Fun Things to Do This Summer
After a 15-month reprieve, we are ecstatic to present a list of in-person events you can check out around Southern California. These events all take place outdoors and/or include safety measures in place for attendees. Southern California is a magical place in the summer, so get out and explore our beautiful kingdom and these cherished, much anticipated moments in the sunshine among our friends, family, and perfect strangers.
San Diego County Fair
Through July 4th
The 2021 San Diego County Fair makes a triumphant return to the Del Mar Fairgrounds, running through the 4th of July. This year’s theme is “Home Grown Fun” and will feature activities and exhibits centered around a theme of growth – both as a community and within ourselves. In addition to this inspiring theme, you may experience a reduced but still robust lineup of rides, fried treats, concerts, pig races, and famous exhibit hall vendors. The fair concludes on Sunday, July 4th, with an epic fireworks display that is the highlight of the season each year.
Tickets and reservations are required in advance so be sure to check out the dates schedule your trip.
The San Diego County Fair is a true San Diego summer tradition and a spectacular way to spend quality time with the whole family outside and in an engaging and fun environment. For more information on dates, attractions, concerts, and more, visit the San Diego County Fair website.
A Walk Through the Lavender Fields
Through August 1st
Head to one of the most stunning summer sights in Southern California by visiting the lavender fields at Highland Springs Ranch. The property is the largest organic lavender farm in Southern California, and hosts visitors to the lavender harvest at its location in Cherry Valley each year. Open to the public through August 1st, this annual event showcases and celebrates all things lavender. The display is open every day except Monday, and tickets and parking are available for purchase in advance on the website. There are tickets available “at the door,” but at a higher price.
A visit to the lavender fields is a truly magical experience. Visitors may stroll the winding pathways with pops of purple blooms, experience a tour of the farm on a horse-drawn carriage, and other exceptional sights. If you’re feeling peckish, nosh on creative dishes with lavender-infused ingredients. There are also boutique shops and an organic marketplace featuring lavender essential oils, infused balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and lavender-stuffed animals.
A trip to the lavender fields offers a nice break from reality and a reprieve for anyone looking to spend a weekend surrounded by nature in a dream-like setting. For more information, check out the website.
Palm Springs International ShortFest
June 22nd – 28th
The 27th Annual Palm Springs International ShortFest returns to in-person screenings this year and features the finest flicks from up-and-coming filmmakers. Presented by the Palm Springs International Film Society, this annual event is the largest film festival of its kind in North America. Each year, approximately 325 short films are selected from over 4,200 submissions to be screened at the Camelot Theatre in the Oscarâ and BAFTAâ-qualifying festival, with over 100 of the past winners advancing to be nominated or even win Academy Awards. Bennion Deville Homes is a Platinum Sponsor of the Palm Springs International Film Society.
Each screening will feature 4-10 short films, all curated and blocked together to cover a central theme. To ensure a safe and enjoyable event for all attendees, the Camelot Theatre is running at 75% capacity, with safety procedures in place, including required masks for all, extra sanitation measures, and mobile ticketing options.
In addition to the film screenings, the festival features a ShortFest Forum with virtual panel sessions, master classes, and roundtables boasting working industry professionals sharing their insights into the film industry and tackling the latest trends in the business, as well as provide networking opportunities. All of the virtual sessions will be held over Zoom.
Running June 22-28, the 27th Annual Palm Springs International ShortFest is an excellent appetizer until the Palm Springs International Film Festival returns in January 2022. For more information, including a list of events, tickets, and more, visit the ShortFest website.
Palm Springs VillageFest
Thursdays starting July 1st
Palm Springs Village Fest officially returns to the streets of downtown Palm Springs on Thursday evenings, with the first installment taking place July 1st, from 7pm to 10pm. Stretching from Indian Canyon Drive to Belardo Road, Palm Springs VillageFest showcases the best of Palm Springs in a vibrant, community-oriented atmosphere. It is an excellent way to enjoy a summer evening in the desert.
This street festival boasts a variety of vendors, from artisans and artists showcasing their wares and talents, to culinary curators serving up tasty treats, as well as live entertainment and a unique buzz from all in attendance.
For the full list of vendors and additional information on Palm Springs Village Fest, check out the website.
Fourth of July Celebrations
July 2nd – 4th
Fourth of July Celebrations are once again primed and ready to light up the night sky throughout Independence Day weekend. The Coachella Valley has several opportunities to celebrate the founding of our nation with a variety of events and displays. Go city-by-city to learn more.
Coachella (July 3rd from 5-10pm) – Coachella Crossroads (46605 Dillon Road) – This celebration is free to all (children under 13 must be accompanied by an adult) and includes games and family activities, food, live music, hot air balloon rides, and fireworks (around 9pm).
Desert Hot Springs (July 2nd from 6-10pm) – Mission Springs Park (14510 Palm Drive) – Kickstart your Independence Day weekend celebration at Mission Springs Park with food trucks, fireworks, and more fun. Check out the city’s website for full details.
