- California Rodeo, Salinas: A bit of the Old West in California
- California State Fair, Sacramento: The official one
- Fillmore Street Jazz Festival, San Francisco: A big, busy and fun street fair with lots of great music
- Fourth of July Fireworks, San Francisco: One of the state's best displays, blasting off from two locations simultaneously - a little bit like a 3D movie
- Garlic Festival, Gilroy: Some of the foods they serve sound a bit bizarre (garlic ice cream, anyone?), but it draws a big crowd nevertheless
- Kite Festival, Berkeley: It's colorful and you can't imagine how creative some of the kites are. You can even learn how to make one yourself.
- Orange County Fair, Costa Mesa: One of the state's biggest and most popular county fairs
- Pageant of the Masters, Laguna Beach: It's an eye-popping, nearly indescribable thing, the way they use real, three-dimensional sets and make them look like two-dimensional master artworks.
- San Francisco Marathon: Good to know about even if you aren't going to run - city streets are closed for the event
- Whale Watching in July: You'll be looking for blue whales, humpback and Minke whales.
Dress warmly for fireworks anywhere near the ocean. San Francisco can be especially cold and foggy, with up to three sweatshirts required to stay really comfortable.
In Los Angeles, the Hollywood Bowl's summer concert series is unique in its ambience and beauty. Near San Jose, the intimate and historic Paul Masson Mountain Winery attracts big names and in San Francisco, the concerts are always free at San Francisco's Stern Grove.