explore the field’s adjacent Sunflower Maze, go blueberry picking, take a tractor wagon tour, or check out the greenhouse with cymbidium orchids. Open through mid-May.

March 2–12: Santa Barbara International Film Festival

This A-list film festival returns to the American Riviera this year, with both in-person and virtual offerings for screenings, industry panels, and celebrity tributes. This year’s 200-plus films include plenty of Oscar contenders, such as The Power of the Dog and Belfast, as well as opening and closing night films The Phantom of the Open and Dionne Warwick: Don’t Make Me Over. Honorees include Kristen Stewart, Penélope Cruz, and Benedict Cumberbatch.

While you’re in town, stop by the Santa Barbara Museum of Art for some older masterpieces: 20 Van Goghs, along with works by 60 artists who inspired him, on display in Through Vincent’s Eyes: Van Gogh and His Sources (runs through May 22).

Through March 6: North Lake Tahoe Snowfest

This “Mountain Mardi Gras” celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, after launching in the early 1980s to prove that North Lake Tahoe snow is still fantastic in the spring. See for yourself on the nearby slopes, and make time for the annual Snowfest parade, pet costume contest, and snow golf, along with the inviting party atmosphere in Tahoe City’s many bars and restaurants.

March 3–6: Annual Barrel Tasting, Healdsburg

This four-day event along Sonoma County’s Wine Road offers the chance to chat with winemakers and sample top wines, straight from the barrel, from the Alexander, Dry Creek, and Russian River Valleys. (Check out the list of 44 participating wineries.) Book your ticket ahead of time, which allows you to visit five wineries per day.  

Begins March 4: Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival, Anaheim

The Golden State–themed park in Anaheim goes full foodie this month. Check out culinary demonstrations, junior-chef activities, and lots of California-grown ingredients at the tasting stations. The tasting station themes include Avocado Time, Peppers Cali-ente, and Nuts About Cheese. Add on special experiences such as a Mixology Seminar at Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar or a food-and-beverage pairing at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, featuring California-based Golden Road Brewing, Peltzer Family Cellars, and Nova Brewing Co

This year’s event also includes a limited-time return of the popular ride, Soarin’ Over California, which makes you feel like you are gliding over destinations including Yosemite National Park, Napa Valley, Palm Springs, Malibu, and more. Runs through April 26.

March 4–12: 20th Rogue Festival, Fresno

Watch cutting-edge theatre, dance, spoken-word, and even puppetry at one of the most acclaimed fringe festivals in the nation. Performers are chosen by lottery and push their respective envelopes at six different venues around Fresno’s Tower District. If you’re in town toward the end of the festival, stay an extra day for March 13’s Craft Beer Crawl through Old Town Clovis, where you follow a map to taste a variety of California brews and local food trucks.

 

 

March 5–6: Dana Point Festival of Whales

The Orange County town of Dana Point is the only Whale Heritage Site in the Americas, with its excellent views of migrating whales pretty much year-round. The distinct uptick in migrating grey whales this time of year, however, is cause for a party—one with a parade, stand-up-paddle clinics, talks about whales, and a chowder cook-off. Come early for Friday’s Welcoming of the Whales Ceremony at dusk, with speakers and food trucks on the beach behind the Ocean Institute

March 6: 10th Annual Jazz Festival, Temecula

Enjoy a full day of jazz, both onstage and in the courtyard of the Temecula Theater, in the city’s charming Old Town. Acts include longtime festival favorites Don Rice, David Hitchings, and father-and-son team Colin and Joel Wenhardt.

 

 

March 11–20: BNP Paribas Open, Indian Wells

This top-tier tennis tournament at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, located about 15 miles from Palm Springs, brings you close to the world’s best players as they duke it out under the desert sun. This year’s competitors include Naomi Osaka, Ashleigh Barty, Rafael Nadal, and Daniil Medvedev.

Opens March 12: The Emperor Dive Coaster, SeaWorld San Diego

This San Diego theme park is the only place in North America where you can see Emperor penguins—the largest in the world. Now, it’s also home to this 60-mph ride that’s the tallest, fastest, and longest dive coaster in California. (It’s also the only “floorless” dive coaster in the state.) Pick up some penguin merch afterward—a portion of the proceeds go to conservation group Penguins International.

Begins March 18: Knott’s Boysenberry Festival, Knott’s Berry Farm

Celebrate the namesake of this Buena Park theme park at its annual food festival that focuses on the hybrid berry that tastes great in both sweet and savory dishes. Your admission comes with a lanyard of tasting tickets, which can be redeemed at stations around the park. This year’s menu of 25 options includes Pozole with Boysenberry Garnish, Boysenberry BBQ Chicken Pizza, and Boysenberry Rocky Road Brownie. Runs through April 24.

March 18–27: Oakland Restaurant Week

The East Bay city celebrates its highly acclaimed dining scene with special deals, pop-ups, and food trucks. Choose from almost 50 participants, ranging from waterfront dining at Lake Chalet to international fare at Mela Ethiopian Bistro. And don’t miss the creative spins on mac ’n’ cheese at Homeroom.

 

 

March 19: Return of the Swallows Celebration, San Juan Capistrano

Legend has it that flocks of the birds come back to nest every year on March 19 at the Spanish mission in this Orange County town. The party includes a ringing of the bells, mariachi music, flamenco dancing, and craft stations for kids. Sign up for small, in-person tours of the mission and its gardens, with an emphasis on the swallows, or a Zoom lecture on the state of the swallows.

 

March 19–20: Annual Barrel Tasting Weekend, Livermore

You can easily fill the weekend trying local wines (and beer) along the Painted Barrel Trail of Livermore Valley, located between San Francisco and Silicon Valley. Saturday starts with a tasting brunch at Garré Vineyard & Winery, then your ticket grants you tastings of young wines at 27 wineries, including Arroyo Cellars, The Singing Winemaker, and Wente Vineyards.

 

 

March 19–26: El Paseo Jewelers Fashion Week, Palm Desert

It’s the biggest annual fashion event on the West Coast, complete with a week of cocktail receptions, trunk shows, celebrity meet-and-greets, and runway shows at The Gardens on El Paseo. This year’s featured designers include Trina Turk, Michael Costello, Edwin Oudshoorn, and Aneka Brown.

March 24–27: U.S. Freestyle Moguls National Championships, Palisades Tahoe

Having withdrawal from the Winter Games? Come see some Olympic team members like Jaelin Kauf, Hannah Soar, and Olivia Giaccio compete for the U.S. title at Palisades Tahoe. The spectator-friendly competition will take place on the renowned Red Dog ski run, which has been hosting high-stakes competitions since the 1960 Olympics.  

March 24–27: L.A. County Yarn Crawl

Knitters, this is your weekend. The annual festival returns for its 10th year, stitching together 15 specialty yarn shops and women-owned small businesses located in every corner of Los Angeles County. Visit and browse as many stores as you can, getting your festival “passport” stamped and picking up free knit and crochet patterns at each stop. At the end, you could win a $300 gift basket.

 

 

Begins March 25: Pliny the Younger Release, Santa Rosa and Windsor

A beloved tradition returns this year as Sonoma County’s Russian River Brewing Co. offers a two-week run of its acclaimed and intensely flavorful triple IPA. Enjoy this bucket-list beer on draft or in bottles at either the Santa Rosa or Windsor brewpub locations. Runs through April 7.

March 26: FresYes Fest, Fresno

Enjoy local food and craft beer at this block party hosted by Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Company and Fresno Street Eats. Browse the food trucks and vendors along Downtown Fresno’s Fulton Street while enjoying live music and exclusive beer releases.

Opens March 26: Sesame Place San Diego

Fans of Elmo, Abby Cadabby, and Oscar the Grouch will love this 17-acre theme and water park located in Chula Vista, about 15 miles south of downtown San Diego. The family-friendly park  includes an interactive Sesame Street Neighborhood—with live shows, a daily parade, and strolling characters—as well as seven Sesame Street–themed rides and 11 water attractions, including a giant wave pool called Big Bird’s Beach.

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