Palm Desert & Indian Wells (July 4th from 8:30-9:30pm) – Palm Desert Civic Center Park (43900 San Pablo Avenue) – Celebrate Independence Day in Palm Desert with a fireworks display. Enjoy food vendors at the sprawling park before the fireworks shoot off in an epic display. Visit the city’s website for more info.
Palm Springs (July 4th at various times) – Check out a variety of Fourth of July events to celebrate in style, including a pool party (Palm Springs Swim Center), Independence Fest (Sunrise Park), 4th of July Water Palooza Event (Victoria Park), and a concert and laser show at Ruth Hardy Park. Check out the city’s dedicated web page for more details.
Rancho Mirage (July 4th at 9pm) – Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa (32250 Bob Hope Drive) – Take in a live fireworks display from the south parking lot of the casino. The lot opens at 7pm, with fireworks set to go off at 9pm. If you can’t be there in person, NBC Palm Springs will be broadcasting live on site.
Festival of Arts Laguna Beach
July 5th – September 3rd
The Festival of Arts in Laguna Beach returns July 5th, running through September 3rd. The original Laguna Beach art festival, Festival of Arts showcases all juried original works from southern Orange County artists as well as the famed Pageant of the Masters, a spectacle re-creating famous works of art with real people standing in as subjects of the paintings. This year’s Pageant of the Masters theme is “Made in America: Trailblazing Artists and Their Stories” and will feature classic works re-created on a rotating stage with a narrator telling the tale of each work.
This year’s festival will include safety measures to ensure a comfortable experience for all, including enhanced cleaning, availability of hand sanitizer, mobile ticketing, and required face coverings for all guests. Get more details here.
Coupled with Laguna Art-A-Fair and the Sawdust Art & Crafts Festival, Festival of Arts creates an exciting trifecta of art celebration and discovery in one of Southern California’s most scenic beach locales renowned for its unique, thriving arts community.
For more information on the Annual Festival of Arts and Pageant of the Masters, check out the festival’s website.
Taste of Summer Rancho Mirage
July 15th – August 15th
Taste of Summer Rancho Mirage dishes cool savings, running July 15th through August 15th. With the purchase of a wristband for $10, enjoy discounts and specials at participating restaurants and resorts throughout Rancho Mirage. All proceeds go to local charities so your dollars support a plethora of excellent causes.
For up-to-date information, including to purchase a wrist band, please check out the Taste of Summer Rancho Mirage website.
Orange County Fair
July 16th – August 15th
Head to the Orange County Fair for a month of epic fun and excitement, taking place at the OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa from July 16th through August 15th. As it does each year, the Orange County Fair will feature crazy confections and concoctions, midway carnival games, thrill rides, live music, exhibits, and more. Capacity is limited so be sure to purchase your tickets in advance and plan ahead.
For the full rundown of activities, rides, and more, including tickets, check out the Orange County Fair website.
Del Mar Racing Opening Day
July 16th (races through September 6th)
A long-standing San Diego tradition, Del Mar Racing Opening Day offers you the opportunity to grab your giant hat and hit the track on July 16th with a 2pm post time. The hat competition takes place from noon until 3 pm in Plaza de Mexico, with 5 categories available for entry. Over $4,000 in prize money will be given away to the winners of the contest, so let your imagination run wild!
Horse racing season runs July 16th through September 6th, offering weeks of exciting trackside action in one of the most beloved racing venues in the sport. Enjoy pre- and post-race fun as well, including the handicapping challenge, Taste of the Turf Club, and other creative experiences.
For more information on Del Mar Opening Day and racing season, including tickets, please visit the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club website.
Chula Vista Lemon Festival
The always appealing Chula Vista Lemon Festival squeezes into action on Third Avenue on Sunday, August 1st. A staple of the Chula Vista social scene, this bright affair puts a spotlight on Chula Vista’s reign as the “Lemon Capital of the World,” and boasts an assortment of excitement for everyone to enjoy, including lemon-infused activities, live bands, sour contests, a kids fun zone, and more.
For more details on the Chula Vista Lemon Festival are available on the Third Avenue Village Association’s website.
August 13-15th & August 20-22nd
Splash House is officially back for another installment of fun in the sun this August. This time around the semi-annual Splash House music festival hits the pools of Palm Springs Friday, August 13th, through Sunday, August 15th, and then again the following weekend running Friday, August 20th through Sunday, August 22nd. Tickets have sold out, however, a waitlist is available if you are interested in joining. Additionally, other opportunities to enjoy this event, including after parties, are still available.
Splash House is an annual desert music festival that feels more like a giant pool party, featuring live DJ sets paired with some of the finest pools in Palm Springs. Splash House brings a party like no other to the SoCal desert. Hotels hosting this wet and wild time include The Renaissance, the recently renamed Margaritaville Resort Palm Springs, and The Saguaro. After hour parties will be held at the Palm Springs Air Museum.
For more information on Splash House, including the lineup, head over to the festival website.