Things to Do in Monterey & Beyond

Top Activities & Events for 2014

Monterey is a small town with many fun activities. You will find ongoing things to do in Monterey such as kayaking, fishing and whale watching.

However, this waterfront village hosts several fun festivals and events. Highlights include the annual History Festival, the AT&T Pro-Am Golf Tournament and the Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony on Cannery Row.

You will also find several fun music festivals such as the Jazz Bash by the Bay, the Monterey Bay Reggaefest and the Monterey Jazz Festival. Other popular annual events include the Monterey Wine Festival, the Monterey Beer Festival and Art in the Adobes.

In addition to activities in Monterey, you will also find the top events in the surrounding communities including Carmel, Pacific Grove and Pebble Beach.

Top Events Each Month

Click on the links below to jump ahead to a specific month.

July August September October

July 2014

  • Carmel Bach Festival: For three weeks, enjoy dozens of performances during the Carmel Bach Festival. This celebration of Johann Sebastian Back integrates music, education and ideas. It showcases performances created, inspired or influences by this legendary musician.
    • Dates: July 19 - August 2
    • Location: Sunset Center in Carmel-by-the-Sea

  • California Rodeo Salinas: During this four-day event, you get the chance to watch PRCA Professional riders as they compete for the top prize. Highlights for this event also include live music (this year's headliner is Brad Paisley), horse shows and professional bull riders. In addition, this event features parades, a midway with family friendly rides and more.
    • Dates: July 17 - 20
    • Location: Salinas Sports Complex

  • Feast of Lights: This summer festival offers locals a chance to celebrate Pacific Groves history and culture. It features a lantern parade, a fireworks display and dozens of other fun activities.
    • Dates: July 23 - 27
    • Location: City of Pacific Grove

  • Blues, Brews & BBQ: For two days in Monterey, you can sample the best craft beers as you listen to some of the best blues artists around. Make sure you also sample some of the best BBQ in the area. This year's performers include Kenny Neal, Memphis Gold, Homeade Jamz Blues Band, Joe Louis Walker, Curtis Salgado, and Terrie Odabi.
    • Dates: July 26 & 27
    • Location: Monterey Fair Grounds
    • Tickets: $40 per person for each day

  • Moss Landing Antique Street Fair: Browse thousands of collectables and antiques during this outdoor one day antique buying event. Fuel up for the day with the morning pancake breakfast and enjoy food from dozens of other booths all day long.
    • Date: July 27
    • Location: Moss Landing

August 2014

  • Salinas Valley Half Marathon: This year's annual Salina Valley Half Marathon is on Saturday, August 2. Join other runners on a scenic route that starts at the historic Soledad Mission and ends at Pessagno Winery.
    • Date: August 2
    • Location: Salinas

  • The Monterey Scottish Games & Celtic Festival: This two-day festival is sure to be a hit! It includes highland dancing, pipe bands & solos and a number of athletic events. It also includes one of my favorites, Single Malt Whisky Tasting!
    • Date: August 2 & 3
    • Location: Monterey County Fairgrounds
    • Tickets: $15 per person, per day with discounts for those buying two days in advance

  • Monterey Bay Reggaefest: Enjoy live music all weekend long at this year's 19th Annual Monterey Bay Reggaefest. The fun starts on Friday, August 8 with artists such as the B-Side Players and the South Bay Allstars. Other performers this year include Beenie Man, Wayne Wonder and Anthony B.
    • Date: August 8 - 10
    • Location: Monterey County Fairgrounds

  • Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance: Stop by Pebble Beach on the third Sunday of August to view almost 200 prized collector cars and motorcycles on the famed eighteenth fairway at Pebble Beach Golf Course.
    • Date: August 17
    • Location: Pebble Beach Golf Course

  • Sand City West End Celebration: Head just a few minutes northeast of Monterey to Sand City for their annual art and music celebration. This year, visit more than 100 artists open studios throughout this three day event. You can also stop by one of more than a half dozen stages to listen to one of the two dozens bands perform.
    • Dates: August 22, 23 and 24
    • Location: Sand City, CA

  • First City Festival: The First City Festival is a rock festival that helps celebrate Monterey. This two day event features more than a dozen performers as well as a midway with rides, cold beverages and other unique entertainers.
    • Dates: August 23 & 24
    • Location: Monterey Fair and Event Center

  • 78th Annual Monterey County Fair: This year's annual Monterey County Fair offers live music, family entertainment and more. This year's performers are Dustin Lynch, Queen Nation and WAR. All performances are free with admission tickets.
    • Dates: August 27 - September 1
    • Location: Monterey Fair Grounds
    • Tickets: Start at $7 per person, per day

