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November 2022 Events in California

November 2022 Events in California

Enjoy one last autumnal hurrah this month, or start your winter fun early

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Posted a month agoby Katrina Hunt

Autumn and winter shake hands every November in California, and 2022 is no exception. Culinary festivals are still celebrating this season’s harvest, while several California ski resorts hold their opening days this month. Of course, in many parts of California it’s still balmy enough to enjoy public art, music festivals, or wine tasting outside—or to start exploring the holiday decor and lights at theme parks and other attractions. Here are 20-plus festive events around the state worthy of a November getaway.

Through Nov. 2: Dia de los Muertos, Los Angeles

The annual Day of the Dead remembrance for departed ancestors—rooted in Mayan, pre-Columbian, and Aztec traditions—gets several nights’ observance along Olvera Street in downtown Los Angeles. Come each evening (festivities begin Oct. 25) for the processions, blessings, dances, treats, and face-painting.

November 3–5: Big Sur Food & Wine Festival, Big Sur

Feast on local food and wine against the backdrop of Monterey County’s breathtaking scenery at this weekend event in Big Sur. Buy individual tickets for festivities such as a Pinot Walkabout featuring 20 wineries at the Post Ranch Inn; a Chef’s Table at the Esalen Institute; and the barbecue-themed Wine & Swine at the Henry Miller Library.

Nov. 4–6: Palm Springs Pride, Greater Palm Springs

While most cities conduct their annual pride events in the summer, the Greater Palm Springs area celebrates in November—just as the desert’s high season begins. This year’s festivities feature a parade, a street festival, a 5K, and a golf tournament, as well as a book festival and a Broadway in Drag competition.

Nov. 4–13: Harvest Festival Mendocino, Mendocino

In Mendocino County, autumn harvest season means lots of mushrooms, ideally paired with local wine and beer. This 10-day food festival features potent potable tastings at Taste Mendocino, a Harvest Winemaker Dinner, a Mushroom Train excursion on the Skunk Train, and the Mushroom & Beer Dinner. While some events are ticketed, others are free, and it’s a great excuse to explore local farms and markets such as the Fort Bragg Farmers’ Market, Nye Ranch, and Philo Apple Farm.

Nov. 5: Ventura County Farm Day, Camarillo

Explore the bounty of Ventura County through a variety of farm tours and other ag-themed activities. Take a tractor ride at Prancer’s Farm, check out strawberry harvesting at Driscoll’s, or hobnob with alpacas at Windy Hill. You can also take a walking tour of agricultural-themed murals in the Heritage Valley community of Santa Paula.

Nov. 5: Madera Pomegranate, Fruit, and Nut Festival, Madera

Winter’s pomegranates are ripening in farm-rich Madera County, and this annual festival near Yosemite National Park also highlights local almonds, pistachios, and walnuts. Taste fruits and nuts, watch cooking demos, and check out the weekend’s other fair-style diversions, such as a muay Thai boxing competition, and the cosplay-welcome Ohana Comic Con.

Nov. 5–6: Ridgecrest Petroglyph Festival, Ridgecrest

This Kern County town has one of the world’s best collections of ancient rock drawings, which are only accessible by tour. They’re also the centerpiece of this annual festival held during Native American Heritage Month that includes a street fair, live Native American music and dance, and tours of the Coso Petroglyphs, some of which date back 10,000 years.

Nov. 6: Indigenous Red Market, Oakland

Browse more than 35 indigenous vendors, sample Native American cuisine, and check out performances—ranging from Pomo and powwow dancers to the band Snotty Nose Rez Kids. This regularly occurring Oakland street fair takes place outside the city’s Native American Health Center.

Nov. 6: De Portola Wine Trail Harvest Festival, Temecula Valley

Experience Temecula Valley’s wine region by tasting your way along the five-mile De Portola Wine Trail. Come to this one-day festival to sip among the trail’s 10 wineries, including Robert Renzoni Winery, Somerset Vineyard & Winery, and Leoness Cellars.

