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.
- 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
- 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
- Big Sur Food & Wine Festival: This annual event showcases amazing wines from dozens of local wineries. In addition to wine, you can also sample the amazing culinary treats from top chefs from Big Sur, Monterey, and San Francisco.
- Dates: November 6 - 9, 2014
- Location: Several locations throughout Big Sur
- Tickets: Events are individually priced, find details by clicking here
- Cannery Row Tree Lighting: The 20th Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony is the day after Thanksgiving. This free event lasts from 5pm to 9pm on Friday, November 28. Stop by for family festivities and to get into the holiday spirit.
- Dates: Friday, November 28
- Location: Steinbeck Plaza and the Plaza in front of Bubba Gump's on Cannery Row
- Big Sur Half Marathon: This popular half-marathon starts and finishes in Monterey. During this race, you will run along the beautiful waterfront as well as downtown Monterey. The event includes the half marathon, a 5k, and a 3k kids run.
- Callaway Pebble Beach Invitation: This Pro-Am Tournament is held at three Pebble Beach Courses: Del Monte Golf Course, Spyglass Hill Golf Course, and the Pebble Beach Golf Links. It's planned for November 18 - 23, 2014 and will feature some of the biggest names in golf.
- Dates: November 18 - 23
- Location: Three Golf Course in Pebble Beach
- Admission: The Public is Welcome All Days Free of Charge
- Monterey Cowboy Poetry & Music Festival: This event is for everyone that loves cowboy poetry, western music, cowboy movies and western art and gear. During this three day event, you can listen to country music, enjoy some amazing food & wine, and mingle with other cowboys and those that love them. You can also check out the art and western marketplace, put in your bid for the Silent Auction, and pick your favorite during the Battle of the Bands.
- Salinas Holiday Parade of Lights: Stop by downtown Salinas for their Annual Holiday Parade of Lights event. This fun, local parade offers dozens of floats, kids, and many other participants. The parade starts at 6pm.
- Date: Sunday, November 30 at 6pm
- Location: Downtown Salinas
- Pacific Grove Tree Lighting Ceremony: This year's Tree Lightning Ceremony in Pacific Grove is on December 1. Festivities are from 5:30pm to 7:30pm on Forest Avenue in downtown Pacific Grove.
- Date: December 1
- Location: Forest Avenue in Pacific Grove
- Christmas at the Inns: Enjoy another fun holiday tradition in Pacific Grove with the Christmas in the Inns. Stop by several locals inns for holiday fun. It starts at 584 Central Avenue and lasts from 6pm to 9pm.
- Date: December 2 - 3 from 6pm to 9pm both nights
- Location: Start at 584 Central Avenue in Pacific Grove
- Streets of Bethlehem: This free community event is December 3 - 6 at the First Baptist Church in Salinas. It's from 6:00pm to 8:30pm each night.
- Dates: December 3 - 6 from 6:00pm to 8:30pm
- Location: First Baptist Church at 1130 San Vincente Avenue
- Holiday Parade of Lights: Another fun holiday activity in Pacific Grove is the 13th Annual Holiday Parade of Lights. During this parade, you will see local marching bands, holiday floats, dance teams, and Santa Claus! Stay after the parade to get some great holiday deals at local merchants.
- Date: December 4 from 6pm to 9pm
- Location: 584 Central Avenue in Pacific Grove
- Annual Tree Lighting & Sunset Center Holiday Party: Carmel-by-the-Sea invites the public to their annual Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony and Holiday Celebration. All event are on Friday, December 5. From 3pm to 5pm enjoy the holiday party in the lobby of the Theater where you will find wine, cookies, and coffee. The Tree Lighting Ceremony starts at 4:30pm at Devendorf Park on Open and Junipero Avenues. The tree will be lite at around 5:45pm.
- Date: Friday, December 5
- Location: Sunset Center & the Corner of Ocean Avenue and Junipero Avenue
- Christmas in the Adobes: Head over to Monterey for the 30th Anniversary of Christmas in the Adobes. This event includes several fun activities in the historic adobes such as fandango dance lessons, listening to bagpipes, or enjoying cookies and refreshments. You can also participate in games, history and other fun activities for the entire family.
- Date: December 5 & 6 from 5pm to 9pm
- Location: Historic Downtown Monterey
- Stillwell's Fun in the Park: Stop by downtown Pacific Grove for the 21st Annual Stillwell's Fun in the Park event. It's a huge holiday party with Santa, Frosty the Snowman and a full day of other fun, family-friendly activities.
- Date: December 6 from 10am to 4pm
- Location: Caledonia Park in Pacific Grove
- Inns of Distinction Tour: This year's Inns of Distinction Tour in Carmel-by-the-Sea is on December 7. This annual event takes you through seven unique, historic inns in downtown Carmel. Each one opens up a few rooms to the public for you to see.
- Date: December 7
- Location: Downtown Carmel
- Jingle Bell Run/Walk: Join other runners and walkers in Pacific Grove for the 2014 Jingle Bell Run/Walk. This annual event starts at Lover's Point Park on Saturday, December 13. Registration starts at 7:30am with the official 5k run starting at 9am.
Other Activities You Might Enjoy
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.
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