Best Things to Do on the Monterey Peninsula This November

For some, November means peak nesting time as winter takes over from fall. But many will be motivated to go the other direction — outward rather than inward — given the rundown of upcoming events, which navigate a wide range of striking music acts (including a full-on festival), one of the better epicurean endeavors of the year (in beautiful Big Sur), a splash of sports (fore!) and even a double dose of world-class magic (in a new California capital for touring illusionists).

Here are our top picks for the month, in chronological order:

Featured Photo: Monterey Bay Aquarium by Francis Taylor
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Carmel Bach Festival

November 1 – 5

The tail end of the annual epic that starts in October involves some of its most dramatic installments. This year that means Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos, then Dido and Aeneas, performing consecutive nights at Sunset Center, followed by Handel and Friends plus The Art of Courtly Love after that, and finally five more powerhouse productions. Go for Baroque.

More info: bachfestival.org

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Big Sur Food & Wine Festival

November 4 - 6

You couldn’t be blamed for thinking it doesn’t get any better than the Magical Mystery Tour through iconic homes hosting wineries and chefs, the opening night festivities on decks towering tall above the Pacific, the swirling Hiking with Stemware adventures, the euphoric Pinot Walkabout, and the bacchanalia that is Wine & Swine at Henry Miller Library. But it does get better. There are even more rarities dinners and bubbles-and-brushes events where those came from, and it all benefits vital Big Sur nonprofits.

More info: bigsurfoodandwine.org

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Photo: Kalin and Ginger

Magic Fusion Monterey Touring Acts

November 4 - 16 and 18 - 30

A pair of illusionists take residence at Monterey Bay’s newest entertainment venue over the course of the month. Matt Marcy arrives first, bringing 3,000 shows’ worth of experience that blends in comedy, original magic and storytelling. Kalin and Ginger, meanwhile, have earned the honor Magicians of the Year by the Academy of Magical Arts for stunts that include making a jumbo jet disappear.

More info: montereymagicclub.com

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Photo: Courtesy of TaylorMade Pebble Beach

TaylorMade Pebble Beach Invitational

November 16 - 18

Even at higher voltage/visibility pro-ams like the AT&T, the number one star remains Pebble Beach Golf Links themselves. That’s the case this week too, though other draws include the tournament’s atypical field composed of golfers from the PGA, LPGA, Champions and Korn Ferry tours plus teams of amateurs playing with a rotating cast of pros.

More info: hpebblebeach.com

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Photo: Courtesy of Golden State Theatre

The Temptations at Golden State Theatre

November 20

November presents a strong slate of shows at the iconic Golden State, with Lewis Black (Nov. 6), Charley Crockett (Nov. 18) and Tower of Power (Nov. 27) among the headliners. But it’s hard to top the Temptations, the same group that’s been going since 1960, pioneering style, harmonies and choreography while selling tens of millions of albums and changing the very soul of soul. Expect megahits “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg,” “My Girl,” and “I Wish It Would Rain.”

More info: goldenstatetheatre.com

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Photo: Courtesy of Peter B's Brewpub

Thanksgiving at Peter B’s Brewpub

November 25

Monterey’s original craft brewery has an under-appreciated kitchen led by unassuming super chef Danny Abbruzzese. It goes big and flavorful and fun for those ready to outsource all the holiday action. Here comes the turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, traditional stuffing, cranberry sauce, and a slice of pumpkin pie, plus NFL football on 18 TVs and all the high-grade, small-batch beer you can squeeze in with the food.

More info: portolahotel.com

Looking for more things to do in the area?

Visit our What to Do in Northern California page!

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