Best of Monterey Bay® Visitors Guide

130 The Best of Monterey Bay ® 2023-2024 Arts & Culture Folktale Winery & Vineyard Could anything be better than a winery with a stage that brings in everything from national touring acts to top stand-up comedy competitions? Thought not. Folktale hosts live music consistently and partners with local radio station KRML for regular events. Sip, listen and enjoy. 8940 Carmel Valley Road, Carmel. (831) 293-7500, Fox Theater This remodeled theater in the heart of Oldtown Salinas is host to a variety of popular live music shows, comedy and events, merging popular culture and historic charm. 241 S. Main St., Salinas. (831) 758-8459, Golden State Theatre This lavishly restored revival theater hosts live music—from big names to local band showcases—comedians, film festivals, musicals and speakers. This is a local destination for national touring acts. It’s an Old Monterey crown jewel. 417 Alvarado St., Monterey. (831) 649-1070, Henry Miller Memorial Library A small wood-frame house serves as an independent nonprofit with a large collection of photographs, memorabilia and books related to the life and work of Henry Miller. Its idyllic lawn plays host to an extraordinary amount of hip lectures, poetry, films, workshops and music. 48603 Highway 1, Big Sur. (831) 6672574, Hidden Valley Music Seminars This training center for young musicians draws top artist-teachers to administer master classes. Each class culminates with a public concert featuring the next generation of virtusoso players. Hidden Valley also stages dance performances and other ensembles. 104 W. Carmel Valley Road, Carmel Valley. (831) 6593115, Lighthouse Cinema What could be better than a longstanding cinema on the main drag? Well, a reputation for the best popcorn in Pacific Grove, for one. Reopened in 2023 after brief downtime, management is looking to add beer and wine to the refreshment menu. 525 Lighthouse Ave., Pacific Grove. (831) 641-0747 Maya Cinemas It’s a multiplex, but it’s also a culture hub with a soft spot for local and independent film happenings like the gay-friendly LatinX LGBTQ Film Festival, the traveling Hola Mexico Film Festival, and talks by locals such as Ruben Pizarro of the Salinas Valley Dream Academy. 153 Main St., Salinas. (831) 757-6292, Monterey Conference Center It’s the region’s biggest conference venue, yes, but it’s also a stage for live music, lectures, expos and other events. And a recent remodel brings the look and feel of the building into the modern era. 1 Portola Plaza, Monterey. (831) 646-3770, Monterey County Fair & Event Center The Monterey Jazz Festival, California Roots Music & Arts Festival, ROTA Psychic Fair, Monterey County Fair, Americana & Blues Festival all happen here. The sprawling grassand-oak tree grounds of this legendary venue with indoor and outdoor stages is so fun that even the Castroville Artichoke Festival relocated here. 2004 Fairground Road, Monterey. (831) 372-5863, Monterey County Pops! Formed in 1985, this professional orchestra presents pops, popular and patriotic music for free, in various settings including outdoors, at community events, in concert halls, and as support for other local arts organizations. Various locations throughout Monterey County. (831) 484-5511, Monterey Symphony The symphony brings together some of the best musicians in California for big, bold performances on the Sunset Center stage. During the pandemic shutdown they changed up that template, offering outdoor “balcony sessions” (on an actual balcony) featuring soloists, and continued to share music virtually. Now they’re back, under the musical direction of Conductor Jayce Ogren. (831) 646-8511, Old Capitol Books There’s little shushing at this progressively minded bookstore. Instead, there’s the vibrant sound of readings, lectures, poetry, conversation and debate. This itty-bitty bookshop has space for all of it, including a gallery for emerging artists. 482 Alvarado St. (upstairs), Monterey. (831) 747-1322, oldcapitolbooks. com Palenke Arts A lot happens at this space—classes, workshops and events. The latter can range from concerts and recitals to films and exhibits by local artists and international touring acts. An annual festival brings it all together, for free, outdoors. 1713 Broadway Ave., Seaside. (831) 657-9447, Pearl Hour One of the county’s finest cocktail bars also place host to a diverse array of performances in its confines, ranging from jazz groups to DJs, burlesque, drag shows and even fullblown theater, like Shakespeare and other plays—on an intimate scale, of course. 214 Lighthouse Ave., Monterey. SandBox SandBox is a platform for performing arts: concerts, spoken word artists, film screenings and art parties that push boundaries and build community. Located in a warehouse, it is designed for collaborative and inclusive cultural events amplifying the vibrant arts community. They pluck artists from the global touring circuit and provide them a haven to collaborate and experiment, often putting different artistic practices in conversation. 440 Ortiz Ave. #A, Sand City. Sand City Art Park This outdoor community venue with a focus on celebrating the arts is in the heart of Sand City, which itself is a city of murals. That’s where the annual we. Art festival takes place with both non-local and local muralists painting city walls, turning blocks into an open-air gallery. It also hosts the monthly 831 Night Market and a cornhole league. Take a tour of the tiny city and view new murals, plus older public artworks. 525 Ortiz Ave., Sand City. (831) 394-3054, Salinas Sports Complex Located on 80 acres in Sherwood Park, this outdoor arena/equestrian complex has played home to events like the California Rodeo Salinas, Monster Truck Jam, Aerosmith, Central Coast Motorsports and Blake Shelton, as well as private or smaller events in its meeting halls. Plus, they host regular weekly night markets and food trucks with live musical acts. 1034 N. Main St., Salinas. (831) 7753100, Sherwood Hall This Salinas institution, located at the sprawling Sherwood Park complex, seats 1,000 people, which makes it one of the largest enclosed performance spaces in the county. It has hosted symphony concerts, plays, dances, children’s shows, mariachi bands, cowboy music and poetry. 940 N. Main St., Salinas. (831) 758-7477, Sol Treasures A South Monterey County nonprofit arts and culture center that offers local communities a place for creativity through visual arts, music, dance, theater, classes, events and afterschool activities, for community members of all ages. 519 Broadway St., King City. (831) 386-9809, SpectorDance This tenacious nonprofit is a dance school and dance company for all ages, featuring performances by local youth and also standout visiting professionals from all over. SpectorDance mentors young dancers and choreographers and assembles regular performances that interpret complex topics like the climate crisis and gang violence, appearing in a range of venues. (831) 601-8510, Sunset Center This state-of-the-art performing arts center boasts more than 700 seats embedded in Gothic architecture and incredible acoustics, two art galleries, and a variety of function space. Comedy, lectures, theater, music and dance come from legends like Willie Nelson, Mavis Staples, Idina Menzel, Rita Moreno, Ira Glass and David Sedaris. San Carlos and 9th, Carmel. (831) 620-2048,