Let us count the reasons to visit Monterey this summer. 

As a NorCal native, I’ve always been prone to thinking that Monterey Bay is one of the coolest places in the world. No doubt John Steinbeck - only one of the great American novelists - thought so too; Monterey's salty ocean vistas serve as the setting for no less than four of his works. Then there are the white sand beaches, award-winning wines, farm-to-table restaurants, outdoor adventures and an award-winning aquarium. While the list of year-round attractions could fill a Steinbeck-sized novel, the variety of epic events give you yet another a reason to come, stay and play in Monterey County. Check out our list of seven marquee festivals you'll want to headline on your next trip.


Pebble Beach Food & Wine

pebble beachCoastal Luxury Management

April 20-23, 2017

Pebble Beach, a small coastal town on the Monterey Peninsula, certainly knows how to throw a glamorous party. Pebble Beach Food & Wine is the premiere culinary event in Northern California now celebrating its 10th year. The epic foodie festival features wine from 250 acclaimed wineries and dishes from 100 celebrity chefs. A backdrop of waves crashing against the rocky shore as the sun sets is just icing on the cake.


Sea Otter Classic

Sea Otter ClassicSeeMonterey.com

April 20-23, 2017

If there’s one fact we can all agree on is that sea otters are adorable. Monterey Bay is not only one of the best places to spot these cute creatures in the wild, it’s also the only destination to incorporate them into a cycling festival – the Sea Otter Classic. The largest cycling festival on the continent offers four days of races for both pros and amateurs, an expo, and fun activities for the kids.


Summer of Love

Monterrey Pop FestivalTom Gundelfinger ONeal

June 16-18, 2017


It’s hard to believe that it’s been 50 years since the Summer of Love swept across North America. 

Woodstock might be synonymous with the late sixties social movement, but did you know Monterey Pop Festival was the real kick-off? Performers included Janis Joplin, The Who, The Grateful Dead and the festival ended with a bang when Jimi Hendrix set his guitar on fire and defiantly smashed it on stage before an audience of 60,000. More than just rockstar dramatics, it was a grand gesture of the destruction of the old social order; it memorialized counter culture itself. 

 What better way to revive 1967 flower child nostalgia than at its cultural epicenter? Sport your favorite boho fashions at various events held throughout Monterey County over the coming summer months including art exhibitions, film screenings and music festivals.


Superbike World Championship

Super Bike World ChampionshipDMT Imaging

July 7-9, 2017

With plenty of warm rays and sea breezes, Monterey is a great destination for bikes – and not just the pedal-pushing kind. The Superbike World Championship brings some of the most talented motorcycle road racers to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca to get their zoom on. In addition to the high-octane races, the event is a world-class showcase of top road bike models available to the public.


California Rodeo Salinas

California Rodeo SalinasSeeMonterey.com

July 20-23, 2017

Who says you have to travel to Texas for a proper rodeo? The California Rodeo Salinas is one of the top 20 regular season rodeos in the United States. More than 600 cowboys and cowgirls compete in a range of events that include bull riding, barrel racing, team roping and steer wrestling. At this annual rodeo there’s plenty of energy to be found out of the arena as well. Grab your cowboy hat, raise your red solo cup and sing along to evening performances; this year Kid Rock headlines a special concert.


Monterey Car Week
Monterey Car WeekSeeMonterey.com

August 14-20, 2017

Classic cars and the California coast are the perfect combination. During Monterey Car Week hundreds of historic automobiles culminate throughout Monterey County for a full seven days of events including races, car shows and auctions. A major highlight is the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca where classic cars compete on the iconic racetrack. The week concludes with the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance where the world’s finest 200 classic automobiles vie for the “Best of Show” title.


Monterey Jazz Festival

Monterrey Jazz Festival CaliforniaJim Stone MJF

September 15-17, 2017

Just because summer is approaching its end, doesn’t mean it’s too late to jazz things up. As the longest continuously-running annual jazz event in the world, the 60th annual Monterey Jazz Festival brings live music galore to the coast. More than 500 artists will perform at the Monterey County Fair and Event Center, electrifying your soul with a diverse range of sounds and genres including jazz, blues and folk music.


Ready to plan your festive getaway to the Monterey?

Let SeeMonterey.com lend a hand:
Things to Do | Lodging | Food & Wine 

For all the latest news, events and more, check out:


Related content on Canadian Traveller: