Since 1987, the United States has recognized March as Women’s History Month. It’s the ideal opportunity to reflect on, get inspired by, and deliver support to the incredible women (past and present) who shape our country and our world. In California, there are countless ways to get in the future-is-female mindset. From women-run wineries to glass ceiling-shattering chefs to roller girls kicking booty and taking names, here are a few fun ways to celebrate.
Head to the Los Angeles Women’s International Film Festival from March 21–24 to see groundbreaking work from female filmmakers. Held at Regal Cinemas L.A. Live, the festival, now in its 15th year, offers screenings, workshops, panels, and more.
Visit a winery
Women are too often under-represented in the beverage industry. But across California, a growing number of female vintners are producing some of the best wine in the world. In Sonoma County, visit Amista Vineyards where chemical engineer Ashley Herberg turns out incredible bubbly, then head to Viansa Winery, founded by school teacher-turned-enologist Amy Ludovissy. If you're feeling spontaneous, check out the Barrel Tasting Weekends in Sonoma County, a thrilling event that continues through March 10 and lets you interact with celebrated winemakers. Carol Shelton Wines, a true pioneer, will be participating in the event.
You can also discover more incredible female winemakers by perusing this comprehensive list from Santa Clara University.
Cheer on roller derby queens
Kneepads on, elbows out. In a culture dominated by male-centric sports, roller derby is distinctly a female owned-and-operated space. Watch some killer ladies do their thing in Santa Cruz where the Boardwalk Bombshells reign. Or head to Huntington Beach to watch Pulp Friction battle it out, alongside music and food trucks.
Learn to catch a wave with surfer girls
Founded by twin sisters Isabelle and Caroline Tihanyi, Surf Diva offers a friendly and welcoming program for wannabe surfers. Located in the surfer paradise of La Jolla (in North San Diego County), Divas offers private lessons, clinics, and camps. Brahs are welcome at everything but Women’s Weekend Surf Clinic.
Taste incredible cuisine
Ever since Alice Waters opened the doors of Chez Panisse in 1971, women have been at the forefront of West Coast cuisine. Head to the mothership in Berkeley where Waters still crafts farm-to-table delicacies. Or visit neighboring Oakland which Food & Wine recently named a top place to eat in 2019 thanks to a “wave of entrepreneurial women.” Tanya Holland’s Brown Sugar Kitchen and Nite Yun’s Nyum Bai are must-stop spots. If you’re looking for a Bay Area splurge, book a reservation at San Francisco’s Atelier Crenn, the award-winning restaurant led by chef Dominique Crenn. She recently became the first woman in the country to garner three Michelin stars in 2018.
Marvel at the work of famous architects
Did you know one of the popular historic structures in the United States was designed by a groundbreaking female architect? Julia Morgan, the first woman architect licensed in California, led the development of Hearst Castle, now visited by nearly half a million people a year. See her beautiful work at the San Simeon estate or at Chapel of Chimes in Oakland. Other exceptional places to visit include The Hollywood Bowl designed by Helen Liu Fong, The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe by Lilian Jeannette Rice, and The San Francisco Ballet by Beverly Willis.
Take some time this month to honor your own hard work by gifting yourself a trip. Golden Door in San Diego County offers seven-night women’s weeks where you can rejuvenate your body, mind, and spirit in exceptionally luxurious surroundings. (Think daily in-room massages and a four-to-one staff to guest ratio). Or soak in the awe-inspiring beauty of Big Sur at Esalen Institute which often offers women’s-focused workshops at its seaside retreat.