Best Things to Do on the Monterey Peninsula This September

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. 

Here appear great eight events to ear-mark for the month, in chronological order: 

Featured Photo: Courtesy of Monterey County Fair
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Photo: Courtesy of Monterey County Fair

Monterey County Fair

September 1-5

There’s a lot going on. Pick your passion therein, whether it be live entertainment, carnival games, a stilt circus, amusement rides, livestock admiration or food on a stick. Grammy-nominated country music star Joe Nichols leads the music slate.

More info:

Greek Festival-Do-MP-Sept 2022-CREDIT Markus Winkler-800x450
Photo: Courtesy of Markus Winkler

Santa Cruz Greek Festival

September 9-10

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:

Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey-Do-MP-Sept 2022-credit @WeatherTechRaceway-800x450
Photo: Courtesy of @weathertechraceway

Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey

September 9-11

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:

Santa Cruz Arbortoreum Community Day-Do-MP-Sept 2022-Credit David Clode-800x450
Photo: Courtesy of David Clode

Santa Cruz Arboretum's Free Community Day

September 20

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:

Northern California Renaissance Faire-Do-MP-Sept 2022-credit @norcalrenfaire-800x450
Photo: Courtesy of @norcalrenfaire

Northern California Renaissance Faire

Weekends September 17-October 23

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:

Monterey Jazz Festival-Do-MP-Sept 2022-CREDIT Jens Thekkeveettil-800x450
Photo: Courtesy of ens Thekkeveettil

Monterey Jazz Festival

September 23-25

The longest continuously-running jazz festival in the world delivers another superlative lineup. Here comes Chucho Valdés, Artemis, Incognito, Gregory Porter, Butcher Brown, Veronica Swift, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Christian Sands, Ravi Coltrane, Let It Happen, The Cookers, Samara Joy and dozens — if not scores — more. 

More info:

Jefferson Starship at Sunset Center-Do-MP-Sept 2022-credit @SunsetCenter-800x450
Photo: Courtesy of @sunsetcenter

Jefferson Starship at Sunset Center

September 22

The offspin from Rock Hall of Fame Inductees and 2016 Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award recipients Jefferson Airplane have Grammy nominations and gold and platinum albums of their own. Audience members can anticipate classics like Somebody To Love,” “White Rabbit,” “Count On Me,” “Sara,” “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” and “We Built This City.” Prepare for liftoff.

More info:

Tom Papa at Golden State Theatre-Do-MP-Sept 2022-Tom Papa at Golden State Theatre-800x450

Tom Papa at Golden State Theatre

September 23

Papa’s second book, You’re Doing Great! – And Other Reasons To Stay Alive, comes on the heels of Your Dad Stole My Rake: And Other Family Dilemmas and reminds readers his comedic chops are strong enough to make him a contributing writer at The New Yorker. He also has a strong history of stand-up specials and Netflix originals like “Human Mule” and “Freaked Out.”

More info:


Looking for more things to do in the area?

Visit our What to Do in Northern California page!

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Great Train Robberies at Roaring Camp

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