Best Things to Do on the Monterey Peninsula This July

This is the most event-laden month in years. 

Yes, that’s become a theme across recent calendars, but July around the Monterey Peninsula affirms it all over again.

Note the expansive Carmel Bach Fest is back, as is big-time rodeo in Salinas, endless beer tasting in Monterey and world-class racing in Laguna Seca.

There’s so much going on there isn’t enough time to get to all of the city-sponsored Fourth of July festivities, with celebrations, parades and other gatherings happening in more than a half dozen municipalities.

Featured Photo: Monterey, CA, USA - Courtesy of Alix Greenman on Unsplash
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Photo: Courtesy of Cabrillo Stage

Grease at Cabrillo Stage

July 1 – 10

A massive cast performs the lively production as part of a 2022 summer slate of musicals. July 21 brings on Leonard Bernstein’s Candide.

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Photo: Courtesy of Roaring Camp

Great Train Robberies at Roaring Camp

July 2 – 4, September 3 – 5

Witness shootouts between famed lawmen and notorious outlaws from the 1880’s aboard the Redwood Forest Train to Bear Mountain. See why the West was wild!

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Photo: Courtesy of Santa Cruz Firecracker Run

Santa Cruz Firecracker Run

July 4

The Independence Day tradition involves the 10K “Thrill of the Hill” in Pogonip Park; the 5K’s flat and fast course in the Harvey West Business Park Area; and a kids’ 1K. Everyone finishes in Harvey West Park for music, post-race brunch and awards.

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Photo: Courtesy of Brothers Promotions

West Cliff Food Truck Series

July 8

West Cliff Lighthouse hosts food trucks like Adobo to Go, Taquizas Gabriel and Union Foodie Truck for a free-admission summer special flush with plenty of scenic picnic areas.

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Photo: Courtesy of MotoAmerica

MotoAmerica Superbike Speedfest

July 8 — 10

WeatherTech Raceway at Laguna Seca hosts insanely swift “Superbikes,” drawing audiences from around the world. And while the acceleration is stunning, so too is the precision steering, braking and shifting. Vroom has entered the room.

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Photo: Courtesy of Pascal Bernardon

Hot Rods on the Green

July 9

Free to all spectators, the 15th annual event at Twin Lakes Church features cars, trucks, modern muscle cars, local food vendors, dragster showdowns, hula hoop contest, awards, raffles and all benefits Kingsmen Industrial Arts Scholarship Program.

More info:

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Photo: Courtesy of Larisa Birta

Carmel Bach Festival

July 14 – 30

One of the crowning jewels of the summer festival season is also one of its most time-honored and deeply scheduled. Here come the orchestras, the trios, the soloists, the masterclasses and the masterful performers. More than three weeks of music, education and inspiration spill across a plethora of venues. Go for Baroque.  

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Photo: Courtesy of Melody Ayres-Griffiths

Monterey Scottish Games & Celtic Festival

July 16 — 17

The West Coast’s most ambitious celebration of Gaelic life hauls in authentic food vendors, whisky tastings, a beer garden, pipe bands, live acts, sheep and agility dog trials and more. The kilts cometh.

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Photo: Courtesy of Sinna Nasseri

Martin Courtney with John Andrews and the Yawns

July 17

Acclaimed promoter (((folkYEAH!))) pulls in Courtney from Beacon, New York, where he wrote the songs that make up Magic Sign, the second solo album from the Real Estate songwriter. A special show in an atypical place.

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Photo: Courtesy of EbruYildiz

Amy Helm for Live at Folktale

July 17

As part of an ongoing outdoor concert series that invites in Brett Dennan later in the month (July 31), KRML Radio helps the popular — and pretty — winery curate top touring acts. While live acts like singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Amy Helm take to the new barrel-built garden stage, food and drink service comes courtesy of a wine-inspired and chef-driven team.

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Photo: Courtesy of California Rodeo Salinas

California Rodeo Salinas

July 21 — 24

Touring PRCA professional riders compete for big money and bigger belt buckles. Freestyle bullfighters do their dangerous dance. Live music proliferates, family events play in and everything from mutton busting to chuck wagon racing rounds out the extensive docket. 

More info:

Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music-Monterey Peninsula Things to Do July 2022-800x450
Photo: Courtesy of Cabrillo Music

Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music

July 24 – August 7

The Cabrillo Festival’s 60th anniversary season is a doozie, led by Grammy Award-winning Music Director and Conductor Cristian Măcelaru, and doling out works by 12 American composers,  nine composers in residence, a robust roster of soloists, three world premiere commissions, and seven West Coast premieres.

More info:

Photo: Courtesy of Bence Boros

The Monterey Beer Festival

July 30

Between the profound people-watching (including frequent marriage ceremonies) and the suds exploration, MBF has earned its place in the pantheon of great beer parties. Nineteen years in, it’s not old enough to legally drink, but all guests must be.

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Looking for more things to do in the area?

Visit our What to Do in Northern California page!

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