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Peter F Smith - Founder
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Book Travel with America The Beautiful 24 amazing festivals and events you won’t want to miss
Top Events in California for 2014!
Monterey Jazz Festival - September, 2013!  
Sausalito Art Festival - September, 2013!  

      When it comes to special events, fairs and festivals, California has something for everyone. Whether it's honoring food, history, heritage, or one of the four seasons, California celebrations are known for their authentic charm. The following is just a sample of the events taking place year round. For a complete list - go the the Official California Tourism site -

Great food, unforgettable music, racing thrills, whales—there’s

something for everyone when it comes to California’s outstanding

lineup of annual festivals and events. Here are some favorites

worth fitting into your itinerary—or even planning a trip around on their own. Just remember: you’re not the only one who wants to go, so buy tickets ASAP as these signature events tend to sell out fast, and check for updates, since dates can shift.


Rockin’ in the park

It makes sense that the 1960s home to flower children, rock concerts, and the summer of love is home to Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival, a multi-stage extravaganza in Golden Gate Park that attracts Grammy-nabbers like Phish, Arcade Fire, and Kings of Leon. INSIDER TIP Buy Outside Lands shuttle passes and ditch the car—pick-up and drop-off spots are located citywide. August;

3 more for music lovers in California

Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival. Legendary 3-day music

marathon southeast of Palm Springs. April; visit:

Monterey Jazz Festival. Three days of smooth sounds on the Central

Coast.   September;   visit:

California WorldFest .Bluegrass, reggae, folk, and more in the Gold

Country’s Grass Valley. July; visit:


Art with a lively twist

At the remarkable Pageant of the Masters, famous works of art come

to life as models in costume pose against elaborate backdrops,

accompanied by a live orchestra. INSIDER TIP If you can’t snag

seats close to the front, bring binoculars to appreciate the

attention to detail. July-August (check website for exact dates);

3 more for art fans all over California

Sausalito Art Festival

Contemporary art on the edge of San Francisco Bay. September;

Hollywood Fringe Festival

Eighteen days of edgy theater, dance, and entertainment. June;

City Arts & Lectures

Fascinating talks and interviews in San Francisco. Year-round

(check website for dates);


Amgen on a roll

Watch the world’s top cyclists battle for the finish line in the

Amgen Tour of California, a Tour de France–style road race with

eight stages looping through California’s spectacular landscapes.

INSIDER TIP Locations for starts and finishes often include

bike-centric special events. May;  visit:

3 more speedy thrills in California

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Hot times at Auto Club Speedway in

Fontana. March (see website for dates); visit:

Santa Anita Park. Top thoroughbred racers and special events

throughout the year. January-April;   visit:

West Coast Invitational at Mammoth Lakes. Ace snowboarders make

their moves. In May;    visit:


Screen gems in the desert

The ultra-hip Palm Springs International Film Festival has been

presenting international films for over two decades. Opening night

is a red-carpet event with glitterati to rival the Oscars. INSIDER

TIP Can’t make it in January? Summer’s ShortFest shows off the

cream of the short-film crop. January, 2013 go to:

3 more silver-screen standouts in California

Santa Barbara Film Festival. A showcase for indie films.

January-February; visit: for more information

Mill Valley Film Festival. Just north of San Francisco, this fête

has an indie and world focus. October;   visit:  for more info.

Los Angeles Film Festival. City venues host indies, documentaries,

shorts, and music videos. June;   visit:


Aromatically unforgettable-   Gilroy Garlic Festival

Vampires beware: the stinking rose has its own celebration at the

—three days of live music, celebrity chefs, and garlicky goodness. INSIDER TIP Bring breath mints. The event is in July;  Visit:

3 more gourmet delights in California

California Restaurant Month. Special events and great deals

statewide. January;

Pebble Beach Food & Wine. Celeb chefs, wine tastings, and upscale

dining. April; visit:

Lake Tahoe Autumn Food & Wine. Demos, tastings, and wine walks in

alpine splendor. September;    visit:


Fins, flukes, & fine wines

Mendocino Coast Whale Festivals are three consecutive, oceanfront

weekends jam-packed with everything cetaceous in Mendocino, Little

River, and Fort Bragg. Join naturalist-led cruises and walks to

spot migrating Pacific gray whales. Plus wine, chowder, and

microbrew tastings, art exhibits, music, and crafts. INSIDER TIP

Inquire about kayaking sea caves and whale-watching by horseback.

March; visit:

3 more outdoorsy winners

Snowfest. North Lake Tahoe’s family-friendly wintry celebration.

March;   for more information on Snowfest - visit:

Gaggle of Gatherings. Excellent workshops and field trips highlight

the wildlife-rich wetlands and spectacular bird migrations in the

Yolo Wildlife Area.    In January–May;   visit:

Nike U.S. Open of Surfing. Hang with the hang-ten pros in Huntington Beach.   July-August; more information can be found at: