Best Things to Do on the Monterey Peninsula This September

Best Things to Do on the Monterey Peninsula This September

Looking for the coolest things to do this September? We’ve got you covered: a climactic car race; the most ambitious fair in the area; the longest running jazz festival in the land; authentic Greek celebrations; top-shelf comedy; and world-class botanical fun. It’s all happening in September around the Monterey Peninsula, with plenty of stimuli — from celebrated seafood, famous beaches, profound National Parks and the Monterey Bay Aquarium — there to help fill in any free time. 

We’ve done the deep research for you on the best things to do on the Monterey Peninsula including museums, cultural events, food tours, golfing, hikes and more. Speaking of food, we also have an extensive list of our best restaurants on the Monterey Peninsula, and if you’re planning a weekend, the the best places to stay

September is warm along the Monterey Peninsula, with temperatures in the high 70s.

Featured Photo: Courtesy of Monterey County Fair
Field of American flags for Memorial Day.

Labor Day

September 2

Kebabs sit on French Fries at Santa Cruz Greek Festival on the Monterey Peninsula.
Photo courtesy of Markus Winkler.

Santa Cruz Greek Festival

Date tbd

The key word is kefi. That’s Greek for passion, spirit, happiness, exuberance and zest for life. The outpouring of authentic Greek foods, folk dancing, shopping, live music and more has earned this kefi-driven experience locals’ votes as the Best Street Festival and Best Food Event in Santa Cruz. 

More info:

Race cars round the track at Firestone Grand Prix in Monterey, California.
Photo courtesy of @weathertechraceway

Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey

Dates TBD

The legendary twists of WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca challenge the field of Indycars in a race that concludes the 2022 season. Colton Herta has taken the last two tilts here, and now steers for a three-peat almost as rare as Laguna’s famed Corkscrew. 

More info:

Pink flower blooms at Santa Cruz Armboretum in Santa Cruz, California.
Photo courtesy of David Clode.

Santa Cruz Arboretum's Free Community Day

Date tbd

The first Tuesday of each month, the Arboretum welcomes the world without charge. SCA enjoys 135 acres of what its keepers call a “living museum full of rare and unique plant species.” More than 300 plant families of Mediterranean climates call the place home, with collections of rare and threatened plants of unusual scientific interest. Specialties include conifers from around the world, primitive angiosperms and bulb-forming plant families. Bloom.

More info:

Group of people in costume at Northern California Renaissance Faire in Monterey, California.
Photo courtesy of @norcalrenfaire

Northern California Renaissance Faire

Dates TBD

The renaissance is real, via artisan crafts (Mischief Masks!), era-appropriate food and drink (mead!), activities for kids and adults (archery!), tons of guest artists (themed by week with motifs like “Pirate Invasion”!), and shows that go and go (Rules of the Duel!). Here’s where Hollister transports costumed crowds through time with maximum style points. 

More info:

Baritone Saxophone player at Monterey Jazz Festival in Monterey, California
Photo courtesy of ens Thekkeveettil.

Monterey Jazz Festival

Dates tbd

The longest continuously-running jazz festival in the world delivers another superlative lineup. 

More info:


Event Venues

Looking to see what’s happening right now on the Monterey Peninsula? Our comprehensive list of venues across the city below will help you find what you need to know what’s going on.

Looking for more things to do in the area?

Visit our What to Do in Northern California page!

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