With more than 40 wineries across the valley’s rolling hills, it should come as no surprise that Temecula can throw one heck of a party. But reds, whites, and rosés are only part of the fun. This spring, Temecula will celebrate blues music, craft brews, street art, and more at a myriad of can’t-miss festivals and events. Located a mere 60 minutes from San Diego, Palm Springs, and Orange County (and 90 minutes from Los Angeles), it’s the ideal spot for a Southern California vacation. Here are eight great excuses for a seasonal getaway.
1. Ring in the spring at the first-ever Temecula Blues Festival on April 21. Let the lush garden backdrop of Civic Center Plaza calm your spirit, while music from artists like The Honey Lickers, The Shari Puorto Band, and Tad Robbinson stirs your soul.
2. Held April 27–28, the Taste of Temecula starts with a VIP dinner and concert on Friday evening and extends into an all-day Saturday event. Try sustainable seafood from Bluewater Grill or what The Food Network called “the best barbecue in Southern California” from HoBo’s BBQ; proceeds go to Temecula Valley Education Foundation.
3. On Sunday April 29, hop aboard the Grapeline for a traveling Bacchanalia. The Big Red Fest highlights the full-bodied vins of the lovely De Portola Wine Trail. Partygoers enjoy tastings at the trail’s nine wineries as well as pairings carefully prepared by a local chef.
4. Come May, Temecula invites visitors to shift focus from grapes to grains during the second annual Craft Brew Month. The area’s breweries, including Garage Brewing, Relentless Brewing Co., and Refuge Brewing, will dish up specialty food pairings, exclusive beers, competitions, and events.
5. The brainchild of a former Survivor contestant, Reality Rally is a wildly fun three-day event (May 3–5) with all funds donated to Michelle’s Place Breast Cancer Resource Center. Held at Pechanga Resort and Casino, the festival hosts more than 100 reality TV stars. Mingle with the pseudo-celebs during the Lip Sync Showdown, The Amazing Race–style game, and Celebrity Chef Showcase.
6. The Temecula Valley Balloon and Wine Festival celebrates the area’s rich history of whimsical transport. In its 35th year, the event starts every day (June 1–3) with an early morning lift-off. Guests settle in with live music, wine tasting tents, outdoor shopping, food, and the Kids Faire. After the sun goes down, glowing balloons put on a light show over Lake Skinner.
7. One person’s asphalt becomes another’s canvas at the Temecula Art and Street Painting Festival on June 8–10. More than 140 artists descend on the Temecula Town Square, displaying massive chalk paintings as well as photography, handcrafted jewelry, and crafts.
8. Outstanding in the Field at Temecula Olive Oil Company is a dreamy mix of foodie heaven and Instagrammer paradise. At one long, white-cloth covered table in the middle of the company’s ranch, chef Brian Redzikowski (currently of San Diego’s Kettner Exchange, formerly New York’s Le Cirque and Le Bernardin) serves a seasonal multi-course dinner.