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A Guide to Santa Monica’s Festivals and Events

Like every other part of Los Angeles, there’s never really a shortage of things to do and enjoy when you’re in Santa Monica.

“Silicon Beach,” as some may call it, has become especially famous for its assortment of tech talent and companies. However, for anyone who’s looking to have a good time, there is no doubt that Santa Monica is still a fun place to stay. The city has something for everyone – you can enjoy the best in dining and shopping, and if you’re feeling lucky, you can head to the Santa Monica beach and dive into Ignition’s live casino. The immersive gambling experience will surely keep you entertained, as you enjoy the soft, sandy shores of the city. 

However, for those who would really love a day or night out in the town, here is a quick rundown of some of the most notable festivals and events in Santa Monica. And with the city hosting several historic landmarks, you surely have a lot to feast your eyes on. 

Tournament of Roses Parade

The Rose Parade dates back to 1890 when the first edition was held to showcase California’s lovely weather. And, over a century later, the tradition is still very much in swing. From musical performances to formal coats and marching bands, this is one parade you sure don’t want to miss if you’re ever in Santa Monica. 

Drawing over a million people annually, the Parade leads up to the Rose Bowl football game. So, if you’re ever looking for a break from the NFL, why not try this one? 

The Rose parade usually kicks off on Orange Grove Boulevard & Green Street in Pasadena. Then, it moves across to Colorado Boulevard and all the way up to Villa Street.  

Brazilian Carnival

We all know that Carnival in Rio de Janiero is the biggest carnival in the world, with an audience of well over 2 million people. However, if you’re unable to make it down to Rio, Santa Monica has something similar for you! 

Featuring elaborate displays of feathers and art, the Brazilian carnival in Santa Monica is pretty impressive. The carnival is held annually at an ocean liner in Long Beach, and it is a major draw for everyone looking to have a good time. 

Hey; why travel all the way to Rio when you’ve got these guys, right? 

The Pan African Film Festival 

If you’re a lover of African art and storytelling, then the Pan African Film Festival is where you want to be. Featuring different African and African-American titles, this film festival is a huge draw for movie lovers across the world. 

Most of the titles here address significant issues, from racial equality and justice to economic opportunities for Black people and the treasuring of the African motherland. But don’t be fooled – they’re also highly enjoyable and can provide a lasting fun experience. 

The Grand Prix of Long Beach 

Ready for some tire-revving action? Well, the Grand Prix of Long beach is a great place to start. This IndyCar Series race takes place on a track close to Long Beach, and it provides just as much fun for racing aficionados as Formula 1 and even the NASCAR Cup Series. 

The Grand Prix is known by many as the official “Spring Brake” of Southern California. The race takes place on a two-mile street circuit that comes with heart-stopping turns and curves. The action never stops here, and you can guarantee that you’ll be kept on the edge of your seat from start to finish. 

LA Times Book Festival

Organized by the Los Angeles Times, the Book Festival is an amazing draw for book-loving Angelinos and tourists the world over. 

Every April, the University of Southern California (USC) plays host to thousands of book lovers, allowing them to connect with their favorite authors and enjoy physical readings. Besides the discussions and readings, the Festival also allows booksellers to set up stalls and sell their books directly to an audience that wants to see what they have. 

So, it’s a win-win for everyone! 

Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival 

Held at the Melody Ranch Motion Picture Studio, the Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival is a great way for all ranch lovers to gather. This Western hoedown comes with several impressive attractions, ranging from literal horseback rides to a gala and even a costume fashion show. 

As you’d expect, everything here is fashion-themed. You can even enjoy gambling at a casino and take in some cowboy humor at the comedy show. When you’re done, head over to a restaurant for some sweet cowboy grub. 

Fiesta Broadway /Cinco de Mayo

The Fiesta Broadway is a free carnival that really feels like something you should pay for. Held on the last Sunday of April, this carnival draws close to half a million people and is seen by many as the largest celebration of Cinco de Mayo worldwide. 

Fiesta Broadway actually marks the historic day in 1862 when the Mexican army defeated French invaders. In befitting fashion, the fiesta includes activities like a feast, music and dance, and even breaking a pinata. 

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