Monterey Events in April 2020: Festivals, Shows, Nightlife and Other Fun Things To Do

My Monterey events in April calendar features the top picks from around the bay area. You will find top festivals, family-friendly events, and a few of the best things to do at night.

Monterey events in April

Some of the highest rated activities this month include the Pebble Beach Food & Wine Festival, the Good Old Days Celebration in Pacific Grove and the Big Sur International Marathon.

You will also find top things to do in Carmel-by-the-Sea, Santa Cruz, Salinas and other towns around the Monterey Bay and beyond.

Disclaimer: I receive a small commission from some of the links on this page.

Pebble Beach Food & Wine

Dates: 4/16 - 4/19

Location: Several locations around the Pebble Beach Golf Course

Every year, the Pebble Beach Food & Wine Festival draws more than 250 wineries and 100 of the best chefs into the area. You will enjoy four days of sipping wines, watching cooking demonstrations, tasting the best these bites these chefs have to offer, and mingling with other food and wine lovers.

Located at the gorgeous and world-famous Pebble Beach Golf Course, this celebration of all things food and wine starts out with a morning celebrity golf tournament. That night you can enjoy the opening night reception before the crowds arrive for the rest of this magnificent affair.

The next three days will allow you to meet and greet the great winemakers and chefs of the world. There are special demonstrations, talks, live music and numerous interactive experiences.

>> Find more details and ticketing information on their site

Good Old Days Celebration

Dates: 4/4 & 4/5

Location: Downtown Pacific Grove

Price: Free

The Good Old Days Celebration is one of the county's largest arts and crafts fair. It features more than 225 artists and food vendors for this weekend long event. Not only will you be able to eat to your hearts content, but there will be great drinks on hand. Don't miss your chance to see the parade on Pine Street on Saturday morning.

On top of that, there will be loads of contests, family fun, and old-time games for all to play. If you are looking for entertainment, you will find 5 different stages with performances for both kids and adults.

Where to Stay in the Monterey Bay Area

Monterey: You will find the largest selection of hotels in and around Monterey. Higher end picks include the Spindrift Inn and Portola Hotel and Spa. You will also find some more budget friendly options if you move a few additional blocks away from the waterfront. Find my top picks for all budgets here.

Carmel-By-The-Sea: This seaside town is a bit smaller, but still offers plenty of accommodations. You will find some great luxury hotels as well as several quaint bed and breakfasts. Here are my top picks for Carmel-By-The-Sea.

Pacific Grove: This small community sits just to the north west of Monterey. They offer several great places to stay including a couple of great bed and breakfast and some budget-friendly options. Find my top 5 picks here.

Are you ready to book? Make sure to check out the great deals below.

TripAdvisor: Compare prices, read recent guest reviews and find a wide selection of options.

Sea Otter Classic

Dates: 4/16 - 4/19

Location: Monterey, CA

See both professionals and amateurs compete in one of the world's best cycling festivals. Races include mountain bike cross country, downhill, dual slalom, short racing, and more. You can also attend the consumer bike expo, one of the largest in the world. This event brings in more than 10,000 athletes, including many of the best cyclists from all over the world, and 100,000 fans each year.

Everyone loves to watch the pros as they fly through their courses and fight to win their races all day long. However, amateurs can also ride their bikes and compete. This event also has loads of demos, which will allow you to try out new equipment and let you buy it if you want to improve your cycling skills.

When you get hungry or thirsty, there is the Sierra Nevada Beer and BBQ Garden where you can get a fill up and be ready to power through the day. The Beer and BBQ Garden is 21 and over only and you must have a valid photo ID to enter it.

>> More on this year's Sea Otter Classic

More Fun Things to Do Around the Monterey Bay

In addition to all of these great Monterey events in April, you will also find several other fun things to do. Here are a few of my top recommendations.

Whale Watching: The Monterey Bay Area is the best place to go whale watching. This time of year, keep your eye on the water to try and spot gray, blue, humpback or even sperm whales. Cruises leave several times a day from Fisherman's Wharf. Find tickets to these half-day tours.

Monterey Bay Aquarium: The Monterey Bay Aquarium is one of the best aquariums in the world. It's home to more than 500 species of plants and animals that call the bay and this area home. Their Open Sea aquarium is spectacular with more than 1 million gallons of water plus dozens of wildlife inside.

Sunset Cruise: Head out on the water for a fun sunset cruise. This two-hour journey will give you a chance to see wildlife as well as the sun setting on the Pacific Ocean. Each ticket also includes some white wine and appetizers as you sit back and relax. The cruise leaves every evening in April from Monterey.

Big Sur International Marathon

Dates: Sunday, 4/26

Location: Starts in Big Sur through to Carmel on Highway 1

Time: Starts at 6:45 am and ends at 1 pm

The Annual Big Sur Marathon attracts runners from around the world. It's a moderately difficult course with amazing views from the Pacific Ocean to beautiful redwoods.

You will be able to watch some of the best runners fly through the course as this is a Boston Marathon qualifier. This means there is a lot of competition and everyone is doing their best to make that race. If you are lucky enough to be watching the race from close to the starting line, you'll see doves released as the race begins.

Being that the race is in late April, it can still be quite chilly in this area so you will want to bring warm clothes and layer them as the day progresses.

>> Find out more about the race and sign up to participate

Wildflower Show

Dates: 4/17 - 4/19

Location: Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History at 165 Forest Avenue

Time: 10 am to 5 pm

This annual wildflower show has been around for over half a century and just keeps getting bigger and better each year. It is also one of the largest in both the Western and Northern Hemispheres with more than 600 different varieties of wildflowers on display.

