This summer, Monterey County is offering a diverse lineup of events and festivals taking place across the county June through September. According to the U.S. Travel Association, approximately six in 10 Americans are planning at least one summer trip this year. In addition to soaking up the sun along the destination’s 99-miles of Pacific coastline or playing a round of golf at the iconic Pebble Beach Resorts, travelers can experience an unforgettable summer escape in tandem with one or more of the unique events and festivals taking place in the months ahead.
Here is a list of ten not-to-miss events and festivals taking place this summer and early fall:
Castroville Artichoke Festival – June 11-12
Experience a one-of-a-kind event dedicated to all things artichoke in the “Artichoke Capital of the World.” The Castroville Artichoke Festival will return to the Monterey County Fairgrounds for a weekend filled with cooking demonstrations by Monterey County’s top chefs, family-friendly activities and live entertainment. Taste-test unique artichoke dishes, including the always popular fried baby artichokes, and learn about the region’s top growers. The festival will also include a wine tasting event featuring a host of California wineries. Tickets available online through June 12.
California State Parks Week – June 14-18
Join the first annual California State Parks Week celebration by responsibly exploring the six participating state parks in Monterey County. As part of Stewardship Day on June 17, Monterey State Historic Park invites visitors to learn about the conservation of some of California’s oldest buildings during its Historic Sites Preservation Tour. Following the tour, head to Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park to hike the newly reopened Pfeiffer Falls Trail. Visitors can now enjoy a new segment of the trail that traverses the redwoods and includes majestic waterfall views. Find inner peace amid the bluffs at the under-the-radar Fort Ord Dunes State Park in Marina. The park’s four miles of coastline offers beautiful views of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
GEICO Motorcycle MotoAmerica Superbike Speedfest – July 8-10
Held at the renowned WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, the high-speed, family-friendly event includes over 180 riders competing in seven classes of road racing – HONOS Superbikes, Supersport, Stock 100, Twin Cup, Junior Cup, King of the Baggers and Heritage Cup. Enjoy qualifying races on Friday before two full days of racing on Saturday and Sunday. Ticket packages offer the opportunity to meet the riders at the open race paddock and ride on the famous track with the Saturday Fan Lap.
California Rodeo Salinas – July 21-24
As the largest rodeo in California, the event takes place at the Salinas Sports Complex and features performances by cowboys and cowgirls from across the U.S. Events include bull riding, team roping, steer wrestling, saddle bronc riding and more. Visitors can also enjoy shopping, food and the always-entertaining track acts. New to this year’s action-packed lineup is the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA)’s Xtreme Bulls Tour. The tour, showcasing PRCA’s top bull riders, will make a stop at the Salinas Sports Complex on July 20.
Carmel Bach Festival – July 14-30
The Carmel Bach Festival will once again celebrate the works of Johann Sebastian Bach. Now in its 85th year, the two-week festival will feature an array of concerts at stunning venues throughout Carmel-by-the-Sea, including the Sunset Cultural Center and the historic Carmel Mission Basilica. Festival highlights include the Light of my Life, Brahms’ Requiem and Easter Oratorio concerts. While in town, be sure to taste your way through some of the region’s best wines on the Carmel-by-the-Sea Wine Walk, a self-paced and self-guided tour using a mobile app, and catch a sunset at Carmel Beach.
Salinas Valley Food & Wine Festival – Aug. 6
The agricultural bounty of the Salinas Valley will be on full display in Oldtown Salinas on August 6. Stroll along Main Street and browse food and wine sampling stations highlighting the fertile land of the Salinas Valley. The region, nicknamed the “Salad Bowl of the World,” produces 150 different crops and award-winning wine varietals, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot and Pinot Noir. Tickets purchased in advance or at the door include wine and beer tastings along with an abundance of culinary delights from local chefs.
Monterey Car Week and Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance – Aug. 12-21
As one of the most anticipated automobile events in the world, car enthusiasts and collectors alike gather in August to enjoy nearly 30 car events over 10 days. The event kicks off on August 12 with a classic car show along Monterey’s Alvarado Street and concludes with the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance on the legendary 18th fairway of Pebble Beach Golf Links. A tradition going back over half a century, the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance is where the finest collector cars meet and compete. For a sneak peak of the cars participating in Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, head to the Pebble Beach Tour dʻElegance by Rolex on August 18. Other can't-miss events include Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion August 17-20 and The Little Car Show in downtown Pacific Grove on August 17.
Sand City West End Celebration – Aug. 27-28
Watch as Sand City comes alive with over 100 visual and performing artists showcasing their talents during the Sand City West End Celebration. During the two-day event, six blocks of Sand City are transformed into sidewalk galleries and theaters while live music from local acts fill the air. Stroll the streets while sipping wine, beer or a nitro margarita from local vendors including Post No Bills Craft Beer House. Visitors can mix their art-filled escape with equal parts beach time during a stay at nearby Monterey Tides. Nestled among the sand dunes, the boutique hotel is the perfect spot to catch one of Monterey County’s magnificent sunsets and enjoy oceanfront dining.
Monterey County Fair – Sept. 1-5
Labor Day weekend fun will be in full force at the Monterey County Fair held at the Monterey County Fairgrounds. Come ready to partake in all the traditional fair fun with carnival rides and games, delicious food, art exhibits, livestock competitions and more.
Monterey Jazz Festival – Sept. 23-25
Celebrating its 65th anniversary, the Monterey Jazz Festival is the longest continuously running jazz festival in the world. The festival will return in September with three days of programming dedicated to the legacy of jazz in Monterey. This year’s headliners include vocalist Gregory Porter, Cuban pianist-composer Chucho Valdés performing La Creación, the all-women supergroup, Artemis, and more. Three-day and single-day tickets are available for purchase online. For a preview of all the fun to come, listen to the custom 2022 Monterey Jazz Festival playlist on Spotify.
All Summer Long
Earning the name the "Salad Bowl of the World," it is no surprise Monterey County is home to a plethora of farmers' markets of varying sizes and specialties. The region offers 1.4 million acres of land that produces lettuce, strawberries, artichokes, wine grapes and more. Several markets also feature food booths serving up Monterey County's finest delicacies. Live entertainment makes the Old Monterey Marketplace, held Tuesdays on Alvarado Street, a local favorite.
On the second Saturday of every month, visitors can partake in Carmel-by-the-Sea’s Carmel Art Walk. Starting at Kevin Milligan Gallery and ending at Bennett Sculpture, the walk is the perfect way to be immersed in the village’s lively art scene, which comes complete with nearly 100 galleries within one-square mile. Standout artist-owned galleries include Lisa’s Studio, Gallery North and Travis Hall Fine Art.
Nothing says summertime like live music. Monterey County offers a variety of venues to enjoy live music including Carmel Plaza in Carmel-by-the-Sea and Folktale Winery in sun-soaked Carmel Valley. For a live music experience unique to the Monterey Bay, dine at Pebble Beach Resorts and listen to the bagpiper put the golf course to sleep at sunset with a sweet melody.
Visitors are encouraged to travel responsibly in Monterey County by following all current health and safety guidelines and respecting the area’s iconic landscapes by staying on trails and leaving no trace behind. For more information on what’s happening in Monterey County this summer, checkout the events tab and plan a trip at SeeMonterey.com or download the See Monterey app in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.