Uncover the best Monterey events in August 2019. Discover the top festivals, family-friendly things to do, and wine tasting.
Top picks include the Monterey County Fair, Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, and Watsonville Strawberry Festival. Find the best things to do in Monterey, Santa Cruz, Carmel-by-the-Sea, Salinas and more.
Disclaimer: I receive a small commission from some of the links on this page.
Dates: 8/3 & 8/4
Location: Monterey County Fairgrounds
Spend two-days at the Monterey County Fairgrounds for this year's Monterey Scottish Games & Celtic Festival. This event features competitive events such as Highland Dancing, Heavy Athletics, and Pipe Bands.
You can also enjoy the Drum Major Classic and the Clan Village. Make sure you don't miss the popular Single Malt Whiskey Tasting seminar on both Saturday and Sunday.
Food and drinks will also be available for purchase all weekend long. Gates open at 9am each day.
Date: 8/13 - 8/18
Location: Pebble Beach Golf Course
Stop by Pebble Beach for this year's Concours d'Elegance. This premier celebration of the automobile is highest ranking collector car competition in the world.
This annual event features several activities throughout the week.
Activities officially kick off on Thursday with the Pebble Beach Tour d'Elegance. Cars line up starting at 7am and begin their tour at 9am. Friday is judging day where all entrance line up at the famed 18th fairway of Pebble Beach Golf Links with the Pacific Ocean as a back drop.
Other events include an auction, an art show, and classic car forum.
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.
Dates: 8/23 - 8/25
Location: Sand City, CA
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 dozen bands perform.
On Friday, there is the annual fundraiser from 7pm to 11pm. On Saturday (11am to 6pm) and Sunday (11am to 5pm), you can visit the studios, mingle with local artists and pick up some new artwork for your house.
Dates: 8/2 & 8/3
Location: National Steinbeck Center in Salinas
This annual festival is held at the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas and celebrates the life and works of John Steinbeck.
It features films, speakers, panel discussions and more on the history of the area and John Steinbeck's work.
It's open to the public and it's a great place to meet other John Steinbeck fans.
Food Walking Tour: Sample the best of the Monterey Bay on this fun, food walking tour. You will sample a number of items from local, neighborhood restaurants. You will also get the chance to sample local beers and wine. The tour runs for three hours most Thursdays - Sundays. Pick up your tickets here.
Monterey Bay Aquarium: No trip to Monterey is complete without a visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. With thousands of animals and more than 500 species, a visit here offers you the chance to learn all about the wildlife in and around the Monterey Bay. It's open daily in August. Pick up advanced tickets so you don't have to wait in line when you arrive.
Dates: 8/3 & 8/4
Location: Historic Downtown Watsonville
The annual Watsonville Strawberry Festival is scheduled for early August. This colorful event features crafts, entertainment, and two days of family-fun.
Make sure to check out the pie eating contests throughout the weekend. Walk around historic downtown Watsonville as you sample strawberry treats, admire crafts from local artists and enjoy all of the entertainment on the main stage.
This is one of the top Monterey events in August. It runs from 11am to 8pm on Saturday and from 11am to 7pm on Sunday.
Dates: 8/29 - 9/2
Location: Monterey Fair Grounds
The annual Monterey County Fair offers live music, family entertainment, and carnival rides. You will also love the variety of local food and drink all weekend long.
Make sure to check out the daily exhibits. You can also watch local farmers and ranchers show their animals for the judges. Another big event is the Jr. Livestock Auction.
All live music shows are free with your admission ticket.
This is one of the Monterey events in August that runs over several days. Hours for Thursday - Sunday are from 12pm to 11pm. On Monday, it's from 12pm to 10pm.
Date: 8/24 & 8/25
Location: San Lorenzo Park in Santa Cruz
If you love tacos, don't miss this year's Tequila & Taco Music Festival in Santa Cruz. All weekend long, you get the chance to chow down on a variety of different types of tacos. You can also listen to live music and kick back with a nice tequila drink.
On Saturday, they will be hosting the Top Shelf Tequila sampling (available for those with the special Tequila Experience ticket). This runs from 11:30am to 3:30pm.
Sunday is all about the Margarita! Several types of Margaritas will be on sale all day.
Admission is $10 per person and $40 with the Saturday sampling. All tacos, drinks, and other food and beverage are available for purchase inside the festival.
Dates: 8/15 - 8/18
Location: Weather Tech Raceway in Laguna Seca
If you love cars, you are going to love the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. It's a lineup of 550 of the best cars in 14 different racing groups.
See everything from historic cars (as old as 1911!) up to more modern versions to 2016. All cars will race on this historic 2.238-mile road course at some point during the weekend and many will compete more than once.
You will also get a chance to see some of the cars close-up as you learn more about its history. In addition to racing, there will also be plenty of family-friendly events including pit tours, autograph sessions, book signings and more.
Location: Oldtown Salinas
Head to downtown Salinas for this year's Salinas Valley Food & Wine Festival. Walk through the historic downtown area to sample local, California, and international wines.
You can also enjoy small bites from local restaurants and chefs. Stop by the artisan booths to admire some of their handcrafted creations. You can also sit back, relax and enjoy some live music throughout the event.
You will also get the chance to sample some great local craft brews. Admission to the festival is free. You will need to purchase beer and wine tickets for the samplings.
Location: Starts at Depot Park in Santa Cruz
Soak in the views as you race in this year's Tri Santa Cruz. The event features both a sprint and (Olympic) international length triathlon. The event also includes categories for both Clydesdale and Athena racers.
This event is also great for beginners. They will be featuring a non-competitive friends and family race for those just starting out or those not wanting to participate in the hard-core competition.
The course will feature a sheltered swimming area and a mostly flat bike and run course, which makes it perfect for beginners and seasoned professionals.
Location: Municipal Wharf in Santa Cruz
The annual Aloha Polynesian Festival and Outriggers Races will once again be held at the Municipal Wharf in Santa Cruz. Cheer on the competitors as they race their way to the finish line during the Outriggers Races.
You can also sample tasty traditional Polynesian treats, shaved ice and drinks all day long. Vendors will line up along the Wharf so you can cheer on the races as you enjoy some tasty treats.
The event runs from 1pm to 5pm.