The event is held at the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History. It's put on by the Monterey Bay Chapter of the California Native Plant Society every year and is one of the top Monterey events in April each spring.

>> More on this year's event

Next Generation Jazz Festival

Dates: 4/3 - 4/5

Location: Numerous stages throughout Monterey

This festival includes over 1,300 musicians, in over 160 live events, throughout the Monterey Bay area. The best part about this event is that most of the events are free! You will get the chance to listen to artists from around the US and the world perform.

The bands range from middle school to college level and play pretty much every type of jazz music you can imagine including big band, vocal ensembles, soloists, combos and more.

There are numerous spotlight stages located throughout Monterey including the Monterey Conference Center, Portola Hotel, Dali Expo, and Turn 12 Bar & Grill. They are all close enough that you can easily get to one another and not miss seeing the best of the best perform your favorite jazz songs and styles.

>> A full schedule and more details about this year's event

Santa Cruz Mineral, Gem, Fossil, & Jewelry Show

Dates: 4/25 & 4/26

Location: Santa Cruz Auditorium at 307 Church Street, Santa Cruz

Time: 10 am to 5 pm

Check out some of the most interesting gems and minerals at this one-of-a-kind event in Monterey this April. This event is perfect for the whole family as there are exhibits, activities, demonstrations, artists selling their wares, and more.

You will be able to learn all about the different rocks and minerals, buy gems, fossils and other treasures. You can even buy a geode and cut it during this show.

International Flavors of Marina

Dates: 4/28

Location: SpringHill Suites by Marriott at The Dunes on Monterey Bay on 215 10th Street, Marina, CA

Time: 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm

Price: General admission $45 - $50

The SpringHill Suites is the perfect location for this fantastic event as it is only 2 blocks from the Pacific Ocean and has some gorgeous views of the water. At this event, you will taste some of the best foods, beers, and wines from Monterey County. You can also participate in a silent auction and win some great prizes.

This event is limited to 300 people, so you'll want to buy your tickets in advance in case it sells out.

Santa Cruz Ducky Derby

Dates: 4/25

Location: Harvey West Park at 326 Evergreen Street in Santa Cruz

Time: 10:30 am to 3:30 pm

Price: Free to attend; small cost to purchase rubber ducks

This is definitely one of the most fun of all the Monterey events in April as you will experience a race of over 12,000 rubber ducks down a manmade waterway.

This charity event is sponsored by Omega Nu and it donates the money to help students attend universities and colleges throughout the state. So not only will you be having a great time, you will also be supporting kids that want to continue their education at the same time.

This family-friendly duck derby features food, live music, lots of entertainment and carnival games. There will be a few different runnings of the ducks and the winners will be announced at the end of the festival.

Some of the past awards include dinners from local restaurants, wine, art, and much more. So, have a lot of fun and support a worthy cause at the same time!

>> More details on this year's Ducky Derby

Shows at The Catalyst in Santa Cruz

Are you looking for some great evening Monterey events in April? If so, head to The Catalyst in Santa Cruz for some live music and entertainment. Here is their schedule for this month.

Soquel Village Sip & Stroll Wine Walk

Dates: 4/25

Location: 4700 Soquel Village in Soquel, CA

Time: 1 pm to 5 pm

Price: $35

The village of Soquel, which is just a short 10 to 15-minute drive from Santa Cruz is home to the annual sip & stroll wine walk every year. This event includes some of the best wines from the region. The event also includes complimentary bites throughout the day.

The village is known for its quaint charm and also for great shopping. There are over 10 different wineries, at over 10 different tasting stations, so you will have a good range of drinks to choose from during the event.

Price of tickets includes a commemorative glass, a easy to read map showing where to find the tasting stations and merchants in case you want to buy some of the local goods.

Note: Tickets usually sell out so make sure to buy them in advance.

Santa Cruz Vegfest

Dates: 4/11

Location: Boardwalk's Cocoanut Grove at 400 Beach Street in Santa Cruz

Time: 11 am to 6 pm

Price: Free

Santa Cruz Vegfest is all about celebrating everything related to living a plant-based lifestyle. This event also promotes cruelty-free and environmentally sustainable lifestyles.

You will find more than 100 exhibitors on hand with free food samples. In addition, there are numerous speakers holding discussions on animal welfare, nutrition, environmentalist, and healthy eating habits. It's a wonderful way to learn about how to stay healthy and ways to help our planet.

Being that this is a family-friendly event, there are also lots of kids' activities throughout the day.

Tickets are free but you can reserve them in advance to save you time and trouble when you arrive.

>> Visit their site for details

Shows at the Golden State Theatre in Monterey

You will find some great Monterey events in April at the Golden State Theatre in Monterey. Here is a full line-up for the month.

Performances at the Sunset Center in Carmel-by-the-Sea

Santa Cruz Mountains Passport Celebration Days

Date: 4/18

Location: Participating Santa Cruz Mountains Wineries

Time: 12pm to 5pm

Price: $75 per person

Santa Cruz Mountains Passport Celebration Days is the perfect time to enjoy some of the best wines from this area. The event features special wine tasting experiences at participating wineries.

While you can pick up and use your Santa Cruz Mountain Wineries Passports for the entire year, on April 20, participating wineries go above and beyond to make your visit special. You will find unique wine tastings, food and some will also offer live entertainment.

It's one of my favorite Monterey events in April each year.

>> Find out more about the passport and this special celebration day

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