Best Things to Do on the Monterey Peninsula This June

June promises a lot. 

Countrywide, it is National Camping Month, Mens Health Month, National Papaya Month, National Adopt a Cat Month and National Accordion Awareness Month (and more).

Around Monterey Bay, interestingly enough, its the best month for jade hunters, tattoo enthusiasts and hot rod shows. 

And theres plenty more where that came from, including a tidal wave of live music — far too many quality acts to list here, but the calendars for some venues listed (Kuumbwa and Golden State Theatre), and not listed (Rio Theatre and Moes Alley), are worth peeking at too, if you should be seeking a very valid excuse to visit.

Featured Photo: Capitola Car Show courtesy of Terry Way
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Night Market 831

June 3

The colorful Art Park in Monterey Bays capital for urban murals and community art, Sand City, plays host to a monthly explosion of food trucks/tables, artisan creators, interactive (and family-friendly) creative activities, live music and craft beer. Pro tip: Build in time to tour the big-format graffiti commissioned by the city, which covers walls all over the tiny municipality with a population around 350, and the studio open houses along the way.

More info: instagram.com/nightmarket831/

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Photo: Courtesy of Ink the Bay Tattoo Festival

Ink at the Bay Festival

June 3

Artists from around the world descend on scenic Monterey Fairgrounds grass to ink hundreds of walking tattoo canvases on site. The artistry isnt limited to the skin, either, with multi-medium local artists and live musicians also appearing, to go with a wide variety of vendors. Food, face painting, temporary airbrush tattoos, and many more activities too.

More info: facebook.com/inkatthebay

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Photo: Courtesy of Vaultbank.io via Wikimedia Commons

Live in the Atrium: Stunna 4 Vegas

May 6

While The Catalyst brings some of Santa Cruzs most compelling shows to town, its adjacent Atrium has evolved into a prolific host for breakout shows all its own. A stacked June lineup includes Stunna, an American rapper best known for hit singles Animal” (featuring DaBaby, who signed Stunna to his label Billion Dollar Baby Entertainment) and “Up the Smoke” (featuring Offset). His second studio album, Rich Youngin, debuted at number 29 on the Billboard 200.

More info: catalystclub.com

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Christian McBride at Kuumbwa

June 10

Its an impressive month for music at Kuumbwa, and this ranks among the top draws on the June calendar. McBride is a six-time Grammy Award-winning bassist/composer, host of NPR’s Jazz Night in America and versatile enough to collaborate with everyone from Sting, Chick Corea, Pat Metheny and George Duke. McBride has also been artist-in-residence and artistic director with organizations such as Los Angeles Philharmonic and The Jazz Museum in Harlem.

More info: kuumbwajazz.org

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Photo: Courtesy of Monterey Bay Jade Festival

Monterey Bay Jade Festival

June 10-12

Here come the carvings, sculptures, earrings, knives, pendants, pebbles, ocean cobbles, wind slicks, carving tools, rough chunks and big blocks, 50-plus vendors all told, plus experts ready to talk long, deep and passionate about nephrite and jadeite.

More info: montereybayjadefestival.org

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Photo: Courtesy of Terry Way

Capitola Rod & Custom Classic Car Show

June 11

Entering its 15th annual installment, CRCCCS celebrates the fact it’s been voted one of the country’s top 10 car shows, though they don’t say by who. The cute Capitola backdrop has something to do with that, as does live music, charming shops, a variety of nearby restaurants and the adjacent beach. Oh, and an impressive lineup of cars from around the region and beyond.

More info: capitolacarshow.com

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Castroville Artichoke Food & Wine Festival

June 11-12

The artichokes would be enough — creamed and steamed, fried and wrapped, dipped and diced, cheffed fancy and served straight. But theres a lot more to get into to get to the real heart of this event, including ag art, live music, special demos and more.

More info: artichokefestival.org

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Photo: Courtesy of Nashville Nights

Nashville Nights Summer Concert Series

June 17

Tennessee travels to Santa Cruz as part of a five-concert series. Tonight Nashvilles own country singer-songwriter Jenny Tolman gets up close and personal with her audience, as the sun sets over Monterey Bay. Nashville-themed food and beverage offerings accompany, including bourbons from Tennessees neighbors in Kentucky.  

More info: chaminade.com 

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Photo: Courtesy of Nathan Dumlao

Monterey Rock & Rod Festival

June 17-18

Upwards of 150 1975-and-older classic and custom hot rods, street rods, muscle cars and trucks join a lineup of live entertainment, a old-fashioned sock hop, plays food and merchandise vendors, with all proceeds benefiting nonprofit Gateway Center of Monterey County, Inc. Plus public admission is free.

More info: montereyrockrod.com

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Chris Isaak at Golden State Theatre

June 21

For his fans, Isaak needs no such exact definition as his hits like “Wicked Game,” “Baby Did A Bad Bad Thing” or “Somebody’s Crying.” For the uninitiated he is renowned for an authentic style that crosses from crooner to rock and roll, with a reverbing vibration and high-altitude falsetto to match. A bonus nugget for musicology-of-music fans: Hes tight with David Lynch, who has used Isaaks music in numerous films and gave him a role in the film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me.

More info: goldenstatetheatre.com

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Photo: Courtesy of Antinori Italian Wine Dinner

“Vine to View” Antinori Italian Wine Dinner

June 30

This installment of the monthly wine dinners at the resortssignature restaurant. Guests enjoy a four-course dinner plus dessert from Executive Chef Avram Samuels that brings out the flavors of the selected wines (see menu here). Meals are held on the restaurants picturesque patio overlooking Santa Cruz and Monterey Bay from 6pm to 9pm.

More info: chaminade.com 

Looking for more things to do in the area?

Visit our What to Do in Northern California page!

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