  • Monterey Bay Greek Festival: A three-day event with Greek food, music and dancing. It's one of the best ways to enjoy the Greek culture. Head down to the Custom House Plaza and Fisherman's Wharf to participate in the fun. Admission is free.
    • Dates: August 30 from 11am to 7pm, August 31 from 11am to 7pm, and September 1 from 11am to 4pm
    • Location: Custom House Plaza & Fisherman's Wharf

September 2014

  • FestaItalia: This annual event celebrates the local fisherman of Monterey. It's a three day event at the Custom House in downtown Monterey. It includes entertainment, raffles, a bocce tournament, a parade, Italian food and more. Admission is free.
    • Dates: September 5 - 7
    • Location: Custom House Plaza

  • Triathlon at Pacific Grove: The annual Pacific Grove Triathlon is set for September 12 - 14, 2014. In addition to the Olympic Length Triathlon on Saturday, this event also features a 5K fun run, a 10K race and more.
  • Monterey Bay Oktoberfest: Drink German beer and dance to fun tunes at this year's Monterey Bay Oktoberfest. Live music provided by The Flying Dutchman and The Internationals. You can also enjoy family friendly activities such as the Dachshund Races, a Petting Zoo and Jump Houses.
    • Dates: September 13 - 14 from Noon to 6pm both days.
    • Location: Monterey Country Fair Grounds
    • Tickets: $25 on Saturday and $20 on Sunday (Family Day)

  • Monterey Jazz Festival: Heading into its 57th year, the Monterey Jazz Festival is the longest running jazz festival in the country. This year's event will once again feature top named artists such as Herbie Hancock, The Roots, and Gary Clark Jr. Other artists this year include Cecile McLorin Salvant, Charles Lloyd and Robert Glasper.
    • Dates: September 19 - 21
    • Location: Monterey County Fairgrounds

  • Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach: Juniors from all over the US will compete at Pebble Beach Golf Links. You will also get to see many legendary golfers as they help mentor these up and coming athletes. It's a weekend you will never forget!
    • Dates: September 22 - 28
    • Location: Pebble Beach Golf Links

  • Artists Studio Tour: Similar to SF's Open Studios, the Monterey County Artists Studio Tour event features open artists studios throughout Monterey. All studios participating will offer an open house. Artists will also be around to discuss their pieces and sell them to interested parties.
    • Dates: September 27 and 28 from 11am to 5pm

  • California International Airshow: This year's airshow in Salinas will feature The Thunderbirds! You will also get the chance to see professional air acrobats, interesting planes and more.
    • Dates: September 27 and 28
    • Location: Salinas, CA

October 2014

  • WINEFEST!: This year's annual wine tasting event, WINEFEST!, is Saturday, October 4. Select your favorites from more than 100+ amazing wines. In addition to wine, you can also watch graffiti artists create masterpieces, enjoy food from local food trucks, listen to live bands & DJs and sample some craft beers.
    • Date: October 4
    • Location: Monterey County Fair Grounds

  • Butterfly Parade & Bazaar: This annual event is a welcoming of the Monarchs back to Pacific Grove. This annual event, by local elementary school children, starts at 10:30am. It is then followed by the annual Butterfly Bazaar behind Robert Down School.
    • Date: October 4
    • Location: Robert H. Down on Pine Avenue

  • Everything Italian! Monterey's Old Fisherman's Wharf Columbus Weekend Celebration: Head down to Fisherman's Wharf to enjoy family activities, special guest appearances, and live music from local musicians.
    • Dates: October 11 and 12
    • Location: Monterey Fisherman's Wharf
    • Admission: Free

  • Carmel International Film Festival: This years event will feature dozens of films from around the globe. This is the 6th year for this festival and it is scheduled for October 15 - 19.
    • Dates: October 15 - 19
    • Location: Several venues around Carmel
    • Tickets: $10 per film at the door, packages are also available starting at $55

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Other Fun Things to Do in Monterey

Cannery Row: This fun entertainment district features dozens of shops, restaurants and attractions. It's a fun way to spend the day or even just a few hours. On this page, you will discover a full list of things to do on Cannery Row.

Top Monterey Museums: The small town of Monterey hosted a number of important events in the history of California. Today, you can visit the sites of some of these events as well as their great modern art museum and the gorgeous Museum of Monterey (which showcases more of this city's history).

Wine Tasting: Monterey County features several places to taste its local wines. You can either taste right in Monterey, head to Carmel for some tasting or spend the day out at the wineries. On this page, you will find out details on the best places to taste wine and tips on getting around during your adventure.

Monterey Bay Aquarium: One of the best aquariums in the US is right here in Monterey. This is one of the most popular things to do in Monterey as they offer several amazing exhibits. You can watch the penguins play, see a variety of fish in their large aquarium or spend some time learning with their hands on exhibits.

> > Things to Do in Monterey

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