Best Things to Do on the Monterey Peninsula This April

There isnt a desperate need for special events to help inspire a trip to the Monterey Bay Area. 

Between the surf in Santa Cruz, the marine creature magic at Monterey Bay Aquarium (see the big debut event below), the shopping and wine-sipping in Carmel, the produce of Salinas Valley and the spiritual power of Big Sur — each of them world-class in their own right — plenty of draws await year-round. 

But its nice to have some added springtime motivation. 

Here appear some for the month of April, in chronological order.

Featured Photo: Monterey Bay Aquarium courtesy of Francis Taylor

Monterey Outdoor Market

April 2-3

The storybook setting that is the Custom House Plaza, adjacent to the famous Fishermans Wharf — and its worthy whale-watching and restaurant options — plays host to dozens of artisans, specialty foodstuffs and live music. Historic Old Monterey and the gorgeous Recreation Trail rimming the Monterey Bay also await nearby. 

More info: brotherspromotions.com

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Photo: E-40

Smoked Out Spring BBQ at Monterey Fairgrounds

April 8-9

The hip-hop lineup will spark attendance on its own. E-40, Too Short, Mozzy, P-Lo, Ramirez, Merkules, DaBoii, Jay Worthy, RBL Posse, Conejo, Vel The Wonder and more all perform. But theres more where that came from, including comic hosts Marcella Arugello and Chris Riggins, special guests Nagio Bealum and Drea Meyers, craft beer, an assortment of barbecue and other various vendors, all assembling on the spacious and scenic fairgrounds lawns. 

More info: montereycountyfair.com

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Photo: Los Lobos

Los Lobos at Rio Theatre

April 9

The East Los Angeles legends Los Lobos return to Surf City to deliver an oversize serving of their uncanny alchemy of rock, norteña, punk, folk, Tex-Mex, soul and blues. Rios promotional intel describes their multi-Grammy-Award-winning super powers as well as anyone: For all the trailblazing musical acts who’ve emerged from Los Angeles, very few embody the city’s wildly eclectic spirit more wholeheartedly than Los Lobos,” it reads. Over the last five decades, the East L.A.-bred band has made an indelible mark on music history.”

More info: riotheatre.com

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Photo: Courtesy of Monterey Bay Aquarium

Into the Deep: Exploring Our Undiscovered Ocean Grand Opening

April 9

Every so often the Monterey Bay Aquariums special exhibits prove so special that they become permanent. That may be the case with this latest addition, a dip into the wonders of Earth’s largest living space and most mysterious habitats, “Into the Deep: Exploring Our Undiscovered Ocean.” Today marks the debut of the collaborative exhibition, developed with the Aquarium’s research and technology partner Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. Fathom that.

More info: montereybayaquarium.org

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Photo: Courtesy of Leithp via Wikimedia Commons

Aoife O'Donovan at Sunset Center

April 10

Grammy award-winning O’Donovan rides three critically-acclaimed solo albums, founding-member cred with the bands I’m With Her and Crooked Still, and, perhaps most impressively, props for her work as the featured vocalist on The Goat Rodeo Sessions with Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer and Chris Thile. Many know her from work on “A Prairie Home Companion,” few from this show will ever forget her performance.

More info: sunsetcenter.org

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Lindsey Buckingham at Golden State Theatre

April 13

The singer, musician, songwriter and producer made his fame with Fleetwood Mac. But the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer has had a notable solo career behind six studio albums and three live ones. For this show at the timeless Golden State, hell feature the stunning fingerpicking style that made him one of Rolling Stones 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. 

More info: goldenstatetheatre.com

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Photo: Courtesy of Denisse Leon

Easter Eggstravaganza at Monterey Fairgrounds

April 16

All kids 12 and under are welcome to report, basket in tow, for the free egg hunt (RSVP requested). The Ganza pairs with a coloring contest open to young artists in three age categories: 5 and under, 6 to 8 and 9 to 12, with winners receiving an Easter basket stuffed with treats. Entries are due to the Fairgrounds office by April 8. 

More info: montereycountyfair.com

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Photo: Courtesy of Bobby Cochran

Charley Crockett at The Catalyst

April 22

Charley Crockett enjoys a stage presence well beyond his youthful years. The blues-country-Americana singer, guitarist and songwriter has released five albums since 2015, with his most recent, Lil G.L.’s Blue Bonanza, hitting The Top 10 in the US Billboard Blues Albums chart. 

More info: catalystclub.com

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Photo: Courtesy of Jossuha Theophile

Santa Cruz Mineral, Fossil, Gem & Jewelry Show

April 23-24

Santa Cruz Civic Center hosts exhibitors from across the country for a tradition approaching its 60th annual. All the titular elements figure in, featuring masters of procuring, arranging, engraving, cutting, polishing and appreciating a number of the Earths mineral wonders. Rock identification tables, stone-cutting demos, cabochon workshops, lectures and a kidsfluorescent mineral dark room all make for a rockhound rock show.

More info: scrockngem.org

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Photo: Courtesy of Larisa Birta

James Back and Julian Rhee at Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium and Mello Center

April 30-May 1

Santa Cruz Symphony brings a powerhouse performance with its fourth concert of the year, Kaleidoscopes, appearing at two Monterey Bay standout venues over two nights. The intrigue includes Julian Rhee on violin, James Baik on cello, Joseph Seton debuting The Aptos Sound Project and a special Mussorgsky-Ravel Pictures at an Exhibition presentation. 

More info: santacruzsymphony.org

Looking for more things to do in the area?

Visit our What to Do in Northern California page!

You so deserve a vacation. 

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