Nov. 9–13: San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival, San Diego

The annual food festival set on the San Diego waterfront offers plenty of local flavor, such as home-grown chefs (including Brian Malarkey and Claudia Sandoval), regional ingredients, and a Grand Tasting with more than 200 domestic and international wines. The weekend’s standalone events include the Baja Fire + Ice Dinner and Taco TKO competition.

Starts Nov. 11: Opening days at ski resorts

Many of the Golden State’s ski resorts open this month, often accompanied by first-day live music, hot cocoa, and other festivities. Mammoth Mountain opens on Nov. 11, followed by Heavenly Lake Tahoe (Nov. 18), Northstar (Nov. 18), Palisades Tahoe (Nov. 22), and Kirkwood (Dec. 2). Big Bear Mountain Resort’s opening day is still TBD.

Starts Nov. 11: Holiday season at the theme parks

California theme parks start decking their halls, fa-la-la’ing, and putting out the holiday treats this month. Go to the Anaheim area for the much-anticipated candy canes and holiday cheer at Disneyland Resort (Nov. 11–Jan. 8) and the evening snowfalls at Knott's Merry Farm (Nov. 18–Jan. 8) in Buena Park.

In Los Angeles County, Universal Studios Hollywood celebrates both Grinchmas and Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (Nov. 25–Jan. 1), while Magic Mountain in Santa Clarita holds its Six Flags Holiday in the Park event from Nov. 24–Jan. 1. In the Bay Area, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo has its own Holiday in the Park event (Nov. 26–Jan. 2), while California’s Great America in Santa Clara does WinterFest (Nov. 25–Jan. 1).

The three theme parks in San Diego County throw their own parties: SeaWorld Christmas Celebration (Nov. 14–Jan. 8), A Very Furry Christmas at Sesame Place San Diego (Nov. 12–Jan. 8), and Holidays at LEGOLAND California (dates still TBD).

Nov. 11–12: Harvest on the Coast, Avila Beach

Sample wines from about two dozen San Luis Obispo County wineries that use grapes grown in the SLO Coast AVA, including Laetitia Vineyard & Winery and Tolosa Winery. To take it up a notch, book a spot at the event’s VIP Rare & Reserve Tasting, featuring limited-release and small-production wines.

Nov. 11–12: Goat Hill Fair, Watsonville

Kick off your holiday shopping at this unique fair in Santa Cruz County featuring more than 100 juried vendors offering antiques, vintage pieces, and “clever, upcycled junk.” The secondhand specialties are all paired with artisan food at the Santa Cruz Fairgrounds. Only 20 percent of any vendor’s merchandise can be new or crafts, making this gathering a treasure trove for artfully repurposed pieces.

Nov. 12: 1st Anniversary at The Hive, Woodland

Sample honey and mead the way you would wine or olive oil at this Yolo County tasting room that was launched by the folks from Z Specialty Food. The longtime family business in Woodland makes its own honey but also distributes honey and mead (an alcoholic beverage made from honey) from all over the nation. The party features live music from local funk and bluegrass bands, tours of the honey-making operation, and lots of honey and mead tastings.

Nov. 12: 150th Anniversary Celebration of the Pigeon Point Light Station, Pescadero

Celebrate the sesquicentennial of this 1872 gem that is one of the biggest lighthouses in the nation: It stands 115 feet tall on a cliff about 20 miles south of Half Moon Bay. Take tours of the tower base, enjoy live music and native plant sales, and watch the illumination of the lighthouse’s original first-order Fresnel lens.

Make a weekend of it by checking out the Colony of Coastside Artists Open Studios (Nov. 12–13), also in the Half Moon Bay area. The weekend art walk showcases a diverse collection of artists, with many creations displayed outside studios in the communities of Montara, Moss Beach, El Granada, and Half Moon Bay.

Nov. 13: Palm Desert Choreography Festival, Palm Desert

First held in 1998, this annual dance festival in Palm Desert offers compelling performances and, for competitors, almost $700,000 in prize money. Watch original dances and see dancer and choreographer Toni Basil (also famous for the ‘80s hit “Mickey”) receive a lifetime achievement award.

Begins Nov. 18: Lightscape, San Diego

Take an evening walk through Encinitas’ 37-acre San Diego Botanic Garden, adorned with more than one million lights for the holiday season. The one-mile path winds through different illuminated gardens, tunnels of light, and lantern trees, with stops to roast marshmallows and drink hot cocoa. Runs through Jan. 1.

Begins Nov. 19: The Great Dickens Christmas Fair, Daly City

Turn your holiday shopping into a party at this annual event in the San Francisco Peninsula town of Daly City. During five weekends, the Cow Palace venue is filled with music and strolling costumed performers as well as pubs, dance floors, and shops offering hand-made gifts. Runs through Dec. 18.       

Nov. 18–20: Wonderfront, San Diego

See more than 90 bands spread across three stages on the waterfront of downtown San Diego. Diversions range from art installations to a craft-beer village to yacht parties, while the genre-crossing lineup includes Zac Brown Band, Kings of Leon, Gwen Stefani, G-Eazy, and Cage the Elephant.

Nov. 18–20: Mountain Mandarin Festival, Auburn

Kick off citrus season at the Gold Country Fairgrounds in Placer County, an area rich with Satsuma Mountain mandarin trees. Besides buying bags of the oranges, you can enjoy plenty of mandarin-infused cuisine, see who wins the recipe contests, and run in the 5K or 10K around Auburn.

During the same weekend, enjoy the work of local artists through the Annual Placer Studio Tour, an open house–style festival spread over a variety of Gold Country towns. Use the map to explore watercolor painting, glassblowing, and craft galleries in places like Colfax and Auburn, and be sure to stop at wineries and cheese shops along the way.

Begins Nov. 19: Holidays at Filoli, Woodside

Take a holiday stroll at this 1917 country estate in San Mateo County. The 54,000-square-foot house is decked out with 14 Christmas trees and thousands of ornaments while the 16-acre garden twinkles with 20 miles’ worth of lights. Check the event’s page to plan your trip around Santa sightings, and consider booking a firepit table for an evening of holiday cheer paired with mulled wine and whiskey cider. Runs through Jan. 8.

Begins Nov. 19: Sawdust Festival Winter Fantasy, Laguna Beach

When this Laguna Beach arts festival started in the 1960s, organizers scattered sawdust at its location along the Pacific Coast Highway to keep dust from kicking up on the art. Today, the twice-yearly festival has moved off the PCH but the name and plucky spirit remains—and the winter session is a great time to pick up cool holiday pieces, see marionette shows, take art classes, and greet Santa. Runs through Dec. 18.

Nov. 20: Chico Tweed Ride, Chico

The only thing extreme about this bike ride through Bidwell Park is its over-the-top tastefulness. Bring a bike (a classic vintage ride if you have one) and wear your best “tweedy” fashions for the roughly 10-mile round trip through the lower part of the Butte County park. Bring a picnic and join fellow riders for a repast at the halfway mark.

Begins Nov. 25: Illuminate SF Festival of Light, San Francisco

For holiday-lights superfans, it’s hard to beat this collection of 40-plus light installations across San Francisco, stretching from the Castro to Yerba Buena neighborhoods. Some of the installations are just for the holiday season (running through Jan. 1), but most happily run year-round.

Begins Nov. 25: Mission Inn Festival of Lights, Riverside

On the day after Thanksgiving, Riverside’s grand dame Mission Inn Hotel & Spa flips the switch for its annual holiday extravaganza. Stroll the grounds to see five million lights, along with 200 animated figures, decorated trees, and the world’s largest mistletoe. Runs through Jan. 6.

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