In Santa Monica, summer means sitting in the sand while enjoying free live music from a popular act. // © 2012 Santa Monica Pier
Summertime in California. The sun is always shining, the beach is packed with tourists and locals alike and the kids are finally out of school. Luckily for California residents and visitors, the state’s piers offer many different activities throughout the summer, from outdoor concerts to art walks and farmers’ markets, to name a few. Here are some of the spots along the Southern California coast to keep the whole family entertained.
Coolin’ Off in Coronado
Located across the bay from Downtown San Diego, the city of Coronado, Calif. offers plenty of activities for summer fun. Stake a claim early and picnic at the summer concerts in Spreckels Park every Sunday at 6 p.m. Also, be sure to check out the Ferry Landing Concerts featuring afternoon weekend music at the Ferry Landing.
The fourth Friday of each month, Coronado offers Open Gallery Nights from 5-8 p.m. The city’s 6th Annual Bike the Bay on Aug. 25 supports local bicycling and raises funds for the nonprofit organization, San Diego County Bicycle Coalition. And before school is back in session, visit the Art Walk, taking place on Sept. 14-15 at the Ferry Landing. This event is free and open to the public to observe paintings, hand crafted jewelry, photography and ceramics.
Hot in Huntington Beach
Huntington Beach, Calif., is yet another city ready to relieve summertime boredom. The Adventure Playground, open from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., is $3 per child and free for accompanying adults. Also, the Concert in the Courtyard series at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort offers interactive nights of fun and music. From July 20- 27, the Huntington Beach pier will host the very popular U.S. Open of Surfing, which features surfing, skateboarding and BMX competitions daily and music performances in the evenings.
Laguna Beach Lovin’
Farther down south, Laguna Beach, Calif., caters to guests and locals alike. First Thursdays Art Walk showcases the diverse cultural scene of the area and is completely free. The Sawdust Festival, open until Sept. 1, presents more than 200 Laguna Beach artists creating hand blown and fused glass, paintings, jewelry, surf art, ceramics, clothing and textiles, wood and metal sculptures, scrimshaw and photography. And Laguna’s geographical location makes it ideal for whale watching, available for $16 until Oct. 31. To complete the perfect beach town experience, check out Yoga in the Park with Carl Brown, offered Mondays through Thursdays for free.
Santa Monica’s Endless Summer
Santa Monica’s summer activities aim to provide entertainment for all age groups. The Eat|See|Hear outdoor movie, food truck and live music event series offers live music starting at 7 p.m. and a movie screening at 8:30 p.m. for $10. The event occurs throughout Los Angeles, with several showings at Santa Monica High School. The outdoor movie series known as Cinema on the Street is free and open to the public, showing movies at 7:30 p.m on Third Street Promenade. The Santa Monica Pier celebrates its 29th Annual Twilight Concert Series every Thursday from 7 to 10 p.m. starting July 11 through Sept.12 for no charge. Also, be sure to check out free beach yoga every Sunday and the multiple food and art festivals. Hotels in the area offer excellent summer packages as well, from the Ambrose Hotel to the Shore Hotel.
Very Venice Beach
Venice Beach is a breeding ground for artists and creative types, making for a very active calendar of special summer events. Monthly events include First Fridays where on the first Friday of each month, shops on Abbot Kinney Boulevard extend their hours into the evening to accommodate guests capitalizing on complimentary refreshments, a variety of food trucks and art openings. Also, the Venice Art Crawl occurs quarterly on the third Thursday of the month on the boardwalk. Art is everywhere from a wall in a restaurant, a hotel lobby or a front yard to pop-up art galleries, all complemented by parties, live music and themed events. The Venice Beach farmers’ market is also open every Friday from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Other events around Venice Beach include the Venice Beach Basketball League games, Toddler Story Time at the Venice Library, free yoga, fitness and basketball clinics for kids and beach cleanups.